As a student traveler, you need to leverage every opportunity to save a penny so that you can work towards fitting in all of the other things you want to experience. You will be surprised at how far you can stretch a budget. It’s about being smart, not about missing out.
1. Devise a budget to stick to
Make sure you actually spend some time reviewing your resources and budgeting where your expenses will be. Continue to update this document as you gain clarity on your costs, for instance, when you actually book accommodation in a city input the actual cost rather than the previous estimate. The best part is a well devised, realistic budget will help you prioritise and compromise even better.
2. Avoid cabs and walk wherever possible
Cabs are usually the most expensive way of getting around a city. The beauty is that by avoiding this mode of transport you get the opportunity to either take public transport or walk. Public transport can be the best way to actually experience more of a city and culture, immersing yourself in with the locals. Walking whenever you get the opportunity is optimum as you invariably come across a quaint part of town, a beautiful boutique or the exact place you plan to make your dinner reservation for that night. Driving past can mean you miss the opportunity to explore these. You also have the benefit of working off your carb and fat filled lunch. No regrets.
3. Focus on one proper meal a day
Having one wholesome, sit down, proper restaurant based meal a day is a great way to stick to a budget. I’m not saying starve, by any means. If you aim for a proper dinner you can get by with a lighter lunch, or may find yourself snacking all day on glorious street food. Street food is often cheaper and simply, the best.
4. Take advantage of free breakfast if provided
Depending on what country you are travelling to I would recommend paying the extra to actually have breakfast provided. Breakfast is done very differently around the world, making it difficult to find out. This may mean you are left unsatisfied, hungry and more out of pocket to get something suitable. A substantial breakfast provided at your accommodation is a good way to begin your day and avoiding spending exorbitant amounts on morning snacks.
5. Carry a water bottle
A bottle of water can be quite pricey in some countries, and you may even struggle to get some with a meal without paying for it. Dehydration is not something you want to deal with when walking the streets of a crowded city, so buying a bottle and refilling it is strongly advised, so you have some liquid gold at your fingertips all day long. Even if you aim to buy a bottle every few days – it can save you a dollar or two.
6. Look for early bird or last minute deals
Sometimes it works in your favour to get in early and other times if you pick up on what’s left last minute you can grab yourself a good deal. For instance, last minute tickets to shows and plays can prove much more economical than if pre-purchased, whilst flights and accommodation can be important to book early if you are particular about you dates.
7. Opt for the local drink
Often you can find alcohol in particular is quite pricey if you’re going for the international options. For instance, in Germany or the Netherlands, beer may be your best bet and the spirits can prove quite expensive. Wines from the local regions can also prove more affordable as well.
8. Go for simple and convenient rather than flashy and flamboyant
When looking for accommodation, everyone has different standards. If you are into the hostel living, you will probably find you will save even more dollars. If not, there are ways to find a hotel in your budget but be mindful of what you are paying for. A clean, simple hotel may help your wallet much more if you are in a central location. Similarly, you may choose to pay that little bit more for a location that will help you saving on the transportation and time of getting around. Do you research as well, because in some countries certain forms of accommodation reign supreme – for instance family run Bed and Breakfast’ in Italy.
9. Be realistic and well informed
A budget can really be blown out of the water if you aren’t realistic about how much things will cost. At least if you are realistic and well informed about all of the costs involved you can adequately prepare for those costs. Often you may find unexpected entry fees or the expectation that you provide a show of support for some historical grounds that you didn’t expect. Or in the US if you aren’t a native, you may be surprised at the expectation of tipping and the excluded tax on the bill. Also, do your research, will it be valuable checking out a site without a tour guide? Do they accept international students as part of their student rate?