If you're strapped for cash this summer but fancy doing some cool things, check out one writers' top five places to visit on a budget.

I absolutely love to travel – I mean, who doesn't? The great thing about being a student, I believe, is the amount of time we get off during the summer. I get around 4 months off, which seems like a lifetime compared to the 6 weeks we would normally get at school!

So, I like to spend that time exploring different places to make sure I get the most out of my big break. I've decided to put together a 'Top Five' of the best places to visit this summer which are easily affordable and don't break the bank.

#1 – York

The most haunted city in the world. I visited York for a weekend last summer, and surprisingly, it was pretty cheap! If you book early enough, you can get great train and hotel deals. If you're interested in going, I would highly recommend visiting “The Golden Fleece” which is considered to be the most haunted pub (it's even been on 'Most Haunted'!) It's pretty dark inside and there's even a skeleton sitting at the bar! I would also recommend renting one of the speedboats on the river. Well, I say speedboats; they didn't really go any faster than 20 mile per hour! You can hire them for either half an hour or an hour and it's a great way to see parts of York that would take a while to walk too.

#2 – Edinburgh Zoo

I'm a massive fan of animals, especially wild animals. We travelled to Edinburgh last year for the day (a day is long enough, I reckon) and it was a MUST that we visited the zoo. I thought it would be expensive, however, if you have a valid student ID card, the price drops from £16.50 to £14.00 (every little helps!) A top tip though – if you decide to go, choose a sunny day! It rained pretty heavily when we went and most of the animals are outside, so as you can imagine, we got soaked! If you have a NUS card, National Express are currently doing a 25% off deal which will come in handy!

#3 – London

London is a great place if you're really into sight-seeing. I've been quite a few times – I just love how busy it is! It's the ideal place to visit if you're a foreign exchange student, too. The cheapest way to travel there would be via the MegaBus company. They do really amazing deals, with tickets being as cheap as £1! And if you don't fancy splashing out on a posh hotel, the hostels are just as nice. Some University accommodations open their doors for tourists during the summer, charging around £18-20 a night! Cheap as chips! One place I recommend you visit for a bite to eat is the Rainforest Cafe, which is located in Piccadilly Circus. Trust me, it's an experience you'll never forget!

#4 – Southend

Southend, for those of you who are looking puzzled right now, is in Essex. It is home to the most amazing beach and fair of all time. Part of my family live in Essex, so when we visit in the summer, we tend to visit Southend as it's a great day out. If you're a big fan of roller-coasters (which I'm totally not – I spent most of my time of the kiddie rides!) then Adventure Island is the place to be. You can buy a blue band for £21 online which allows you all day access to the rides and the park, or you can 'pay as you ride'. Once you're bored of the rides, hit the amusements! There's nothing better than a 2p machine session!

#5 - Amsterdam

Now, you may think travelling to Amsterdam will be expensive, but don't worry, it doesn't have to be! If you book via DFDS a few weeks in advance, you can get really good deals. I went this year with my boyfriend and it cost us around £160 for a cabin there and back and a coach to and from the boat to the centre of Amsterdam. This was a mini-break deal which meant that we got 5 hours in Amsterdam to explore, which is plenty of time. The boat is a holiday in itself, I was so amazed at how massive it is! I still can't believe there's a cinema and a casino inside it!

So, fingers crossed the weather improves this summer! These are just some of the experiences that I've had – there are still some amazing places out there to visit! And don't forget to pack your student ID card. You might be able to get some really great discounts!





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