Who doesn’t love travelling? The excitement that comes from exploring a city for the first time: wandering through the streets, meeting new people, and immersing yourself in a different culture or way of living is absolutely priceless.
With the summer vacation, winter break, spring break and various ‘reading weeks’, there are plenty of opportunities for students to travel! As students, the most common problem faced while planning a trip is having a limited budget.
However, being on a tight student budget doesn’t mean you can’t have an amazing holiday. In fact, it can make things even more fun, challenging you to hunt out the best bargains and live more like a local than a tourist.
Auguste Kakneviciute, a second-year Warwick Business School student, shows us exactly how travelling on a student budget should be! Auguste is a social butterfly, solo traveler, backpacker, ‘couchsurfer’, and pro traveller. She has been traveling by herself since she was 16, couchsurfing all around Europe and South East Asia.
We spoke to Auguste (who is making her way through Portugal at this very moment) to find out some of her most memorable travelling experiences and best travelling tips for students!
Auguste Kakneviciute in Budapest, Hungary
What is “Couchsurfing”?
Couchsurfing is the most badass hardcore budget traveling tool you can think of! It is when somebody agrees to host you for as short as one night or as long as couple of weeks. Essentially, it’s like AirBnb, you just don’t pay anything, but you end up spending time with hosts and their families, sharing experiences, cooking together, exploring and looking for adventures.
Why do you choose to Couchsurf instead of staying in an AirBnb or hostel?
Very simple, because it is just so much more amazing, yet challenging at the same time. You get to live with locals and experience THEIR way of living, see what values they cherish and how their days look. Hosts take you on day-trips, the most beautiful and unknown places, unique restaurants and hidden beaches. They share their traditions and daily rituals with you. Generally, hosts usually make sure that you have everything you need, and you feel like home. Moreover, you save a lot of money for that unique boat trip to the forgotten Portuguese island or that expensive Italian dessert, that you would normally not go for. (As a Business student, I always think about opportunity cost when spending my money haha)
View from Prince’s Palace, Monaco
Tell us a memorable story from your travels!
Okay, so this one summer I was hosted in a center of Barcelona by a group of young wild and free people. Sounds good, right? The only issue (for me at that time) was that they were living in a “skvot”. I dare you to google some images. Essentially, it’s an abandoned house that people live in illegally. I do not know how I survived a night full of psycho trance music and homeless cats. In the end, I was very happy because people there were nice, and I had an amazing (once in a lifetime, hopefully) experience. Generally, I have lots of memories, from cliff jumping in the Mediterranean Sea to sleeping on a bench in a harbor of Hong Kong. Catch me on campus – I will tell you way more!
Couchsurfing in Hong Kong.
How has meeting new people altered your ways of thinking?
The number one thing that I understood is that you are going to meet aaaaaaaaalll kinds of people in your life, both in your travels and business ventures, and it’s important to know how to get along with all of them: introverts, hyper actives, serious-type, dreamers, geeks, pessimists, philosophers, nomads, narcissists, naive youngsters and “old wolfs”. Through travelling, I have become way more confident in my communication and negotiation skills and ability to influence others in a positive way.
Hitchhiking in Frankfurt, Germany
Would you recommend Solo Travelling?
I get a lot of questions asking: Are you sure it’s safe? Are you afraid? Do you get lonely? What if you don’t find a host?
I guess solo-traveling is absolutely not for everyone, especially couchsurfing. Sometimes it’s hard to find a host, some days you are seriously lacking a personal space and some “alone time”, sometimes your perspectives on life differs completely from your host’s. That’s where the challenges come along. You have to be open-minded and flexible, take those experiences (sometimes weird and unusual) as lessons, as adding one more color to your life. For me solo traveling has been nothing but a wonderful adventure, full of discoveries, laughter, fun and caring people.
Some of your best tips for budget traveling?
Catch super-duper-turbo-extra cheap flights on skyscanner.net, pack light, don’t buy souvenirs, get a bottle of wine and drink it with the scenery rather than visiting fancy restaurant, ask for rides (nothing to lose, right?), couchsurf if you are badass enough and drink a lot of water – you will get less hungry haha
Must-have travel items?
For me it’s toothbrush and a wallet – I can survive without the rest 🙂
Where are you heading next?
Tonight, hopefully heading for a beautiful sunset in Lisbon haha! I have been couchsurfing all over Portugal for past few weeks. Next week I am heading to Palma de Mallorca and will stay in Dubai until the end of April.
Biking in Lisbon, Portugal
Feel free to follow me on instagram: augustekak! Or add me as a friend on couchsurfing.com: Augustė Kaknevičiūtė.