Thinking of going away this summer with your friends? Organising a holiday at any age can be difficult, as people have different preferences and tastes – but for students, the big issue is their budget. Some don’t even bother trying to find a holiday as they think it’s far too expensive or it’s too difficult to find somewhere everyone wants to go. However, after the stress of end of year exams and deadlines, we have just as much right as anyone else to a well deserved holiday!
Depending on where and when you want to go, you can find holidays for much less than you think. Have a little look at some of these money savings tips that could help save you a few pounds here and there.
- To start with, book your holidays out of peak season (which is when the school children break up). The prices of flights and hotels can double within the space of a week, so take advantage of the few weeks or so University students have off before term ends. End of May and June are great times to go, the heat may be slightly more manageable as opposed to July or August! However, if you can’t get away before then, the last two weeks of the summer holidays are usually the cheapest in peak season.
- Be frugal with your packing – do you really need to fork out 30 odd pounds for another piece of luggage with the no frills airlines? Wear some of your heaviest or biggest items of clothing to the airport and be realistic when packing so you can stick to cabin baggage, which comes included in your flight cost. Be aware though, different airlines operate their cabin luggage differently so whilst some may give you a maximum weight (i.e. Jet2) whilst others go by bag size (i.e. Easyjet).
- If possible, try to fly with budget airlines. It may not exactly be travelling in style, but it will get you there and back safely whilst saving you a lot of money.
- Try to fly on weekdays too, for example flying on a Saturday can cost you almost double than it would on a Tuesday. Avoid flying around the weekend and you’ll save yourself a heap of cash.
- Take cash instead of using your credit or debit card and avoid those pesky charges on overseas transactions, or get your hands on a cash passport which you can buy at your local bureau de change or supermarket. You can put all your holiday spends on this card and use it at ATMs or for card payments in restaurants or shops, and is much safer than carrying around lots of cash.
- Whilst package holidays are less hassle, they aren’t always the cheapest. Sometimes you might be better off going for a “DIY” holiday where you book your flights, accommodation and transfers separately. However, this very much depends on the duration and destination of your holiday but it’s definitely worth checking out the difference in cost.
- If you are taking cash however, make sure you get it converted into the relevant currency (i.e. Euros) before you set off on your travels. Exchange rates at airports tend to give you less for your money, so make a stop at your local Post Office before you go.
- Finally, don’t go mad in Duty Free on your outward flight… it could leave you out of pocket for the rest of your holiday. Try and save a few Euros or whatever currency you'll be using for your return journey, then you can really treat yourself.
Where to go
Deciding where to go can be one of the most difficult bits about planning a holiday, especially if there is a big group of you. Try to get everyone to decide on their ideal place to go, veto out the places they don’t and decide on the type of holiday people want. So while some want a few relaxing days on the beach sunbathing, others may want full on clubbing holiday or a sightseeing destination. So to help you decide, below are some of 2014’s top student holiday destinations that are slightly off the beaten track…
Budapest, Hungary: Brimming with things to do, Budapest hosts the Sziget music festival in August which has bands and DJs playing including Macklemore, Jake Bugg, London Grammar, Fedde le Grand, Calvin Harris and many more. The city also has a great variety of music scenes and clubs, so they’ll be something for everyone – not forgetting the famous open baths! Flights go from Manchester and most London airports with an average price of £150 return flight, but the hostels go from €9 a night so it might not be as expensive as you think!
Berlin, Germany: I know from personal experience, Berlin has to be one of the coolest cities in Europe. 12 friends and I visited for 5 days last year, and we still miss it a year on. The hostels are great, cheap and clean, and the nightlife is on another scale – some clubs don’t even open till 2am! But there is so much to do in the daytime such as visiting the famous Berlin Wall, Jewish Memorials or going on the free Urban Art Tour where you find yourself strolling down the back alleys and viewing some of the most amazing street art you’ll ever see. I cannot recommend Berlin enough, it’s a truly great city.
Wroclaw, Poland: The city of Wroclaw is home to two big Universities and over 130,000 students so therefore has a massive range of clubs and bars. This upcoming party town is new on the clubbing scene, but more and more people are catching on to Wroclaw. However, there are lots to see and do here other than partying – there’s a fair amount of sightseeing to do, as well as historic food markets and great restaurants. This one is great for those students on a very tight budget, as some airlines fly there for as little as £17!
Porto, Portugal: Portugal’s 2nd city, but by no means does that mean it's lacking in culture and fun compared to Lisbon, the capital. Another great holiday for those on a tight budget, but unlike the other cities mentioned above, Porto offers you beautiful beaches and a Mediterranean climate along with great nightlife and daytime activities.