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Explorers on a Budget

With summer around the corner, we’ve rounded up the perfect guide for university students on a tight budget-just in time for your summer travels. Kim’s three-countries-in-two-weeks trip and Mehak’s honest travel problems both come with the tips and tricks you need to travel better and happier.


If you’re a travel enthusiast, you’ve probably drawn up your bucket list already. And if you’re one of us, who finds themselves easily enamoured by nature’s rolling hills and monumental buildings, then I bet Europe is on that list. Now imagine ticking off three places within just two weeks. Take it from me, it’s an adventure like no other.

Munich, Germany 

The German’s have a word, Sehnsucht (n). It vaguely describes a yearning of the heart, a feeling I had once I reached Munich, for my travels to come. Known for its cobbled streets and art scenes, the places I visited were free. 

  • The Nymphenburg Palace – ‘Castle of the Nymph’ 

With its symmetrical layout and triangular roofs, the history behind those doors will have you coming back for days. As a summer house for the Bavarian heir Max Emanuel, its French paintings and gigantic ballrooms will transport you to another era. 

Mehak’s Travel Tip #1: Airport Security

Regardless of how exhausting it is, it’s best to co-operate with the security guards. A willingness to be understanding will be appreciated so try not to look either anxious or irked; they’re trained to read your body language after all.

  • The Neuschwanstein Castle 

Famously known as the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang castle from the movie, it sits at the feet of the Alps. To visit, you’ll have to hike up, and yet, every step towards the castle will be worthwhile. The scenic view to the top was enchanting and one I’ll probably replay in my dreams. 

The trail that leads toward the castles, were straight out of a fairytale.
  • Dachau Concentration Camp

As Germany’s first concentration camp in 1933, the haunting area holds a lot of heartaches. The physical evidence of the brutality suffered is the kind of education no classroom can convey.

When you’re travelling within Europe, it’s best to catch a train rather than a flight which tends to be more expensive, and less scenic. For students, grab a 20% discount and pay €90.30 (AED386) for a three-county pass off Be sure to look out your window on the journey.

Always opt for the scenic route, this was from the train.

Mehak’s Travel Tip #2: Food

If you have extra cash around, then perhaps, fine dining is the way to go. But if you’re tight and you want to appreciate the city for everything it has to offer, it’s best to find little cafés and restaurants in hidden alleys, preferably away from the city centre, for authentic food in appropriate portions.

Zürich, Switzerland 

Home to the iconic Lindt chocolate and known for its culture, this city is the most liveable with its artsy and post-industrial vibes.  

  • Lake Zürich
Lake Zürich in all its blue beauty

Known for its banana-shape and bright glint, catch a boat and glide across for CHF33.53 (AED125). While it’s a little pricey, this is the best place to splurge for unparalleled views of the city and exhilarating watersports. The lake will also be warm enough to take a dip, around late August. 

Mehak’s Travel Tip #3: Language Barrier

Before your trip, try and learn some basics of the native language. While English may be considered universal, there will be those who won’t understand you completely. Learn a few simple sentences and common phrases to impress the locals; they’ll warm up to you quickly.

  • Uetliberg Plateau
Witness all of Uetliberg from this cable car for a bird’s eye view

For breath-taking panoramic views overlooking Zürich, enjoy the hike up and hover across at 870m (2850ft) in a cable car for just CHF10 (AED37).

  • FIFA World Football Museum

You’ll benefit from a student discount here too. Immerse yourself in all things football ahead of the World Cup 2018 for CHF18 (AED67).

Salzburg, Austria

Salzburg, Austria is all its splendour

Fun fact: Mozart used to live here, and the picturesque Sound of Music was shot here with Julie Andrews.

  • Hohensalzburg Fortress

As the emblem of the city, take a 15-minute walk up from the centre to this 900-year-old and well-preserved monument for free. It’s truly astonishing to stand inside.

Mehak’s Travel Tip #4: Exhaustion

Connecting flights or trains can make you feel both physically and mentally tired. To avoid it, try and take an energising nap the day before. You’ll feel more excited about your upcoming trip! 

  • Lake Wolfgang  
Lake Wolfgang with its waves crashing and surfing

If you’re a thalassophile (lover of the sea) like I am, you’ll adore and appreciate the beauty of this glacial Lake. With two amusement parks and a luge nearby, there’s plenty to do. You can even ride across the lake for just €5 (AED21).

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