7 Pro Tips for Saving Money When Traveling Abroad
It's officially that time of year when it seems as though everyone from your friends to your favorite influencers are off on some great summer travel extravaganza abroad—an extravaganza that looks like it probably costs more than your whole college education.
But if you're on a budget, that doesn't mean you can't still have the trip of your dreams! You don't need to wait a decade until you've saved up enough cash, either. All it takes is some decent planning to travel abroad without breaking the bank, and we've got some money-saving tips to help you out when it comes to doing just that, below!
1. Understand the Cost of Things In Your Desired Destination
Before you even book your flight, you'll want to take into account the actual cost of the place you're booking that flight to. Going abroad to some countries in places like South America or Asia where the U.S. dollar is worth more can get you further once you're there (although the flight price might make up the difference), but that doesn't mean you have to give up on your dream of a week in Paris, Italy or another European hotspot. It just means you need to be a little realistic, and plan the number of days you'll be there accordingly.
Also read about: The Top Places to Travel to in Europe
2. Book Your Flight in Advance
You'll have a tough time booking a flight you can afford (especially if you're thinking of going somewhere like London or Paris) if you try to do it just a few weeks ahead of time. A better idea is to book as far in advance as you can, particularly if you're planning to go during peak tourist times like in the summer. If your schedule will allow, try to go sometime in September or another slightly off-peak month when the weather in your destination isn't terrible, but the flights will save you hundreds compared to the peak travel times.
When it comes to saving cash on flights, you'll also want to consider student-friendly booking sites as well as follow our number one tip—fly economy. You can also fly without a checked bag if you're able so that you can save space and money.
3. Set Yourself a Daily Budget
Whether it's a budget of $30 or $300 a day (in local currency of course) depending on what you can afford, having a daily base level budget of what you expect to spend can help you stay on track and prevent any splurges that leave you strapped for cash by the end of your trip. Remember that it's a rough budget though, so if you spend a little under one day you can spend some more another day and vice versa, that way, you can still make the most of your time abroad.
Also read about: 5 of the Best Cities to Study Abroad In
4. Walk or Take Public Transport as Often as Possible
Sure, taking an Uber or local taxi can seem tempting to get you where you're going faster (and it's certainly still a good idea if you're ever in a pinch for time or feel unsafe walking in a certain area), but the beauty of being abroad is soaking in the sights by walking and experiencing a bit of life the way the locals live it by taking public transport. Honestly, it's a great way to travel even if you aren't trying to save money, but that is one of the greatest benefits of it. Just make sure to download some handy apps like Citymapper and have your Apple or Google Maps handy to help you get from Point A to Point B without too many mistaken turns along the way.
5. Eat Like a Local
If having one nice dinner at a restaurant you simply must see is part of your bucket list for your destination, absolutely go for it—just remember to put that in your budget. But otherwise, try to eat the way a local might: a few nicer dinners at non-tourist trap restaurants around town mixed with some takeaway meals you grab from a nearby bakery or shop (you'd be surprised at how good a fast-casual meal can be in some countries abroad) and try to eat some breakfasts at home or keep snack bars on you when you're out and about to prevent any splurging due to hanger.
Pro tip: a lot of countries will charge you different amounts depending on whether you get your food "for here" or "takeaway," and it's always cheaper if you get it takeaway style. Plus, you can always take your meal to a nearby park or monument to eat with a view that's much sweeter than the shop you started at anyway.
6. Use Your Student ID If You Have One
A ton of world-famous museums and monuments will let you get in for a reduced rate (if not free) if you have a valid student ID, so be sure to keep yours on you at all times just in case. When in doubt, it's always worth asking for a student or youth discount when you're purchasing your ticket.
Also read about: 4 Ways to Travel Abroad When You're Young
7. Stay Central, But Don't Worry About Staying in Style
Sure, it would be nice to book the nicest 4-star hotel in the city for your entire stay, but if you can afford that, you probably wouldn't be reading this list anyway. The key to saving money on your accommodation while abroad is to weigh how much you value being close to everything vs. how much you value having a decent space or room to yourself. There are usually some good hostels or Airbnbs in the central zones of most cities abroad, and you can save even more if you're splitting with people you know who are going with you. But if you value having more space or even a nicer space, you might have to go further away and travel to the center of the city to save cash and stay on budget. Do whatever is best for you, but choose wisely—chances are you'll probably barely be at your accommodation anyway during your trip since you'll be so busy exploring!
Still not sure about how you'll be able to go to your dream spot when you're still this young? Studying abroad is always a great option that could even come with some sweet scholarships! Click HERE to check out our list of reasons to study abroad ASAP.