We all like travelling. There’s a whole world out there to explore, innumerable places to visit, and some friends who would love to have us drop by for a quick hello. But unfortunately, we can’t just move from A to B for nothing. Travel takes money and students usually don’t have a lot of it. But help is in sight. While traveling may never be free, we can at least suggest a few tips and tricks to make it cheaper.
Contrast and compare should be the motto of every amateur and veteran traveller. It takes some time and energy to keep up to date with all the opportunities out there, but it might be worth it. Are you exploring a city for a couple of days and don’t want to walk all the time? You might wonder if you should get a tourist deal or just buy an all-day ticket. Well, find out. Planning ahead also means looking out for early-bird discounts and avoiding hidden costs. What appears to be the cheapest option might just be some rip-off. Do your research and you will soon be rewarded, no matter if it is a cheap airline deal or a Flixbus ticket that takes you to the other side of Europe.
Don’t plan ahead – be flexible
While planning is a good place to start, sometimes spontaneity can lead to the most memorable adventures. You’ve got a weekend free and nothing to do? Just check some ticket prices and find the deal of the decade. Going to Amsterdam? Amazing. Flying to New York? If you get the right deal you don’t have to break the bank. Besides your eyes, you can also keep your ears open. People are travelling all the time and you might just hear from a friend’s friend who is looking for someone to split the travel expenses.
Deals and Discounts
Don’t forget: You are a student and that does actually mean something in certain parts of the world. So, don’t be shy and keep an eye open for student discounts. And while you are at it, you could broaden your perspective a little bit and look for discounts at the most unlikely places, even your favourite shop or supermarket might have the travel deal you’ve always been looking for. While it is great to be creative when looking for deals, sometimes the most obvious choice might turn out to be the best one. Keep checking the NS page and spoordeelwinkel and consider being a real Dutchie and get your personalised OV-chip card. If you are travelling around a lot in the Netherlands this might be cheaper for you in the long run. Otherwise try to get group tickets and consider getting a rail pass if you are opting for a longer travel experience.
Being social goes beyond sharing a group ticket. Not only is travelling much more fun if you are not alone with your headphones for umpteen hours, but it’s also much more cost-efficient. There are countless Apps and Facebook groups that connect you to people outside your extended friend group. Also, consider the giving part of shared travelling. You’ve got a car and are going on a trip? Invite people to join you and reduce your petrol costs. Carpooling or carsharing might become your preferred way of travelling. You might even enjoy travelling by car so much that you might want to check out car rental agencies. Nothing can compare to a car when it comes to flexibility and being your own boss.
There are few ways to travel cheaper than hitchhiking. While few methods are less predictable when it comes to time management, it is definitely an experience. Get your sign ready, smile, and enjoy. Afterwards you’ll definitely have a story to tell. But it might not suit you if you fall on the more paranoid side of the spectrum.
Say no to comfort
Sometimes it might be the cheapest option to go to C and D first before you end up at B. While direct connections are definitely less annoying, it might be the best deal for you in the long run. Sacrificing comfort might also involve getting up in the middle of the night to catch a train and being bored during lengthy layovers. While trains are far comfier, taking the bus is usually less expensive. It’s a constant clash between your monetary interest and your expectations for a pleasant journey.
Save money at your destination
You’ve got that cheap Ryanair flight to Madrid just to prance around the city checking out the restaurants and checking in at your hotel? We can do better. Saving accommodation costs and finding smart food options or preparing your own meals can make your trip affordable. No matter if you are staying with friends of friends, couch surfing, or sleeping in a large hostel dorm room. If you are up for it, those things might be the place to pinch your pennies.
Are you not really the planning type or still in need of some travel companions? There is a bonus tip for you. Have you ever heard of AEGEE? They are apparently really good at organising affordable trips which are quite unforgettable.