It’s been a year since I returned from studying abroad in Europe, and I could still go on for days about how it was the best experience of my life. Studying abroad is great not only because you get to live somewhere new, but also because of the awesome opportunities to travel. But, of course, traveling and living abroad in general can be crazy expensive. So take it from me, a fellow #BrokeCollegeStudent, on how to get the most out of your time abroad without having to call Mom and Dad begging for backup.
1—Do Your Research in Advance. Even if you’re not thinking of traveling out of your host country for a little while, start to research ASAP. Look at different means of travel, different cities, and different accommodations. The earlier your research and book things, the more likely you are to find great deals. Spontaneity is for when you’re traveling, not for when you’re planning.
2—Embrace RyanAir. In theory, this crazy cheap airline should not exist. But it does. So if you’re traveling around Europe, welcome RyanAir, where you can get a flight from London to Athens for less than the cost of a new pair of jeans (I’m talking $15, cross-continental flights). Just be sure to check the baggage requirements because RyanAir only allows smaller-than-usual bags, and you don’t want to be facing $70 in oversized fees.
3—Don’t be afraid of hostels. I know that the idea of staying in a penthouse AirBnB in Paris is the dream, but it’s just not realistic for those of us on a budget. Hostels have a bad reputation, but good, and even great, ones exist, I promise. Again, just be sure to do your research and make sure you book your spot through the hostels’ website, not a third party booking system. Hostels can be as little as $10 a night, and you’ll barely be spending any time there anyway.
4—Skip public transportation. And Ubers, Lyft, etc. As any city dweller knows, public transportation adds up quick. Whenever possible, try to walk instead of ride. You’ll end up saving hundreds in the long run, and you’ll get to know a city much better when you explore it on your own two feet.
5—Tell everyone you’re a student. You work hard in college, so be sure to brag about it. Tons of places have students discounts or freebies like free historical walking tours or even free entry to iconic spots like the Louvre. If you’re studying in Europe, be sure to bring your international student ID because there are even more discounts for EU students.
6—Go to the events hosted by your university or program. I know these events may seem cheesy or boring, but trust me, these free events and trips are a great way to explore your home country. Also free.
What are your tips for balling out on a budget abroad? Let me know in the comments below!