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Wednesday
Jun262013

How to travel the world like a pro (on a student's budget)

Student traveller KC Owens has written this brilliant guestblog giving some handy tips on how to keep costs as low as possible whilst travelling - leaving all the more money for those once in a life-time experiences!

This summer, I will be traveling to Austria for two weeks with some friends from University. Although many of my friends are first-time travelers, this will be my fifth trip to Europe. The only reason I have been able to afford these experiences is because I travel as cheaply as possible. Here are a few things I have learned about traveling internationally on a University student's budget. I hope you can use these tips on your own journeys, as well.

Image courtesy of Cara Germain, Costa Rica Big Cats, Primates & Turtles

Choosing the right way to finance

If you will be funding your travels with a credit card, make sure you do plenty of research before your trip to find a good option. Find a student credit card that offers low foreign transaction fees so that you can save money abroad. If you carry a lot of cash with you, you’ll just end up switching currencies all the time and this costs money; if you use a card, then the currencies are exchanged automatically. Also, this works well because it allows you to pay for your trip over a longer period of time so you don’t need all the cash up front. Of course, it is always best to use credit responsibly, so try your best to save some money in advance. You might even consider finding a part time job to help you save for your trip.

Image courtesy of Mirlah Thornley, Central America Ethical Adventure Trail

Pack strategically and pack lightly

Nothing makes a traveler look more like a novice than when they over-pack. Too many suitcases will slow you down and makes traveling way more difficult than it needs to be. Additionally, if you bring lots of heavy bags, you will end up paying a fortune in airline luggage fees. You can save your money for more important expenses if you pack strategically. I limit myself to one backpack, even for long trips to Europe. My backpack has even become a way to keep a record of my travels. Every time I visit a new country, I buy a cheap souvenir patch and sew it on my bag. It will be a long time before I run out of room for more adventures and it’s a fun (and cheap!) way to remember where I’ve been.

Image courtesy of Charlotte Myerson, Central America Ethical Adventure Trail

Doing laundry while traveling

Since you will be packing your entire life into a backpack, you’ll want to pack lightly and be prepared for laundry. Washing your clothes in the sink is one option and is certainly the cheapest. It can be a pain but it works well. If you have sensitive skin, you might want to bring a small container of laundry soap with you to avoid any unpleasant reactions to unfamiliar detergents. Laundromats are another option. To cut costs, share a large washer and dryer with a fellow traveler. Hotels and hostels sometimes have a washer and dryer that you can use for a fee. They might also offer laundry service, but this is usually the most expensive option. Because I am usually traveling on a tight budget, I wash my clothes in the sink and bring along soap to scrub them down.

KC Owens has written and submitted this article. KC is a University student who loves traveling, student life, fitness and a good survival kit. He enjoys studying different cultures, meeting new people and leaving his footprint somewhere most people only read about.

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