Save Money While Abroad: 7 Tips

By Ian Acosta on April 21, 2017

College is expensive. For many of us, this isn’t a new revelation. Traveling and studying abroad can also be quite a price to pay as well. Besides seeking out scholarships, grants, and other forms of endowment there are not many other ways to be extremely frugal, especially when traveling the world.

Here are a few strategies to save a couple pounds or euros when you travel abroad.


For those who did not know about certain scholarships exclusive to traveling abroad, now you do! Reach out to your campus’ career services office or study abroad office for some more information on these various scholarships and tuition discounts for studying abroad. Many colleges and advisors actually encourage students to go abroad and apply for these scholarships so that the money does not go to waste. They literally want you to go out and explore the world and build your resume. Take advantage of it!

Create a budget

For many a college student, money is not as well kept track of as it probably could be. Therefore, to actually save money, create a budget. Forecast your expenses of what you will incur through traveling, food, sightseeing, going out, and rent (possibly), and remember your plane ticket to and from home!

Planning out a budget will give you guidelines you can hold yourself to and, thus, be more mindful of. Budgeting is something everyone should be doing but either people feel intimidated by it or are too lazy to do so. Break the stigma around it and look up some budgeting tips and tricks if you are truly that hesitant to do it. After all, money is key when it comes to traveling across countries.


A little research can go a long way. Research how much your flights and hostel stays will run you. In addition, look on sites such as TripWatcher, TripAdvisor, and Expedia. Also, use resources such as classmates or other friends who have traveled abroad in the past. Learn from them where they booked their trips through, where they stayed, and any good places to eat.

Speaking of, research local shops, restaurants, malls, and landmarks. Have an idea in your mind of what places to visit, eat, and where to go out. Additionally, see if there are any deals you can snag to help save money wherever possible. If you will be staying with a host family, research the area around where you will be staying.

Talk to others who have stayed with that host family to see how a typical day was, i.e. when to get up, typical schedule, and, more importantly, if meals were provided. Food costs can add up very quickly if not planned for properly, so keep that factor in mind when going abroad.

Have some flexibility

Having a looser travel plan will more often than not let you get some cheaper deals on average. It is best to plan out the type of trip you will be taking rather than where to go. For those studying abroad and applying to a particular program, this may be tougher to do. For those who are just traveling abroad to see the world, the idea here is to have an idea of what trip you want to take, i.e. be flexible on the location. The more flexible you can be on both location and travel dates, the more likely you will be to find some deals and save some money.

Utilize student discounts when possible

There are discounts for student travelers in pretty much every country for things such as museums, historical sites, certain restaurants, and parks. Additionally, purchase an International Student Identity Card. This card helps you score discounts at numerous places across the world. The IDs can get you discounts at hotels, restaurants, tours, parks, landmarks, and more. Register for one of these and you will be saving money in no time.

Travel with a group

Everyone should know about volume discounts. The more you buy, the more of a discount you receive. The same goes with traveling abroad and planning a trip. The more people you get to go on said trip, the less it will cost you all. Ideally, get a group of friends to travel abroad and see the world with you whether through a study abroad program or otherwise. If not, tell a friend to tell a classmate or family member or other friends to see if they would be interested in traveling.

Consider other ways of travel

Planes are not the be-all-end-all of traveling. In fact, avoid them as much as possible. Airfare is one of the priciest ways to see the world and travel between countries. If your itinerary calls for cross-country traveling, consider taking a train across the country or even renting a car. Do whatever possible to avoid the sticker shock that comes with airfare.

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