As a student, traveling abroad can really break the bank. Think about it…money is not easy to come by, considering your likely to blow a great deal of it in a incredibly short time you want to make sure its worth it. A couple weeks in Europe for even the most experienced of spendthrifts will set them back a couple grand. So obviously we want to know how we can make those big travel expense into little ones while still having a good time. Ok, as I have admitted in the past I have a checkered history of my spendthrift skills… more importantly I have learned from my mistakes. So I put together a few ideas so you can save some money for yourselves.
Avoid paying more than you need to
Its pretty obvious…why pay more than you need to? You would be surprised how often you actually do. I made the mistake of buying through Webjet once. Was under the assumption that these guys where cheap, fortunately I was wrong. Found out later I could of saved lots of money, when I got a quote from a travel agent… just out of interest. I will never buy through Webjet again the phone service was practically non-existent. The best way to avoid paying more than you need to is to shop around, don’t just go with the first quote you get. Get 5 quotes or more, depends how much you think you can save and how much time you can spare. Search online, go into Travel Agents and or the airlines directly. One trick I used quite well is to get a printed quote from a travel agent then go next door to their competitors and ask if they can do better, then got to the next one and the next until you get the best deal money can buy.
Buy tickets Domestic when you travel Domestic
I was in the UK about a year ago visiting my brother in Manchester and needed a ticket to London. Buying a ticket for a domestic provider is likely to be cheaper. My theory is that there is less people in the middle taking a cut or commission from what you pay.
Book in advance and Save
Its not always possible, but if you know your traveling in advance why wait till the last moment to book the flights? Most importantly the longer you book in advance the more likely you are to get a good deal. Its not uncommon for a ticket bought 6 months in advance to be cheaper by 20-50% or even more than a ticket bought a week before.
Ask About Student Deals
No matter what, if you are traveling as a student, ask about student deals. You would be surprised with how many travel providers offer special deals to students. Maybe you want to rent a vehicle while you are traveling abroad … ask about a student discount. Maybe you want to go on a sight-seeing adventure … ask about a student discount. No matter what, ask about a student discount. This rule shouldn’t be exclusively for buying tickets, hell it works anywhere I almost signed up to gym membership a while back without asking, lucky I did! saved a fortune!
Be Realistic, Know Your Limits
Sometimes, the excitement of traveling abroad can be overwhelming for a student. In this excitement, it is possible to lose sight of your budget. If this happens, you could find yourself in a “pinch”.. To prevent this from happening, make sure you know what your “real” budget is. As a matter of fact, if you have $10,000 to travel with, act like it is really $7,500 and work with that. Allow some slack in your budget, take it from me you will need it! Its no secret students cant afford five star hotels, but you don’t want to spend your time in a cockroach infested pit. Search for the best value for money ask yourself how much you can realistically afford on accommodation and then search the web for the best possible room you can get for that price.
Traveling as a student can be an exciting experience; unfortunately it can end in a bad way if you spend more than you need or have. To get the best bang for your buck make sure that you ask about student discounts. If you are traveling overseas, look for deals on flights with all the major airlines. By following these simple tips, you could literally be saving thousands of dollars. Traveling as a student should not be as expensive, especially with all of the student discounts you can “score”.
Still not confident that you can budget for a trip? Lucky I found a really great article in Five Dollar traveler that gives you some tips and a free budget calculator in Excel…check it out.
Got no cash and want to go on a holiday anyway? Well it may be possible to get finance, but you might want to think carefully if you can do this as it can be painful paying off a holiday…especially as a broke student! Typically to get any form of finance you need to prove you got at least the income to pay it back, so if you don’t have a job or get paid very little money they it might be a better option to beg your Parents. If your interested in finding out more about financing a holiday here is a really good article you may want read.