What? Is this a thing? Can it be done?
Money is one of the top worries for those at University (as well as trying to survive on limited resources and cookery skills) , but one of the things I found was that University really pushed me to actually travel more and there are a number of ways that you can keep up with your passion for travel on a budget while studying and without taking a gap year.
1. Studying Abroad
This, I think, is the easiest and most cost effective way to travel and enrich your university experience. Most universities and most courses will offer this opportunity, it is just sometimes less advertised than you may expect so you may have to do some research. However, it is worth it. There are a variety of places you can go across America and Europe and often universities will sponsor you to go – aka give you free money to spend 6 months to a year exploring new places and meeting amazing new people (yay!). This something I did, and will probably talk more about in a different post, and I had the best time ever, no exaggeration. Search your university’s website or ask tutors in your departments to see what opportunities may be open to you. If you study in Europe, the Erasmus scheme also offers various trips to other European cities and socials or simply organise your own trips with a group of friends.
2. Being careful with your money
Now, if committing to 6 months to a year abroad sounds too much for you, and you just want to do a little exploring, then the simplest solution really is to be careful with your money. For many students, starting university is the first time they will have been required to look themselves and their money and though it may be exciting to have so much money in your account all in one go, it is important to not go completely mental in first few weeks – especially if you want to travel in the long holiday periods.
There are some good apps out there that can help you to keep track of what your spending, and there’s the option of just simple pen and paper. It may also help to put money in a flexible savings account, which is what I did to stop me spending the money I had saved by keeping it separate and out of reach temporarily. You may also want to get a part time job in order to top up your funds, but make sure that you are able to keep a good work/study/life balance and do not put too much pressure on yourself.
3. Shopping around
Now if you’re careful with you money, use your position as a student your advantage. While you may already be well versed in student discounts on the high street, don’t forget that you can use them to help you travel too as number of of agents such as STA travel and Student Universe offer discounted trips and flights for students. It is also worth using comparison sights such as Skyscanner and Trivago to check that you’re getting the best for your money as well as thinking outside the box using National Express for your travel and AirBnB or looking at various hostels on Hostelworld.com rather than just settling for any hotel room – your travelling to see the place and not the inside of the hotel at the end of the day!
It doesn’t actually take too much thought to look after your money and organise your priorities. If you really want to travel, you will and I’d say these three things, in my experience, were essential in keeping my own wanderlust fulfilled during my uni years, despite my very limited student budget. Keeping these in mind means that you can make the most of the long holidays without breaking the bank; all you need to do is find yourself a travelling companion!
Do you have any tips for travelling on a budget?