I have some simple advice:
Pack your bags and go!
Once on a flight back home to Greece I was chatting with a fellow Greek about life in the UK. I had only been in the UK for 2 months and everything was a bit overwhelming. However, 10 years later, what he told me that day has still stuck with me. He told me to travel and explore Europe. He said we were lucky to be so close to so many beautiful countries with an abundance of low cost travel options. His advice could not have been truer and today I am giving you the same advice. Travel and explore!
You might be thinking, “Yeah great but I can’t. I don’t have the money or the time and I don’t really want to go alone.” I hear you. I was in the same position and for two years of university I did not travel. In my university holidays I’d end up going back home to Greece to work and see my family. Then I would spend the money on clothes or the latest phone. Now I can say I regret it. As a student I had the time and opportunity over the University breaks to explore on the cheap. Yet I worked to pay for things that I really didn’t need.
My advice to all you students out there? Go and travel! It is cheaper than it has ever been and you can make friends along the way. Europe is a pretty safe place to travel whether you are alone or with friends. Most of the countries are in the EU and there is a common currency and English is widely spoken too. Plus Islam is widely accepted even in countries like Greece. There might not be a proper mosque but people are hospitable and friendly.
Allah SWT created this world for us to enjoy and to get to know one other, so what are we doing living most of our lives in one country and not venturing out of the 20 miles radius of our homes? No excuse for not travelling in today’s world.
As a student you have more time to travel now than when you graduate and get a job or even get married and have children. Yes you might not have a big bank balance but within today’s economy you might not even need it. There are plenty of cheap ways to explore Europe without breaking the bank.
Social media is in our lives to stay and we can see the daily effects of this. We might have friends all over the world virtually, yet never visit them in person. Trust me there is nothing better than talking to these friends in real life. I have done it and I recommend the same.
Social media is a great tool to help you plan your trip around Europe. You can find friends or even common friends in the countries you can visit. You can ask them for directions, things to do, the local mosque or halal food options, you can even ask them to be your tour guide for the day.
The majority of them will be more than happy to show you around their own town and also meet you in person. You’ll essentially have a private tour guide, be introduced to new cultures and enrich your life with travel experiences and skills that can help you later in your career.
Low-Cost Travel Options
If you are the adventurous type then you have plenty of cheap options to cross the channel and get into Europe. Ryanair flies to pretty much any airport in Europe with flights starting at £9 you can’t really go wrong. It is Europe’s largest low-cost airline and it does what it says on the tin. It takes you from A to B without hassle. Just make sure you read the regulations with regards to baggage allowance.
Thinking Ryanair is expensive? Then why don’t you check Teravision coaches that take you to Paris, Brussels, and Amsterdam for under £5. They have some great deals and I have seen prices as low as a £1 one way. Yes, it does take a little longer to travel, but you will be able to enjoy some beautiful scenery on the way too.
We are extremely lucky that despite the fact that Europe is a pretty small continent, it’s extremely diverse. Countries are within easy reach and we can hop on trains and explore some amazing places. Trains might be quite expensive in the UK but this is not the case for many European countries, especially Eastern Europe. There, trains are considered a cheap method of transportation and considering how close some of the countries are it is an easy way to explore them.
Train travel through the Alps and Eastern Europe is truly breathtaking and I wish I had taken more train travel whilst a student. It doesn’t cost a fortune as a student and you can take advantage of the Interail pass for only £150. You can hop on and off trains for a whole month around Europe. Talk about a bargain!
I hear you, accommodation is not cheap, but there are some amazing options out there for students and people on a tight budget. Did you know you can have a free couch in someone’s home? Yes, even this is possible.
Here are many budget-friendly Accommodation options:
Couchsurfing is an option for people who would like to experience a new way to travel and meet locals. Basically, locals let you stay on their couch for a few nights while you explore the city. It is free and you can even make new friends. It doesn’t have to be a couch per se it can even be a free room for a night.
Airbnb: Another option if you want to save cash is Airbnb, a sharing economy driven site that lets people with spare rooms or flats rent them to others for a fee. You can find some amazing deals on Airbnb for rooms starting at as little as £10 per night.
Hostels are another option and since there are segregated dorms you don’t have to worry about mixing. You can find some really fun hostels around Europe and they are great and cheap alternatives to hotels. You can find hostels on hostelworld.com, generators.com, YHA hostels, which I have personally used as a student and they were very nice.
Budget hotels: There are also plenty of cheap hotels such as Ibis and Ibis budget from Accor hotels in Europe where you can have a hotel room for £20 a night. They have many deals and sales throughout the year to make this a very affordable trip with a little planning. If two or three people are travelling together you can all stay in one of the Ibis Styles, they have bunk beds to accommodate families, and it will cost you £10 each per night.
While in the city you can use the public transport to travel and in some countries in Scandinavia and the Netherlands you can even rent bikes. It is a great way to explore the city on a limited budget as well as blend in with the locals.
Today we have so many options of travelling and connecting with others that it will be definitely a wasted opportunity not to do so. Travel is sunnah and it is a great way to explore other nations after all my favourite verse is:
“… and We have made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. “ THE HOLY QURAN 49:13