In this post, I want to take you inside the world of traveling as a student. Now, I do have a forewarning: budget travel is not the most glamorous or elegant. It is not full of luxurious hotels, 5-star restaurants and your own personal taxi service; however, it gives those who have wanderlust and are also on a tight budget the opportunity to experience some of the most amazing places in the world and have fun while doing so.
Most student travel while studying abroad consists of weekend travels (Thursday afternoon until Sunday). Picking where you want to travel all depends on what country you are starting in and how far your destination is from your home country. Keep in mind that some countries are cheaper than others. For example, visiting London, England would be a lot more expensive than visiting Bucharest, Romania.
This semester, I have traveled four weekends to different cities around Europe, and I will share some photos from my trip throughout this post. Although I have done a fair bit of traveling, please keep in mind that I’m not an expert and I am just speaking from my experiences this semester. There are plenty of different ways to travel, and everyone has their own preferred routines and suggestions!
The first steps to planning a trip are: transportation and accommodation. After you figure out where you want to go, you have to figure out how you’re going to get there and where you’re going to stay!
My recommendation for budget transportation is: travel by bus. In all of my weekend trips, it has proven to be the cheapest. Also, it is faster than taking the train in most cases. There are numerous companies out there. The two I have used the most are Flixbus and Leo Express. Although some bus rides can be super long (Prague to Budapest was 7 hours), it is worth it to save the money.
Tips for surviving bus travel:
- Wear comfy clothes to make your ride more enjoyable.
- Taking an overnight bus might be an option if you don’t mind sleeping in a reclined seat. Remember your travel pillow to make the night more bearable!
- Bring snacks as the buses do not stop along the way and you want to avoid being “hangry” (hungry and angry) at all costs.
If you’re going somewhere where a bus ride would just be too long, try booking budget airlines. The tricks to booking these flights are to book well in advance and to use websites such as www.skyscanner.com or Google Flights to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
Also, when budgeting transportation costs, also make sure to factor in transportation fees during your trip. Will you need to buy a public transportation ticket, or will you walk everywhere? What about transportation from the bus station/airport to your accommodations? Planning these things in advance will help you to avoid last-minute fees such as having to call a taxi because you didn’t buy a transit pass beforehand.
My recommendation for budget accommodation is: book an Airbnb. Airbnb has a wide selection of homes and apartments available to for guests to book, and they have listings all over the world. One tip that I used on almost all of my trips was to book an apartment which can fit a group of people (around 4-6) and then split the cost with friends who are traveling with you.
Tips for staying at an Airbnb:
- Book as far in advance as you can to get the best deal.
- Book a listing that is centrally located or close to the sights that you want to see during your trip.
- Download the Airbnb app to easily communicate with your Airbnb hosts.
If an Airbnb is not quite your style, hostels are also an option. Check out www.hostelworld.com to search for what kind of hostel you would like. There are lots of different filters you can use to search to narrow down price, amenities, and location. These filters also allow you to choose private or public rooms. With Airbnb and HostelWorld, also look at reviews that previous guests have left about their stays to get an idea of what to expect.
So, if you are looking to travel on a budget, I hope you found this post helpful in some way! Come back next week to read Part 2 of my budget travel guide which will feature how to save money on sightseeing as well as tips for finding budget-friendly attractions and restaurants.
Czech back on the blog tomorrow for Jeremiah’s #TuneinThursday. Thank you for reading!