Learning how to budget is all part of student living. Budgeting doesn’t mean you have to wave goodbye to luxury but it does mean that you need to plan for those special treats, which includes holidays and breaks away. Having a stay-cation with friends can be the perfect way to unwind whether you are celebrating your 21st birthday or in need of a break away to recover from the stresses of exam and coursework deadlines. The good news is it doesn’t have to break the bank.
There are many advantages to being a student including the extended holidays and reading weeks, which provide the perfect opportunity to get the best deals on cheap breaks at off-peak times. Going away with a large group of friends can be a lot of fun whilst reducing the cost significantly.
The Student Blogger explores some fun ideas for UK staycations with friends on a student budget.
Camping and hiking are great ways to spend a weekend enjoying the outdoors and getting some exercise. Being let loose into the wild with a group of your closest friends is guaranteed to give you some great anecdotes and experiences that will have you all in hysterics for years to come when looking back on that trip.
If you are new to camping, the cost of equipment can soon mount up. Therefore, ask around to see if friends or family members have camping gear stashed away that they wouldn’t mind lending to you. Alternatively, you can hire any gear you need at relatively low prices. Getting everyone in the group to chip in for pitch fees and food and drink will help drive costs down further. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of getting to your destination – choosing somewhere close to home is much more cost effective.
Depending on the size of the group, glamping and camper vanning are alternative options that will ensure you stay dry in the unpredictable UK climate and offer a little more luxury. Check out goglamping.net, canopyandstars.co.uk and coolplaces.co.uk for inspiration.
Escape to the countryside
Having stayed in student digs all year, the idea of living out of a backpack, surviving on the bare essentials and pitching a tent in a barren field may not be overly appealing. Instead, why not treat yourself to a Southwold cottage in the picturesque Suffolk countryside or a log cabin deep in Elvedon Forest. Having a base like this will ensure you have some much needed downtime with your friends whilst giving you the chance to explore surrounding towns and beaches. After all, a summer trip is not complete without a trip to the seaside.
If your group can be flexible on dates you are bound to snap up a bargain last-minute deal as companies drop their prices in a bid to fill spaces.
Go on a road trip
Having friends scattered around the country is the perfect opportunity for you to car-pool, taking it in turns to visit different people in your friendship circle and stay with them. This can be a lot of fun and allows you to visit and explore new places with the benefit of having a personal guide that knows the best places to visit. It also means that you don’t have to pay for accommodation, which is a bonus.
The cost of owning a car can quickly eat away at student finances so if you have a valid licence but no car then renting a hire car is a relatively inexpensive option if there are a number of you car-sharing and making the journey together, with everyone contributing to the final price.
However, if you would prefer public transport, then booking early can save you a lot of money whether you are travelling by coach or train. Being flexible with the times you can travel and taking advantage of off-peak offers can mean huge savings. Finally, use your student status to look up special offers and get further discounts.
Rebecca D’Souza is a freelance writer and English and American Literature graduate of University of East Anglia.
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