Rachel from our customer experience team explains how you can still travel as a student without blowing your budget.I’ve always had itchy feet. Restless legs, my parents call it. The constant and overwhelming desire to travel, to anywhere, to everywhere… immerse myself in a different culture, experience a language, try authentic food, feel a million miles away from home. The problem is… I don’t have any money.
I’ve tried to sit tight in Britain, I really have. But it doesn’t matter how much time I spend basking in the sunshine in a beautiful English park – glass full of Pimm’s, ice-cream in hand - it always happens sooner or later: the travel bug bites. Dreams of distant shores, undiscovered terrain and moonlit beaches appear in my head… then I empty my piggy bank only to find a few rusty coppers and an old button.
But I learnt a long time ago that this shouldn’t matter. The world should be explored regardless of bank balance. So, here’s a few ideas which mean you don’t have to sacrifice a getaway just because the purse strings are a little tight.
1. Why fly? There are endless blogs and websites bursting with advice on how to bag cheap flights to your favourite destinations. But how realistic are these? They normally involve getting a Credit Card, collecting points, endless ‘shopping around’… I may be poor, but I am busy too, so no thanks. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there are bargain flights out there… but don’t forget it’s an extra £30 to take luggage, £15 if you’d like to sit down and oh… didn’t we mention you’ve got to fly from London at 3am…tomorrow?
So, why not take it back to basics? National Express Coaches will deliver you safely to wonderful cities all around Europe. With hundreds of UK coach stops, they pick you up from as close to your doorstep as they can get. You’ll find return tickets from Edinburgh to Paris from £40, and not an additional fee in sight.
Remember: The journeys are long. Very long. But National Express have worked hard to create a little haven of comfort within their coaches. You’ll have a comfy seat, WiFi, plug sockets and plenty of room to relax… the perfect opportunity to finish that University reading list, right?
Want to find out more? https://www.nationalexpress.co...
2. Couch Surfing
Couch surfing used to be exactly what it sounds like: rocking up at a stranger’s house, thin blanket in hand and roughing it for a few nights on the sofa for free. Well… it’s still like that. But better.
Couch Surfing have created a global community not just for people wanting to discover new places, but those eager to show off their cities too. Enter your destination and travel dates and scroll through thousands of ‘hosts’ ready to help you explore. Read personal bios, references and get to know your host before travelling. The website asks you to verify yourself for a small cost, but what a price to pay for access to free accommodation and friends across the world.
Remember: This is no AirBnB, you will be sleeping on someone’s sofa. But the service is free, and with the safety measures Couch Surfing put in place, what better way to meet the locals?
Want to find out more?
LuckyTrip is my new favourite app. It’s deliciously simple. You enter in your budget (between £150 - £1000+) and click ‘Lucky’. LT searches far and wide across the plethora of travel and holiday search engines to find you an awesome deal. And I mean awe-some.
You can choose your airport, specific dates and holiday type (hot, off grid and foodie to name a few) but flexibility is key here, so take advantage of those long Christmas breaks and summer holidays. There really is something for everyone, every budget and every occasion.
What’s more? The app will also recommend a free attraction you should see whilst you’re visiting.
LuckyTrip is only available from the Apple Store at the moment, so if you’re all about the Android, be extra nice to your iPhone friends until the app catches up with the times.
Want to find out more?
4. Interrailing There’s a reason why Interrailing is popular with students; it’s easy, flexible and the younger you are the less you pay! It works like this: you buy an interrail ticket which is valid on any train, ferry or bus within 30 different European countries and the rest is up to you. I explored Prague, Berlin and Amsterdam with 100 euros in my pocket but the biggest benefit I found is that you get to see hidden parts of the country you’d never get to see travelling by plane.
The ticket is not valid in your native country, so if you’re used to hopping on the Eurostar for quick access to the continent, unfortunately you’ll have to pay for that… how about a National Rail Coach instead?
Want to find out more?
5. Contiki Tours When I first researched solo travelling, I couldn’t find anything that appealed to a younger age group. Although I do think trekking up a Greek Acropolis amongst the retired would have its fun moments, I’ve got a Mum and Dad for that. Then I heard about Contiki Tours. Contiki arrange all-inclusive trips aimed at young travellers. Depending on your budget and how much exploring you’d like to do, trips range from 4 days to 55. You can take your pick from Europe, Asia, America, Australasia and Africa. See as much or little as you like.
Remember: Contiki Tours are going to cost you a little bit more but it’s all about value for money. If you can afford that initial price, you’ll get more than your money’s worth in adventure and friendships.
Want to find out more? https://www.contiki.com/uk/en