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Student Blog: How to save money when travelling

By Megan 28 Oct 2016

As students, unless we have an amazing bank account, we mostly know what it is like to have the need to save money. Still, this does not mean we cannot make travelling plans – and I don't mean to the nearest city!

The first thing to figure out when booking a trip is where to go, and how to get there. Low budget airlines offer a great deal of flights at a good price, but there are a few other things to consider. For example, although flying to London Stansted can be the cheapest, both the bus and train to the city centre can be as expensive as the flight. In this case, other options should be looked at: other airports, or even other methods of transportation. Sometimes, the cheapest option is not the most pleasant...but a night bus or train to a city can offer the rest needed for the night and make you ready to visit the city as soon as you arrive, giving you a full day to do so!

Also, if flying is the only option but a direct flight is out of your budget, try looking at connecting flights: it is cheaper to fly to Dublin and then Lisbon than to take a direct flight. Also very important, do not forget to travel light. Take only what you need and use a backpack that is easily carried, so you avoid additional charges from flights, buses and train, and also so it does not prevent you from walking without having to carry your full wardrobe with you.

When it comes to finding a place to stay, there are many available options. Most students when considering where to spend the night look for hostels in the area, and mostly are quite cheap, mainly those away from the city centre. Still, it is also important to consider how far away from the city centre they are, and if it is worth the money spent on transportation to arrive there. Otherwise, the cheapest option is couch surfing. This is not an option for most people who consider it dodgy and scary, but I have met some of the nicest friends by choosing their alternative; not only you meet great people, but you also stay at their place for free!

If you are worried about who you stay with, there are many ways of finding someone you believe you will feel comfortable with from previous couch surfer reviews on the person and even skype calls to get to know them beforehand! Although, if you do choose this option, it is important to actually want to get to know the person you are staying with instead of treating them like any hostel.

Eating is not something you can avoid – or at least I hope so! But you can still save money when it comes to food if you cook meals yourself, decide to buy cheap meal deals or find economical restaurants to go to. Don't forget breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and with fuel your energy for the day. It is also a good idea to pack some sandwiches and fruit if you decide you don't want to stop your day to find somewhere to eat.

Not every activity is charged – there are many things you can do for free in another city. From museums to street entertainment, it is not difficult to find what to do next without having to waste money. Look at Time Out whenever you have internet available and figure out what to do for the day. If you do want to visit a place that is charged, don't forget to take your student card, as sometimes you will have discounts!

I hope if you do go travel, you will follow some of these tips and manage to make the most out of your budget on what is really worth it! Don't forget to have a great time and do take some pictures for posterity, but keep most memories in your brain, as those will be the most rewarding ones.

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Megan part of the QMU Browzer Team
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