“Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.”
Travel can often be expensive, inconvenient and difficult for students at university. With classes, deadlines and homework, who has the time to leave home and go to a new city for a few days? Here are ten travel hacks for those students on a tight budget and a fixed schedule.
- Save Space By Rolling
If you’re a student, you’re probably trying to save money. If you’re on a budget, EasyJet or RyanAir often have extra costs for checking in baggage. Picking up a smaller suitcase for hand-luggage is perfectly normal, but fitting clothes inside them can be a pain. Rolling your clothes usually tends to make this a lot easier, and you can even fit underwear, chargers and socks within your clothes to save some more space.
- Email Official Documents
It almost seems logical to photograph documents such as your passport, visa and flight tickets and email them to yourself. This way, if you’re stuck at security without anything to prove your journey, you can simply whip out your phone and get out of a bit of a sticky situation. Most airports do have wifi!
- Layers on Layers for the Plane
If you’re anything like me and if you’re carrying hand-luggage only, you’ll arrive on your plan wearing 3 layers and a massive winter jacket, just to save space in your suitcase. It may not necessarily be the most comfortable, but it’s definitely practical. Most flights have allowances of only one bag per passenger, so pack smart, and layer up on that plane!
- ATMs for Local Currency
When students at a foreign airport, they immediately make a beeline for the money conversion desks. However, the exchange rates typically come with commission and tends to be a lot more expensive for you. ATMs are the easiest and fastest way to get your local currency, and they typically do not charge you too much money for withdrawal at the airport. If not, then local banks typically do not charge commission for withdrawal from ATMs either.
- Hostels Versus Hotels
As students who are trying desperately to save money, staying at the Hilton or JW Marriott might not be the best idea. The point of a trip abroad is to expose ourselves to a new culture, not to remain tethered up in one room. Hostels (or airbnbs) may honestly be the best solution, and you must be prepared to share rooms with other people, too. Hostels also typically offer cheaper amenities to students, that hotels might for an elevated price. Most hostels are meant for students and have an energetic, youthful vibe to them. And what’s better, it definitely contributes towards that wild travel experience!
- Don’t Plan By The Minute
Planning every minute after another can make your holiday seem drab, boring and mind-numbing. You want to have fun and explore new spots that aren’t widely publicized on Google, and spontaneity is needed for that. That said, don’t arrive at a destination with no plan whatsoever. Keep certain destinations in mind, and take it from there.
- Carry A Water Bottle!
It’s really important to be environmentally aware while you do travel. Carrying a water bottle makes life more convenient for you, and for everybody else. Personally, I prefer to use the Hydaway Water Bottle, which folds and fits compactly into my suitcase (and into my pocket). When I get to water fountains, I simply fill it up, rather than spending money on a new plastic water bottle in every restaurant I eat at. It saves time, money and the environment!
- Always Ask for Student Discounts
If you have a passion for shopping in new cities and towns like I do, keep an eye peeled for student discounts. No matter where you study, carry your Student ID and make sure you can show it to a cashier and they may offer exclusive discounts. It’s also worth checking at restaurants, as a few of them do offer student discounts as well.
- Maps Are Your Best Friend
If you don’t have data or 3G, then finding your way around a new city can prove difficult. While some students do choose to invest in data cards, buying a simple old-fashioned map can really help as well. Finding yourself lost somewhere can be fun, but using that map to get out of a tough situation can never disappoint. Maps are easy ways to take note of certain spots that you might want to see, and find an easy and quick route to get there.
- Eat Like a Local
Local foods are by far a lot cheaper than continental and international foods. It’s a great way to immerse yourself into the cultures and traditions of a new city and to save money. Finding street food is relatively easy in new cities, and locals are always willing to point you in the right direction. One thing to keep in mind, however, is to make sure that the food you eat is safe and hygienic. Always check ingredients, just to make sure.
- Walk The City
Get those shoes on and explore the old-fashioned way. Taking a taxi everywhere might prove expensive. Besides, walking is a healthy alternative to exploring and being spontaneous. For all you know, you may discover tiny alleyways that you’d never seen before but would love to take a look at. You may find a shop that you wouldn’t have seen if you’d taken that taxi to your destination. If you live in a large city or town, then the public transport is cheap as well. However, do try to walk as much as possible. It’ll feel amazing, I promise!