Alternative Travel Ideas For Cash-Strapped Students


When young students choose to travel, they often do so as a means to see the world and get life-capital before they have to think about settling down, growing up, getting a job, a home etc. It’s that last gasp attempt to hold on to youth and wriggle free of large responsibilities. Other times of course, they have a deep, vested interest in a particular place, whether through some genealogical link or through what they have seen on television, in film or read about.

The other common trend in those who choose to travel when a student, is that they get some key time with their pals before they are all separated by work and returning to their hometowns. After that, especially in cases where there is a large group of friends, it is incredibly hard to coordinate everyone’s schedules to fit in a get together with everyone, as well as deciding on where and when people can make it as everyone’s circumstances will be different.

So this time seems the best opportunity to do so. It’s now or never, right? When you ask students planning to travel, the same few places seem to crop up: Thailand, Amsterdam and Australia usually. Not that there is anything wrong with these places; they are vastly different to what we would consider everyday in their wildlife, scenery and landmarks, as well as people. However, if you want to go somewhere special so you have a unique experience to come home and share with others, consider your other options; without picking a place that is not tourist-friendly or difficult.expensive to get around, thinking outside the box about destination will likely produce a better experience, that’s a little less cliche. We don’t all want to be sat at a dinner table ten years from now with the exact same story as everyone else.

Many go abroad to volunteer in countries where help is a huge urgency. However, if you are going just to pad out your CV to appeal to employees, consider looking closer to home as there are many causes domestically that can be served. From charity shops to large organizations who hold events or just need support in their office, you can earn valuable skills and show your passion for a cause close to your heart without traveling halfway across the globe. It will look even better if you spend a long period with an organization rather than just one week.

Perhaps consider staying close to home, especially if you are tight for money. You don’t want to go traveling, just because everyone else is, especially if it’s money that could be better served for something bigger, like eating or rent, or even to tide you over till you find a graduate position (traveling to interviews can be expensive). Try a tour of the UK, seeking out the farthest-reaching areas like John O’ Groats. It’s a good way to avoid missing out on the traveling bug if you’re not exactly swimming in money; and for those who choose to travel abroad to broaden the mind, there is just as much history and cultural capital to be found at Stonehenge, to use one example. If there’s a band that you are passionate about, follow them on tour in the UK, or if you have a similar interest, see what events/conventions/expos are occurring domestically (if you’re a member of a university society or club, you can organize a group trip and possibly get union funding for it).

By staying closer to home, you also put more emphasis on who you’re traveling with, rather than where you’re going to. A cottage in a quaint seaside town or in the countryside, as well as being a nice change of scenery, will give you more time with each other rather than risk being separated in a large city, taking in the sights and sounds. In a cottage, isolated from the outside world for example, you’re more likely to talk more, sharing memories and making new ones together while you still can. It’s similar to seeing friends after a long time but then going to a loud club or bar when you can’t talk properly and the whole time is a blur. As well as being a more mature idea, a short domestic break is also a lot easier to manage and plan as a few days away is smaller in scope compared to a few months abroad; so if some in your group have a very small window to travel before their post-uni plans begin, you can accommodate them. Rather than flying abroad, finding a quaint, serene option closer to home on the coast can make more sense; for example, accommodation in Dartmouth can be very simply secured online, with reasonable deals when split between a group, as is the case with many small, coastal towns. Staying at home also has the bonus over traveling abroad, in that there are fewer concerns regarding safety or security, such as what to do if you lose your ID, money or are a victim of a crime.

Paul, a student up till last year, understands the struggle between wanting to make the most of time with university friends, and finances following graduation and pending a full-time job. A frugal individual since then, Paul has researched and booked several flexible Dartmouth self catering breaks with friends from university as an economic way to meet up and simultaneously keeping everyone’s schedules in mind.

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