Travelling as a student who has next to no money can be tricky. If you have no savings behind you then you've only got what is in your bank account for those adventures that you want to have. As a mature student who took several 'gap years' during my time out of education, I've managed my life to enable me to continue travelling while studying.
Here is how you can travel as a student too
Take trips which pay you
One of the best offers on the market for students is Camp America or Work America. Not only will you be paid for you work during the summer but you will add valuable skills to your CV, make friends for life and have an opportunity to travel after you are done with the work as you are entitled to a 4 month visa. What's more, with Camp America they pay for your flights, food and accommodation while at Camp. These trips will cost around £599 and can be paid in instalments throughout the term.
Use your student loan wisely
Since I started first year, I have always used my student loan in a particular way to ensure it covers my expenses at uni. When I receive the total amount for that year I will divide it per a week or month for the entire year. Yes I include the summer holidays in that too. This amount then normally covers my rent, bills and food. The standard things I need at uni which allows any additional money I earn to be put towards travel. Not only that but the money I allowed myself for the summer holidays is unlikely to be used on rent (unless you live in London where student houses are for 12 months instead of 9) and therefore immediately becomes part of my travel fund.
Get a part time job to save for travel
One of the biggest problems with travelling when you are a student is money and just using your loan wisely isn’t enough. The best way to help afford travel is to take a part time job around your lectures. Then instead of using this extra money for clothes or a night out put it away for travel. This will give you a small fund for a few little trips or one bigger trip. You will need to be disciplined to not use the money for other things, but if you are really concerned then put it away somewhere you won’t be able to touch it. I’ve been known to give money to my parents so that I can save it. Once you have the money for a trip, you then want to use it wisely, some of my below tips will help with this.
Use the 'everywhere' option on Skyscanner
The BEST way to make the most of said travel fund is to not be fussy where you are going. Use Skyscanner to search from your preferred airport with your preferred dates to ‘everywhere’ this will then give you the cheapest options for that time of year. Skyscanner also rate the flights, but ignore this because the longer/worse the flight is the cheaper it will be. Obviously some countries are more expensive to visit that others so it’s best to research the options before just booking the cheapest flight.
Sign up to airline mailing lists
Another way to save money on flights is to book when they have a sale on and the best way to find this out is by joining their mailing lists. You can guarantee that there will be a sale in January but other 24/48 hour flash sales can give you better discounts… just remember to actually read those emails!
Stay in Hostels
If you are travelling on your own or a small group then hostels are going to be the cheapest form of accommodation. You can make it even cheaper by staying in the largest room they offer but trust me the 12 bed dorms don’t allow for much sleep. There are good hostel sites such as Hostelworld and Hostelbookers which search through a whole range of properties to find the cheapest rooms. They also give each hostel a rating and you can read reviews to ensure you won’t be staying in some awful dive. Alternatively if you are travelling in a big group then Airbnb could work out cheaper, always be sure to check a few options when it comes to accommodation.
Don’t travel at peak times
As a student you have more free time than most, therefore you should easily be able to avoid bank holidays, weekends and the main weeks of school holidays. I know at my university I get an extra week off at Christmas and Easter than schools do, so I make the most of that week when prices are lower. If you have days off in the week not only can you save on flights but also on accommodation as many hostels lower their prices in the week. You may also find amazing deals at hotels during the weekdays.
I hope you will find some of these tips useful for travelling as a student, if you would like to find more tips on travelling on a low budget check out my blog The Little Backpacker.
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