How Not To Go Broke Abroad

Rachel Thompson
April 9, 2014

Travel is full of all sorts of delights. Looking at your credit card statement after a trip, however, isn’t one of them. While some of the expense of travel is unavoidable, there are a few easy ways to cut costs during weekend trips:

1) Shop around and book early

Reserve your flights well in advance to ensure you get the lowest price possible. Websites like can help you compare airline prices all in one place. When you shop for flights, open a private browser window or clear your computer’s history, since some websites monitor your activity and may increase prices if you check back more than once.

2) Pack lightly

Some low cost airlines won’t accept larger carry-ons and will charge you for checking your bag. Try to take only a backpack or small carry-on to ensure you won’t have issues. If you need more space, go online before your trip and check the dimensions your airline accepts for carry-0ns.

3) Two words: public transportation

Cab rides to and from the airport can get pricey, but most cities have public transportation to take you from the airport to city center for a fraction of the cost. In Barcelona, for example, travelers can take the Renfe train from the airport to a number of metro stations within the city using a regular metro ticket. For late or early morning flights, a night bus shuttles passengers to and from the airport. Do your research beforehand to figure out the easiest and cheapest way to get where you’re going.

4) Grocery shop

Eating out on weekend trips can get expensive. Try bringing along a few small snacks, like granola bars or fruit. Buying a few basics like bread and peanut butter from a local grocery store can cut down on meal costs, meaning you have more to spend on the meals you do enjoy out. Many hostels also have kitchens, so if you feel like putting your culinary skills to use, try buying pasta and tomato sauce or something easy to make and cooking dinner in.

5) Pull the student card

Don’t forget your student I.D! Many museums and attractions offer a reduced price for students (and may only give it to you if you’ve got your I.D. handy. I learned this the hard way.)

6) Walk the Walk

A lot of cities have free walking tours, which help travelers orient themselves and see the main attractions without spending money on a bus tour (tips are expected at the end.) Ask your hotel or hostel if the city you’re visiting has one, or do some research online before your trip. A walking tour makes it easier to decide which sights or attractions you’d like to go back to during your trip and helps you familiarize yourself with the city.

7) Take it all in

There are going to be things you won’t want to miss, whether it’s a signature local specialty, a museum or a souvenir to remind you of a city you loved. Save what you can, then enjoy what you spend! New experiences in unfamiliar cities are worth the money.


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Rachel Thompson

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Hi there! I&#39;m a California native studying journalism in one of the coolest cities in the world, at The University of Texas at Austin. I&#39;m a fan of chocolate, watching sports (go Giants), nice people, anything vintage and pretty much all music. I write as much as I can, whether it&#39;s a news article, a blog, or just a journal entry. When I&#39;m not writing, I love to run, try new recipes in my little kitchen, take dance classes and catch up with friends. My goal is to see every continent someday. I&#39;m getting there!</span></p>

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