Budget Travel for Students: Living Like a Local

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Delaney Henson
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Just last spring, I travelled to Italy with my sister and two friends. It was without a doubt, the most empowering experience of my life. Call me cliché, but I am forever changed as a result of that amazing trip. It ignited in me a desire to experience different cultures and meet diverse groups of people. Travelling abroad taught me to challenge myself, and it showed me that limitations exist only in our imaginations. The rush that comes from laying eyes on sights you’ve only seen through a screen is incredible, and worth every penny. Planning and executing a trip abroad—without emptying your bank account—is easily accomplished. Help keep expenditures under control by following these tips regarding accommodations and transportation.

Living in luxury: Airbnb style

If you haven’t heard of Airbnb, you’re missing out. Hotels are often overpriced and less than ideal for those travelling in groups. I stayed almost exclusively in Airbnb accommodations throughout my time in Italy; from Florence to Pisa, to Cinque Terre, to Venice, and finally, Rome. Airbnb has an easy-to-use app that allows you to choose specific search criteria to limit your results and see what the exact price of a place will be. You can even split the price of an accommodation between multiple people, so it’s great for group travelers.

When booking accommodations with Airbnb, make sure that you read reviews and don’t make the mistake of choosing a host with poor reviews. The best way to ensure that you’ll have a great host is to choose Super Hosts, verified by Airbnb for their amazing accommodations and hospitality. Some of the kindest Italians I met were my hosts; they provided unparalleled advice on what was worth seeing and where to eat.

Travel like a local

If you can book housing within walking distance of things you want to see, you can eliminate transportation costs entirely. In Florence, I could see the famous Duomo from my flat’s window! When it comes to transportation, it’s best to follow the lead of the locals. It’s almost impossible to rent a car for most college students and it’s undoubtedly incredibly expensive to pay for a driver. If you can’t get somewhere on foot, try taking the bus. If you’re unsure of how these systems run in a foreign country, the internet is a great place to find out before you head out for your adventure.

If the country you’re travelling to utilizes trains, you should use them too. I traveled by train to each different city—even crossing the entirety of the country from Cinque Terre to Venice—and found them to be incredibly timely and comfortable. Booking your train tickets in advance of your trip will save you a great deal of money. I paid approximately 80 euros to travel to five different cities in Italy. If you purchase a train ticket on the day you plan to travel, you’ll easily spend a lot more.

Going to another country can be stressful for you and your wallet. Advance preparation can pay off by increasing your confidence and saving you money. With your accommodations and transportation booked ahead of time you’ll be able to more fully enjoy your time abroad. Once you’re there, go off the itinerary a little and live like a local! 

(This is part 2 of a 2-part travel blog. Click here to read Part 1!)

Pearson Students: What are your favorite resources to use for trip planning? Share by commenting below!



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