By Adeline Hadijanto, International Hotel Management student at Royal Roads University and a member of the BCSA Writer in Residence Team.
Like many student travelers, I wanted to explore Europe as much as I could while I was on exchange in Austria. Surprisingly, with some careful planning I was able to visit more than 35 cities and towns in 13 different countries in one semester without straining my budget too much. Here are a few of my suggestions that will hopefully help you to be more cost efficient:
- Plan ahead.
- Make a list of all the places that you want to visit and prioritize the destinations base on your preferences.
- Make sure to check your class schedule before you make your itinerary!
- Use the GoEuro App (www.goeuro.com). I highly recommend that you download this app because it allows users to compare airlines, trains and busses according to their price, time and duration of the trip.
- Pack light! This was a real game changer for me because I was able to save money on transportation fees for baggage. I guess this is why backpacking is so common in Europe! Make sure you get a sturdy and reliable backpack for travelling around Europe.
- Know the kind of traveler you are. Are you the type to want to focus more on sceneries and landscapes, the type to try out different cuisines, or the type to focus on the country’s history. By knowing what your goals are, they can help you predict the expenses and maximize your budget.
- Stay at hostels or guest houses. When I was traveling in Europe, I often stayed at hostels because it was much cheaper than hotels. Not only did I save some money, but I also made friends with other travelers! We hung out a lot during that time and even to this day, a few months after I returned from exchange, I still keep in touch with some of them. Another great reason to stay at hostels is that most people there are probably travelers like you wanting to save some extra money. One thing that I did was ask a few of my new friends whether or not they would be interested in going on tours together. Did you know that most tour operators offer discounts to groups?
Regardless of how your plans roll out, the most important reminder from me to you is to have fun and enjoy the process. Don’t be afraid to talk to strangers because they may be helpful during your time in a foreign country. This is your chance to learn and grow from the experience, so embrace it. Bon voyage!