A Student's Guide to Traveling on a Budget

Traveling to new places is always an exciting experience. Learning about local culture and seeing another way of life can open your eyes and help you grow as a person. Many people seek to travel and see new cities and countries, but often the cost prevents us from actually going the places on our travel bucket lists. While studying abroad, I have been fortunate to have to opportunity to travel and experience many other places in addition to my host city. Through these trips, I have learned how to budget my money to make it last through the four months that I am spending abroad. 

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1. Transportation

Sometimes there is simply no way around it. Getting where you need to go can be pricey. I have found coach buses to be the most affordable way to travel. Often they run nonstop between major cities and you can put in a pair of headphones and try to nap for a few hours until you reach your destination. Some companies give the option of booking your ticket online ahead of time, which will typically be cheaper than buying it the day of from the driver. Additionally, many bus companies offer student discounts so be sure to show off your student ID and save a few bucks! When you need to get a little further or cross the water, flying can be your only option. Websites like Skyscanner can help find the cheapest possible ticket between your desired airports. Budget airlines like Ryanair and EasyJet offer lower prices but it can come at the expense of having to travel with a smaller bag. Timing can also be key when it comes to flying. Prices fluctuate greatly depending on the day and time of the flight so be sure to check out as many options as possible to save.

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2. Food

Part of experiencing a new culture often comes in the form of eating traditional dishes. It is definitely great to try new things and literally get a taste of life in a new place, but eating every meal out can add up quickly. If possible, try to bring food with you on your trips. Even simple things like granola bars, bagels or fruit can make a big difference. Instead of needing to stop and pay for an overpriced snack you can keep going using only your usual grocery budget. Also, depending on where you are staying, you may have breakfast provided from your accommodations, take advantage of it! It may not always be gourmet but that's one less meal you have to spend money on.

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3. Accommodation

Finding a place to stay is another challenge of travel. If you are lucky, you have friends or family that are willing to host you during your travels, but that is not always the case. The most important things when choosing accommodation are that it is clean, safe and friendly. Hostels can be a great option to save some cash, but make sure you check reviews online before booking anything as they can vary greatly! Airbnb is another good option if you are traveling with a group. Splitting the price is often reasonable and you can find some great locations as well as sometimes receive recommendations and advice from your host.

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4. Experiences

Chances are some of the things you have read up about and seen pictures of are going to be expensive to partake in. Experiences are one thing that no one can ever take away from you and sometimes you only get one opportunity in your life to take an opportunity. If something is truly going to make you happy and create an incredible memory, just go for it. Budgeting is always a concern, but make sure you are able to enjoy yourself in addition to just stressing about every penny. It is all about finding a balance.