Whether you’ve been looking forward to the summer break or not wanting the uni year to end, you need to make the most of your time off.
There are plenty of different ways to do this, and it totally depends on what you want. Maybe your main priority is chilling out and doing mostly nothing apart from a bit of Netflix and/or reading. But you will probably need to get out of the house and stretch your legs every once in a while.
If you have some part-time work lined up, that’s great, because it’ll keep you occupied and make you much more cash-rich, but if you don’t want to spend any of your summer grafting, that’s fair enough! Whatever suits you and your plans.
So how can you enjoy your summer without spending loads of money?
Here are some suggestions from us!
Take Advantage of Classic Fun Activities
We thought we’d get the obvious one out of the way first, but hopefully this still gives you a bit of inspiration and food for thought:
The cinema - Get yourself to the pictures on a weekday before lunchtime, and you should find that your ticket costs less than a fiver. Maybe less if you use Meerkat Movies. Now, you might be thinking this is hardly a way to make the most of summertime, but let’s be honest: the weather isn’t exactly reliable here in Britain. Pick a rainy (or just a plain old gloomy) day, treat yourself to some nachos, a big buttery bag of popcorn and a gallon-sized Pepsi - and you’re laughing.
Bowling - Another great rainy-day option, or just a few hours of fun full stop.
Local museums and art galleries - If you’re lucky enough to live in or close to a big city, head in and see what the museums and galleries have got going on. Maybe there’s a limited-time exhibition on that’s worth checking out, or perhaps you just haven’t been in years and want to kill a few hours. With any luck, admission will be free anyway, but if not, you should be able to use your student discount.
Zoos and aquariums - These tend to be a little more expensive than the other activities listed above, but they can be worth it if you pick a good one. Again, remember to take some student ID with you and you should save around 20% on admission.
Book a Last-Minute Holiday (or a ‘Staycation’)
Got a destination in mind and a rough idea of when you want to go? Try booking it just a few days before. Hopefully you’ll have a few different date-ranges that are convenient, so there might be some trial and error involved, but you should be able to save big with a bit of luck and patience.
Don’t quite have the budget for a trip abroad? Take a look at some UK destinations such as Cornwall, Devon, the Welsh coast or somewhere similar (or, if you’re an international student, somewhere equally lovely in your home country). You might be surprised at how enjoyable a staycation can be, and if you have a car, the country is your oyster.
Some great staycation options:
Camping - Most campsites charge somewhere between £5 and £20 per night... And if you already have a tent or can borrow one, great, but if not, a £50 tent will more than do!
Glamping - If you want a slightly more comfortable experience, hire out a camping pod or a small cabin.
Large group holiday - The more of you there are, the cheaper the holiday will be for each of you. For example, if you and seven friends were to hire out a luxurious lodge at a total cost of £1,000 for a whole week, you’d only be paying £125 each. Add another £50 each for petrol and a humongous food-shop, and there’s your week away sorted.
You get the idea. Do a bit of googling and see what you can find.
Visit Your New Uni Friends
Chances are you’ve become friendly with people from different parts of the UK during your time at uni so far. Maybe even further afield.
Why not see if they fancy a visitor for a few days over the summer? Got a new pal in Edinburgh and never been? Now’s your chance to go, with a local tour guide for company, and hopefully some free accommodation!
You can reciprocate the favour, too. Bring them to your home city and show them round. Or if you don’t live near a city, offer them a nice break in the countryside!
Remember That ‘Outdoors Is Free’
Okay, so being in the outdoors is free, but walking boots, equipment and transport aren’t. We get that.
But you probably already have the stuff you need, or can borrow it. Either way, exploring the outdoors is one of the cheapest days out possible - and one of the most rewarding. If the weather is nice enough (i.e. not wet), you won’t even need a pair of walking boots - a trusty or battered pair of comfy trainers will do absolutely fine.
Not everyone lives within easy reach of the countryside, of course, but no matter where you live in the UK, you’ll never be that far from some green scenery, whether it’s a wooded area, a national park or a full-on mountain range. Just hop on the train or get in the car (or rent a tiny car for something like £20 per day!), and you’ll be out there inhaling the fresh air in no time. It may seem like a bit of a faff beforehand, but like many things, it’s worth the effort.
Whatever You Do, Enjoy Yourself
You may already realise this, but your summers during uni will probably be the last proper summer breaks you’ll have for a long time. Once you leave full-time study and enter the world of work, you’ll have to make do with your appointed annual leave of 20-odd days plus bank holidays (and, if you’re lucky, some extra time off at Christmas).
That’s not meant to put a dampener on things for you. Quite the opposite! We just want to make sure you appreciate the summer break for what it is: an opportunity to do your own things at your own pace.
Now get out there and make the most of it!