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Road trip

How to work out the full cost of a weekend break from your studies


University life is great, but there are times when you just need to get away from the hectic student life of parties (and tutorials). Money is tight as a student, so to avoid some unwanted expensive surprises, it is essential that you budget for your weekend trip properly.

Travel

The cost of transport is often the deciding factor in the destination you might pick for your weekend break, and whether you travel by air, rail, or road.

Budget airlines make it cheaper than ever to get away to another European city for a holiday, with the likes of RyanAir and EasyJet often offering flights for under £50 return. In terms of distance per pound, you are not going to beat air travel, but be careful to pack only hand luggage that fits your airline’s requirements and print out your boarding pass in advance to avoid fees. Also, don’t forget the cost of getting to and from the airport – by rail, tram, or car.

Rail travel in the UK is generally quite expensive. However, if you have a Student Rail Card (you should) and book a month or two in advance, then the price can come down significantly. If you are travelling to another UK city then there should not be any hidden costs on the train, but do always book a seat to avoid looking like Jeremy Corbyn and sitting on the floor. If you are travelling to a town not on the rail network, then like with air travel – don’t forget to budget for the taxi or hire car at the other end.

If there are a group of you travelling, then a road trip will often be the most cost effective way to getting to your destination. You may be limited by the length of time you and your friends fancy being behind the wheel, but the only real cost of a road trip is your petrol. An eco car will get you further for your money, and you can see how much petrol will likely cost in advance of your trip by using Motors.co.uk’s fuel calculator.

Accommodation

A couple of years ago, your choices of where to stay would be limited by the hotel or B&B options around your location, but the arrival or Airbnb means that now it is easier than ever to rent a house or flat for the weekend. Split between four of you, the cost of renting a two-bedroom apartment will often work out significantly cheaper than a couple of hotel rooms, and you have the benefit of having a shared living area to yourselves.

However, sometimes hotels do offer huge discounts, and the pampering and service you find there may be exactly what you want. If you do end up in a hotel though, remember not to eat or drink anything form the room’s minibar – no matter what time it is that bottle of beer is not worth £10.

Food & drink

The cost of food and drink can vary wildly depending on where you have chosen to visit. The cost of a pint in a local pub in the British countryside will often be significantly less than in cities like London, and many towns and cities have reasonably priced restaurants for eating out. If you’ve rented an Airbnb, then you just need to make sure you hit the supermarket on your way there to pick up supplies and you’re sorted.

Do be aware that if you’re travelling to another European city, the Brexit-related crash of the pound means that everything is 20-30% more expensive for you than it was last year.

Photograph by Unsplash

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