A Few Tips for Traveling Cheap While Studying or Touring Abroad
The Semester Abroad
Many students opt to spend a semester or even an entire year abroad, usually during their junior year. For English majors, the obvious choice is to spend a semester in England whereas those looking to brush up French or Spanish skills spend time in France and Spain respectively. These days, the places you can visit during your semester abroad are unlimited but Europe continues to be the most popular destination.
Touring Europe with a Eurail Pass
Traveling cheap while studying or touring abroad is easy if the student takes a little time to research modes of transportation. In Europe, at least, it’s very easy to get around by train or bus. Every major city is reachable in this way and there are a number of discounts for students. If the student is planning to go on an extended tour of Europe, a Eurail pass will allow him or her to visit many places at a discounted rate.
Traveling Within the Cities
A guidebook to the country the student is visiting is invaluable and will inform the student about up to date ways to save money. For example, in London, you now have “oyster” cards which help you to save money when you’re traveling by “tube,” the slang word Londoners use for their underground railway system. Most other cities in Europe have similar cards to help tourists get around at a cheaper rate.
In terms of where to stay, youth hostels are probably a student’s best bet. Youth hostels are like YMCAs — they provide cheap lodging with no frills. But when you’re going to be out looking at the sights all day, you don’t necessarily need a luxurious room to live in. Youth hostels are all part of the experience for students touring abroad and they’re great places to meet other students and participate in the nightlife of the city.
Walking Around the Cities
Another thing that students should get used to doing is walking around a lot. Europeans spend much more time on foot than they do in cars —unlike Americans — and walking around helps save money that would otherwise be spent on transportation. Plus, it gives you a good way to check out the sights and the great architecture of whichever city you’re visiting.
Using Your Student ID
And don’t forget that showing a school ID no matter where your student goes — whether it’s a theater in London or an art gallery in Rome — will get them a discount. Sometimes it might even get them in for free. The most important thing to remember is for them to keep a completely open mind, to talk to people they meet and to throw themselves wholeheartedly into this exploration of a new culture.