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.

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.

Traveling Europe in 10 Days

I would like to give you all just a short synopsis of my trip because I simply cannot stop talking about it.

So just to get things started, I am 100% going back to Europe ASAP.  My friends and I are already planning our next Spring Break trip to Florence and Dublin (so we are there for St. Patrick’s Day) while our other friends are planning their stereotypical trip to Cancun. Don’t get me wrong, that will probably be a great time, but once you spend a week in London and Florence, you probably would rather go there instead of a beach too.

There is probably not one thing that I did not like about this trip. Okay, maybe the men trying to sell roses and selfie sticks were kind of annoying, but that was nothing in the grand scheme of things. The beauty and excitement that was at every turn was nothing like I have ever experienced before.

I was surprised by how comfortable I was with traveling the world with just a few friends and building relationships with locals. I suppose that had something to do with the fact that a few of my traveling companions had been to the places we went before, so I knew I was in good hands. I never felt unsafe or uncomfortable, even when I was with just one or two friends instead of the entire group. This was especially the case in Florence, where I often walked around with just one person just to explore. Even if we got lost, we never felt unsafe or felt the need to ask for assistance. We were actually kind of forced into that because the majority of us did not have service while abroad so we really did not have much to rely on when it came to directions.

Overall, this trip solidified my desire to travel the world and see as many places as possible. I have always been told by my parents to travel in my twenties because that is the time to do it, and I’ve always agreed but never really made plans. Now I am creating a list of all the places I absolutely need to visit before I’m tied down with a family and a career. Point is, traveling changed my life and I’m only 20. I cannot wait to see how it changes me as a person and helps me grow within the next ten years.

Traveling London

As some of you may know from my Instagram posts, I have just recently returned from Europe on my Spring Break trip! I travelled to London and Florence with a day trip in Venice. The experience was more than I could have ever hoped for and I am already planning my next trip oversees.

When people ask “What did you like better; London or Florence?” I cannot give them a straight answer. There is simply no way of comparing the two cities because they are so different yet amazing in their own ways. Today I will focus on London, as it was the first place I visited.

London surprised me. I’m not really sure what I was expecting when I went there, but it was definitely not what I thought it was going to be. London is pretty much a cleaner, quieter New York City. I loved being able to walk around and see the amazing sights like Big Ben, the London Eye, and Tower Bridge right in front of me. I guess I felt the way that people who travel to visit NYC feel when they see the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building for the first time. (Do people feel that way?) I was lucky enough to have a few days of being a tourist, going over the bridges, onto the London Eye, and through the streets of famous markets. I was accompanied by my friend who is currently studying abroad, someone who previously studied abroad, and her friend who was born and raised in London. I found that to be a blessing because I got to experience the local’s spots in the city. I was introduced to little alcoves and hideaway bars that I never would have thought to go to if I was with a bunch of tourists.

If any of you ever visit London, here’s a few things that I did that I think are definitely worth it:

  1. The London Eye: I highly recommend this because you get to see a view of the entire city and it is unbelievably cool.
  2. The Tower Bridge: If you take the tour of the bridge, you get the opportunity to take an elevator up and walk across the top. While you are up there, there are glass floors and a mirror ceiling which makes for awesome views and pictures.
  3. Abbey Road: Little did I know, this road is in the middle of a busy intersection and cars are constantly trying to get past which makes it very difficult to reenact the Beatles picture. But if you do get the chance to take a successful picture, it is definitely worth it. There is also a gift shop dedicated to all of the music that was born there.
  4. Tea Time!: There are so many tea shops all around London and if you are anything like me, you want to be able to say you drank tea like an average Londoner.
  5. Buckingham Palace/ Changing of the Guards: I did not actually get the chance to see the Changing of the Guards because we ran out of time, but I have heard it is a great thing to witness at least once. I did get to see the palace which is so beautiful (and well-guarded)

Those are just a few of the more touristy things I got to do while in London. There were also a lot of pub crawls and margarita spots we found that aided to the fun of the trip.

Traveling on a Budget

This one is for all my fellow college students out there who want to begin traveling the world but are living off a broke college student budget.

There is no denying that it is difficult to travel while young. Working part-time jobs can only get you so far, and if you’re anything like me, you spend most of your money on eating out and clothes that I probably don’t really need. But that is no reason to limit yourself of seeing the world. Whether it be to the state over or across the globe, find a way to save money and travel.

I will be spending my Spring Break in both London and Florence; two places I have never been but have always wanted to visit. I am going with my six best friends and we have all been discussing our budgets. Some of us are paying for the whole trips ourselves while others got some help from their families but all in all, we all need money to spend while on the trip. For me, I found that working all summer and getting a part-time on campus job has helped a lot. I had a lot of money saved up throughout my years of growing up, so that of course went to use also. The trick for me when I am tempted to eat out while home is to remember the places I will be going and the restaurants I will want to eat at. If  I do that, I remember that I will probably be unable to eat all the things I want to eat and do all the things I want to do if I spend all of my money here at home. This small thing helps me save money so I am able to pay for the Air B&B for Florence and hotel for London. That is another important thing to remember while planning to travel on a budget. Think about where you are going to stay. I lucked out by traveling with a large group because we were able to find places that were decently priced by splitting it between seven people. If you are going alone or with just one or two companions, search the Web for cheap but clean places to stay, because they are out there!

But we all can’t go across the Atlantic for a trip. Some people could have just as much fun traveling somewhere nearby. This can cost much less because you can cut out expensive travel expenses like flying. Taking a car, train, or bus to a nearby state (or somewhere within your home state) could be just as fun as traveling somewhere abroad. This is especially regarding young college students. Go to a beach, or a city, or some middle-of-the-woods area where you could spend the day relaxing. These types of places are often very affordable and could offer deals for students.

The moral of this post is that if there is a will, there is a way. Start saving up now for your upcoming trip (even if you don’t know exactly what it will be yet). Remember that traveling helps people gain worldly experience which will help you later in life. Remember that you are only young once, so live it up as much as possible. And lastly, remember that it doesn’t matter whether you travel near or far, just getting away in general may be the thing you need most.