The Best Budget Vacation Destinations

We are halfway through the academic year and the time has come to start thinking about every student favorite time of the year; vacation! For us, during these dark January days, even the thought of vacations can brighten the mood. In addition to this, as summer is still far away, there are many early-bird discounts to take advantage of. The question remains, how do you make the most out of your summer vacation on a student budget? That is precisely the aim of this blog! We looked at three very different types of vacations; a city trip, an adventure in nature, and a week at the beach. We have found some great destinations that won’t break the bank!

The Quick City Trip • Berlin

A city trip is a perfect opportunity to discover a new culture, go shopping, enjoy great food and have a good party… all within just a few days. Our city of choice this summer is Berlin, Germany’s capital. There are many reasons to visit Berlin, it is truly an international city with a unique culture and history. Since Berlin is not that far away, travel costs are minimal. We propose going on this trip in the spring or summer because the city looks very pretty at that time of year and there are many outside activities to participate in such as festivals and garden parties. During this time you can best enjoy Berlin’s lovely river and beach cafes.

Besides this, Berlin has a thriving nightlife scene, especially if you like underground bars and clubs. Make sure to check out ‘Tresor’ and ‘Klunkerkranich’. Visiting Berlin for a weekend will allow you to see the main highlights, however, if you want to see the whole city, stay a bit longer. You can take a weekend trip to Berlin for around 250 euros, however, if you want to be really close to the centre expect to pay more.

For those among you contemplating a trip to Berlin, we have one very useful tip! Make sure to plan ahead when you’re traveling because Berlin is a very large city and it can take quite long to get somewhere. This will allow you to get the most out of your time in this beautiful city!

The Journey through Nature • Austria 

Who doesn’t love the idea of taking on the great outdoors and connecting not only with nature but also with your friends? If this sounds like your cup of tea, then hiking in Austria might be the vacation you’re looking for. One of our members went to Dachstein, which is part of the Northern Limestone Alps, but there exist so many great places to hike in Austria that we will try to stay general. We recommend to go hiking in Austria in the summer, as the weather will be much more forgiving, and prices fall dramatically during this period. It is always a good idea to stay near the end of a valley as this allows for easy access to many hiking trails.

The advised duration of your stay, of course, depends on your hiking motivation and if you are staying in one location. In general, five days to one week should be enough to see the surrounding area and explore Austria’s beautiful nature. The costs of this sort of trip are very dependent on where you go and how you travel, but you really needn’t spend more than 500 euros. The best thing is; all the activities (hiking) are free!

If you’re planning on going to Austria to explore nature, we have one insider tip. Stay in a hostel or chalet that is located on the top of a mountain so that you hike to it. Preferably, stay in accommodation with minimal amenities to get a more authentic experience which will really help you get closer to nature and your friends.

The Beach Destination • Portugal 

Even though city and nature trips are great, there are many among us who, after just finishing an intensive year of studies, just want to relax and enjoy the sun somewhere warm. This is where Lagos, on the south coast of Portugal called the Algarve comes in. Lagos used to be a fishing village and this can still not only be seen in the authentic city centre, but also in the great and very cheap food that can be found just about everywhere. A must try local delicacy is a ‘cataplana’, which is a large stewpan, with squid. It is delicious. The town is also situated by some of the most beautiful cliff coasts in Europe at just a five-minute walk from the town centre.

To explore the coast, you can rent bikes, kayaks and even a speedboat if you are feeling particularly fancy. Through the years Lagos has also developed ample nightlife opportunities which are of course a prerequisite for any student. We recommend to travel to Lagos from late spring to early fall and to stay at least one week. Expect to have to save around 500 euros for this trip, not including food and drinks, but these are luckily not very expensive in Portugal!

If you’re planning on going to Lagos, our insider tip is: check out the restaurant ‘Barbosa bar and kitchen’. This is a small restaurant located near the centre, where they serve lots of really cool small dishes to share, including flame grilling your own chorizo sausage. They also have the best sangria in town, made with fresh basil and menthe!

We hope that this blog has helped you gather some insight into the many cool options out there, even with a limited budget! However, if you are not planning on leaving the Netherlands for the whole summer, check out our blog Meet the City • Summer in Amsterdam for some great places to chill in our own city.