The question my friends ask me the most is “how can you afford to travel?” and whilst that is a whole other blog post on it’s own, the main aspect of budgeting when it comes to travel is choosing the right place to go. There are many places I have avoided going at the minute simply because they are too expensive for me and I want to save up more money so that I don’t stress about money whilst I am there. So whilst I was away I thought I would try and compile a list of the cheapest locations I have visited. These aren’t necessarily countries but simply places where I may have stayed overnight or for a day trip!
So here is the countdown of my top 10 locations for students.
10. Barcelona, Spain
I expected Barcelona to be so expensive but it actually wasn’t too bad at all for food and drink! I added this to the list because the girls in my hostel had the best nights out in Barcelona and always came back very drunk and very happy so I’d assume this would be the perfect place for students to go. Also, I went to the cinema whilst I was there and got a large popcorn for €1!!! ONE EURO. (side note – visit Macchina pasta bar if you ever go, it’s like subway with pasta).
9. Brussels, Belgium
This city needs to be on the list, I had the most amazing time here staying in the Meininger Hostel. This probably has a lot to do with the people I met whilst away but for students, this place is a brilliant getaway especially if you are a beer fan (Delirium is always going to be recommended to you whilst you are in Brussels so you may as well go and try one of their boots of beer!). I also recommend this city for it’s easy access to Rock Werchter festival which is for anyone who wants to go to a festival but doesn’t like feeling overcrowded and would rather just chill out a little bit. The festival happens at the beginning of July every year and always has a fantastic line up – plus the camping packages are amazing! It’s not the cheapest city but the buzz around it and the people make it well worthwhile!
8. Glasgow, Scotland
Not the first place you’d think of but I definitely think Glasgow deserves a spot on this list as it has always been a favourite of mine. Not only is it one of the best places for shopping in Scotland, it has easy access to lots of lovely areas further North and to some of the Highlands and Islands which are always worth the visit. I added Glasgow to this list mainly because of its fantastic nightlife and the fact that bands and artists pretty much always tour here! For a great atmosphere, the Barrowland Ballroom (which I posted on my instagram recently) is my favourite place to see my favourite artists. When it comes to food and drink, Glasgow is pretty much standard for Scottish prices (if we exclude Edinburgh which is just down right extortionate) – I recommend Bread Meats Bread for some great burgers and halloumi fries!
7. Split, Croatia
Split wasn’t my personal favourite place that I have been but it’s definitely one for students who love to party! There are countless bars, countless nightclubs and countless boats that will take you to Split’s very own party island – Hvar. There are, however, some brilliant day trips you can do from Split to Krka National Park, Pltvice Lakes and loads of others so it really just depends on what you’re into. In terms of money, Split isn’t the cheapest place but for nights out there are always loads of deals and the bar crawls normally involve an hour of unlimited drinks at the beginning so you’re pretty much sorted.
6. Northern Ireland, UK
Okay I know people will think this is very general but honestly Northern Ireland is one of my favourite places in the world for sightseeing. I’m so lucky to have a boyfriend that was born there so I can visit whenever I like but if you ever get the chance to go to NI, don’t hesitate. Rent a car, go camping, go visit all the sights, all the towns and 100% go to the Ramore in Portrush, the desserts are to die for and the gin bar is pretty great too! My favourite place in Northern Ireland is Glenariff Forest Park which is home to several beautiful waterfalls.
5. Budapest, Hungary
Budapest is the perfect destination for a holiday with your friends or a romantic break. Unfortunately, I didn’t experience it in either of these situations but I still had an amazing day in the city! I’ll admit, Budapest isn’t the cheapest of places and I found that a lot of people could be quite rude in shops/restaurants but the city is undeniably stunning and there is so much to see and do. I spent the one day that I had there at the Gellert Baths (the smaller, more local baths) and it was so nice to relax and enjoy the thermal pools. If I’d had any money left I would have treated myself to some of the spa treatments available as well. I found a great restaurant called ‘BB’z’ where I got complimentary popcorn and some really great cocktails! I want to go back to Budapest with the gals and go to Hotrod Budapest which is effectively a tour of the city in mini cars.
Though Thailand probably isn’t one of my favourite places, it is undeniably cheap. The more rural areas are absolutely stunning and going to do the generic things such as visiting elephants and island hopping is definitely worth it but I personally would avoid Bangkok as it really is just a busy city. That might be your thing though, in which case it will be the cheapest break of your life (minus the flights to get there of course if you are flying from the UK). I think we paid something like £1.40 for a whole days worth of travel on the skytrain and the drinks are the cheapest – and strongest – I’ve ever had in my life.
This one is for all of you students who don’t like big crowds or going out clubbing every night – although it’s definitely possible to party every night in Phnom Penh! My boyfriend and I visited Cambodia without really knowing what to expect and it turned out to be one of our favourite destinations as there were hardly any tourists, especially in Siem Reap. I do recommend going in the off season (we went from mid July-mid August) as it’s quieter and accommodation is a lot cheaper but all the tours are still running. I should warn you that Angkor Wat will probably always be busy but it’s definitely worth the visit. If you want a city with a bit more of a buzz, Phnom Penh is for you! There are activities for everyone and the walk along the riverside is worth it.
Okay, I admit it – I’m biased. I have studied in Dundee for the past two years but I genuinely believe this deserves this spot on my list. Dundee is one of the cheapest places for students not only in terms of living costs but also just for general day to day life. Whilst I was travelling, when people asked me where they should visit in Scotland I always say to forget the big cities and visit Dundee and of course the highlands and islands but when I titled this post, I originally thought of hot foreign countries that I have visited. I later realised that there were a lot of things that Dundee had that most of the cities I visited on my trip didn’t. For example, our £1 club night Skint at the infamous Union where entry is £1 (until midnight but it’s only £2 afterwards) and all drinks are £1 throughout the night. I have so much to talk about when it comes to Dundee that I’m going to make a little blog post in the coming weeks for anyone who wants to know a little more about the city and my favourite places to visit here!
This is the most magical city I have ever visited – which might be to do with the fact we went in January and got to experience the beauty of Krakow under a blanket of snow. Whenever anyone asks me where they should go for a city break, I always suggest Krakow, especially to my student friends! For 4 days we took £200 and came back with money to spare and this included our excursion to Auschwitz! I recommend visiting in late December or early January so that you can visit the Christmas markets in the largest market square in Europe but also miss out on the freezing weather in February. It is super cold at this time though so you might prefer to go in the Summer when it’s a lot warmer!
So that’s my top 10 locations for students, hopefully it’s been a little bit useful and given you some inspiration for your next trip!