As a Student: Tips and tricks for traveling abroad
Traveling around Europe for thirty days sounds like a lavish, exciting and life changing experience, not to mention an expensive one. But it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few tips on traveling internationally on a budget.
Pack light. By that I mean one carry on, one backpack and one personal item such as a purse. This will save you not only time by skipping the wait for a checked bag, but also money. Almost all airlines will allow you to board with those three items as long as they fit in either the overhead bin or under your seat.
Choosing to pack light will also be beneficial when it comes to traveling from place to place. You won’t struggle to make the train or bus to the airport as much as you would lugging around giant suitcases. Although your luggage space will be limited, using resealable space saver bags will allow you to pack several more outfits than opposed to not.
It is best to always travel with a spare outfit tucked away in your backpack in case you are asked to check your bag at the gate. Checking a bag runs the risk of it getting lost in transit, so it is best to always be prepared especially on smaller flights.
Smaller flights often have less room in their overhead storage than bigger flights do. Because of this, it is likely that you will be asked to check your bag at the gate, meaning an airport employee is then responsible for moving all checked luggage from the gate to under the plane before take off. This is where you can run the risk for losing luggage.
Where to stay
When booking a hotel or airbnb, find one close to the town or area you’ll be spending most of your time in. Most tourist sights and stops are typically within walking distance, so choosing a town where you can walk from one site to another will save you money on transit.
When given the choice between a hotel and a similarly priced airbnb always choose the airbnb. The benefit to staying in an airbnb is that it almost always guarantees a microwave, stove, and oven. To help save on costs it would be cheaper to make one or two of your daily meals at your airbnb and eat out only once. Groceries tend to be cheaper when buying for a short stay than eating out for every meal.
If booking a hotel is the only option, which in some countries it is, find one with a complimentary breakfast or brunch. Although this will be factored into your bill, it is still cheaper than paying for individual meals.
It is always best to schedule and plan your tours in advance. Not only will you save on fees you may be charged if you were to book the day of, but often if you’re booking for a group you will receive a discount.
Always choose to skip the line. These tickets tend to be pricier than a normal ticket, but they usually come with added bonuses such as: escaping the heat or rain, saving you time to see multiple sights in one day and even complimentary drinks for certain attractions.
When flying, the best way to save money is to book in advance. The closer you are to the day of your flight, the more expensive the tickets will be. As soon as you have your schedule made, begin looking for flights. Try flying out early or late on a weekday. The prime time to travel is weekends, so Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays you will often find your cheapest days to travel internationally.
When you are given the choice of flying or taking the train, always choose to travel by train. This too is a time saver as long as your destination is within a six to eight hour ride. Not only is it cheaper and faster to travel by train, you’ll also be exposed to more of the country than you would traveling by plane. When traveling by train from Paris to Barcelona, a six hour train ride will take you along the beautiful sights of the Spanish coast.
Walk whenever possible. In some countries, such as England and Ireland, it is more time efficient to pay for a bus card than to walk to everywhere, but still cheaper than paying for a taxi. Metro cards in cities such as Paris and Barcelona are essential, but choosing a time limited card is more cost effective and time efficient than buying a new one before each boarding.
Traveling can be exciting, life changing, and affordable all in one. Try using these tips to help save you time and money.