A student holiday gives hard working students a reason to let down their hair while relaxing on some tropical beach to live it up. If you are in dire need to have a long-deserved break then our student holiday guide will point out the hot destinations and what to plan for before you leave home.
You’ve been working hard. There were blood, sweat and tears expelled this year, the semester is over at university and it is now time for student holiday! But, where will you go? Will you go backpacking through Europe? Will you brave the jungles of the Amazon? Volcano exploring in Costa Rica? As you can see, the possibilities are endless. A big trip, however, is not something to be done on a whim. Student travel takes planning and discipline. Once those are in place, then the execution of your student holiday will be a cinch!
Financial Planning Phase for Your Student Holiday
The biggest hurdle that keeps people from going on holiday is money. Not having enough money can put a damper on any one’s ambitions to travel the world. With the right planning, however, your student holiday can be the adventure of a lifetime that you’d always hoped. When a big trip is planned, making sure your financial house is in order should be priority number one. Without money, you are not able to do the things that you want to do. Saving up enough cash is incredibly important. Planning a holiday with only a credit card in hand and no money in the bank will only cause major stress once the high then afterglow of the trip has dimmed. There are some steps that you can take to make sure you have everything in place before you leave.
Put your extra cash in a high interest savings accounts so your money is making money while you sleep. This is the easiest way to make your money work for you. You should do this as soon as possible so you have built up a nice little nest egg before taking off on that big journey.
- Link your savings account to your everyday banking account. This will make it easier for you to transfer funds in an emergency while you are overseas. And, most banks offer online banking making tracking and transfers fast and easy. That way you can access your cash via your ATM card once the funds have cleared.
- Ask a trusted family member or friend to manage financials for you while you are away in the event you are unable to over the phone or Internet. If you are traversing the villages of India, who knows when you will have access to a phone line or a computer! This is important for matters that cannot be solved from a distance.
- Pay off as much as you can before leaving. If you have some extraneous bills that can be taken care of before a major trip then, by all means, pay them off. The last thing you want to think about are niggling little bills that could have been dealt with when you were home.
- Set up automatic payments. Most banks offer online banking which is a tremendous resource for those who want quick and easy access to their account. One of the features of online banking is automatic billing. It will save you a lot of headache to know that your bills are coming directly from you account and will arrive on time. You do not want to rack up dishonour fees while you are abroad.
It is important to carry both your ATM or cash card and credit card with you. If you have saved enough money then your ATM card will be the only card you use. However, ATM cards can be lost and having a credit card for emergencies is not only safe it is smart planning.
There are also other alternatives to an ATM card or credit card. For example, you can also carry a prepaid cash card. These are similar to prepaid mobiles. Like a prepaid mobile, you purchase the item at a specified price. Once you have reached the limit, you no longer have use of the mobile card. A similar principle applies to prepaid cash cards. You can “charge up” or “buy” foreign currency to be added to your card and this way you are able to lock in your exchange rate. This will also eliminate many of the conversion fees that are charged at foreign ATMs. You can also add more to the card, as needed.
Bringing enough cash is also a must. If you are planning an exotic adventure, credit cards and your ATM card may not be of use to you in your specific location. Doing the proper research about the area to which you are travelling will give you the insight you need to know if you should bring enough cash for your travels in addition to plastic. Understand the risks of carrying large amounts of cash, however, and take the necessary precautions.
Destination Planning Phase for Student Travel
If you are planning your student holiday out of the country then you will need to get a passport or update your existing passport if it has expired. Some of the other documents that are necessary depend on the country you are travelling to. Check the destination to see if a visa is required. And, if you plan to do some work while in the country, you will also need an international work visa. Immunisation records, international health certificate and an international driver’s license are other documents that will make life a heck of a lot easier if you have them on hand.
Now that you have all your documents in order, it’s time to decide on where to go. Students generally have a much stricter budget than other travellers so choosing destinations that are accommodating to student travel will make things easier. Bootsnall – a website used by many student travellers – listed the top 10 Destinations* for 2014 for independent travellers, including student travellers as:
1. New Zealand, specifically Queenstown, South Island – This was picked because its spectacular scenery and its accessibility to low cost accommodations. Many travellers get around by backpacker bus companies or rent a bike or motorbike. There are also an abundance of campervans to rent and inexpensive holiday parks to rest your weary head.
2. Pucon, Chile – This area is located at the bottom of beautiful Villarica Volcano. It is possible to take a guided tour up to the volcano and even take in a view at the lava crater. There is major skiing and snowboarding in winter months but you can rest your tired legs in the plethora of natural hot springs located nearby. Please note that the airport is only open during warmer months so plan your trip around their schedule.
3. Scotland – Known for its castles and stunning landscapes, Scotland offers a bit of something for every type of traveller. If you are the outdoorsy sort then you can take in some of the most rugged trails that Europe has to offer. Or, if sport is on your agenda then you can take in a round on some of the world’s most famed golf courses.
4. British Columbia, Canada – You might want to take in a trip to BC before the Olympics take over Vancouver. British Columbia has everything from breathtaking mountain ranges and islands to culture and refinement in its metropolitan city, Vancouver.
5. Split, Croatia – There has been a lot of buzz about Croatia in the past few years and there is good reason for it. While Zagreb and coastal city, Dubrovnik, are teaming with tourists, Split has still remained untouched. You can walk through the city and take in ancient ruins and museums or head to the beach for a little rest and relaxation. You will need take a flight into Zagreb, the capital, and then a bus or train to Split.
6. Philippines – Many cost conscious travellers including those on student holiday have been heading to Southeast Asia in droves. One of the lesser traveled places as of yet is the Philippines. With its lowered prices but world-class activities such as snorkeling, the Philippines is a perfect destination for students.
7. Sighisoara, Romania – Central-Eastern Europe has become a hot spot in recent years. While most people head to Budapest or Prague, there are some real gems that are being overlooked. Sighisoara is nestled deep in Transylvania on the Tarnava River. There are an abundance of UNESCO historical sites to take in including some of the fabulous local cuisine.
8. Iceland – Iceland has had its share of economic troubles in recent years which may be viewed as a benefit to those cost-conscious travellers out there. Long regarded as an extremely expensive holiday destination, you can now enjoy accommodations and attractions that are in range with other European countries.
9. Durban, South Africa – Durban is one of the busiest cities in Africa. A port city, it is also very friendly to tourists. There is so much to see from safari tours to surfing to the symphony. Be careful, however, because Durban is known for its high crime so use common sense when travelling with valuables. You can get to Durban from Johannesburg by hopping onto a connecting flight.
10. Fukuoka, Japan – Fukuoka is a the place to see if you want a taste of Japan that isn’t Tokyo. It has a large population of 1.5 million but it is still very clean and modern. Head to Robosquare if you want to take a gander at the latest personal robot demonstrations free of charge.
Where to Stay
So, you have your money saved, you have decided where you want to go, you have your flight booked but now where do you stay? There are several cost-friendly options available out there for students.
- Hostels are an extremely economical way to stopover for a few days with other travellers that may be students, as well, such as yourself. The nice thing about hostels is that they usually have some sort of security, showers and some social scene. Hostels range in amenities. There are some that might even be characterised as luxurious but, of course, the rise in price will reflect that added comforts. You may also find some that offer a bed and shared bath with 12 other people at $8 a night. Some hostels even offer Internet access and laundry facilities.
- Couchsurfing was created in 2003 by American, Casey Fenton, and went global in 2004. It is a non-profit hospitality organisation that connects world travellers with other members of the organisation. The accommodations are free and there are rules and security verifications hurdles to jump through before becoming cleared as a member. With more than 1.6 million members and counting, travellers are raving about the network and its ability to unite people from all over the world. Staying with people who are local with give you keen insight into where to go and what to see.
- Depending on the country you are travelling to, there are websites that list the various campgrounds in the area you are visiting.
- Budget hotels
- A quick check on finder.com.au/deals will be able to bring up a variety of low-cost hotels in the country you plan to see.
Get the Right Travel Insurance for Your Trip
You have saved the cash, you have planned the hotspots to hit and the departure date is approaching fast. While it may be a mundane step in the planning process, it is essential that you take the necessary steps to get adequate travel cover in place for your trip. Heading overseas exposes you to a whole new realm of risks that can have the potential to cause great financial loss if the right cover is not in place. Travel insurance provides cover for a whole range of unforeseen events including;
- Overseas medical expenses including emergency evacuation and hospital stay
- Lost/stolen baggage and personal belongings
- Car rental insurance excess
- Credit card fraud and replacement
- Theft of cash
- Trip cancelation
- Cover for adventure sports and activities
Looking for Great Value Travel Cover?
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Ready to go?
While you are student, seeing the world is not only possible, it’s probable! All it requires is the right kind of planning, the discipline to stick to your plan and the determination to see it through. As you can see, it doesn’t take a lot of money to visit exotic places and take in adventures you had only dreamed of. If you start planning early enough, you can make it to all the places that you are hoping to visit and make memories that will last forever. Enlist the help and support of friends and family in your goal. If they are aware of your desires to see and experience new places, they can give you guidance as to how you can do this while meeting your financial and other goals. Being young and experiencing new cultures is a valuable gift that will give you insight and understanding for years to come.