As the dark, cold nights draw in, we start to pull on the extra jumpers, determined not to put the heating on, the delights of the summer just past seem a long, long time ago. With the free railcard from my bank remaining as my only liquid asset, it looks pretty unlikely I’ll be going anywhere soon.
However if you pine for some sun on your skin and believe you deserve a post-dissertation treat, then why not indulge in some of the bargain delights below? Being the 200th issue of Impact, we thought we’d get a little creative and give you some student friendly, tried and tested suggestions for getting away with £200 or less.
Hitch to Morroco or Prague
In a moment of both wanderlust and idiocy, I undertook the task of hitchhiking a massive 1600 miles across Europe to the Northern shores of Africa in order to raise money for Link Community Development during the Easter break of my first year. The instructions were fairly simple: aim at Morocco; don’t pay for any transport; don’t get kidnapped. (The latter of these was not so much a rule put forward by the hitch organisers, but by my mother; although it was probably worth paying attention to!) It was the second rule, however, which was all-important in making this trip accessible to impoverished students like you and I. ‘Hitch’ is surely the most cost effective way of travelling anywhere, and for those with absolutely no cash at all, the hitch will stand alone as a fantastically memorable trip regardless of whether or not you have the means to stop and explore in Morocco when you reach the finish line. ‘Hitch’ organisers are recruiting fundraisers willing to go the distance to either Morocco or Prague from now until early next year; so get involved! There’s really no excuse not to…
Turkey with a twist
Turkey has proven to be one of the most popular holiday destinations this summer, even being dubbed the ‘New Dubai’. Who wouldn’t want to get in on that? It seems to be one of the few places in Europe that has not been severely affected by the global recession, and without the dreaded Euro, it makes Turkey particularly desirable for students. Snag a budget airfare to Turkey, and you can easily get there and back for under £100. So, how do you manage to be all in at £200? Well, you camp. Yes, camping in Turkey, but this is no ordinary camping expedition; this is camping near the beach and in the sun. You can go to the Aegean Coast during peak season (July – September 5th) to camp in a tent is approximately £5 per person; there is also a 10% student discount on offer. Outside peak times (May 15th – June 30th and September 5th – 30th) it is 20% cheaper. Budget campsites are available all over. If you would like to explore more of the country, why not travel by train? Turkish National Rail offers 30 day passes for around £59, which includes unlimited train travel. This is a tenth of the price of the equivalent InterRail pass. And as long as you’re not after gourmet cuisine, you can eat for the equivalent of £10 per day.
Belgium: Chocolate, beer and waffles
Brussels may not be the first place that comes to mind when choosing a holiday for students, but when the Eurostar can cost as little as £24.50, and numerous cheap hostels are easy to find – it shouldn’t be readily dismissed. Famous partly for its beer, there are plenty of opportunities to turn your trip into a hazy memory including brewery tours and plenty of bars. The Delirium Café, for example, houses a ‘modest’ selection of 2000 beers along with other drinks, and is a great place to meet other travellers or even Belgian students if the alcohol instils a sudden confidence in your French!
During the day, the recently opened and intriguing René Magritte Museum is definitely worth a visit. Spiralling down three floors, the museum houses a huge collection of Magritte’s famous surrealist works. Unlike in the UK when student ‘deals’ imply 50p off, the museum’s charge for students reduces from £7 to about £2.
Finally, who could leave Brussels without sampling the chocolate? Thought of as the best Chocolatier in Brussels, Pierre Marcolini’s shop is more like a gallery, and is the one place in which you will be tempted to splash out before heading home.