Print Edition: May 20, 2015
Balmy summer weather has students crunching numbers and booking time off work in hopes of a weekend getaway to a more seasonal destination. While a local daytrip may be more affordable, it certainly doesn’t offer that same sense of escapism that a few nights away from home allows.
However, travelling on a student budget poses some barriers: the price of hotels, B&Bs, gas, and entertainment spikes during the summer months. Not to fear! Research and proper planning can allow you an affordable getaway this summer. Here are some tips on how to research and plan a student budget friendly trip.
Skip the tourist attractions
Make sure to do your research before selecting a destination. Tourist attractions like Jasper or Whistler will be crowded and very pricy. If really want to go, opt to see these places during the shoulder seasons, when you’ll find discounted packages for accommodation and entertainment. Over summer, look for something off the beaten path. Look for places where you can entertain yourself for cheap; hiking, going to the beach, and visiting museums or art galleries will be much cheaper than partaking in guided tours or in activities that require admission fees.
Doing the research when booking your accommodation is always worth it. Airbnb is a great way to go when looking for a cheaper place to stay. The website allows people to rent out rooms or full apartments and houses on a short-term basis. Reviews and website accreditation weed out any potential unsavoury or unsafe accommodation. You can find a place to stay for often as little as half the price of a hotel; these are particularly worth it if you book with friends. For example, the average price of a room in July on Salt Spring Island that can accommodate three people on airbnb is $80, while the price of a room in a hotel accommodating two people in an average of $160. Look for accommodation that offers a kitchenette, which will allow you to eat in and save.
Camping is another inexpensive option for those interested in braving the outdoors. To continue the comparison, a full-service campground (full-service means showers, toilets, water, picnic table, and beach access), which could accommodate four runs at about $45 per night, sometimes with discounts if you stay more than a few days. If the experience of camping appeals to you but you don’t have access to camping gear, check out an outdoors store like Mountain equipment Co-op for a rental — four-man tents start at $30 for two days.
Book in advance
Planning your trip should not be the task you procrastinate. Unless you have the flexibility to grab last minute deals, book as far in advance as you can. Early bird deals may be found, and availability is often limited as the good places become booked up. Then considering your weekend getaway, proper research, and planning can save you hassle and money in the long run.