Cultural Experience | All Destinations

How to Get More for Your Euro while Studying Abroad

Traveling is a great thing to do in your life, so why not take advantage of the fact that you can do everything you want to do for less money?

Living in Europe can definitely creates  a great list of expenses; with the strength of the Euro and Pound, university costs and travel expenses, it can seem almost impossible for a student to travel around Europe and get the most out of their time abroad. However, traveling is possible on a shoestring budget. Don’t believe me? Here is a list of tips to make sure that you do not break your bank while seeing the world.

Pick a Place, Any Place

Just make sure that it is one place.  One of the most effective ways to save money is to focus on one city. This obviously will decrease the travel places and you will be able to narrow down your search to just one city. If you know the city pretty well, or have done a bunch of research, try to narrow down your hostel search just to a neighborhood to save yourself the hassle of looking through massive amounts of hostel listings.

Plan, Plan, Plan and Plan Some More

The key to making sure that you do not deplete all of your funds on a few trips is making sure that you research all of the available options for traveling. By going on a short trip, you are able to make sure that you do not use up all of your money while also being able to see a variety of places. Although long trips have their allure, by spending a few days in a new city, you will be more likely to stuff in as much as possible before leaving and therefore will get the most out of your city. You can also watch your budget by using airlines like EasyJet and RyanAir when in a pinch for money. If neither of those airlines fly to where you want to go, SkyScanner will always be able to give you information on the cheapest airlines to fly and the best times to travel.

Book Your Trips Geographically Close to Each Other

If you do decide that one city during your trip just won’t cut it, be sure to go to places that are all geographically close or risk spending unnecessary money. Keep in mind that you will not only be taking one trip during your time abroad, so you should make sure that when you do go somewhere for an extended period of time, you should just stick to one area or country in order to minimize your spending.

When I was studying abroad, I made the decision of going to Barcelona, Prague and Berlin during our fall break. Although I knew that Spain was out of the way, my friends had already booked their tickets and I did not want to be left out. However, I ended up spending much more money than I should have and had to struggle to stay financially afloat while I was traveling. If I had forgone the trip to Barcelona and instead had either stayed in France for the first few days of break, or made my way somewhere else north-east of France, I would have had those extra Euros to go into more museums or eat real meals.

Travel With Friends

Although traveling alone definitely has its own benefits, by rallying your crew in your home country, you all will be able to save on room prices, taxis and various activities. By bringing your friends along with you, you will not only save money on almost everything you do, but also will be able to have someone to reminisce on your past travels with. Friends also make those scary hostels you accidentally book much more fun than terrifying.

Don’t Be a Know It All

One of the most important things when planning a trip is never pretending that you know everything. There are a bunch of great sites to help with travel booking (see above in the planning section) and you should never just assume that one site will be able to get you the cheapest ticket or the quickest trip. By getting into a rut of travel planning with one or two sites, you will not be able to get the best price on your future trips. When your friend suggests a website completely in another language, just whip out your Google Translate app and look at the numbers.

Make Nice with the Staff

No matter where you are staying, the country you are in or the amount of people you are with, making friends with whomever runs the front desk of your hostel or hotel will benefit you greatly. Not only do they have an abundant amount of information about the place you are traveling to, but generally are locals and therefore know where you will not be gipped for not being a local. Within my own travels, making friends with the man who worked the night shift at the hostel I stayed at in Lisbon was one of the best decisions I ever made because he showed me where all of his friends worked around the city and I was therefore able to take advantage of his discounts where ever I went.

Take Advantage of Student Discounts

Student discounts are abundant in Europe, but most are not frequently advertised. Most of the museums in Europe have some sort of discount for students, or allow students to enter for free. By bringing your student card with you on all of your trips you will be able to save a boatload of money while also being able to increase your knowledge about the city and country you are visiting. Pro-tip: in France, most museums will take your word for it if you say you are a student, while places like Germany requires you to show your student card everywhere you go.

Always Smile

This one seems simple, but after taking a 20 hour train from France to Italy, having to navigate the metro to your hostel and then having to wonder the streets looking for said hostel, it can get very difficult to muster up any kindness at all. However, if you greet everyone you meet with a smile, especially those who work in the service industry, you will be able to get everywhere you want to go at a cheaper price. It also helps to apologize profusely if you do not speak the native language and ask people basic words to help you get around. If there is one thing that people like, it is feeling wanted. Make everyone you meet feel wanted and appreciated, and you will go far.

Be Open Minded

Sometimes during traveling you just have to try the escargot without complaining. Seriously, when else will you have the opportunity?

Traveling is one of the best things that you can do in your life, so why not take advantage of the fact that you can do everything you want to do for less money? By following these five simple tricks of the trade, I can assure you that you will be able to go wherever you want to go while spending less money. Happy traveling!

Molly Greathouse

University of California, Irvine | 12 stories

Molly Greathouse is a 4th year at UC Irvine who spent her 3rd year in school in Lyon, France. This summer she will be off to Australia for one last taste of the collegiate life before entering the Real World.

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