Skip to Content

### 7 Budget-Friendly Tips for Studying Abroad Without Overspending

This article was penned by a student writer associated with the Her Campus at Northeastern chapter.

During my initial college semester, I was presented with a remarkable opportunity to partake in a study abroad program at John Cabot University in Rome, Italy. The idea of embarking on my very first semester in a foreign land was beyond my wildest dreams, yet I was determined to seize the moment. Naturally, this meant exploring as much as possible.

Over the course of 16 weeks overseas, I ventured to six cities in Italy and traversed through six European countries, including France, Germany, The Netherlands, and Switzerland, among others. Immersing myself in these diverse cultures and landscapes was undeniably the highlight of my time abroad, albeit requiring me to employ a variety of strategies to stay within my budget. The following seven tips, apps, and tricks became my go-to resources and proved to be invaluable, deserving to be shared with fellow travelers.

  1. Familiarize Yourself with Local Public Transportation

Upon arriving in a new city, especially one where you are studying, it is essential to acquaint yourself with the local public transportation systems such as metros, buses, and trains. Europe boasts an exceptional train network that, once mastered, can transport you across the continent. Apps like [insert app names] were instrumental in helping me navigate cities like Venice, Florence, and Naples, as well as reaching the airport affordably. Additionally, I was able to embark on spontaneous and cost-effective train journeys, like the one from Nice, France to Monaco. [Insert bus app name] also offered convenient bus options for exploring both within cities and neighboring countries.

  1. Plan Ahead and Watch for Airline Promotions

To secure the best deals, I began booking my trips in early September after arriving at my study abroad destination in late August. Creating a list of must-see places and attractions early on allowed me to plan efficiently. Airlines typically release flight seats up to a year in advance, with prices escalating closer to the departure date. By booking early, you can save significantly. Keep an eye out for special airline deals like the [insert program name], which enables travelers to enjoy a stopover in Lisbon or Porto at no extra cost, essentially allowing you to explore two destinations for the price of one.

  1. Opt to Pay in Local Currency

A general rule for all travelers is to pay in the local currency whenever possible to avoid foreign transaction fees imposed by certain credit card companies. These fees, which typically amount to a few dollars for every hundred spent, can accumulate rapidly. Consider obtaining a credit card with no foreign transaction fees if you travel frequently to mitigate these additional charges.

  1. Explore Free Attractions

While paid tourist attractions are undoubtedly worth the visit, don’t overlook the abundance of free attractions throughout Europe. From watching the sunset at Piazzale Michelangelo in Florence to hiking mountains in Geneva, there are numerous cost-free experiences waiting to be discovered. Take advantage of free museum days, witness the changing of the guards in London, or attend the Pope’s Sunday blessing in Vatican City for a memorable and budget-friendly adventure.

  1. Discover Cities with Guru Walk

For enthusiasts of walking tours, Guru Walk is a valuable resource offering free guided tours worldwide. Verified tour guides lead explorations ranging from one to three hours, providing insights into each city’s history. I particularly enjoyed a nighttime tour through Rome that delved into ancient figures and urban legends, offering a unique perspective on the city’s rich heritage.

  1. Utilize Omio for Affordable Transportation

When in search of budget-friendly plane, bus, or train tickets, Omio is a reliable platform to consider. This app facilitated my round trip to France for a mere €40! By inputting your desired destinations, Omio presents the cheapest available transportation options. While convenient for finding economical travel solutions, be mindful of the additional service fees associated with third-party booking platforms.

  1. Book Accommodations with HostelWorld

HostelWorld is a versatile app that enables users to discover affordable hostels in over 150 countries. Whether opting for shared dorm-style rooms or private accommodations, this platform offers a wide range of choices to suit various preferences. Prior to booking through HostelWorld, it is advisable to thoroughly review user feedback for a seamless and enjoyable stay.

Traveling need not be exorbitant, and with these savvy tips, you can embark on adventures while adhering to a student budget. Safe travels!