Inside Columbia Magazine . November 2008 : Page 73

Budapest, Hungary Travel Like A Student Don’t Let A Tough Economy Cancel Your European Travel Plans may feel farther away than, well, Europe. Yet there is a group of Americans that continues to flock there every year: col- lege students. Surprisingly, most aren’t financing their trips with Dad’s credit card. So how can so many part-time work- ing students afford to make their travel dreams come true? College students have perfected the art of budget travel. I spent nearly two months of my sum- A mer traveling through Europe after a year of saving money from a meager campus job. If I can do it, you can too. Take a few tips from this 20-something and learn to travel like a college student. s the dollar falls and airline prices continue to rise, your transatlantic dreams of a European vacation Before You Go You can start saving money on your European vacation before you even leave home. Decisions made during the plan- ning phase — such as when and where to visit — can spare your wallet. Among the most popular tourist destinations are Paris, London and Rome. Unfortunately, all three continue to be ranked as some of the most expensive. Visiting cities that use a currency other than the euro and are less frequented — such as Prague in the Czech Republic, Budapest, Hungary, and Zagreb, Croatia — can make a big difference on your trip’s budget. Tourism in southeastern Europe is flourishing for these very reasons. Avoiding the euro, though, is easier said than done. While in Croatia, where the currency is the kuna, I met a group of back- packers from Mexico City who shared their travel proverb with me: “When you convert, you don’t have fun.” I found myself repeat- ing this with every trip to the ATM. To make the most of your airfare, consider planning a multi-destination trip. College students are notorious for adding more stamps to their passports than days they’re overseas. I visited sev- en countries and almost twice as many cities during my time in Europe. I don’t recommend this intensity of travel for everyone, but adding a few stops to your trip can certainly enhance the experi- ence. Most European cities are only an You can start saving money on your European vacation before you even leave home. < INSIDE COLUMBIA November 2008 73

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