Tips to Save Money Abroad

As a college student, I learned a few tips before and while going abroad in order to stay somewhat afloat in regards to my financial situation. Since I paid for the trip myself, I knew that I had to be very careful about what I spent money on. Here are a few things I learned throughout my experience

  1. Walk as much as you can! Transportation fees can really add up if that’s what you use to get around for the majority of the trip. If you go to a city or somewhere conducive to walking, be sure to pack comfortable shoes so you can use them to save money. Cabs, subways, trains, and buses may be convenient, but walking is healthier and useful.
  2. Budget your days! If you set aside a certain amount of money for each day, you will be less likely to spend too much on one specific day. One way to do this is take some cash out and only take that amount with you while you travel for the day. This will force you to not go over your limit each day.
  3. Stay at hotels with included free breakfast! It may seem like a small thing but three meals a day can really add up. By getting a complimentary breakfast, you will eliminate one full cost per day that you are there. That money can be used for something more useful, like touristy things or drinks.
  4. Take advantage of the free walking tours offered by hotels! It is the best way to see the sights of wherever you are by people who know what they are doing with no cost. Going on tours with a official tour group could cost a good amount of money and trying to walk around without help could be unsuccessful.
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Kiawah Island

I wanted to back track a bit to talk about one of my most memorable vacations in Kiawah Island, South Carolina. I went with my best friend and her family because her father, who is a carpenter, had a job down there.

Now, the place was unbelievably beautiful with amazing beaches, bike paths, cute shopping areas, and a lagoon with alligators in our backyard (we rented a house), but that is not why the vacation was so memorable. Get this. I saw two of my high school teachers there, together, on the brink of getting engaged.

Now lets remember that I haven’t been in high school for a few years so I haven’t seen these teachers in a while, but one of them, my all-time favorite teacher ever, was one part of this pair. And while I was in high school, these two teachers of mine were not together. Or maybe they were and they kept it a secret. But let me set the scene for you all.

It was our second day on the island and my friend and I decided to ride our bikes to the beach. It was a few minute ride with a gorgeous view. During our ride, we pass this couple and the guy was wearing a shirt from our high school. Weird, but it didn’t really register in our minds until the man said “Hey, how’s it going” as we passed. At that moment, it clicked. I screamed his name (not completely positive that it was him) and I had no idea who the woman was. It wasn’t until we turned around and met up with one another that I realized that it was in fact my favorite teacher with another one of my teachers. They were on vacation with his family so I figured they must have gotten pretty serious since I’ve left the school. The awkwardness was unbelievable. I can still feel it when I think about it now. We explained why we were there, acknowledged how weird this was, found our they were staying a few houses down from us (which is crazy because it is a big island!!) and when we couldn’t take the awkwardness anymore, we parted ways.

When my friend and I got to the beach, we could not stop talking about our strange encounter. We figured out that they must be pretty serious considering they were on vacation together and we decided we wanted another chance to make it up to them for being so weird. Luckily my friend’s family knew our one teacher because they met while we were in high school, so we invited the couple over for drinks. Yes, drinks. As in we were drinking with our high school teachers, which really just topped off the obscurity of the entire situation. But when they came, it felt casual once again. We were able to catch up and have great conversation which made my friend and I feel a lot better after our strange occurrence before. After that successful night, I don’t think we ran into them again which is probably a good thing because I’m fine with seeing them on bikes, but I don’t think I would have survived another encounter with my favorite teachers on the beach.

Moral of the story is that even if you travel far, the world is still a small place.

Perks of Traveling with Friends

I give props to those people who can travel across foreign countries without any companions, but I think I’ll stick to exploring by my friends’ sides.

I think being with the people you love in a place you may have never been before is an amazing experience that many people do not have. Or if you have been there before, there is something magical about showing your friends your favorite place away from home.

Friendships grow (usually) while experiencing something as wonderful as travel. Many relationships are stationary, as in they exist in the same place for possibly their entire existence. But when you are given the privilege of seeing new things and experiencing new places with those people, you see a new side of your friends and can fully know them.

Another, more common, reason of why traveling with friends is better than not is because seeing famous buildings, statues, parks, art, etc. is more fun with people you know and love. Being able to witness Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and the Duomo were all so much more memorable because I was with my closest friends. Now we can look back on what we experienced together and the pictures we took and remember those times. I’ll never forget the first time I went to Europe not only because I was able to see the amazing architecture that I’ve learned about for years, but mainly because I was able to see those things with my best friends.