It can be tough travelling on a budget, especially at university. And when you’ve already got a lot of outgoings, such as food, books and accommodation, paying for a trip abroad isn’t necessarily a top priority. But the amount you spend on a holiday doesn’t necessarily equate to how far you can travel. In fact, travelling further afield can sometimes cost you less than a quick trip to France or Spain.
Location, location, location
Location is everything, so deciding where to go could well be your biggest hurdle. Researching worldwide festivals and events could help to hone your plans. Luckily, there are festivals and events every month all over the world, so you’ll never be at a loss for something new to try. You could visit the Harbin Ice Festival in north China, which hosts the world’s biggest snow sculpture festival each January. Alternatively, you could celebrate Songkran (Thailand’s new year) during its Water Festival in Chiang Mai or the Rainforest World Music Festival in the middle of the Malaysia’s Borneo jungle.
Stretching your budget
Whilst the air fare to Southeast Asia might seem expensive, once you’re there the amount you would spend in one day in Europe could last more than a week in Bali or Thailand. According to The Blonde Abroad travel blog, you can easily manage on $20 a day – or if you want to push the boat out, $40 a day will allow you plenty of cash for excursions and comfortable accommodation in most parts of the region.
Understanding the culture
It’s definitely worth checking out the culture of the country you’re planning to visit, as local customs can sometimes have a direct effect on your trip. If siestas are the norm, for example, you’re unlikely to find a store open in the middle of the day which could put a dent in your plans. It’s also important to dress appropriately. Certain countries have varying degrees of tolerance for western clothing culture, so it’s a good idea to do your research beforehand so you don’t get on the wrong side of the law.
Check out the weather
We all love a good moan about the weather, so unless you’re travelling to Australia it’s worth researching the best times of the year to visit other countries. For example, if you’re a sun worshipper then the Faroe Islands may not be for you as they only get a paltry 840 hours of sun every year. However, the Danakil Depression in Ethiopia might be worth a trip as it records the highest average temperatures in the world. Keep an eye on the weather reports before you go, and try to avoid monsoon seasons which tend to begin around May before moving back into the dry season in November.
Some helpful travel safety tips
We know it's not the most exciting part of your holiday planning, but taking note of a few safety tips can help make sure you enjoy your trip to the full.
1. Keep valuables hidden
It sounds obvious, but it’s amazing how many travellers have their wallets and phones stolen. Carry a small amount of money in a wallet with you, but keep the rest safely hidden in a money belt or hotel safe.
2. Book your first night’s accommodation
It’s always wise to book your first night’s accommodation so you know exactly where you’re going when you arrive. This will also give you time to plan ahead and ask hostel or hotel staff for some great local trip tips!
3. Scan your documents
Wherever you travel, you’re bound to take some important documents with you. This will usually be your passport, bank cards and other forms of ID. Make sure that you scan all your documents before you leave, printing off copies and keeping them in a safe place (such as a hidden compartment in your bag).
To be extra secure, you can e-mail the pictures to yourself and store them using services such as Dropbox and OneDrive. Having these copies means you’ve still got that information available should you misplace something.
Don’t post and go
Be careful what you post on social media and never post your current or next-stop accommodation details. If you want to share photos, why not use Dropbox? It’s free and an easy way to share your experiences without worrying about who’s watching.
Take out student travel insurance
Endsleigh is the No.1 student insurance provider and has a wide range of student travel insurance options, offering protection for emergency medical needs, loss of baggage, personal accident protection and cancellation costs. Whether you’re backpacking, taking a gap year or volunteering abroad, we’ve got you covered. If you’ve got a TOTUM card you can bag some great discounts too.
Living in university accommodation this year? Your accommodation provider may also have arranged some contents insurance inside your room with Endsleigh. You can check what's covered by entering your accommodation provider or HH reference number here.