In my last blog post I talked a bit about the reasons why we may hold ourselves back from travelling. I believe one of the main reasons particularly for students like myself, is money. There's no doubt that travel can be costly, but it doesn't always have to be. We can often associate travelling with really exotic destinations or major cities as far away from home as possible and the cost for these trips can be pretty overwhelming! Travel is all about making a journey and creating memories whether that be 16 hours away on a plane or 4 hours in a car. It's important not too get too caught up in the glamourising of travel, especially when your bank balance says Brighton but your mind says Bora Bora (sadly talking to myself here).
But, I know what it feels like to write down all your travel goals in hopes of ticking them off one by one, but at the same time thinking "How on earth will I be able to afford that?!" and I want to share with you a few tips that have helped me in achieving my travel dreams...
1. One of the most simple ways is to start saving. Once you find out how much a trip will cost you it's time to put away some money each month. It's good to start booking holidays in advance, in some cases you may get the cheapest deal closer to the time you want to go away, but it's quite a risk and most of the time it ends up being more expensive especially for trips in the summer time. Booking a holiday in advance allows you to have more time to save up particularly for spending money or if you decide to pay at a later date.
2. Work out how much money you'll need based on how much you spend normally. Sometimes it can be tricky to gage how much you'll need for food and 'living' costs especially in countries like the US where you also have to think about the tipping system. I usually would think about how much I typically spend eating out for example, tailor it to whichever country/city I'm going to be in (as some places are more expensive than others) and then work out the amount in the given currency. This also helps in terms of having a guide so that each time you go out you don't end up over spending.
It's also a good idea to work out how much it is to travel around. You can get travel tickets for long periods of time in most cities e.g. a 3/7 day pass which helps save a little bit of money and may also give you unlimited travel on transport. For places that have a metro system it may also be cheaper to take the train to and from the airport instead of a taxi but if that isn't possible, it's good to ask your hotel or apartment owner how much a taxi would roughly be so you don't have any surprise costs on arrival.
3. Look for apartments instead of hotels. This is a particularly good tip if you're travelling in a group for spatial reasons and great for splitting costs but the self-catering aspect can ease the pressure of travelling on a tight budget. Buying cereal, a loaf of bread and a box of eggs could be a lot cheaper than the daily price of breakfast at a hotel. Another alternative to an apartment is staying in a private room in a shared apartment or a Hostel. Shared hostel rooms can go from as little as £15 a night in some places, even though it's a little different from having your own private space in a nice hotel it can also be a great chance to meet new people particularly for solo travellers.
4. For me, shopping is always where it all goes wrong... I can handle leaving dessert at dinner to save some extra money but there's something about clothes shopping on vacation that makes me lose it all! If you're a bit of a shopaholic like myself maybe try and look out for some markets and thrift stores whilst on holiday. They're a great alternative because not only are things usually much cheaper than the high street, but you can find some of the most unique pieces that you'll never get anywhere else.
5. Start by looking for holiday destinations close to home. As I said earlier, a vacation doesn't always have to be far away. You can have just as much fun on a road trip a couple of hours from home than on one 10 hours away. It's great to go further away from time to time but sometimes those travel gems are right on our doorstep and we don't even know it!
So now you've got some tips, you can start looking at where to go. Don't worry I've got you covered...
Budget: £50 and under
(Prices based on March/April From London on Skyscanner.net)