9 Jul 2015

5 Tips on Travelling on a Student Budget

Do you remember being captivated by the different places abroad while you were watching TV when you were young — whether it’s the pristine beaches in Thailand or the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat — and just wishing you could visit those places when you grow up?

Well, now is the chance for you to do so! The best people to travel with are your college mates, and trust us, you’ll definitely have a trip to remember.

But hang on — you might think that it isn’t that easy to travel as a college student who is always on a shoestring budget. However, we’re here to tell you that it can definitely be done.

Here are some budget-friendly travelling tips to help you and your college buddies explore and see the world!

1) Book your flights early

With the dominance of various budget airlines like AirAsia and Scoot, travelling to countries that used to be impossible for cash-strapped students is now more possible than ever!

Airline companies are offering promotions all the time (there’s even a dedicated site for AirAsia promotions!), so take advantage of them. You might also realise that the closer you are to your travel dates, the higher the airfares, so do book your flights as early as possible.

It’s also worth using flight comparison websites to make sure you’re getting the cheapest fares. Some popular ones are Skyscanner and Google Flights.

Pro Tip: Plan your itinerary early and map out the various places that you’d like to visit before actually flying there. That way, you’ll be able to maximise your time during the trip instead of gazing at a guidebook and getting lost in a foreign land.

2) Use public transport to get around

When travelling, it’s always great to use public transport, like MRTs, trains and buses, to get around. Most European countries have really efficient transport systems, and you can get to just about anywhere using the subway or the bus!

In addition to saving costs, it’s also a great way for you to see the city or town! Coastal trains can give you magnificent views of the most beautiful sceneries, and the bus is a fantastic way to mingle with the locals. It’s during these bus rides where you find out from them where the best restaurants are — hidden gems that are really famous among locals but seldom raved about in websites and guidebooks!

3) Stay in hostels, couchsurf or rent a room from a local

Accommodation is one of the biggest costs when travelling, but there are many ways for you to save some money.

Instead of splurging on expensive hotels, stay in hostels instead! It may not have luxuriously comfortable beds and 5-star amenities, but you’ll be out and about with your travelling mates anyway, so it doesn’t matter as long as you’ve got a place to sleep!

If you’re up for it, you could also try couchsurfing too! Couchsurfing is a hospitality exchange website that allows you to stay with someone for free. It’s a great way for you to meet and mingle with locals — people who you may not have met otherwise.

Airbnb is another great alternative that also connects you with locals. It allows you to rent spare bedrooms, or sometimes even entire houses, from locals, and the prices are usually more economical than hotels!

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4) Use student discounts whenever possible

Being a college student does have it perks!

More often than not, visiting historical landmarks and places like museums, zoos or even theme parks have student discounts. Just remember to bring your student I.D. before you embark on your journey!

There’s also the International Student Identity Card (ISIC) that offers a host of discounts and benefits, not just in Malaysia but all around the world! It will cost you some money (currently priced at RM21.20 including GST), but it’s well worth your money if you plan to travel!

Pro Tip: Don’t underestimate the power of a friendly chat. If you’re lucky, you can earn yourself a discount or score some freebies just by spending some time in a friendly conversation!

5) Plan your budget

This is the most important tip before going on a trip — plan your budget well.

Work out how much you can spend on meals, souvenirs and other miscellaneous stuff before you leave. This is to ensure that (1) you’ve brought enough money and (2) you don’t overspend.

Don’t forget to check the exchange rates before planning your trip as well, as it could negatively affect the cost of your trip. If a destination is too expensive, leave it for another time and go to more affordable places first, such as Thailand and Vietnam.

We hope that with this budget-friendly tips, you will be able to have an affordable yet exciting trip with your college buddies during your semester breaks!

Want more money-saving tips? Check out this article: 5 Money-Saving Tips Every College Student Needs To Know

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