Hello again! For this blog post, I’ll be sharing my traveling experience while living and studying in Stirling, Scotland. Studying abroad is fantastic for immersing yourself in whichever country you intend to live in. If you are lucky enough to be studying in Europe, like I am, it is hard to deny that it is incredibly cheap and easy to travel to a plethora of different countries and cities. For example, a flight to mainland Europe from the United States could cost upwards of $700 round trip, but a flight or train from the UK to Europe can cost in the single digits! I have learned more than I ever thought I would about international travel on a budget, I am still a student after all, and I can offer some great tips about saving money while seeing some pretty incredible things.
It is important to note that I am studying in Stirling, Scotland, a centrally located Scottish city with two major airports, Glasgow and Edinburgh, just a short train ride away. If you are studying outside of Europe, or somewhere more remote, my experience may not be the best example for you. In the following tips, I’ll combine my travel experience and use them as tips to have a good trip while keeping your wallet in tact.
The most important thing to remember for cheap travel is that you are a student! There are loads of special student rates and young adult deals that you can take advantage of. For example, in the United Kingdom, you can get a young adult railcard, which entitles you to 30% off all train tickets. This railcard only costs thirty GBP, so it can pay for itself after only a few trips. I was able to travel from Stirling to London, on train and in only six hours. This trip would have normally cost 100 GBP, but it was only 70 GBP with the railcard. Continuing with the theme of trains, central Europe also has a special card for students, the ISIC card; this card can get you half off certain train tickets. Other options for travel, such as flying, don’t always have as incredible discounts, but there are still some student benefits. For example, Student Universe is a website that offers a discount on flights, through them I was able to fly from Edinburgh to Rome for only $7 round trip! By flexing your student ID, you can go farther and more often when studying abroad.
Another critical factor for any trips while studying abroad is the importance of planning and research. Since I was studying during the pandemic, each country had their own assortment of covid-restrictions, entry requirements, etc. For example, on my trips to Italy the government required a specific type of mask, and for entry into the UK it was necessary to fill out a locator form each time you entered. The frustration and often costly last minute covid testing that could be required was waived entirely by thorough planning and research. Also by planning trips in advance, you can save money simply because flight tickets are more expensive when the flight is sooner. As an example, I was planning on going to Copenhagen in March; the flights were less than $20 and I had wanted to visit. I made the mistake of waiting until a few days before the flight I wanted to take was scheduled, and the price had shot up to over $150! So, a valuable lesson about the value of planning in advance was learned.