As the slog of the winter semester begins to draw to a festive end, many of us are without money; many more of us have yet to do Christmas shopping and even more of us are fantasising about a holiday before the exam season kicks in.

But, why fantasise? I recently booked a budget trip and have every reason to believe it’ll be a more fulfilling and equally enjoyable holiday than the comforts of an expensive trip away.

The reasons to book?

Put your money in perspective:

After a quick Google (as of 26/11/16) a return flight from London Stansted – Madrid and back is £19. The trip spans six days. (If you can squeeze more from a £20-pound note, please write to Impact!)

Additionally, most flights allow around 10kg of hand luggage for free; and hostels can be considerably cheap. A well-known hotel comparisons site, for example, currently advertises rates of £11 a night in Madrid. This means the total cost of a six-day, five-night trip to Madrid can, in theory, start at £74.

Live a little:

My budget travelling will see me flying from Gatwick to Copenhagen, Copenhagen to Stockholm, and then back to Gatwick over the space of 11 days. Other than wanting to visit these cities, the flights and accommodation are notably cheaper than the summer, and everything is still available to do in winter.

I plan to just take hand luggage, and will be staying in hostels. The reason this means ‘living a little’ is that I will have to tackle the Scandinavian climates from the contents of a 10kg rucksack for 11 days and nights. It may seem daunting, and I’ll likely be carrying the rucksack around daily, (although there are probably lockers at your hostels if you wish not to) but isn’t that the point of exploration?

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Life skills:

As any person who has been travelling will tell you, it is an experience and a learning curve. After my holiday, I believe I’ll be more accustomed to packing light, making practical decisions, being economically wise, planning ahead, and generally organising myself with total independence.

You wouldn’t get these experiences travelling like a King or Queen, nor the general value for money of a budget holiday!

You will actually visit the country:

When we spend a fortune on holiday, where does it usually go? Aside from flights and accommodation, we spend excessively on: 1. Food 2. Drink 3. Public Transport.

Food: With a budget holiday, you will, or should, actively go beyond the tourist areas of a destination. You should find the markets and restaurants where the locals eat and drink. These are not only cheaper; they will likely provide more authentic cuisine, and there’ll be less tourists so you can see how the locals socialise.

By travelling further away from the city, however, anxieties can rise about transportation costs. The simple solution is: WALK.

1) That pedometer -and your metabolism- will be on fire!
2) You will find little alleyways full of gems.
3) You will not spend money.
4) You will reduce your carbon footprint (a nice bonus, don’t you think!)

And finally, whilst I have mentioned Western Europe, the world is your oyster. A budget trip is possible almost everywhere, even places such as China and Fiji can provide the location for your life changing budget holiday.

So where will you go?

 

Rhys Thomas

Featured image courtesy of ‘Travis Godspeed’ via Flickr. License here.

Article image courtesy of Patrick Barry via Flickr. License here.

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