College students looking to experience life in a new city often decide to spend a semester studying abroad. Universities, especially Tulane, offer many programs in various countries across multiple continents, allowing students to explore classes and cultures suited to their interests. But once you arrive in a new place, the travel bug hits. Weekends are spent traveling to different cities to see what the new geography has to offer. Yet, while traveling to new places and spending four months in a new location, you will inevitably incur some costs. Travelers and students alike are always looking for methods to save money, so here are some tips I’ve learned on how to conserve money while traveling abroad!
1. Do Plenty of Research
Often, the most convenient or the quickest way to get somewhere is not the cheapest. Though Google may toss it out as the top search result, if you search deep enough there is often a less expensive means of traveling to a nearby city. For example, in Greece, a ferry ride from the Islands to Athens may seem like the cheapest option, yet an exploratory Google search for budget airlines revealed cheap flights at a fraction of the cost of the ferry! Efficient research on your travel destination will give you many more options to choose from.
2. Stay in Hostels
If most of your travel experience comes from family vacations, then you are probably used to staying in hotels with private rooms. Staying in hostels rather than hotels is an essential way to save money when visiting a new city. The environment is much more social than a hotel and lends itself to meeting new people, which is a bonus whether you’re traveling alone or with friends. Resources like hostelworld.com make it very easy to scan your options. It has user reviews to rely on in order to ensure that you get what you pay for. If you’re looking for even cheaper accommodations, couchsurfing.com is another tool that links travelers with hosts across the globe looking for cultural exchanges. Definitely do your research by reading user reviews and ratings and only stay with verified hosts!
3. Grocery Store Picnics
Eating out for meals while you’re abroad is tempting, but it can also get expensive. However, I’ve found that grocery stores abroad, especially in Europe, are stocked with fresh produce and prepared foods that are much cheaper than in the United States. Buying food from a grocery store grants you the freedom to eat your meal anywhere you’d like, whether it be outdoors or on the go. Finding a local grocery store and picking up a few items to get you through the weekend is a satisfying way to save money while spending time outside eating your quick-fix meal.
4. Student Perks
Pro tip: always carry your student ID card! So many tourist attractions and museums offer discounted tickets for students with a valid ID. On that same note, a lot of museums are free on certain days of the week, so keep your eye out for those deals!
These ideas are just a few methods I’ve seen that allow people to successfully travel within their budget. Students often assume that traveling abroad requires spending a lot of money to do or see the things they want. But if you are mindful of the little ways you can save, many more opportunities become possible.
COVER PHOTO: Emma Vaughters