How to travel on a budget: 8 tips for students

Thinking of taking a trip for Reading Week aka. Spring Break? Don’t plan to blow the last three months’ paycheques on it because you’re a responsible adult and stuff? (If so, we’ve taught you well, young Padawan.) Check out these 8 ways to save your wallet from unnecessary pain while you’re abroad.

1. Book in advance.

One of the most important things you can do to save money can actually be done way before you leave on your trip: book your stuff in advance! Accommodations and plane tickets (any tickets, really) are generally cheaper if you can buy them months before your trip, and if you plan to go to a tourist hotspot, you’ll probably want to get tickets to tourist sights before they sell out.

2. Don’t stay in a hotel.

Seriously. Stay in a B&B or hostel instead. You’ll save so much $$, meet more people, have better conversations, and definitely get a better feel for the local scene. If you’re antsy about staying at a hostel, it’s not that scary—there are so many reviews and ratings on Hostelworld or Hostelbookers. If you really need your own space, a private room at a hostel is still cheaper than a hotel. Or y’know, there’s that Airbnb thing too.

3. Walk at least 3 blocks away from the tourist attraction.

For good food, that is. If you want to eat well without the jacked up menu prices, a good rule of thumb is to get as far away from any tourist attractions as you possibly can. The closer you get to say, the Eiffel Tower, the higher the prices—and the less authentic the food. And think of the LINEUPS.

4. Travel in the offseason.

If your schedule will let you, definitely book your trip for the offseason. Plane tickets are cheaper, accommodation is cheaper (and less packed), and you won’t have to deal with loads of crappy tourists. One thing to keep in mind: peak travel times are different depending on where you go. If you’re doing Europe, April-May and late fall would be offseason(ish), but that’s not the case for Asia. Do your research!

5. Essentials only.

This is a no-brainer that apparently… isn’t so common. One good way to save money is to not get robbed. When you’re out during the day, just bring what you need. I.e. your money, ID, and phone (okay okay and your camera, if you’re really into photography). If you have a cardholder that’s way slimmer and lighter than a wallet, even better—shove that into your jean pockets. Other perks: you’ll be more relaxed because you have less stuff to keep track of and it’s just easier to get around if you’re not lugging a bunch of unnecessary stuff around. Minimize the amount of stuff you bring with you out every day.

6. Be flexible.

Not only does being overly rigid make it hard for your travel buddies (unless they’re like you in that way), it also really limits you in terms of getting cheap travel. Sites like Google Flights show you exactly how plane ticket prices fluctuate, months, weeks, even days apart.

7. Student discounts!

Get an International Student Identity Card (ISIC) and bring it with you. People must really love students or something, because from restaurants to hostels to ticket counters, the discounts are everywhere. Yay student life. #DoMoreSpendLess. You can also take a look at student tours like the ones that LBW (Life Before Work) offers, so you don’t waste your time/money on bad touristy experiences. They know their ish.

8. Ditch the credit card.

Instead of putting all your purchases on your credit card, get a Mogo Platinum Prepaid Visa® Card (coming soon!) instead. That way, even if your card gets stolen, the thief won’t have unlimited access to your money. Plus you won’t rack up debt. DOUBLE BONUS. Want a MogoCard? Sign up for our email newsletter and we’ll send you an update as soon as the new card launches!

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