Winter holiday survival tips in Europe for international students!
December is here already! It means that is Christmas and winter holiday time!
Before entering Period 3, we will have a two-weeks holiday after Period 2’s exam. Some students will go home to be with their families. If you are not planning to come back to your home countries, I will share with you some cheap ways to travel in Europe during the winter holiday.
1. Start making plan
There are a lot of fun places to travel around Europe. I want to suggest to make a plan before having your holiday trip. You can start deciding which countries you want to go to, which cities and places you want to explore. If you are planning to have a long trip, you can arrange the budget that suits you if you have a good plan. It is better to start planning earlier, you can have time to explore cheap places to stay or transportations that you will use. In Europe, there are some countries with cheaper living costs than the Netherlands, and maybe you prefer to go there. So, you need to have proper research on your destination!
When I had my Christmas break last year, I already listed some places that I want to visit and the range of prices (also search for the possibility; whether they offer special discounts). For example, when my friends made the holiday plan, and they found the largest ice rinks in Europe, which is located in Budapest. The price is only 6-7 Euro (I forgot the exact price, but it was cheaper than I expected :P). However, planning does not mean you always strict to your schedule during travelling. You can always be spontaneous on your trip.
2. Use bus passes for cheaper options
If you travel to different places or countries a lot, I will suggest you use bus passes. Last year, when traveling from the Netherlands during winter break, I used InterFlix, where you can have passes for five destinations for 99 EUR. Besides you can save the budget, you also can decrease emissions comparing to travel with planes. There are also other bus operators such as Eurolines, Blablabus, Oibus.
Besides the bus, there are also other options such as rail passes, such as InterRail. Even though the train usually more expensive comparing the bus, but it is more convenient.
You can also compare prices with travel agent websites such as Omio.
3. Finding cheap accommodation
For the accommodation, it may become too expensive during the Christmas break because it is a peak holiday season. It is better to make a reservation earlier before your trip. Maybe you can choose hostels over the hotel, especially if you are to travel in a group. Some hostels provide a shared kitchen. If you want to save money and have time to do it, you can buy food that easy to be prepared for your meals.
When I travelled in a group, I used an app named “Wiebetaaltwat”. It is a handy Dutch app to split your holiday expenses within the group.
4. Enjoy free and fun places!
There are many free places and places to see when you are traveling around Europe. You can enjoy looking at buildings in the city center, visiting the Christmas market, or you can browse on the internet or visit the tourism booth to get information about free events; such as festivals, concerts or exhibitions.
Some places also offer student or youth discounts, such as the museum. You can show your WUR card and your ID to get the discount.
As an international student, traveling is also a great way of learning.
During traveling (even when I spent a short time in a new place) I can learn a new culture, meet and talk with the local people, taste the foods, learn people’s history through buildings and museums, and the list-of-what-I-learned-after-travelling keeps going! So for me, as an international student, traveling is also a great mode of learning. I always try to arrange my trip with minimum efforts (and budget) but with maximum experience!
Do you have another tip for traveling in the budget? Or do you have your experience when traveling around Europe during the winter holiday? I already shared some tips and photos from my last winter holiday. Please share your stories in the comment section ^_^
I wish everyone having a fun winter holiday!