Going away with your friends for a summer break is awesome. You make memories, have great experiences and enjoy your freedom while you have it. The thing is, if you’re a student, you probably don’t have a whole lot of cash behind you and that student loan can run out really fast, especially when you have a load of books to buy at the start of the year, and the lump sum can make it incredibly easy to splurge on nights out. So how can you have the best holiday for the least amount of cash?
A lot of the time it depends on the kind of holiday you are wanting. If you are planning on travelling around a few different areas, you may find that your money will run out faster than originally planned. Sometimes a short city break can be a great way of exploring somewhere new. Taking a short flight to somewhere like Paris or Ireland can be exciting enough for many students.
A lot of student holidays often hinge on staying in hostels to keep costs down – and while they are a great option for when you need somewhere cheap to stay, the experience can occasionally be far from pleasant.
A growing trend for people holidaying in European cities, or other cities in the UK for that matter, is to rent a house between them. There are lots of websites that can put you in touch with short term rental properties, or house share opportunities in most of the major cities in Europe. This way you can rent a nice house or apartment for the weekend, a week or a couple of weeks for rates that work out very cheaply when split between a group of you, and Housetrip offering lots of locations to find rentable accommodation, where costs can be split.
While you can get hostel rooms for small groups – they usually start at four beds – if you’re unlucky you may end up sleeping in a room with upwards of 20 other people. If you needed any more discouragement, read this letter that someone wrote to another sleeper in their dorm. Being kept awake by someone snoring like a chainsaw is the last thing you need when you’re trying to enjoy an exciting city break.
When you’re planning a break on a budget, it pays to shop around. Check the Backpacker Index to see which cities are cheaper to explore and be equally thorough when researching the destination you are wanting to travel to.
There are additional cost saving ideas, such as using last minute flights, or even checking plane fares. Prices that are set by airlines are not static, and change regularly. Each airline will have their own pricing structure, where prices will dip at certain times before a flight, so it pays to keep abreast of how much the costs are changing. With enough people sharing the costs it can be more cost effective to drive, and share the costs with the channel tunnel or a ferry, however this will also depend on fuel prices, and the distances travelled.
While it might also seem integral to a holiday to go and visit lots of restaurants, this can seriously add to costs. City breaks come with the benefit of having plenty of supermarkets, which allow you to further explore the culture of a location. Buying as the locals do, and trying to prepare local cuisine in a shared kitchen can be a great money saver, as well as a fun social experiment, as you try to recreate some of the local cuisine utilising local produce.
Also ask yourself whether you really need to leave the UK – this island has so many cool places to go and visit, so why spend precious money going elsewhere? While London can be expensive, there are plenty of cheaper, low cost options available for the poorer student traveller.