Student Travel Tips

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Student holidays tend to be joyously, sporadically organised affairs, the kind where nights out are accounted for, H&Ms up and down the country are ransacked for new holiday kit, but money gets largely forgotten about until the sickening moment when the bill finally shows its ugly face. If you don’t want to fly back home to debt, follow these tips for cheap holidaying.

Beach

The Big Things

Go off season
University gives you the longest holidays you’ll ever have, so take advantage and go away while the school-children are still locked up.

Do a little research too – you might find some countries are far more affordable than you thought. For instance, the British summer is India’s monsoon season and hotels go for up to 2/3s cheaper than usual. Google hard – your bank balance depends on it.  

Book up way ahead, or last minute
Settled on somewhere? Don’t wait to book. Fares, especially for flights, tend to go up weekend on weekend. Use a flight comparison site and get it organised asap – and top tip, it’s often cheapest to fly on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  Flights never, ever get cheaper last minute because businesses are more than happy to pay full-whack for a ticket if they need one, so there’s no incentive for airlines to drop the price.

…but you can go for accommodation last-minute. Though the usual rule applies (the earlier you book, the better the price), all hotels need to fill up empty rooms. The upshot is that last-minutes rates can often be half price or better. Use a reputable hotel comparison site for the best deals.

Hotel

Flights are the killer
Have you thought about train? Coach? Bus? These can often work out cheaper. Another option is to use something like BlaBlaCar, where you can safely get a lift cheaply.

If you are flying, save where you can:
Consider if driving to the airport is really worth it: price the petrol and parking and consider a cheap coach or train instead. Booking well ahead on a train will invariably be cheaper.

Browse a flight comparison site but don’t specify the outbound UK airport – sometimes it costs less to fly from a smaller airport.  Add in your travel costs of getting to your flight and see what works out cheapest; you can usually save a few quid by flying from somewhere you haven't heard of.

Beware of the extra booking charges. easyJet may seem cheaper than another no-name flight but they have an unavoidable £9 booking fee and most other airlines charge something. It’s something to be aware of as you could end up paying out more than you intended.

Check-in online: it saves time and you won’t have to pay a fee. Ryanair have scrapped airport check in but they’ll reissue a boarding pass at the airport for a rather miserly £60. In reality, Ryanair are often a bad deal.

Flight

…and 09 quick money saving travel tips


1. Stay in a hostel. Hostels aren’t the dives they used to be and the best online comparison sites have plenty of pictures and reviews. How long are you going to be staying in the room anyway? 

2. Why not rent an apartment? Cheaper than a hotel? Check.  More space? Check.  More privacy? Check.

3. Budget, budget, budget. Split your cash into smaller denominations - say 10s instead of 50s— to keep on top of what you’re paying out. It should kerb excessive spending; handing over one 20 never seems so bad but handing over two 10s does. Silly? Yes. True? Also yes.

4. Don’t buy the 100ml shampoos/conditioners to get through security. Buy empty 100ml bottles, available on the high street (Primark sell three for £1) and decant from your usual stock, much cheaper.

5. Prearrange your airport transport – hailing a cab from the airport is the quickest way to getting ripped off. It’s the best opportunity for taxi drivers to take advantage of unwitting tourists.

Taxis

6. Turn off your mobile phone data –forget and you’re in for a hefty charge. Free Wi-Fi and internet cafés are your friend. Use Skype for free calls.

7. Don’t buy the branded drinks we’re used to in the UK. The local equivalents are often much cheaper and practically identical, this is especially true of booze.

8. Eating locally and avoid tourist areas which charge twice the price for food half as tasty. Find somewhere small and crowded off a back street instead.

09Fancy an upmarket meal out? Do lunch instead of dinner. Restaurants tend to have better offers on during the day, meaning you can dine in the same surroundings without the weight of an evening bill.

Restaurants

Posted on 18 Aug 2013  |  Posted in  Tips & Updates
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