Europe on a student budget.
By Michele Theil
One by one, students are finishing their exams and embracing the freedom of over 3 months of summer holidays before returning to Royal Holloway (unless you’re a third-year student of course). Despite counting the pennies as a student, there are budget friendly alternatives. So why not get a few friends together, pack some essentials, and escape the Egham bubble.
Summer is the perfect time to travel, with the weather in Europe primed for a day out in the sun, and warm nights inevitably spent at bars, pubs or hostel lounges. Places in Northern Europe, like Paris, Copenhagen, and Iceland tend to be more expensive than places in Eastern or Southern Europe. Yet, by taking advantage of cheaper transport, and affordable hostels, there is no need to sink into your overdraft.
For both sun and culture, Barcelona, Spain is a sure choice. With flights as little as £50 and with travel time of around 3 hours, it makes for a great long weekend. There are several cheap hostels in the city, where dorm accommodation will be your best bet on a budget. Hostels offer wonderful atmospheres for travelers as they often have lounges, bars and socials to connect travelers together. The website hostelworld.com is a great resource to find hostels with a low-price point with great ratings and reviews. Barcelona boasts wonderful tourist destinations, such as La Sagrada Familia, the Picasso museum and the infamous Barceloneta beach.
If you want to stay a bit closer to home, Edinburgh, Scotland boasts plenty. Every year, the city hosts the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August, where the population of the city almost doubles due to the large influx of travellers. There are over 2000 shows, ranging from stand-up comedy, sketch comedy, dramatic theatre, musical theatre and interactive exhibitions. There are even some Royal Holloway students making the journey up to Edinburgh Fringe to perform in shows such as Little Shop of Horrors from Ethereal Theatre Company, and Spring Awakening from Pindar Theatre Performers. For any Mock-The-Week fans, comedians like Sara Pascoe, Ed Gamble and Ed Byrne are heading up to Edinburgh for stand-up comedy shows. The city is extremely busy during the Fringe festival so I would recommend that anyone wishing to go should book as soon as possible.
Of course, there are the classic student destinations of Ibiza, Magaluf, Marbella and Ayia Napa. However if you’re looking for the party atmosphere but with a tamer style, Amsterdam, Netherlands is the place to go. EasyJet runs short flights to Amsterdam 5 times daily from London Gatwick, costing just over £50. Of course, a popular destination in Amsterdam is the Red Light District, with the infamous ‘cafes’, and numerous bars and clubs to catch your fancy. Culturally, Amsterdam is full of hidden gems. The most popular are the Van Gogh Museum, the Rijksmuseum, and the Anne Frank House. The cheapest hostel available in Amsterdam costs £12 but, realistically, between £20 and £30 will be your best guide.
All in all, there are many places in Europe to visit this summer on a student budget, and with our loans slowly dwindling, the best time to book your holidays would be now.
Featured image courtesy of Travel + Leisure