Travelling in 2015: Student’s guide to cheap trips away
Whether embarking on a gap year or taking advantage of the long holidays between terms, many students will be preparing to make 2014 one to remember as they set their travelling adventures into motion.
With an endless list of considerations, travellers may find that what at first appears to be an exciting and invigorating experience soon develops into an exhausting planning process to ensure hidden and unforeseen charges don’t dominate the trip of a lifetime whilst everything on the to-do list gets ticked.
The key to any successful travelling adventure is thorough planning. While many consider the countries they will visit, flight routes and how long they can afford to travel for, paying attention to the all details in advance will help the holiday to be stress free. For example, finding the most convenient or cheap places to stay, arranging the best transportation – coach, plane, train or hire car – between stops and accommodating for hidden charges, can make the difference between a good and a fantastic experience, reducing the number of unexpected surprises.
Booking hostels and budget B&Bs in advance is highly recommended as the best ones get booked up months in advance, especially in the high seasons. More people are finding that choosing accommodation central to a variety of locations allows them to keep the same base for a couple of weeks, and this also helps with route planning too. For example, it’s easy to take day trips to Naples, Florence and many other places from Rome. Review sites like Trip Advisor offer invaluable insight into what can really be expected from accommodation, whilst online forums provide a wealth of information from seasoned travellers and even old travel books that can be picked up cheaply in charity shops will list a variety of options for further research.
Hostels are a much cheaper alternative to hotels and offer a great environment to meet other travellers from all walks of life, but not all fit the stereotype of 20 smelly people crammed into a bunk-bedded room. The Beehive in Rome offers visitors home-cooked lunches and evening meals in its vegan café, PLUS hostels have swimming pools and Turkish baths and Generator Dublin has a cinema room and Jacuzzi.
Travellers making their way to the other side of the globe usually plan to be away for months at a time and often find ways to extend their time away to prolong their adventures. It is common to find temporary work in bars or picking seasonal fruit, but the correct visas or local paperwork must be obtained. Joining forums and following blogs like Season Workers that discuss working abroad can offer great insight into the expected lifestyle and are a great way to ask questions before deciding to take the plunge of an extended stay. To create a home-from-home environment, many people join forces with those they have met on their travels and take a short-term let on an apartment.
Commuting, transfers and inner-city transport
Costs for transfers to and from airports, travelling on the underground, excursions on top of attraction tickets soon add up, particularly if renting a car isn’t an option, so budgeting for these necessary transport requirements is a must. Having a separate fund for necessaries can be a good way of keeping track of spending and encourage more creative, cost-effective means of travelling.
Websites like World Walks and Cycle-Route recommend ways of exploring popular locations around the world on foot or on two wheels, with advice from people who are who are planning to, have just completed or are in the process of exploring countries. Insightful, on-the-ground information like this not only is key to keeping costs low when travelling, but also helps travellers to discover the natural beauty of a country like a native. Public transport is also another cost-effective means of exploring a country, making it easy to travel across countries via road and rail links, but, again, this still has to be paid for.
Uncovering hidden costs
For many travellers, flights will be the single most expensive part of any travelling experience, particularly if visiting several countries around the world at once. Budget airlines are often the preferred choice for students looking to get away due to their reduced flight costs, but these often come with hidden charges and luggage limitations. Doing your homework before you leave into airline baggage charges and allowances will go a long way to making the most of your travelling adventure, but so equally can looking into alternate means of shipping belongings. Student shipping services are fast becoming a popular lifeline for travellers wishing to take more than a backpack on their global adventures. With door-to-door collection services it not only makes journeys much easier, but it can also be much cheaper than excess luggage fees. Plus, if a little retail therapy can’t be avoided, these services are perfect for shipping home presents (for you and loved ones) that are just too cumbersome to carry around on the rest of your travels.
Traveling should be a fun and invigorating experience, and for many students it represents a once in a lifetime adventure. Researching, planning and booking in advance go a long way to ensuring things run smoothly and funds are budgeted realistically.
About the author: Adam Ewart
Adam Ewart is the founder of Send My Bag, a global courier service provider perfect for students shipping to UK destinations or country-to-country at an affordable cost. For more information on shipping to Australia, the USA or anywhere in Europe, please visit www.sendmybag.com.