Being at university can be one of the most liberating times of your life. You’ve done it, left home, flown the coup and it feels awesome, but sometimes, tight student budgets can feel like they’re clipping your wings.
The Summer break comes along and there is nothing better than the feeling of having no more crippling coursework or excruciating exams to stress about. And the perfect way to relax after all of that? A holiday of course! However, sometimes your student budget makes the perfect holidays feel like they are unobtainable, but this doesn’t have to be the case. If you’re willing to make small compromises here and there, then your dream destination might not be as far out of reach as you think.
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing staycation or a sunny getaway, you won’t have to splash your whole student loan if you know the right places to look. And there are plenty of tricks and tips to cut costs that are so easy to do that you’ll question why you’ve never tried them before. I’m not saying that I’m going to shave hundreds of pounds off of your trip but any saving can help when you’re trying to battle a difficult student budget.
Why not relive some of your best childhood memories and try out The Sun Newspaper’s £15 holiday offers. Now let me just start by saying that none of these is ever £15, nevertheless, they are still extremely good value. These holidays are perfect for people who want a great staycation and are willing to put in a little effort to get that. Basically, how it works is that you collect 5 “Sun savers codes” from the Sun Newspaper which you can then use to choose any of their Parks in various locations across the country. And yes, these are Parks like Haven where you endured terrible kids clubs as a child, but as an adult, these places can bring a whole different experience. These types of holidays can be 5 days of pure beach relaxation which is exactly what the Doctor ordered after a taxing exam season. They also work out to be super cheap! You can convince your friend into driving you halfway across the country to slash the costs of travel, and, your accommodation is only £15! This is definitely a great way to go on holiday for under £100. The downside of this is that you are never guaranteed nice weather in this country and it certainly doesn’t satisfy those of us who love to galivant across the globe.
This one may be a little bit of old news but I can’t stress how important being flexible with holiday dates really is. As a student, during the Summer period, this is really not so difficult. We have the freedom of 3-month long vacations to look for the perfect holiday with the added bonus that our flexibility makes it even cheaper. The best websites for helping with this are Skyscanner and Kayak.com. Know your perfect holiday destination? Great! Just type it in and select their “Cheapest month” option and you’ll be given a range of dates which are the best value for money for your chosen city, it’s that simple! Don’t know your dream destination? Even better! You can use Skyscanner’s “Everywhere” function to search a world map of the cheapest destination to travel to from your closest airport. These websites have never made hunting for holidays easier which is why they are essential tools when booking.
My next recommendation is more of a holiday DON’T. It is very easy to be lured into believing that you’re getting a good deal. Companies can be sneaky. They use concepts like “student only deals” and “cannot be found elsewhere” which for one never work out cheaper and two are simply not true. Take the website Studentuniverse.com as an example. A return flight from Edinburgh to Amsterdam can be bought for a seemingly miniscule amount of £117. Seems like a really good deal, right? Wrong. The exact same flight on Skyscanner costs just £80! This proves that searching around for the best prince is definitely essential and that you have to take so much caution when looking for your dream getaway.
Next is the type of holiday that your pretentious halls neighbour never shut up about. Yep, you guessed it, Interrailing. However, interrailing can be a great way to travel solo and really get to know the type of holiday that you enjoy and it also lets you explore some of Europe’s most beautiful countries, and yes I suppose it’s the best way of “finding yourself (God I sound like Eyal from Love Island). You can use an Interrail Pass on 5 days of your choice during a set period of 15 days. Travel on back-to-back, consecutive days, or spread them out during the fortnight. It’s up to you. And these passes only cost £189. Yes, you do have the cost of accommodation on top of this but youth hostels make this far more affordable and you’re basically getting 5 holidays in one. This is the perfect type of adventure if you’ve managed to save a little from your part-time job or simply been able to cut back on blowing all of your student loan in week one (if this is you, tips on how to avoid this would be amazing!)
And last but not least is a sneaky trick that I read about recently which absolutely blew my mind! Companies can store information about your recent flight searches and use this data to hike up the prices of the flights that you are looking for. Shocked? So was I. However, for all the sly ways of increasing prices that companies conjure up, students have found a way to get around them and cut costs. Browsers like Google Chrome have ‘Incognito’ functions which essentially allow you to search in secret. This way you’re always getting the best value for your money. (FYI this can also be a great way to look for other things like car insurance).
So, these are all my tips and tricks for finding your perfect holiday and not breaking the bank. But don’t take it from me, get out there and find your own ways of budgeting for your summer vacation. After all, I’m stuck behind a desk somewhere writing blogs all summer.