By Breanna Marsolais
Staying on budget can be difficult, and students seem to struggle with this more than others.
When traveling, especially to somewhere new and exciting, this can prove to be more difficult,
but it is also even more important.
Running out of money in a foreign place can be a dangerous thing. That’s why the first step to
traveling abroad on a budget is setting a reasonable budget. Using all of your funds would be
unwise, because as much as life seems on hold while away, it isn’t. It wouldn’t be smart to return
home without any money, and to have a huge stack of bills waiting. After the travel and lodging
expenses themselves, start out by determining how much money will be needed for food, and
how much your can’t miss activities will cost. Then account for souvenirs. It’s always best to
have a little extra, just in case.
As for those souvenirs, unless friends and family members have asked for specific things, stick
with the basics. Sure, a keychain or a T-shirt aren’t the most exciting gifts in the world, but
people are usually grateful for anything from a place they weren’t able to visit themselves. As for
you travelers, souvenirs will never take the place of the memories made when exploring
somewhere new. You don’t want to spend all of your money on things that you’ll just set aside
once you get home, and potentially miss out on some once in a lifetime memories.
Another way to stay on budget while traveling abroad is to avoid eating at restaurants for every
meal. If you have access to a kitchen, great. You’ve saved yourself a lot of money right there. If
you don’t, try finding picnic-style foods at grocery stores that you can eat on the go, or keep in
your room. While it’s nice to try new cuisines, there’s no need to do so for every meal. Your
pants will thank you for it too.
If your travels are school-related, like a summer course or a semester abroad, look into
scholarships and that you may be eligible for. It’s best to look into this right away. Every little bit
helps when you’re traveling, and students can typically use all the help they can get. If you think
you might not be able to take advantage of one of these programs because of a lack of funds, you
might be surprised by how much help you can find.
Be smart with your money. Don’t get too caught up in your vacation mentality; act as rationally
as you would back home. Think through every purchase, and don’t forget about the exchange
rate. This is what traveling abroad on a budget comes down to.