It’s 2 am and instead of sleeping, you’re up, scouring the internet, fantasising about your summer holiday.

You start looking at white-sand beaches in Bali or tapas restaurants in Barcelona only to realise hostel prices are way out of budget.   

As a student especially, money can be tight in summer as the final term's loan starts to wear thin. This isn’t necessarily the time to go all out. But being smart about money doesn’t mean you have to hibernate in your flat, watching Netflix all summer. 

What you can do is map out a budget for your summer travels, do research into the cheapest cities to visit, and get sightseeing! ✈️

Luckily, we’ve done the research part for you.  

Here are 7 of the most affordable cities for students to visit this summer 2023:

1. Krakow, Poland

Nestled in southern Poland, Krakow is a city that exudes charm and history. Spend the evening walking through the lively Kazimierz district, which is known for its nightlife and delicious street food. You can also visit Wieliczka Salt Mine, or if you want to go back in history to WWII, Auschwitz is only 1hr 10 outside the city. Be sure to check out free museum days in advance as there’s usually free entry on off-peak days for tourists.   

Average prices in Krakow:

  • Price of a beer: £1.50 - £3 GBP
  • Price for one person for a cheap meal: £4 - £8 GBP
  • Price for one person for a nice restaurant: £11 - £22 GBP
  • Price of a hostel: £8 - £22 GBP (per night)
  • Price of a train ticket: £1.50 - £7 GBP
  • Price of a bus ticket: £1 - £4 GBP

2. Hanoi, Vietnam

Hanoi, known as the ‘culture capital’ of Vietnam, is a vibrant city you can visit without leaving yourself out of pocket. Immerse yourself in the city's rich heritage by visiting the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum or the Temple of Literature. Don't miss out on the bustling street markets and enjoy some tasty Vietnamese cuisine 🙌. (We highly recommend Dong Xuan Market, located in Hanoi’s Old Quarter.)    

Average prices in Hanoi: 

  • Price of a beer: £0.40 - £1.20 GBP

  • Price for one person for a cheap meal: £1.50 - £4 GBP

  • Price for one person for a nice restaurant: £7 - £14 GBP

  • Price of a hostel: £4 - £15 GBP (per night)

  • Price of a train ticket: £7 - £22 GBP

  • Price of a bus ticket: £1 - £4 GBP

3. Sofia, Bulgaria

Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, is a city where history meets modern charm. Whether you visit the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral or opt for a leisurely stroll through the picturesque Borisova Gradina Park, there are free things to do all around. Enjoy the local cuisine at affordable restaurants and discover the city's vibrant arts scene. 🎨

Average prices in Sofia:  

  • Price of a beer: £0.70 - £1.50 GBP

  • Price for one person for a cheap meal: £4 - £6 GBP

  • Price for one person for a nice restaurant: £11 - £22 GBP

  • Price of a hostel: £8 - £30 GBP (per night)

  • Price of a train ticket: £4 - £15 GBP

  • Price of a bus ticket: £1 - £4 GBP

4. Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal's capital, is rich with colourful streets, history, and best of all—delicious local wines 🍷. Explore the cobbled alleys of Alfama and Bairro Alto, indulge in delicious pastéis de nata, and admire iconic landmarks like Belém Tower. There are also some great day trips from Lisbon to other parts of Portugal like Pena Palace in Sintra (entry £12), or the charming village of Obidos.    

Average prices in Lisbon:

  • Price of a beer: £1.50 - £3.50 GBP

  • Price for one person for a cheap meal: £5 - £9 GBP

  • Price for one person for a nice restaurant: £15 - £38 GBP

  • Price of a hostel: £11 - £29 GBP (per night)

  • Price of a train ticket: £4 - £22 GBP

  • Price of a bus ticket: £2 - £8 GBP

5. Chiang Mai, Thailand

Thailand may be a bit pricey to fly to from the UK (so, book in advance, and keep track of flight prices), but once you're there, your money will go far. If you're in search of some historical sightseeing, there are over 300 temples in Chiang Mai to visit, many of which are in the Old City. Or, if you’re looking to escape into nature, do some jungle trekking in Doi Inthanon Jungle located around an hour and a half from Chiang Mai. For nightlife, head to the Night Bazaar, a night market with street food, antiques, clothes, and more—£5 there can go a long way.  

Average prices in Chiang Mai: 

  • Price of a beer: £1.30 - £2.50 GBP

  • Price for one person for a cheap meal: £2 - £4 GBP

  • Price for one person for a nice restaurant: £6 - £15 GBP

  • Price of a hostel: £5 - £20 GBP (per night)

  • Price of a train ticket: £10 - £30 GBP (for regional routes within Thailand)

  • Price of a bus ticket: £1 - £10 GBP (for local or regional trips)

6. Bucharest, Romania

Bucharest, Romania's capital, is a city full of history and unique architecture. The Palace of Parliament is one of the world's largest buildings (second to the Pentagon)—definitely a sight worth seeing. Or head to Herastrau Park for a relaxing daytime stroll. And, of course, don't miss trying out local Romanian cuisine, whether that’s a traditional kebab or meatballs (vegetarians, beware—there are some veggie options, but Bucharest is very meat-heavy). 

Average prices in Bucharest:  

  • Price of a beer: £1.50 - £3 GBP

  • Price for one person for a cheap meal: £4 - £8 GBP

  • Price for one person for a nice restaurant: £11 - £22 GBP

  • Price of a hostel: £8 - £20 GBP (per night)

  • Price of a train ticket: £4 - £15 GBP

  • Price of a bus ticket: £1 - £4 GBP

7. Liverpool, UK 

While the UK may not be known for its affordability (looking at you, £8 pints in central London 🍺)...there are some cities that give you better bang for your buck. And Liverpool is one of them. Of course, Liverpool is best known for the Beatles, but there’s also a rich maritime history and a lovely waterfront to explore. Check out the historic Albert Dock or explore the exhibits at the World Museum (general admission is free!). 

Average prices in Liverpool: 

  • Price of a beer: £3.95 - £6 

  • Price for one person for a cheap meal: £7 - £14 

  • Price for one person for a nice restaurant: £22 - £60

  • Price of a hostel: £15 - £38 (per night)

  • Price of a train ticket: £15 - £80

  • Price of a bus ticket: £1.50 - £8

Remember: Travelling on a budget doesn't mean compromising on experiences. Do some research in advance, map out your finances, and enjoy this much-deserved time off. 🌞

For more tips on how to have a budget-friendly summer holiday, check out our blog below: 

If you're looking for some help managing your money, our app is almost here. We’re launching the first personal finance app for students, and it’s ready for pre-order on the app store now!

Resources: 

*Blackbullion doesn't take any responsibility; prices used as examples only.

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