How to Travel as a Student

One of the most common questions I get from a lot of people I meet in University is: “Krish, how do you travel so much?” The answer is pretty simple. Just do it. So many people throw around excuses about how money and time are their biggest obstacles that hinder them from exploring the world. ANYONE can travel and I’m going to show you how I managed to explore so many locations in the last few years! 

Ha Giang, Vietnam

Saving Money

Nothing comes easy and you will need to cut out a few things in your life to make way for new experiences. My first trip here was to the exotic islands of Pulau Perhentian with a group of friends I met only a few days prior to the trip. It cost me 450 RM/105 USD, which included transportation, accommodation, food, activities and booze. Start SAVING!

The first thing you need to do is put aside money (or inherit money from your rich parents or exploit your generous student loans). If you save at least 15 RM every day for a month, you will have enough money to make that trip you are longing for. You need to let go of that extra drink, or other ‘luxuries’ you don’t necessarily need. The more you save, the more you can spend on travel! 

Pulau Perhentian, Malaysia

Backpacker Hostels

You gotta let go of the dream travel influencers’ lifestyle of staying in fancy resorts and sipping on Chardonnay. Instead, “settle” for backpacker hostels. Believe me, the idea of sharing your room with others might be a major turn off, but hostels are incredibly fun as you get to meet so many different people.

90% of my travels involve hostels because staying there is an experience in itself. In fact, I prefer them to regular hotels. The cheapest hostel I’ve stayed in so far was in Bali for 11 RM/2.5 USD a night. 

Bali, Indonesia

Parties and Night Outs

Night outs are a big aspect of my travels and it is impossible to be on a budget and go on a night out every single night. This happened in Thailand and I eventually ran out of money on the FIRST night. Why? Oh, I don’t remember. If you still want to go out, I would suggest leaving most of your cash with your luggage and carrying just enough to get you out and a few drinks. 

Hanoi, Vietnam

Transportation

Choosing the most cost-efficient means of transportation depends where you are and where you’re going. If you intend on travelling domestically you can resort to buses and trains as an option, especially if flight tickets seem unreasonably high.

You should take taxi fees to the airport/bus stop/train station into account. This will be more expensive if you are travelling by yourself as the costs won’t be divided.

If you’re confident with driving around on mopeds, you can save a lot of money. In places like Indonesia and Vietnam, renting mopeds are ridiculously cheap and hassle-free. Many don’t ask for your license, but it’s best if you have one just in case you get in trouble with the police. Your budget will go out the window if you get caught or crash your bike. 

Pulau Pangkor, Malaysia

Effective Packing

Packing is extremely important, especially when you’re travelling on a flight and the baggage allowance can be an issue. Weekend trips shouldn’t be a problem as you won’t require a huge bundle of clothes on a trip for 2-3 days.

For trips longer than a week, most people pack so much and are then forced to spend more money on extra baggage which can be expensive. Extra expenses can easily be avoided if you pack more effectively!

Carry enough clothes for 5 days as it would be way cheaper to do laundry wherever you are every 5-7 days. Usually, the hotel/hostel you stay at provides laundry services at a reasonable rate.

Andaman, India

Food

EAT LIKE A LOCAL! One of the best parts of travelling is experiencing the local cuisine, and it pains me to see so many people eating at McDonald’s when they could be eating exotic food instead. This meal cost me 9 RM/2 USD and is by far one of the best meals I’ve had in South East Asia. 

Authentic Indonesian Food in Bali

Friends

Starting University was intimidating and the pressure of making friends constantly made me anxious. I was lucky enough to find a group of friends that had one common goal, travel. It took me less than 3 weeks to make friends and we were on our way to the beautiful islands of Perhentian. Travelling with your buddies is THE dream and some of my favourite trips were with them.

Travelling solo is an experience in itself and can be just as fun! People say “More the merrier”, I say “more the cheaper”. Boat trips, Island tours, bike rentals etc are discounted when there are so many people involved.

Travelling is possible for students and it all comes down to your will power and priorities. Adding this element to your lifestyle brings a lot of value to your life. I’ve learnt a lot and met so many interesting people along the way and explored some of the most beautiful locations in the world. At the end of the day, everyone deserves a vacation, but the real question is, how often do you want one?

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By Krish

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