Travelling tips

Save money while travelling this break

A plane departs out of the Calgary International Airport in Calgary, Alberta on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016.  (Photo by Victoria Cockriell/The Press)

A plane departs out of the Calgary International Airport in Calgary, Alberta on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016. (Photo by Victoria Cockriell/SAIT)

Students usually don’t have a lot of extra cash to spend on travelling, but the lucky few who do get to go home for the holidays or travel abroad, often wonder how to save money while travelling on a tight budget. 

Many airlines now charge for checked bags, but a couple of ways to avoid high fees are to pack lightly and to take advantage of the free carry-on items allowed on a flight.

Bringing textbooks home for the break can be tempting if you’re trying to be productive. Instead, reduce suitcase weight by photocopying relevant chapters and leaving the big books behind.

Signing up for a WestJet or Air Canada loyalty program, or for one of their credit cards, generally comes with the perk of one free checked bag per flight. This will save you about $50 for a roundtrip flight.

Another way to save on fees is to check the baggage fee information when booking a flight. One flight might cost $340 and the other $360, but by investigating further, you may find that the more expensive flight ends up being the more cost efficient of the two flights due to lower baggage fees. 

When booking a ticket, use multiple search engines. Some great platforms out there include Momondo, Google Flights, ITA matrix, Skyscanner, Kayak and TripAdvisor.

TD Aeroplan, RBC WestJet, and RBC Avion credit cards also offer free checked bags with the card. Another bonus that these credit cards offer are frequent travel miles, which can be used towards your next trip.

Student flight discount companies such as STA travel and Student Universe can sometimes be cheaper than search engines, but not always, so don’t rely solely on them for cheap deals.

Flying can be a stressful and an immune-threatening experience for a lot of people.

Dr. Katelyn Murdy is a naturopath practicing in Calgary and has some tips on staying relaxed and healthy while flying.  

“Airplanes and airports are germ hubs,” said Murdy.

“Make sure to stay properly hydrated and take an immune support like vitamin C and D, or a herbal blend that supports the immune system.”

Murdy’s other trick for staying healthy and relaxed while travelling is more outside the box.

“Essential oils are key to my flight experience. I usually bring one for relaxation and one for immunity like a eucalyptus blend,” said Murdy.

There are a lot of good reasons to travel over winter break if finances allow.

Travelling abroad can increase your learning beyond the classroom, and provide a broader education for you.

Studying abroad is also possible over the winter break, with short courses made available to some students and volunteer opportunities are always a possibility.

If flying isn’t an option, take advantage of the free time to explore the country, have some fun and learn something along the way.

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