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Planning your trip home

Vee Venski Student Life

Christmas is almost here and it means many students will go back home to their families to celebrate this great event together. Of course, I’m no exception and I’m planning to fly back home to Belarus as well. Lucky for me my trip does not take too long, on average a little more than 24 hours including flights, busses and connection periods.

 

What do I do first before my trip? 

It is very important to plan ahead, especially when it comes to travelling. 

Before I start sketching up my trip, I make sure that I’ve finished most of my coursework and preparation for the exams as it is highly unlikely that I will do much of studies when my best friends and family are around, therefore, it is very important to take little extra time to create your own learning schedule which will suit yourself and your relatives.

How do I get the best prices?

To be honest this process is fairly simple on one hand. The general rule is 'the earlier you buy tickets cheaper it will be'. If you’re travelling back home like me by plane, then try to book the flight 2-3 months in advance. This will drop the prices significantly. Also, the low costs like Ryanair, Wizz Air, EasyJet, Air France-KLM and many others will make the offer even more attractive. On the other hand, I purchased my tickets 3 weeks in advance (reason being I wasn’t sure when is my exams start exactly). Therefore, due to this uncertainty I was unable to buy tickets in advance, as the exams timetable appeared only 2 weeks before the end of semester. 

However, you still will be able to save money on your one-way flight as you know well in advance when your semester ends. 

So, literally you can fly back home for as little as £40 - £70 one-way.

Useful links: (I personally always use these companies)

Helps to build detailed plan of your journey, very useful and makes your life so much easier. However, it detailed plan can be created to UK destinations only. 

Does the trip affects my student loan or Budget?

To start with, I do not have a student loan as I’m an international student from outside of European Union. So, I have to rely on my personal finance and plan well in advance. I’m very careful with my money and the way I manage it. My advice to you would be “Always have an emergency fund” this will help you to prepare for unexpected issues which are quite frequently appear in our lives. 

Also, the famous journal ‘Forbes’ suggests to use simple and yet very effective rule 50-20-30. 

This rule advises you use 50% of your earnings towards your living expenses such as rent, food, bills etc. 20% of your income should go towards your financial goals and savings or alternatively it can be used to cover the overdraft on your cards as you still pay interest on these. The last 30% can be used for flexible spending thus something you’re not necessary need: movies, clubs etc. If you follow this rule you can sleep well and be confident that you have enough money for the worst-case scenario.

Is travelling stressful?

Personally, I find this process stressful and challenging. The reasons for that are long journeys, unexpected issues such as delays of a bus or train and the jet lag. As I mentioned earlier, my whole journey takes on average, just over 24 hours. However, a direct flight from London to Minsk takes only 3.5 hours. Therefore, all this time in between I spend on a coach or at a coach station. By the end of a trip I barely look alive hahahah.

How often do I go back home?

I’m very lucky, usually I go back home twice a year thanks to my family. Once at Christmas and once during the summer. Some of my friends fly back home as often as 4 to 5 times a year, I guess they do miss their families. However, I’ve known people who just been studying 3-4 years in UK without going back home even once. 

The bottom line

Thank you guys for reading this article. The most important point you need to take from this piece is to make sure you always plan your journeys. Last year I hadn't done much preparation and spent 3 days trying to get back home. It was a terrible experience, make sure you do not repeat my mistakes! 

Take care, have a safe trip back home and see you in 2018!

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