Kalie Burton, Lifestyle Editor.
University years provide the perfect opportunity to get out and travel; cheap flights coupled with a more flexible schedule often results in caving to the temptation for a quick getaway. Unfortunately, however, student loans don’t exactly factor in wanderlust into the loan allotment. Figuring out travel tips and tricks is a necessity for making the most out of your uni years, so here are a few ideas for making your money stretch and adding in some adventure amidst the essays.
Firstly, figure out what type of holiday you’re after, whether that is a city break, a party trip, or one that requires no more decisions than what beach chair to use that day. Once you’ve figured out what kind of holiday you want, the next step is finding a location that combines both inexpensive flights and ease of access. If you’re committed to flying from Belfast, the options are often narrowed and more expensive, however, it makes getting to the airport easier and you get to save on potential bus transport down to Dublin. Of course, that’s not to say if you’re sticking to a strict budget Belfast isn’t an option, with the right dates and an early enough booking you can get to numerous exciting locations for minimal costs. Often places like Berlin, Milan, Warsaw, and Amsterdam have flights for less than £50 return, with flights from Dublin averaging at £40 for the same locations. Apps like Skyscanner and Ryanair’s Fare Finder are incredibly handy for finding inexpensive flights but bear in mind that flexibility around dates is often the key to getting those budget flights.
Accommodation is another area of travel that has to be thought through and mindfully organised when you have a budget to stick to. Options like hostels are undoubtedly good if you don’t have a problem sharing a room with strangers. If you’re travelling alone or looking to go for a night out while you’re away, hostels offer the chance to meet new people from all over the world and are inexpensive to boot. The website Hostel World makes it easy to find the best hostel for your location, offering prices, room types, and guest reviews to inform your decision. If you’re like me and are a bit uncomfortable with the thought of sharing a room with a stranger, Airbnb is the best option. Airbnb allows you to stay at someones home for a heavily discounted price compared to hotels, and you can choose whether you want to stay in a private room or have a whole house to yourself. It’s arguably the best options for groups, the more people that are staying means that the cost gets lower and lower. Compromising on aspects of centrality and the luxury of your Airbnb can make the prices unbeatable.
As far as activities during your travels, there are quite a few options for keeping sightseeing excursions inexpensive. If you choose a location that is a bit lesser knows, often the lower number of tourists means that you have access to free walking tours and entrance into incredible historical buildings and museums for very little, if any, cost. Having visited countries like Latvia, Bratislava, Bulgaria, and Estonia in the past year, I can honestly say that going somewhere a bit out of the way pays off in expenses and experiencing a culture that might be vastly different to what you’re used to. Hope these tips help and happy travels!