Budgeting While Abroad: Our Correspondents Share Their Tips

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IES Abroad
October 23, 2019

You already know that study abroad is an awesome, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. (Why else would you be on this site?) You’re on board, and you've figured out everything you actually need to get there—go you! There’s just one little thing—How do I pay for stuff while I'm abroad?  

We hear you! Between trying out the local cuisine and taking weekend excursions with your friends, it can sometimes seem a little intimidating to figure out how to budget while you're abroad. Of course, every program is different, and so are your personal preferences.   

Luckily, we've got a fantastic resource for you: Correspondents. From Amsterdam to Sydney, they have used their blog posts to discuss how to get the most out of their time abroad for less. 

Read on for some inspiration on how to manage your money while studying abroad so you can make the most of your experience. Yes, you really can get that extra order of dumplings, or squeeze in that last-minute weekend trip. 

  • "Realize that this is going to be hard, but do not let your financial situation hold you back. There are different kinds of wealth besides money, and studying overseas is going to bring you that wealth that lasts far longer than any type of monetary wealth.” Affording Your Study Abroad Experience: My Top Tips  - Bella S. (IES Abroad Christchurch | Indiana University) 
  • "As most of us know, plane tickets, hotels, Airbnbs, hostels, etc., all just continue to get more and more expensive as your desired travel date gets closer. So talk to your closest friends and get that trip planned ASAP!” How to Travel the World Without Breaking the Bank - Johnna H. (IES Abroad Barcelona | Penn State University)
  • "If you want to travel within the country, trains are pretty cheap, but if you really want to save on travel, use Flixbus. Their bus tickets are super inexpensive and although the travel times are longer, you can save a lot on tickets." Ballin' on a Budget - Bo S. (IES Abroad Milan | DePauw University)
  • "My last piece of advice is hostels, hostels, hostels. If you're traveling in a large group, it can be more fun to get an Airbnb and stay all together. However, if traveling with two or three people (or alone), hostels are the way to go. They are usually much cheaper and allow you to meet a variety of fun people as you travel. Just bring a lock and read the reviews on HostelWorld.com and you should be set." Being a Jetsetter...On a College Budget - Sarah C. (IES Abroad Freiburg | The George Washington University)
  • "I generally track how much money I'm pulling from ATMs (and the fees!). Things like transportation or even your morning coffee (if that's your thing) can really add up quickly. Personally, I make my coffee at home because that extra 2 euro a day (120 days abroad x 2 euro = 240 euros) could pay for a trip to Budapest and back." Broke and Abroad: My Experiences Budgeting Overseas - Shana P. (IES Abroad Amsterdam | Lawrence University)
  • "I highly recommend establishing a budget to track your expenses related to travel between countries, transportation, food, entertainment, savings, and other categories specific to your wants and needs. I highly encourage students who will study abroad in the future to buy groceries instead of eating out often. You will save tons of money by cooking inexpensive healthy lunches and meals during your time abroad." Tips for Prioritizing Responsibilities While Abroad - Ameer D. (IES Abroad Cape Town | Howard University)
  • "If you’re not willing to shell out the cash for big museums or shows then doing some research before you go can be totally worth your time. If you Google “free things to do in [insert destination here],” you will almost always find multiple lists and reviews of cool thing to do that won’t hurt your wallet and might even be more enjoyable." Weekend Travel Expenses You Might Not Think of Before You Go - Mariah G. (IES Abroad Madrid | University of Rochester)
  • "I was used to 'splurging' with Taco Bell’s $5 boxes and Little Caesar’s $5 Hot-n-Ready pizza. Understandably, I was quite shocked when I realized a meal for under $15 in Sydney was a good deal." No Money - Noah B. (IES Abroad Sydney | Texas Christian University)

For more advice on study abroad finances check out these other articles: Alumni Tips for Creating a Study Abroad Budget and 15 Ways to Save Money for Study Abroad

Did you know that each year we commit $5 million in scholarship and financial aid to IES Abroad students? Visit our Scholarship & Aid page to learn more. 

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