(This is a guest article by Timothy Ng*)
The allure of an overseas holiday when you are a student us often compelling. You are at that point in your life when you want to experience everything, to taste it, feel it, and smell it. Travelling out of the country may have always been a dream of yours or maybe you want to experience these adventures without mom and dad for a change. No matter what your reason for wanting to travel may be, your problem is probably the same as most other students; a tight budget.
Guide To Travelling Overseas On A Budget
Consider cheaper lodging options - Apart from transportation, lodging is usually the biggest cost of any trip. Forget about staying in hotels, when you are on a budget almost all of them are sure to be out of reach. Instead, think about camping, there are loads of campgrounds that offer cheap spots and great views. If you do not want to have to carry along camping supplies there are also hostels that offer cheap beds for student travellers. Hostels today are clean and friendly with top notch security plus you will likely meet entertaining people. One other option is a new trend called couch surfing. You simply join a couch surfing network and link up with people who are willing to let you crash in their house for free. Remember to return the favour next time a couch surfer is visiting your area.
Track your money - When you are on a budget you have to hold the reins tight so you do not run out of money before your holiday is over. Students might consider getting a prepaid credit card so they only have access to a limited amount of money at a time. You can refuel it every few days so you are not tempted to spend too much on an impulse purchase. Also, plan for all the little incidental purchases you might need to make along the way like buying a tube of toothpaste or doing laundry. Only after you consider these expenses will you know how much you have in fun money.
Find a frugal friend - If you have a travel partner, make sure they have a similar budget. There is nothing worse than travelling with someone who has an unlimited spending account when your are barely getting by. Instead, travel with someone who has to make the same sacrifices that you do for your trip. The two (or three or four) of you can even have a contest to see who can get through each day spending the least amount of money. That makes being frugal even more fun.
Choose a non-traditional destination - The world is a very big place and there are thousands of places to visit that are off the beaten path. There are many benefits to choosing a lesser known location the first being savings. Big tourist traps tend to be more expensive on all fronts from lodging to eating, even your flight will probably be more expensive. Those big tourist traps will also be crowded with people, making it more difficult to enjoy them. Pick somewhere unknown for a less costly and more exotic adventure.
Before you throw out your plans for travelling overseas during your time off from school consider that there are some low cost options available. Again, before you turn up your nose at the thought of going on holiday on a budget think about how much fun you can have and how many new adventures you can experience by taking the frugal route. You might find out that there is even more adventure to be had by spending less instead of more money on your trip.
*About the author: Timothy Ng is a personal finance writer, and has a real passion for encouraging people to compare credit cards to ensure they get the best deal. Check out his comprehensive guide to low interest credit cards where he provides an in-depth overview and analysis, to help you find a better deal.
*Image Credit: iPhoto Photograph
This article has been featured in the Carnival of Personal Finance #270.
This semester, rent textbooks instead of buying them and put away the savings towards your travel budget!