For many of us, the easiest time to travel is when we are students, as the luxury of time is on our side. While Jason Hartman knows that travel at any stage of life is possible, traveling as a student has many advantages—the opportunity to study abroad, a body capable of withstanding the pressures of travel, the ability to meet other young people. But, during these study abroad experiences, managing finances can be tricky. Below are five tips to keep money in your bank account during extended travel.
Create a Budget
Figure out how much money you will have in total, as you’ll likely not be generating income from the country in which you study. Decide how much money you have for each month and then week and stick to spending only that much. Figure in bills you have to pay (rent, phone, internet, credit card) and plan accordingly. Don’t forget to leave a bit in savings in case of emergencies, and stick to your plan.
Depending on where you study, this may well be your most significant expense. To cut down on travel costs, take the bus or train to a bigger city with a bigger airport. Ask about student discounts for all forms of transportation—you may be surprised where they are offered if you only ask. Book all tickets in advance, travel during slow seasons when possible, and search for sale fares.
Currency Exchange Rates
When we’re traveling, it is easy not to think about the currency exchange rate between our home country and the one we’re studying in. Currency exchange rates vary greatly, changing every week, month, and year. If you think a rate is particularly good and not likely to get better (though there is no official way to know), consider transferring more money then.
If you are able, search for a tuition payment plan that is right for your particular situation. Many provide rate guarantees or offer flexibility. Others provide discounts for tuition paid upfront. Make sure you’re getting the best deal for you and your family, and don’t be afraid to ask questions or try to negotiate deals.
Many study abroad programs include school cafeteria options or meals eaten at home with your host family. Take advantage of meals included in your fees and try not to eat out much—these types of expenses really add up. If you need to buy food, organize a trip with other people that will allow you to split bulk items and reduce the overall cost of food.
What did we forget? If you have ideas about how to save money while studying abroad, include them below!(http://www.flickr.com/photos/bradipo/1435739708/)
The Young Wealth Team