6 Tips for Saving Money While Studying Abroad

1. Book your flight with a budget airline like EasyJet or Ryanair to get inexpensive tickets for your weekend travel. Added way to save? It’s cheaper to fly on weekdays, so if you are in a study abroad program like I was, where you don’t have class on Fridays, consider scheduling your flight for Thursday after you finish all your classes.


2. The only problem with EasyJet and Ryanair is their strict one-bag carry-on policy. My friend and I were unaware of this rule, so we each packed two-weeks’ worth of clothes into a little carry-on and a handbag for spring break. All four times we flew during that vacation, we had to argue with the attendants to let us onto the plane without checking our small carry-ons. Otherwise, we’d have to pay the 70-pound fee, or whatever ridiculous amount it was. It was a hassle. Word to the wise? Bring only one carry-on.

did not get the "only 1 bag carry-on" memo
did not get the “only 1 bag carry-on” memo


3. Abroad expenses add up. The last thing any student wants to do is pay an exorbitant fee for a hotel room. Of course, if you’re traveling to other abroad locations, you can just stay at your friends’ dorms or apartments, but otherwise, the way to go is hostel or Airbnb. A new up-and-coming site? Couchsurfing. It’s a great way to make locals and you save a ton of money. We’ve got all these different inexpensive accommodations on AllTheRooms, so you can compare your options.

AllTheRooms with filters for hostels, rooms and apartments only, all for less than $80/night
AllTheRooms with filters for hostels, rooms and apartments only, all for less than $80/night


4. Take advantage of student discounts, coupons, and deals. In London, Waitrose, the grocery store that was only a couple of minutes from my dorm, offers a free coffee, tea, or cappuccino everyday if you have a myWaitrose card. This will save you about 3 pounds on coffee per day, which could easily add up to $30+ saved per week. There was another coffee shop, Coffee and Candy, that offered 20% off to students with ID, as well as a punch card that gets your eleventh drink, any type and size, after you buy ten. There’s also a take-out sushi place called Itsu that sells all their sushi half-price during their last half-hour; just get there early because it goes fast!

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5. Withdraw a budgeted amount of cash that will hopefully last you the whole week. If you take out bigger sums of money all at once, you’ll avoid having to repay the international ATM fee.


6. Of course, one of the best parts about traveling abroad is getting to try out the incredible local cuisine. However, if you’re on a budget, I recommend that you eat out as little as possible. Or, pick your spots, I should stay. My roommate and I would grocery shop and eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at home everyday during the week. Then, on the weekends, we’d do a treat meal— usually afternoon tea at Tea and Tattle. Otherwise, we’d go to local pubs and use the money we’d saved on meals to buy ourselves beers during happy hour. It was a great way for us to meet locals and experience the British culture.

Our favorite bar for happy hours in London: The Warwick
Our favorite bar for happy hours in London: The Warwick

My Last (Somewhat Contradictory) Suggestion:

I know I’m going against my other money-saving tips by saying this, but, based on my experience abroad, I suggest figuring out and purchasing some type of international phone plan. Not because you need to be in constant contact with your friends from home, or family— you can just use Viber or Facebook to message them when you’re in a Wi-Fi zone. I think it’s a smart idea to buy a phone plan because there are times when it will definitely come in handy. Think, when you get into Barcelona late and need to contact your Airbnb host, but she won’t answer the doorbell so you need to call her, but you can’t because you don’t have a phone. Then she doesn’t answer the door until after 9 PM, which prompts her to charge you the late fee, even though you were there before quarter of. Or maybe, you’re in Sardinia, and you can’t speak Italian, and you get lost but can’t tell anyone where you live to get directions because they don’t understand what you’re saying. Or you’re in London and the tube closed at midnight, so you need to get home but you don’t know how the bus system works. Yes, these things did all happen to me, and yes, I’m aware I just wrote a whole lot of run-ons. In each circumstance, a phone would’ve saved me a lot of time and stress, so be wise and spend the money for this.

So there you have it, those are my 6 Tips for Saving Money While Studying Abroad. Do you have anything else you want to add to the list? Let us know, and comment below. We’re always looking for travel hacks and advice on how to save money. We know traveling is expensive, but it doesn’t have to be.


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