A group of friends learning how to travel as students on a budget and navigate public transport in Europe.

Top 10 Tips on How to Travel as a Student on a Budget

The very thought of figuring out how to study abroad can seem daunting. After all, you have to apply to a new university, get accepted, move, and acclimate to an entirely new life in a foreign country. Then, add in the financial aspect of studying abroad, and weekend travel while studying in your new country. That can make anyone feel overwhelmed – but it doesn’t have to be that way!

If you feel that traveling while studying abroad is impossible, we’re here to tell you that just isn’t so. With the right planning and savvy budgeting, you can and will have the opportunity to get to know your new country and travel around.

So, take advantage of this incredible time in your young life, and read up on these 10 tips on how to travel as a student on a budget, so you can experience what it means to work hard and play hard while living abroad!

1. Book Inexpensive Airfare

Depending on where you’re studying abroad, there are tons of different airlines that offer insanely cheap flights. Take advantage of last-minute flights or low-cost airlines like Ryanair or easyJet, and skip town for a weekend of fun.

When learning how to travel as a student, it’s helpful to keep these airline tips in mind:

  • Low-cost airlines typically fly into smaller airports (don’t expect to fly into a major hub);
  • Leg-room is NOT plentiful with low-cost airlines – seats are generally very close together (sorry, tall people);
  • Don’t expect drinks or food (some airlines provide beverage service, but it might cost you);
  • There can be hidden fees (think baggage, taxes, or surcharges). Save money on checking luggage by packing everything you need into a carry-on that can fit under your seat.

2. Stay in a Hostel

One of the best things to know when learning how to travel as a student—especially when you’re on a tight budget—is to stay in a hostel instead of a hotel. Hostels provide lodging that is oftentimes communal (think dorm-style, complete with bunk beds), shared bathrooms, kitchen, and Wi-FI access without costing you an arm and a leg like a hotel would.

The best part of staying in a hostel while traveling abroad is that you’re sure to meet other students from all over the world who are traveling as well. You’ll make instant friends with your hostel mates, so you can go out and enjoy all the sights with your newfound friends.

3. Become an Au Pair

If you’re trying to figure out how to travel as a student, and need a job while studying abroad, then becoming an au pair is a fantastic way to earn some extra cash. Au pairs are essentially nannies that live with a host family in a foreign country. In exchange for a monthly stipend, an au pair is provided with housing and is responsible for caring for children, maybe keeping house, or preparing simple meals.

If you do decide to become an au pair, be mindful that you may need to coordinate taking time away to travel with your host family. This can, however, be an excellent way to earn cash to fund your weekend excursions.

4. WWOOF It up

Ever heard of WWOOF? It stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms and it’s an awesome way to see the world if you’re wondering how to travel as a student. WWOOF is a network that can be found in countries all over the globe. With WWOOF housing, meals, and learning are provided to WWOOFERS in exchange for physical help on organic farms.

If you’re interested in sustainable living, gardening, farming, and community, then this unique option to travel and save some cash might be for you. WWOOFERS do not receive any monetary compensation for their work, but you’ll save loads on other expenses that are covered by your hosts. The length of your stay is negotiable and all WWOOFERS are expected to work a max of 30 hours per week.

5. Tutor Your Classmates

Almost everyone can use a little extra help at some point in their academic career. If you’re a total self-proclaimed genius at a certain subject, then offer to tutor your classmates for an hourly fee.

If you can routinely tutor for a few hours several days a week, then before you know it, you’ll have saved enough cash for your next weekend getaway. Now that’s how to travel as a student!

6. Meal Prep to Save Money on Groceries

A little preparation can go a long way, and the same applies to how you budget for groceries. Each week, we throw away tons of unused or spoiled food due to lack of planning.

Take the thought out of what you’ll eat during the week by selecting one or two recipes and cooking in bulk. Store your food in small dishes in your refrigerator and then pop them into the microwave to heat them when you’re hungry. By planning strategically with groceries, you leave little room for overbuying and wasting your food, time, and precious money. Check out these 30 easy recipes for college students for a little culinary inspo.

7. Share Student Housing With Roommates

If budget is an issue and you’re looking for ways on how to travel as a student, then maybe you can consider living with roommates while studying abroad. If you book your student accommodation with Unilodgers, not only is the service 100% free of charge, you’re also guaranteed to secure the best offers for student housing anywhere in the world.

Each student is assigned to a year-round student support specialist whose job is to ensure that from the time you book your student housing, until the time you check out, you are completely satisfied with your living experience. And, if you’re like many students traveling abroad, then you probably don’t know who to live with—no problem! Many of the apartments that Unilodgers work with will pair you with a roommate, so you and your new roomie can split the rent and utilities and save some extra cash for travel!

8. Rent a Car for Weekend Sightseeing

Many foreign countries will allow students as young as 18 years of age to rent a car. Renting a car is a fantastic way to see your host country or even drive to another nearby country! However, driving is often an overlooked mode of transport when it comes to how to travel as a student – especially one on a budget.

Get money-smart and look up the cost of a weekend rental (in most cases an economy car is very affordable) and split the car several ways between friends. Drive safe!

9. Cut Back on Auxiliary Spending

It’s easy to get caught up spending money on clothes, electronics, and keepsakes to bring back home, but if you’re ready to get serious about how to travel as a student, then you have to rein in the spending.

Try this: track all of your spending for one whole week, add it up, and see what you spent on necessities versus wants. You’ll probably surprise yourself with how much you spent on stuff you actually didn’t need in the first place.

10. Create a Budget for Yourself

It’s not glamorous, but budgeting will certainly help get you to your financial goals a whole lot faster than not doing anything. Before you even consider how to travel as a student, take into account all of your expenses over the course of your time away from your home country and then think about planning your weekend getaways.

Here’s where to start when it comes to creating a student budget that you can work off to plan how you’ll travel as a student on your school days off.

Now That You Know How to Travel as a Student on a Budget, What Approach Will You Take to Save?

Don’t be intimidated by the cost of travel for students. Instead, get excited about the infinite ways you can save money to pursue weekend getaways! With a little thinking outside the box and by following these student travel tips, you can and will achieve your financial goals to save towards some amazing adventures while studying abroad. Safe journey, friends!

Unilodgers is the world’s leading platform to book student accommodations and serves over 2 million students from 195 countries every year. We provide students exclusive offers on student housing options and make it easy to book the accommodation that’s the best fit for you.