By Grace Graham
Studying abroad is the adventure of a lifetime. It is a chance to see and experience some of the most beautiful and interesting cultures in the history of the world. But, let’s face it, it is expensive! Loans are wonderful at the time, but no one wants to come out of college with double the student loans because they wanted to eat out at only the finest European restaurants. Bottle service at clubs is nice, but it isn’t really necessary every night, is it?
Budgeting is one of the most important aspects of your timea broad. You want to travel, you want to eat, and you want to have fun while you’re taking on the world. You can do it. It can be done, but living on a budget will come in handy!
The cities you live in can be expensive with their enticing nightlife and the plethora of interesting things to do every day. Here is some advice on cutting down on your expenses without sacrificing your short time here!
1.) Eat in as often as possible. Food from grocery stores costs a whole lot less for a lot more. Learn to cook. It will be fun, and it is great roommate bonding.
2.) Find the bars with deals. It isn’t difficult to find bars with 1 Euro beers or shots. Just keep an eye and ear open for the deals. The nightlife is competing for your attention and your business. Use it to your advantage.
3.) Along the same lines as #2, be friends with club promoters on Facebook. They might clog your news feed, but they are clogging it with ways to get into clubs for free (when they might otherwise cost upwards of 20 Euro).
4.) If weekend travel around Europe is part of the plan, book your flights as early as possible. Flights on budget airlines are usually only the fantastic deal we hear about if you have enough foresight to book inadvance.
5.) Take advantage of group travel discounts! If saving money is a priority, this is a great way to do it. Save on accommodation, activities,and transportation, and more importantly your precious time! If you want to get away and do your own thing, just join for the deals and catch up with the crowd on the way home.
6.) Buy a European cell phone or SIM card and pay as you go. It will be cheaper for you, your friends and is an overall easier way to monitor cell phone use.
7.) Don’t be enticed by every little knick-knack or souvenir you come across. Most of it is junk and will end up either broken or lost by the time you go home. It will drain your wallet of valuable Euro and benefit you very little. Just keep walking!
8.) Guard your belongings! One of the worst ways to drain yourself of money while being abroad is losing it to someone else. Your money, passport, credit cards, purses, computers, etc. are all money in someone else’spocket if you aren’t aware of your things and your surroundings at all times.
9.) Avoid taxis when possible. In most cases, a taxi is the most expensive way to get from point A to point B. Get to know the public transportation system and wear comfortable walking shoes when you can. Walking is the best way to see any city, so enjoy where you are while you are here!
10.) Most importantly, realize that you will be back in the states, most likely indefinitely, in a few months and that spending a little extra on something truly remarkable is almost always worth it. Don’t be frivolous but be conscious of when it is time to throw the budget out the window, throw caution to the wind, and see the world in a brand new way!