Uni life can get a little crazy sometimes; with so many exams, societies, and social commitments to think about, your time can feel a little stretched! But - believe it or not, you probably have more time to do fun and exciting things as a student than you will ever have again. February is a great time to get organised and plan some amazing adventures abroad. On a budget? Not a problem; we’ve compiled a list of hacks to make sure you make the most of your time and have the best holiday possible, as cheap as possible!
1. Compare prices on travel
2. Choose the right destination
Think about what you want to get out of your holiday. Are you looking for lots of sun? Relaxation? Adventure? Education? Or wild parties, cheap alcohol, and cheap hotels? Or maybe you’d like a bit of everything? Do your research and find destinations that fit your criteria.
3. Check exchange rates
Luckily for us Britons, the pound is a really strong unit of currency! That means your pounds and pennies could go a whole lot further in countries with weaker currencies (e.g. Vietnam, Thailand). Seriously strapped for cash? Check exchange rates and limit your travels to countries with weaker currencies! And don’t forget to do all your money changing BEFORE you head out as it is likely to cost more in airports/abroad.
4. Go at the right time
Just because it’s summer in the UK doesn’t mean it’s summer everywhere else! Make sure to look into local weather patterns for any destinations you are interested in. The same holiday may also cost more or less depending on when you choose to go - avoid peak times (e.g. August) and you could save yourself a lot of money!
5. Remember all the essentials
Make a list of everything you could possibly forget in advance, and then make sure everything on there gets packed! It sounds simple, but it’s easy to forget things in all the excitement of going on holiday. Imagine rocking up to the airport ready to go, only to find you’ve forgotten your passport or tickets…
6. Choose the right accommodation
Don’t let horror films like Hostel put you off shared accommodation; although the prospect of staying in a room with a bunch of strangers can be a little daunting, hostels are great places to meet and connect with like-minded, fun people - and they are often ridiculously cheap! Can’t cope with the idea of sleeping with strangers? Most Hostels also offer private rooms which are usually a little more pricey than their shared rooms, but still cheaper than hotels! Sharing a villa or house is also a great alternative to staying in hotels - and most will be kitted out with kitchens which can help save on food costs.
7. Travel in a group…
Although it can be difficult getting a group of people to commit to the same plan, it’s definitely worth the effort! Whether you’re thinking of going down the road of a boozed up week of regrets (along with matching t-shirts) or something more chilled, holidaying with friends is always memorable – there’ll be at least one in-joke of the holiday that you’ll be reminiscing about for years to come. Plus, you can save crucial packing room by sharing items - you bring the sun cream, and I’ll bring the after sun! Travelling in a group also means you might be able to make bigger savings on travel - StudentUniverse offer group airfares for 10 or more travellers with discounts, refundable deposits and 24/7 support before, during, and after your travels!
8. ...Or alone!
Don’t let the fact that no one else wants to go somewhere stop you! Going on a trip alone will allow you have complete control over all your spending and allow you the freedom to do what you want, when you want! It’s also is a great way to force yourself out of your comfort zone. You may have to work a little harder to be social, but you could end up making some new and fascinating friends.
9. Avoid in-flight extras
Travelling on budget airlines is a great way to save money - but remember to factor in potential hidden costs! Pack light to avoid any extra luggage charges, and carry some snacks with you to avoid paying for plane food (which probably wouldn't be very nice anyway…). You won’t be able to take liquids in through airport security, but a bottle of water will probably cost less in an airport shop than on a plane.
10. Turn off data roaming on your mobile
Limit your data usage and connect to Wi-Fi only when it is available when travelling abroad to avoid a potentially nasty phone bill when you get back. Or maybe even consider putting your phone away once you’ve let your family and friends know you’ve arrived safely; focus on actually enjoying your experiences, rather than worrying about whether they look good on Instagram and Facebook!
11. Carry an adaptor
Some countries have really weird plug sockets - find out what kind of adaptor you may need in advance and carry one with you to save the cost of buying one when you get there.
12. Get out of the ‘touristy’ areas and explore like a local
There’s nothing wrong with a bit of touristy sight-seeing - but most countries and cities have SO MUCH MORE than that to offer! Shops and restaurants in touristy areas also tend to cost more than those in regular spots. Wander off the beaten track and see what is waiting to be discovered - just be sure to remain aware of your surroundings and stay safe!
13. Walk as much as you can
Walking is a great way to explore, exercise, and save money. Taking cabs across foreign cities is a sure way to burn through your budget while making sure you miss out on potential adventures - don’t be lazy!
14. Don’t go out to eat/drink every night
The temptation to go out to eat and drink every night can be strong when you are on holiday. Depending on where you choose to go, this can end up costing you a lot of money! Consider popping to your local supermarket and stocking up on food and booze there. This could be an adventure in itself: you never know what you’ll find in a foreign supermarket!
15. Carry your student ID - you never know where a discount might be hiding!
You might also be able to pick up student discounts on the basics that you’ll be taking with you, whether that’s beach shorts or backpacks. Check out Student Hut’s Offers page for the latest student offers, discounts and freebies!