How I Afford To Travel As A Student!

by - Wednesday, April 20, 2016

I get asked this question so much! Apparently, I'm "always" on holiday or on a beach somewhere (which is not strictly true...) even though I feel like I don't travel enough to satisfy my wanderlust.  In 2015, I was lucky enough to stay in a 5* hotel in Lisbon with one of my friends from uni, travel through Greece for 5 consecutive weeks with another of my closest friends and visit the Dominican Republic with my mum and sister for Christmas. This year, I'll be going to Berlin for a with a company called City Travel Review for nearly a month and then to Spain to visit a friend at her holiday home! It's going to be a busy - but exciting - summer!

You might be thinking: how the hell do I afford it?! A few people have even asked me if I have a secret "sugar daddy" who is funding all of my trips (I wish that was the case!) I even have people who are working full time asking how I manage to do it.To answer honestly, I don't feel like I do anything extraordinary. Just like most people, I have rent and bills to pay; I'm just frugal. As much as I love shopping and the feeling of getting new things, nothing can surpass my love for travel. I like to think of long term goals - i.e. if I resist spending £60 on this ASOS order that I don't REALLY need, that can go towards a flight ticket somewhere! This feeling is all too real at the moment, as I had to physically stop myself from buying a new pair of Converses. It was hard, but I somehow managed... It works for food too. My housemate and I love to eat well and make exciting meals, but I always keep in mind that I need to watch my budget.

A photo posted by ASOS (@asos) on
Just look, they're beauuuutiful!

But hey, I must be doing something right if people are asking for advice! As I just booked my ticket to Berlin, I thought there'd be no better time to write this post! So I'm going to let you guys in on my tips and tricks on how I save money and book cheap holidays. If you would like to know keep spending low while I'm actually on holiday, let me know in the comments and I'll make that my next post!

1) MAKE A BUDGET (and stick to it...)

Like I mentioned previously, give yourself a weekly/monthly budget - but make it realistic for you. I worked out (minus bills and food shopping etc) I could easily live off of £40 a week. A lot of the time, I didn't spend anything close to this amount as I either spent my time at home studying, hanging out with friends or at university. Sticking to this budget meant that at the end of a few months, I had a couple hundred or so in savings! I made sure I was strict about this budget by using my debit card that does not allow me to go into an overdraft. This encouraged me to not overspend as if I ran out of money early on in the week, I wouldn't be able to buy anything else until the following week. Put all excess money into a savings account so you won't be tempted to spend it (bonus tip: the interest you'll rack up will add a few extra £'s as well!)


During my stay in Lisbon, my friend Lou and I stayed in the Epic Sana Hotel for 7 nights. This was our first time staying in a 5* hotel, and we managed to get for under £500 each including flights and breakfast! Because we're cheap asses, we also made lunch (sandwiches and snacks...) from our breakfast buffet. We probably weren't allowed to do this, but that didn't stop us 😂 We managed to get it so cheap because we booked our tickets through less than a week before we were due to leave. If you enjoy being spontaneous, this is for you! If you're a bit less reckless, book yours well in advance - I'm talking several months. The Dominican Republic trip was booked in January; the 11 month time difference is why we were able to get an all-inclusive trip so cheap! Especially during Christmas time.


I know I just said that my family and I went to the Dominican Republic for Christmas BUT like I said, the reason we were able to get it so cheap was because we booked so early. Sometimes there are exceptions ;) However, MOST of the time it is more expensive to go during school holidays (July through August & December). Being students means that we are lucky enough to get months of glorious summer holidays, so we can usually travel quite flexibly between the months of June and September. Avoiding the school holidays means that you can save yourself hundreds of £'s. Popular destinations are also more likely to be less busy (both a good and a bad thing, depending on you). This is another reason why the hotel in Lisbon was so cheap; as we visited during June, the hotel was fairly quiet which was great for us as we were always able to get a sun lounger. They were literally like beds, it was beautiful.


This is a step that a lot of people miss because it takes a lot of time and effort but trust me, it's worth it! I have several go-to websites that I check when planning my holidays, which are: Sky Scanner, Momondo, Trip Advisor and LastMinute.Com. These websites allow you to compare flight and holiday prices between other websites and holiday providers.  However, you can't just stop there! Check directly through airline companies themselves, as there may be sales or further discounts if you book through their own websites. is another fave; I can always find cheap hotels/b&bs through their website. For quick city breaks, Groupon and The Independent often have package deals that are super affordable. Lastly, signing up for a cashback website (such as, my personal favourite) is also handy, as depending who you book through, you'll basically get paid for shopping - and what's better than that? Nothing I tell you, nothing.


Budget airlines such as Ryanair and EasyJet are great if you only plan on taking hand baggage. Adding checked baggage however, can increase the price of your ticket significantly (Ryanair charges up to £50 each way to add checked baggage - and that's the online price! It's a lot more if purchased on the day of travel). Bear this is mind when purchasing your ticket as it may save you money if you book through a company that has checked baggage already included in the price.


My last tip is not for everyone, but I've done it several times and had no issues (except being seriously hungry, cold and sleep-deprived... but those are minor details). Avoiding the weekends and choosing flights that depart really early or super late at night will end up saving you a lot. Obviously, not everyone wants to get a flight that leaves at 6am or 11pm, meaning that they'll be significantly cheaper. When travelling to Greece with my friend Helin, we had to endure an overnight stop in Stockholm (5h 30m wait after we landed at 12:30am). Needless to say, all of the stores were closed except a 711 which only sold sandwiches and other snacks and a very expensive coffee shop. The whole ordeal was made worse by the fact that we did not have the currency of the country, only Pounds and Euros. To top it off, sleeping in the airport was near impossible, as all the comfy sofas were already occupied. Luckily, this was my worst experience of staying overnight in an airport. If you have good company, the time will just fly by! Plus, once you land, you'll have the whole day to explore your chosen destination!

Most importantly, have fun! Booking a holiday should be exciting, not stressful. Follow these steps, and the experience will be as smooth as butter. That's all for now, loves. Let me know if you guys have any other travel tips that I haven't mentioned. Happy Booking! <3

Natalie x

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  1. This is great advice :) I'm not a student but I also get people asking me how I afford it. People presume my parents are funding my trips, and it can be hurtful when in reality I have just worked super hard and saved every penny. Its all about priorities and travel adventures are definitely at the top for me :D xx

  2. I couldn't agree with you more -- especially when it comes to budgeting. These tips are universal and can also apply to anyone whether they're currently in school or not. I just wish I would have realized how easy it was to travel much earlier in life. Thank God I've push through that materialistic phase during my early twenties. LOL!