At some point this semester the three streets of St. Andrews will cease to be entertaining. Essay deadlines will start to get you down and the magical veil of the Lizard will be lifted as you finally start to realize it is not an actual nightclub. Let me propose a magical cure… a weekend get away! You will come back to St. Andrews refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the semester!
So let me introduce you to one of my favourite games: Where can I go on a budget?
Object of the Game: Find the cheapest flights to an interesting city that won’t break your bank (maybe try one of our Hometown Highlights picks, Edinburgh or Manchester). Your opponents: Ryan Air / Easy Jet / AerLingus. Suitable for 1 to an unlimited number of players/friends (but remember two is company and three is a crowd). In preparation for this challenging pursuit, watch this clip (mind the language!).
Hints and Tips on How to Play
Take into consideration the location of the airport (you could be surprised to find that you need to take a 1.5 hour bus ride into the city centre, and not wanting to do that may end up camping outside the airport in a national park in Norway – not that I’m speaking from experience!). There is a reason cheap flights are so cheap. They charge you for everything, so one bag really means one bag! Look into their restrictions and policies so you don’t have to pay at the airport.
Getting to the Airport
For Edinburgh you can take the X59 to Ferrytoll and switch to the 747. It takes about 2 hours, but is the cheapest option. If you are traveling during a University break and have an awful early departure check out http://www.standrewsshuttle.com/ . It is only £18 and the drivers are all nice chaps who’ll get you there in plenty of time in any type of weather (about an hours journey). If you are traveling with a large group of friends go to the Students Association and see if you can book a group taxi for less.
As previously mentioned: pack light. Frankly, you aren’t going to be gone for that long and you don’t need four pairs of shoes for three days. Wear a large coat with big pockets (in case you do over pack or buy souvenirs and your bag is over the weight limit and size). In this situation – layer on all your heavy clothes and start stuffing that large garden gnome you just had to bring back from Ireland into your coat pocket. Helpful hint: a big camera makes you look like a keen tourist; aka prime pickpocketing target, watch out at the airport/public transport hubs.
Fact 1: You will need to open lots of internet windows to do the correct amount of travel research. Cross check with Trip Advisor and read the small print of hostels (yes, it may only be £3 a night, but if you want a bed and a door with a lock on it you will have to pay for that too). Hostels are cheap but look into budget hotels or maybe renting a flat if you’re staying for a longer length of time. Check out the area you are staying in and what its reputation is, you want to be centrally located, but not at the risk of your safety! If you know someone from the city, don’t be afraid to put on your best mooching face and see if you can stay for free!
Fact 2: The cheapest flights are to random places, but as long as there is something there that slightly interests you; why not?! (p.s. most European cities have pubs/bars so you can’t really go wrong anywhere).
Do your research beforehand and have a rough daily schedule so you don’t waste half the day going to museums that are shut and cafés that stopped serving food 20 minutes before you got there. Don’t forget your matriculation card for student discounts to museums. If you have a smartphone or an iPod, download a free translation dictionary for the language of the country you are going to. If you’re running out of trendy cafés and enthralling museums, check out the local equivalent to Tescos and see the foreign “value range” products!
Need any more advice? Check out:
For an overview of the city: http://www.frommers.com/http://www.frommers.com/
For the student on a budget: (has good information about sections of town) http://www.letsgo.com/
To cross check: http://www.tripadvisor.com/
Images courtesy of Ruoting Tao and Huanxi Zhao.