Finding the balance between having a good time overseas, and doing it on a student’s budget is a scary task. If you add on the burden of being a solo traveller, it gets worse. So here are some tips to make sure your wallet lasts the distance.
Work, work, work
I know this may seem cliche, and yes you may be singing Rihanna’s lyrics in your head right now, but picking up jobs where you can is important. Before you leave, you should save as much money as possible and the best way to do this is by lifting your game. If you’re paid per hour or on some kind of roster, let your manager know that you’re keen to increase your workload and will take whatever shifts or hours are available. If you don’t have a stable income, there are many ways around this! Various apps such as Airtasker allow you to opt in for odd jobs as they come in, or you can take up babysitting, gardening, or a variety of other random tasks. If you’re good, word of mouth will follow and the amount of work will pick up!
Keep track of exchange rates
Not only while you’re overseas, but before you exchange your money, it’s a good idea to jump on exchange rates as they become favourable. Even a small change can add up so it’s important to take advantage of it when it’s going your way. Especially if you’re visiting a lot of different countries for a decent period of time, for example if you plan on travelling around Europe for a few months.
You don’t have to stay in hotels, or even motels. Airbnb and hostels are a great way to save money while you’re away. However, weigh up the benefits. With Airbnb or other renting options, be aware of the proximity to the city, and how easy it will be to hop on public transport. Sometimes, cost efficiency isn’t the only factor you need consider, make sure you don’t sacrifice your safety or convenience too much in order to save money.
It’s really important to use a wide range of different tools to compare prices online. Whether you’re looking at travel money cards, flights, or any other large purchase before or during your trip, this can give you a good idea of the sorts of prices you can expect, which will help you budget.
Take advantage of being a student
One of the best things about being a student is that usually you’re eligible for discounted concession prices! Whether it’s public transport, or you’re trying to buy flights, often there will be a cheaper option available so it’s worthing asking the question. Also, there are a variety of travel insurance packages for students available, so it’s worth factoring this into your budget.
Live like a local
You don’t necessarily need to go out and see the sights all the time when you’re overseas. As a general rule, tourist-heavy areas tend to be far more expensive than more local areas. If you’re desperate to eat out, try to stay away from the main streets and find a back alley. Usually, the food will be more authentic (especially in places across Europe) and less expensive. Same with sightseeing – if you head off the beaten-track, you may even having more memorable (and less pricey) experiences.
When travelling by yourself, being a student abroad doesn’t have to be as expensive or as scary as it may seem. Just make sure you stick to your budget, keep track of exchange rates, but most importantly– have fun while you do it!