How to Save Money When You Travel Abroad

One of the best parts of being abroad by far is getting to travel. But this can be hard if you’ve never traveled on your own before and especially if you’ve never had to stick to a budget. Being abroad was one of the best experiences of my life but also one of the most expensive. If you’re looking forward to being international but concerned about expenses, here’s some advice on ways to save money.

1. Plan Ahead

One of the most important things to know when traveling is to plan out your trip! I can’t tell you how many people I ran into at hostels who were stressing over last-minute plans. Of course, it’s fun to go on a spontaneous weekend trip, but having absolutely zero plans can make things a little pricey. Reservations for things like hostels, bus/train/plane tickets, and car rentals tend to get pricier the longer you wait to book, but planning lets you stay ahead of that. And keeping an eye on deals and cheaper dates is a huge plus.

2. Save Where You Can

I’m a huge fan of taking the cheaper alternative when it comes to travel. Walking instead of calling an Uber, packing a lunch instead of buying along the way, and booking that twelve-person hostel instead of a private room. These small discomforts aren’t so bad and they end up making a big difference in the long run. Instead of having no spending money, you can buy that expensive souvenir and plan more trips later down the road.

Instead of paying for a larger car, my group of five fit ourselves and two weeks worth of clothes in a compact!

3. Split Costs With Friends

Another popular way to save money—traveling with a group of friends! Not only do you save money by splitting costs on things like gas and groceries, but it makes the experience much more enjoyable. You have company for long car rides, extra supplies when you forget something, and in my case, you can book up an entire hostel room! Plus, there’s always someone to take a candid photo whenever you need.

On my more expensive trips, I made sure to travel with at least three other people. The largest group I was a part of was eight!

4. Know What You Want vs. What You Need

Like choosing cheaper alternatives, taking a hard look at your needs vs. wants when you’re not traveling can be a big help when sticking to a budget. Do you really need to order take-out when you have groceries in the fridge? Can you wait to see that movie until it comes out on Netflix? These decisions may not be fun but in the end, your bank account will thank you!

5. Take Advantage of Your Destinations

Compared to the rest of New Zealand, Auckland is an expensive city to live in. But one thing I learned was to make purchases outside of the city as often as I could. This might sound like a relatively small thing but saving half your grocery money once or twice a month really adds up. From food to souvenirs, I tried as often as possible to stock up on what I could carry home with me.

And there you have it! If you find yourself on a budget abroad, I recommend this info for saving as much money as you can. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends how they’re saving too! Everyone has their own tips and tricks. While these small adjustments might not be the most appealing, they’re a sure way to be as economical as possible.

Charlotte Williams studies professional writing and psychology. She is a tutor at the Writing Center, a writer and editor for the Center for Publishing, and an editor for Champlain’s literary magazine Willard & Maple. 

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