Donegal student and travel blogger Sarah Allan knows all about taking trips on a budget. Here, she shares some of her thrifty tourist tips:
Sarah Allan is a 21-year-old student of languages at NUI Galway. Last year she left her Donegal home to improve her languages on the continent through au pairing and Erasmus. She is currently based in the north of Italy, but spends much of her time rambling to other beautiful destinations. Sarah recently set up her own travel blog calling ‘Rambling With Sarah’, and today she’s sharing her top tips for saving money while exploring the world:
Hi everyone, today I’m going to share my top tips for travelling on a student budget. In the past year I have been on countless planes, trains and buses and visited over 30 cities in Europe and North Africa – so I guess you could say I know a thing or two about travelling.
However, as you know I am a student and at the end of the day us students don’t have a budget that stretches as far as luxurious travel or 5 star hotels! So, are you like me? Love travelling but don’t have a lot of money to splash out? Follow these tips to make your money last that little bit longer…
Use comparison sights – If you’re booking a flight, don’t go straight to Ryanair or Aer Lingus. If you use a website like Skyscanner.com you can compare all companies, and find something that fits your budget! You’ll also see charts of the cheapest time of year to fly to your chosen destination or, if you have a specific date in mind, they’ll show you the cheapest flights to anywhere in the world.
Bus it! I was always so tempted to travel by train rather than bus because they’re comfortable and faster however, when you’re travelling to every weekend that’s just not feasible. Now, I actually prefer going by bus – they’re a fraction of the price, usually only a little slower and unlike most trains, they have free Wi-Fi, plugs and USB slots! I’m currently living in Italy and I travel with a company called Flixbus – they travel all around Europe and always have student discounts!
BlaBlaCar – If you’re travelling with a few people, this can definitely save you some money – it’s a carpooling service where you can search for journeys with drivers who have empty seats. It’s usually half the price of the bus and faster too! I was sceptical at first, but my experiences have all been fine.
- PLANNING YOUR TRIP.
Be Organised!!! This sounds so simple, but it’s so important! If I’m going away for the weekend or even just a day, I always have my research done before I go so I know what I want to do and how much it cost – that way, I can budget the money I have. There are so many website and blogs online where you can find information on the city/country you are going. If I don’t plan ahead and decide what I am going to do I always end up spending way more money than I had planned.
Do a Free Walking Tour – These are really great if you don’t know much about your chosen destination. The best thing is that they are usually led by locals, so you learn the things you usually wouldn’t as a tourist! If you do a tour on your first day in a city, it can help you plan the rest of your trip (if you haven’t already done so) and find your bearings. There are 2 ways they help me save money: 1. If there’s an admission fee for any stops on the tour, the tour guide will usually stand outside and tell you all about it. So if I am interested I can return and know I’m spending money on something I’m actually going to enjoy! And 2. I spend less money on public transport because I know my way about or realise everything is in walking distance.
*Even though the tours are advertised as free, the guide will usually suggest you tip at the end (there’s no obligation). I always decide how much to give based on how much I enjoyed it.
Airbnb – Spending the night but don’t like sharing a room with 10+ people? don’t worry, hostels are no longer always the cheapest place to rest your head at night. You are guaranteed to find an affordable place to stay on airbnb.com – whether it’s an apartment for 4, or just a bed for yourself! As well as saving money on accommodation, you can also save money on food by cooking for yourself.
Cook for yourself – If you are away for a weekend you can save yourself so much money by going to a supermarket, buying your own food/snacks and cooking for yourself. I prefer to save my money to do things and then treat myself by going out for dinner one of the nights. If you’re just going away for the day, pack yourself a lunch and spend your money on Gelato!
There you have it, my tops tips for travelling on a student budget! I hope they are helpful and some of you benefit from them. If you enjoyed reading this head over to my own blog Ramblingwithsarah.com or find me on Facebook and Instagram to see my constant updates!
Thanks for reading, until next time!
Besos, Sarah xoxo.
Blog – ramblingwithsarah.com
Facebook – Rambling With Sarah
YouTube – sarahamballan