For most students the old adage rings true – we are time rich and cash poor, a maxim that often reverses itself once we enter the professional world. Our four months of uninterrupted summer holidays are a phenomenon unlikely to be repeated in our working lives, so we ought to make the most of the free time we are gifted with at college. With the rising costs of the J1 visa (thanks to the duopoly of USIT and SAYIT), many university students are forced to look to elsewhere to fill the dreary Irish summer with a bit of foreign travel. Food & Lifestyle editor Ciara Landy rounded up some of the most useful websites and tips for saving a few bucks while trying to see a bit of the world.
Secret Flying (www.secretflying.com) is an amazing website that provides updates on cheap fares and fare errors across all airlines. By signing up to their email updates or giving their Facebook page a simple like, you will be notified when these deals become available. Time is of the essence in the bargain basement airfare market, and certain offers can be sold out within minutes of them being posted online.
When searching for flights, delete your cookies cache or browse incognito to avoid ‘dynamic pricing’ from airlines. As if the Ryanair sites sees you’ve been on the site numerous times over a couple of days, what it’ll do is actually steadily bump up the flight ticket prices to give the illusion that they’re selling out and make you panic buy. Some would go so far as to look at flights from a different IP address from that they will book the flights from, to avoid any increase in prices, for example: looking at flights on your phone, then booking them on your computer.
If you’re after free accommodation and don’t mind looking after a dog or two in the process, sign up to TrustedHousesitters.com! The largest website of its kind, TrustedHousesitters boasts thousands of members from major cities such as New York, Sydney and Dubai. For an annual fee of €99 you can connect with verified homeowners around the world, saving hundreds on costly accommodation.
Couchsurfing.com has a thriving membership of over twelve million users, allowing travellers to stay with local hosts for free or interact with other like-minded nomads at traveller events in their own city. This option is definitely not for the faint-hearted or anxious type, although couchsurfing.com does incorporate a number of safety features into its process – you can contact hosts/travellers through the website’s internal messaging system, check if their address, mobile number or payment details have been verified and read reviews of them from other travellers and hosts.
Looking to get from A to B on the cheap? Check out to blablacar.com, a car-pooling website that allows you to ride-share with drivers heading to the same destination for a nominal fee.
If you’re struggling to find your way around a city make sure to load up Google Maps when you’re in some wifi, then if you turn on your phone GPS you’ll be able to see exactly where you are on your Maps, and the GPS tracker works when you’re long out of a patch of wifi as well.
Ciara Landy Food & LifeStyle Editor