Studying abroad isn’t easy and requires you to have some funds. Living in any foreign country or city make us spend more than if we were living in our little old college towns, and when you add in the costs of tourist attractions and travel, you’re looking at one sad wallet. Fortunately, not every study abroad experience has to break the bank. Whether you’re dealing with yen, Euros or pounds, you can conserve some cash by taking advantage of these tricks.
How to save money on travel and trips when studying abroad
Flights And Hostels
Fly on low-cost carriers. When you do finally choose the destination for a weekend trip, make sure you get there in the most cost-effective way possible. There are plenty of low-price options when it comes to travel, and while some might not be as efficient as pricier modes of transport.
If you’re studying abroad in Europe there are low-cost carriers like EasyJet or Ryanair (or Aer Lingus, Flybe, WizzAir, etc.) that you can use. There are definitely some drawbacks – lack of space, outrageous overweight-baggage fees, inconvenient airport locations – but what matters at the end is that you save money. The money you save by flying on low cost carries far outweighs just about every negative you can think of. You can book right on their websites, but I suggest going through Vayama since they specialize in searching for cheap flights on multiple budget airlines.
Avoid Hotels and stay in Hostels. Hostels which sometimes are called hotels for student travelers are cheap, and they usually provide everything you need: bed, sheets, a locker, and some sort of breakfast. While you can still crash on a metal bunk bed in an 18 person room for $10 a night, many hostels are actually on the verge of hotel quality. I always booked through Hostelworld and they never let me down.
Master Public Transportation
As much as we all might dream about skipping the crowded subway and opting for taxi rides instead, it just isn’t financially feasible when you’re navigating your way through a city day-in and day-out. Many study abroad programs provide students with subway passes and a stipend—use them! The key is to buy in bulk; if you take the subway every day, you’ll be better off buying a month-long or week-long pass than you would be if you stuck with single tickets since the month- and week-long passes tend to be cheaper.
Unfortunately, subways usually aren’t open 24/7, which means that late nights out might leave us tempted to cab it home. While a cab ride every once in a while won’t hurt, you can avoid the cost by looking into other less common modes of transport.
Elise Auger, a junior at Skidmore College, says “The best thing I ever did for myself in Paris was getting a Velib pass [which allows users to borrow bikes throughout the city],” she explains. “I’ve definitely saved at least a hundred Euros at this point by never taking cabs home at night.”
Utilize travel apps on your iPhone
The smartphone makes our lives much more convenient. This includes travel and using some of the hundreds of travel apps offered, you could probably make out pretty well carrying only your phone and a credit card. Keep in mind that many apps not only make your travel experience more convenient, they can also help you save money. Here are a few helpful apps you should use when you studying abroad:
Skype: Free calls to anyone anywhere who also has Skype
Where: Finds the best local spots to eat, drink, and sleep, and keeps you in the loop on deals from local businesses.
WiFi Finder: Download an offline WiFi Finder in advance so that you can find the closest free hotspot anywhere in the world.
KAYAK: It’s pretty simple – search for the best price on low cost flights, hotels and car rentals.
And for more.
Plan and stick to a travel budget
Sticking to a budget comes up a lot when you’re talking about saving money. You could start with the total amount of money you are willing to spend on each trip, booked flights and hostels, then split up whatever was leftover into categories like food, transportation, the occasional souvenir, etc.
There are a ton of ways to save money, ranging from the more desperate – sleeping on a friends floor, to the more practical – not buying souvenirs that are bound to become dust collectors. While it can be one of the most expensive parts of studying abroad, it can also be a place where you save a ton of money.
Use Your Student ID Card
There’s no better study (abroad) buddy than your student ID, which can earn you a student discount or even free entry to museums and tourist attractions in your host country or across the continent.
Your ISIC can be used as an official form of student identification all over the world. Not only is it possible to get a discount, but you might also get in for free.
Hunt for Deals
The studying abroad experience is all about getting to know your host city, culture, and people. In order to do that, you have to spend more money.
To avoid that you could look online for deals and steals in your area via sites like Groupon and LivingSocial, both of which have international components.
These secrets to saving money will save you hundreds that you can later spend on more travel, more food, more souvenirs, more anything you want. Make the most of the moment!
Check out other useful tips to help you save money for traveling.