Everyone gets those holiday blues and wishes to be whisked away to some foreign country to sit under the sun or soak in some culture, but, unless you get a massive grant and loads of money from your parents, you’re likely to be, like me, a little stuck for money; my student loan doesn’t even cover my rent, let alone pay for travelling during summer!
It just takes being a little bit careful with your money – but remember, don’t overdo it as your degree is still the most important thing you’re doing during term time!
I have managed, so far, to start each September not in my overdraft, but still travel a fair bit.
This kind of goes without saying, but book early. I book my flights during December using my overdraft and then pay it off before I go (I have normally worked a little bit already so it’s not all coming out of my overdraft!). My flights to Thailand last year were £380 and my flights to India this year were £420. The flights to Thailand were with Ukrainian Airlines (don’t judge, they were wonderful, the plane just flew over Ukraine – whoops!) and the flights to India are with Emirates.
Get a money jar
Again, this seems super obvious, but you wouldn’t believe how much spare change just goes wasted! I got one of those cheap can ones from poundland and put any coins I found lying around in there across the year. Last year I was less interested and saved £350 and this year I have, so far, £585. Every time I got paid, if I had some money left over in notes or whatever, I would put it in my jar and any coins I have changed into notes now so they will be easy to change into rupees when I’m off to India!
Keep a job, but don’t overdo it
As I mentioned before, you’re going to need some sort of income to fund your travel life, but you don’t want to go too overboard because it is still really important you allow time for study! I made a little bit of an error in that regard during my first semester, but ironed it out and cut down my hours.
I was working 4, sometimes 5, shifts a week in an Indian bar and restaurant and they always stayed open really late, working me like a dog. I left there and worked, instead, in my local pub where it’s a lot more laid back and if I need time off for assignments, my boss is more than happy to let me if I give her notice. This is really, really important! No matter how amazing travelling and seeing the world is, don’t waste your money on student loans just to squander it!
Use your overdraft
Hold up, don’t get mad at me, BUT, now is the only time in your life (correct me if I’m wrong) where you will get a 0% interest loan. This doesn’t mean that you throw it all away and then are in a rush to pay it back when you’ve graduated, but keep your overdraft clear all year so that you can use it for further spending money whilst you’re travelling. I was £350 in my overdraft after my trip to Thailand last summer, and then I went to Bayeux, Normandy for two weeks and then Bestival during september, so by the end of the summer I was £800 in my overdraft (I worked this out once I’d paid it off). This was totally fine because I worked full time for the rest of summer. I was in Thailand during July (monsoon season, I know), Normandy middle of August and bestival first month of september. I just worked the rest of the time. Luckily, I had my parents’ house to go home to over the summer, so I didn’t have to pay for food or anything else, just my rent at my uni house. I worked in McDonald’s (again, don’t judge, but also, it was rubbish and totally morally against everything I believe in) and paid everything off. I started in September with £200 in my account and a full overdraft, ready to start saving for my next travel!
At the end of the day, I guess I could have gone out a lot more and done more interesting things but I decided that travelling was more important that throwing money away. I still go out a fair bit, probably once every two weeks, but normally my friends come round my house or we’ll pre drink loads and not spend anything when we’re out. If you choose one of your friends to travel with at uni, it makes making financial choices with your social life a lot easier because you’ve got someone on your side!
If you really want to travel whilst being a student, it has to be a priority, but it’s not impossible!
Good luck, fellow students, with your travels!
I’d love to hear how you managed to travel during your studies!