Think outside the box for travel fun on a budget
Traveling is a priority for many people during the National Day holiday, and college students are no exception. But with landmarks swamped with tourists, and transportation and accommodation costs even higher during Golden Week, how to travel on a budget is a tricky question.
Earn on the trip
For some, asking their parents for travel money is outdated. Saving up on your own is the trend now. But what about earning money on the trip?
Chen Yirong, 22, a senior majoring in journalism at Shantou University, had a great idea to solve her budgeting problem.
Chen traveled from Shantou to Nanjing during the holiday. Before her departure, she offered to write an article about her trip for the school newspaper when she came back.
“I was paid for the story and the photos I submitted. Even if it’s just a small sum of money, it eases part of the pressure of financing the trip,” says Chen.
Another option is providing news stories to local newspapers. “One of my classmates took a bus from Shantou to Xiamen. After being stuck in traffic for several hours, she called a local newspaper to inform them of the situation and got 50 yuan as a reward,” says Chen.
Couchsurfing or camping
Instead of paying for an expensive hotel, you can try to score a free nights on someone’s couch. There are a number of websites to help pave the way, and you can offer couchsurfing opportunities in your dormitory as you travel and meet people on the way.
Zheng Xiao, 22, a senior majoring in law at Fudan University, found a couch in Wuhan, where he stayed for one night.
“I found the opportunity on cnsfk.com. It’s free and, more importantly, I can contact and stay with local hosts in their home. I chatted with them and got great advice on where to find traditional local food,” Zheng says.
As it’s still summer in southern China, students traveling there can bring a tent and ask farmers if they can camp on their land, or just camp on a beach in costal cities.
Jin Ji, 18, a freshman majoring in Chinese literature at Guangxi University, traveled to Beihai with two friends. “We rented a tent. It was really fun to sleep on the beach at night. You can listen to the waves and see the sunrise. It’s much cheaper than a hotel,” says Jin.
With train tickets not easily available and flights too expensive, bicycles are a popular method of transportation for many budget travelers.
“The bicycle is a tremendously efficient means of transportation. It’s small, light and maneuverable. In fact, cycling is more efficient than any other method of travel in such a popular season. You can avoid traffic jams in cities and reach rural areas without the noise and pollution from cars,” says Wu Xinxin, 20, a sophomore majoring in ideological and political education at Sichuan Normal University.
Wu rode from Chengdu to Mount Emei with five classmates. They started at 7 am and arrived at 4 pm. “We enjoyed the scenery along the way, took some photos and rested at noon. It wasn’t so tiring as we selected a route that we could finish in one day,” says Wu.