Thursday, 24 September 2015

Europe on a Budget

Wanderlust is running around in spades on our beautiful campus. Giving into it is certainly easy as the weekends approach. Unfortunately, for most of us, our bank accounts don’t feed our need to travel and explore our world.  Here are a 5 tips I’ve come across to help fuel the fire of exploration without breaking the bank.

1. Skyscanner is a free app that can be downloaded from your app store on almost any device. This is similar to Orbitz or Expedia. This app has an awesome feature, the “everywhere” option. Sometimes, it can be hard to decide where to go and how to get there cheaply. By putting in the airport such as (LHR) for Heathrow and then selecting destination “everywhere” It will give you a list of the cheapest flights out and off to another country. Skyscanner includes discount airlines such as Easy Jet, Wizz, and Ryanair in their lineup to ensure the best rate.

2. Avoid currency exchange in airports. These come at high exchange rates. Use an ATM for cash or open a bank account that has no international fees. A good online banking option is Ally Bank.

3. Use social media and apps for great discounts. Just as we use Groupon and Living Social back home, we can use them here too! Groupon has a great getaway section with packages that include transportation & hotels. These often come with meal vouchers or discounts at local restaurants. An exciting feature I’ve recently discovered is their “mystery weekend getaway” package. For around £99 two people can fly to one of the listed countries during one of the dates you list and stay at a 3 star hotel (Days Inn or Best Western) for two nights. After you buy the package they say congratulations! You’re going to country X and are staying in Hotel X for two nights! Try to avoid sights such as and instead go with for mystery fare hotels (I booked a 4 star hotel in London, next to LHR, for £56.00) or utilize the student hostel network for a cheaper rate.

4. Avoid guided, costly tours and instead adventure out on your own. Many museums have material on the exhibits that you can read for yourself. Also, stop by the local tourism office and pick up a tourist card. These cards give you free entrance to many exhibits and great discounts on food and accommodation. (Think of the Oyster card in London).

5. Lastly, Food. Eating out can quickly add up, especially with the conversion rates. Lunch is generally cheaper so make this your largest meal. For dinner, try having a picnic. The weather here is gorgeous and you’re here to immerse yourself in local culture, join them! Pop into the market or support the locals and buy food from a street vendor and enjoy the public parks.

Hopefully, these tips will help you see more of Europe and get the most bang for your buck. 


Written by Stacy Flanery

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