How to travel on a Student Budget
As a student it is easy to think that debt and loans prevent you from travelling. However the study abroad programme at Leeds Beckett enables students to travel and study at the same time in such a way that it may not cost as much as you think. There are also ways of saving money so that you can travel on a budget. Here are a few tips I have picked up as an exchange student.
DECREASE your tuition
As a student at Beckett you are eligible to apply to the outbound study abroad programme, whether that be for a whole year (usually your second year), or a semester. As it stands at the moment you do not have to pay tuition fees to any university for the time you spend studying elsewhere. For the time you are not at Beckett your tuition abroad is free. Therefore your debt actually lowers!
Often people think you have to spend a lot more money than normal in order to travel. In truth it is possible to spend the same or even less than fellow students and travel. Let’s be honest, as students most of us are budgeting because our living money is loaned so we’re all starting off with pretty much the same anyway. The difference is how you choose to spend that money. For example instead of spending a lot every time your student loan drops, on clubs, booze or takeaways, Ubers, a new phone or the latest FIFA, save up that money and do things more cheaply. That’s not to say you cant still enjoy those nights out but ask yourself do you have to go out three nights a week? Do you have to buy drinks there? And doesn’t your year old phone still work fine? This way you can save money, or see the world for the same amount.
If you do decide to study abroad you will be there for at least a few months and you don’t have to do everything all at once. Find your feet, scout out the area, figure out how the public transport works. When taking trips further afield whilst abroad go exploring in the off-peak season. During these months flights, accommodation and car hire will all be cheaper so find out when that is and book trips for then.
Talk to people! “A stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet.” This goes for saving money in general. If you get along with your housemates suggest that you team up over grocery basics and buy items in bulk, or split the cost of kitchen equipment so that you don’t have 4 frying pans cluttering up the shelves.
When travelling, talk to the people you meet on public transport, in your hostel or doing activities. Suggest you share taxis, or a meal, or take a trip together if you get on, splitting the cost because chances are they are looking to save a few quid too.
On my journey to Australia I experienced how just talking to people can make life a lot easier, especially when you least expect it. On my last flight, I had been awake for about 48hours (because I couldn’t sleep on the plane) and when boarding I swapped seats with the lady sitting next to me. We chatted a little for the duration. By this point I was desperate to sleep and willing to pay an extortionate taxi price when we landed just to get to my hostel without the hassle of negotiating maps and new public transport system. As we were landing the lady next to me said her parents were picking her up at the airport and would I like a lift into town? This kind gesture was exactly what I needed and saved me a lot of time, stress and money.
People are full of opportunities so make sure you are an opportunity to other people too, and give to other travellers when you can. Travellers are the most appreciative people of the simplest things.
Government travel grant
The British government has a student travel grant that you can apply to after travelling and claim in a similar way to insurance. There is no guarantee you will receive this grant because it depends on your application and your family’s income, but it’s worth a shot right?
Discounts and Competitions
Use discounts, vouchers, coupons and online codes. Get involved in competitions and surveys that enter you name into draws. What have you got to lose?
Hope you find these useful!