How To Travel On A Student Budget
Taking holidays as a student can be tough with a stringent budget, but not impossibly difficult. When you’re in your twenties and supposed to be having the time of your life, sometimes issues with money can get in the way. All students go through this, especially those living out of home and relying on casual work or Centrelink payments.
Yet if you follow this advice, you’ll be able to manage your spending while still enjoying the holiday you’ve waited so long for. Here are some of our top tips to travel on a student budget:
Your spending behaviour is vital when you are a student and it is best to identify your bad habits quickly. Discipline comes in super handy when you’re wanting to save cash. When you’re purchasing items, ask yourself why you want to buy them? Do you need a coffee or do you just want one? Can you wait until you get home? This kind of discipline works wonders when you are saving for a holiday—you’d rather the money for a coffee in Italy than Melbourne, right?
If you’re looking to travel on a student budget, be clever with your money and only spend when necessary. Work out a daily budget so you can enjoy your time away. Simply divide how much spending money you have by the number of days away. This will give you a rough idea, and from there you can balance your purchases: spend more on food and transport, and less on treats one day, and vice versa the next. Having some cash on hand while overseas is helpful as you may be charged with your debit or travel card, or some remote locations may not have EFTPOS facilities. You don’t want to bring a whole wad of cash, so reduce the amount of ATM fees you get by taking enough out once a week to get you by.
Tempting food options can be the biggest hit to your cash flow on holiday. Find a local grocer or supermarket and stock up on fresh fruit and veg to pack as snacks or eat for breakfast. As much as you’ll want to eat out all the time on holiday, it isn’t going to be sustainable if you want to travel on a student budget. Find a balance between treating yourself to a restaurant meal and staying in with cheap, authentic alternatives for the rest. Find a hotel that offers free breakfast and hit up a local bakery for croissants or bread rolls. Prepare your meals earlier in the day and go sit in the park or by the beach while you eat- you’ll almost feel like a local!
There are so many great ways to hunt down cheap accommodation these days; it is almost the easiest part of the holiday booking process. Filter your searches on hotel comparison sites to what you can afford or try AirBNB to feel the part as a local. The Friend Theory App is great for finding friends and friends of friends who live abroad to crash with! Otherwise, classic backpackers or YHA hostels are cheap as chips. Plus, you get to meet people from all over the globe and pick up some more tips on where to explore around town.
With costs of owning a car forever deflating our bank account, think about whether organising a car share like GoGet would be cheaper for your next road trip with your friends. Split the cost of one car or van rather than each travelling to the same destination. Hop on trains or trams at your location and use the time to admire the area (and people-watch locals!). Otherwise, walk around to explore and find places you can’t when whirring past. For overseas trips, booking in advance is key to hunt down good prices on flights. Try sites like Skyscanner or I Know the Pilot to grab a great a deal.
Hunt down some free activities to feed your curiosity. Google and hostel/hotel receptions are great resources for these. Why not take a walk and explore the local galleries with free admission, wander around the local botanic gardens, take in the atmosphere of a street market or get snapping with your camera somewhere of interest.
Avoid getting sucked in by greedy group tourism organisers and find a tour run by a local who knows what they’re talking about—ask the reception at your hostel or hop online and search for something intriguing. You often get refreshments thrown in, and a far greater perspective of the city. Otherwise if you can’t get away without spending a little bit, be wary of what you are buying and perhaps bring those pre-bought snacks from home to stave off hangry food purchases.
Remember, travelling on a student budget doesn’t have to be hard, you just have to be prepared.