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Budget travel tips for international students

January 25, 2015 | By | 7 Comments

Interested in combining your study abroad experience with some European travel? Rachel Tan, a Singaporean medical student at the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin shares her adventures and some tips for budget travel… 

Many people think that medical students study a lot and are always drowned in books and notes. To a certain extent, this is true, but I like to think we play hard and study hard! I am an avid traveller, and when i’m not studying I spend most of my free time on the road!

Studying in Ireland makes my college life even more interesting. Geographically, Ireland is located near all the European countries. With the additionally benefit of low-cost air tickets from Ryanair and Aer Lingus, it gives international students like me the opportunity to travel extensively. If you don’t fancy flying,  you can also travel by train to Northern Ireland or to Wales by ferry. Singapore, where I from, is located in the South East Asia, and flight from there to any part of Europe cost at least 1000 euros, and it takes approximately 15 to 20 hours!

Aside from European travel options, Ireland offers many beautiful and scenic places including Wicklow, Glendalough, Connemara, Dingle Peninsula, Kerry and the Cliffs of Moher. Grab a bargain an one of the Irish tour offices, they often provide concessions for students.

Here are some more travel tips to keep you in budget!

  1. Make sure you book your flights, accommodation and tours as early as possible

Book early to get the best deals, and spend some time researching the best options online.

  1. Book hostels near the city centre

In most countries, the attractions are located near the heart of the city, so staying central means you can walk from one to another saving a lot money on transport.

When you are looking for a hostel online, remember to read the best review, worst review and the recommendation rating to prevent getting a bad one and a nasty surprise on arrival!

  1. Try not to take a city tour bus

Most people think that taking city tour bus can see more things than they would walking. However, from my experience, this is not really the case. If you stay in a good location (see point 2 above), you can visit most of the local attractions on foot. I find this approach gives me the chance to explore more of a city – its food, people, places and culture. If you’re visiting a really large city, like London for example, get a travel pass (you can buy access for a number of days depending on the length of your stay).

  1. Buy ingredients and cook for yourself

Most hostels have shared kitchen facilities. I often buy ingredients from a local supermarket and make my own breakfast and dinner. As for lunch, I try to eat out and try the local delights, and the price of lunch is normally cheaper that dinner options in restaurants!

  1. Remember to bring a student card

Some attractions that I visited offer a student discount. For example, the normal entrance free for São Jorge Castle in Lisbon is 7.50euro, but it is only 4euros for student.

  1. Budget your money between travelling and necessities

As a full-time international student here in Ireland, I only have a limited amount of allowance provided by my parents. When I first got here, I did not manage my allowance properly and as a result I ran out of money really fast. Now, at the start of every month I divide my allowance for travel and for just necessities (eg. food, household items etc). I also tend to go straight back to my apartment right after class or to the library, to refrain myself from buying things I don’t need!

Do you want to study in Ireland? Check out the Education in Ireland website for all the info you need.


  1. Pragadishw

    Amazingly explained. I look forward to start my studies this august. Well, i will try to emulate your guidelines to stop spending for unnecessary reasons. Thanks for this article.

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