Uni Life: How to Travel on a Shoestring Budget


JCNN has got you covered when it comes to seeing the world – here are our six essential tips for travelling on a student’s budget.

By Dominic Concar


Plan your trip ahead. Give yourself a clear goal to achieve within a reasonable time. Say you want to spend 3 weeks in Greece in 6 months time. Keep that goal in mind as you save money for your trip.


PLAN AHEAD: Give yourself a clear goal. CREDIT: Stocksnap


Have a specific idea of where you want to go and at what time of year you want to travel. It is best with a low income to give yourself at least 6-12 months to save up the full amount of funds you will need.

If you manage to put away $75 a week for a year, you’ll end up with about $3900 which is more than enough to do a 2 week stint somewhere on the cheap (you could probably do 3 weeks if you find cheap enough flights and accommodation).


So you’ve sat down, decided where you want to go and you have a rough idea of when. Now it is time to start looking at flights, the earlier you start looking the better.


UP SHE GOES: Plan your flights early. CREDIT: Stocksnap

This gives you a better chance of coming across a special sale or deal. Jetstar occasionally has really great flight sales, such as $199 each way from Cairns to Tokyo or $89 sales from Townsville to Bali.

The best way to come across these deals is to sign up for sales notifications from JetStar and they’ll send you emails with their latest offers. DON’T leave buying flights till the last minute. Don’t leave it any later than within 3 months of the time you’ll be leaving; otherwise the prices will rise closer to the date of the flight.


Cheap accommodation gets snapped up quickly. Get in and book your accommodation as early as you can, Just as with your flights, don’t leaving booking your accommodation to the last 3 months. Look for hostels or shared accommodation.

Some shared accommodation will have communal showers. If you’re really uncomfortable about it, but its super cheap, just buy a pack of wet-wipes. It’ll get you by for a few days!

Always check out what people are saying about the place you’re staying at, every booking website now has comments and ratings from previous customers, so you can tell if the price is too good to be true or not.


It’s not something everyone thinks about, but suitcases can be expensive and usually start around the $180-$200 mark for something decent. My tip for evading this is to borrow one. Yes. Borrow.

Now if you can’t borrow one, and you HAVE to buy a new one, I suggest a bag that has wheels, but also a backpack function. These hybrid bags will save you time and again, especially if you are going somewhere you’ll be using the subway a lot. Stairs aren’t fun with a big bag.



THESE BOOTS ARE MADE FOR WALKIN': Take sensible shoes. CREDIT: Stocksnap


They are probably one of your most important assets for a good time when travelling. Surprisingly a lot of people don’t think about shoes much when travelling. Please, if you’re going somewhere cold and wet, DITCH THE CONVERSE SNEAKERS. Your feet will be cold and not well protected. Plus they have a flat sole, so you have no support.

Invest in one or two decent pairs of shoes that you will be comfortable walking in all day. The best combo is having a day pair for sightseeing, and a night pair incase you want to go to a restaurant or somewhere nice. Think about where you are going. If it’s going to be winter, invest in a good pair of boots and wear them in for a few weeks before you leave.

Currency, Cash and Cards

This is a hard one, because it can be situational. Personally, I don’t really like using travel cards or cash passports much. However, carrying around large wads of cash isn’t smart either.

After some research, a Commonwealth Travel Money Card seems to be the way to go if you need to store a large amount of currency in an account. You can stack multiple different currencies on the card, but they are difficult to organize if you have to change the currency you are using often. (They are set in a default order)

If you do take a travel card, get yourself out enough money to last you 5 days. On the 4th day, keep an eye out for an ATM to get out money for the next 5 days or that you can come back to later if you need.

Only ever carry on your person enough cash for 2 days, store the rest in a safe place in your suitcase. I usually opt for my spare shoes and tuck it into the toe.

It can be hard to save your money for a trip when you’re a student, however it is doable! Even if you only manage to get to another country for 2 weeks, that’s still 14 WHOLE days! It works wonders on your academic results too! Just keep telling yourself that you cant go on any trips if you fail your subjects (works for me).