27 Mar 2018
As a student I’ve taken more than 80 flights and travelled to over 40 countries in four years. A combination of student loan, working two part-time jobs and being thrifty have all helped me to achieve that, but saving money wasn’t a practice reserved for home – it also helped to cut costs when abroad.
Here are some of the best ways I save money when I’m abroad.
Photo by A Simple Dollar
This is a big one for saving money as a student. There are universities all over the world, and whether they study in London or Lebanon, students are renowned for having low levels of disposable income. Because of that, the offering of student discount is fairly universal.
You’ll find that many attractions including museums, galleries, landmarks, sports events, excursions and even restaurants will offer money off or special deals for those with a valid student ID. Sometimes the saving is minimal and other times it can be less than half the cost of a full price ticket, but the important thing is that all the savings add up and it really does pay to bring along your student card.
Wherever you decide to go, try seeing what freebies are on offer. Many cities have free walking tours, which are not only cost-effective but also a great chance to learn about somewhere from a local, while various attractions will have no entry fee whatsoever, including places of worship and museums.
Lots of places also have cultural calendars, so it always helps to see what’s on when you’re visiting a place. It could be an annual festival, a one-off street parade or a firework extravaganza, but these things are usually free to attend.
Interrailing is a massively popular way for young people and students to travel around Europe, but the problem is its price tag. Buses and coaches are usually cheaper, and the time discrepancy isn’t as big as you think it would be. A couple of years ago I compared travelling through central Europe by rail and road (https://travellingtom.com/blog/is-interrailing-really-worth-it), and found that while using coaches made a saving of over £80, the difference in time was minimal.
When you’re staying in a hotel or, to a lesser extent, a hostel, it might seem tempting to pay £5 or more for the convenience of having a continental buffet breakfast at the property. But to save money, skip the overpriced food and grab some fruit, a pastry or whatever tickles your fancy from a local supermarket. It will save you so much, and you’ll only have to compromise on convenience.
Booking an attraction in advance is not only a good way to ensure entry and to help organise your day, but a lot of the time it will also come with a little saving. I’m not sure why this is – maybe it’s a financial incentive to help cut down on queuing – but it’s certainly worth doing if it knocks a few pounds and pennies off the price.