When traveling abroad to study, the stress of being in an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar faces can be frightening enough.
But worrying about running out of money while stuck in a foreign country can take a student’s anxiety to new levels. Here are seven ways to save money while you’re studying abroad so that it doesn’t happen to you.
1. Get Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is a must for saving money while studying abroad, and certain countries require it by law.
If you are injured or become sick in a foreign country, you don’t want to have to pay out of pocket for medical procedures or treatment that may end up being a lot more expensive than they would be in your home country.
You have a few options when it comes to travel medical insurance – the one you choose will depend on your travel requirements and the duration of your stay overseas. Most recommend either a multi-trip insurance plan or an expatriate insurance plan.
Annual Travel Insurance for multiple trips could be perfect for you if you’re studying abroad for a shorter amount of time per year (30, 45, or 60 days) and spending the majority of your free time traveling because it will be cheaper than purchasing several single-trip policies.
Expatriate insurance plans are ideal if you plan to live in a foreign country for six months or more, and they offer global coverage.
2. Make a Budget
When you travel abroad to further your education, it pays to remember that all the little expenses add up quickly.
Dealing with a foreign currency while trying to make sure that all the necessary expenses like accommodation and food are covered makes knowing what you can safely spend that much harder. Creating a budget and sticking to it is the best way to keep your spending in check.
Make a list at the beginning of each month with your basic expenses plus a small allowance for luxuries. Total that up and include a 10% buffer for emergencies – this way, you’ll know exactly what you can afford to spend.
Once you’ve made your budget, stick to it and avoid impulse-buying at all costs.
3. Use Student Discounts
Student discounts are everywhere; you just need to look out for them. Students often get good discounts on public transport, books, museums, and other items or services.
Carry your student ID card at all times, and don’t hesitate to ask cashiers and vendors if they offer discounts for students. Don’t be embarrassed about it, either – if establishments didn’t want to give students discounts, they wouldn’t offer them.
Another way to find out which establishments offer student discounts is to ask your university office or library. Student discounts are there for you to use, so make the most of them.
4. Learn to Cook for Yourself
One of the best pieces of advice for anyone studying abroad is to learn how to cook for themselves. If you’ve never cooked meals for yourself, you’re probably wasting a lot of money eating out or ordering takeout every day.
You can learn to make basic, inexpensive dishes from resources like YouTube, and you can make them in large quantities so that you’ll always have something to eat during the week. Usually, you’ll find that making food is at least half as expensive as buying it premade.
Cooking for yourself is not only the healthier option, but you may also find a new hobby to help you relax and distress after a class-heavy week.
5. Find Free Entertainment
Every new place you travel to on your journey will lead to some amazing places, but you don’t always need to spend money to have a good time.
Visiting attractions that are geared for tourists will eat up your spare cash, so ask the locals where they go for fun.
Many local spots offer free entertainment; you just need to know where to look. In cities, there are often cultural shows, parks, museums, and other interesting places to visit – best of all, they won’t cost you a cent.
6. Travel on Foot
If you stop Ubering everywhere, you’ll be able to save a lot of money. Rather invest in a bicycle or travel everywhere on foot – it’s good for your health and good for your wallet, too.
If you can’t cut down on transportation costs, opt for public transportation services or try to carpool with others – who knows, you might make new friends this way.
7. Shop the Sales
When you arrive at your destination, you may be tempted to buy all your necessities from one place, in one go. Resist this urge and rather wait for seasonal sales like Black Friday and Cyber Monday – you could end up paying half price (or less).
When you buy groceries with a long shelf-life, buy them in bulk at stores like Costco and Wal-Mart. Ask the locals if there are any markets in the area and buy your fresh produce from there – chances are it will be a lot cheaper than the supermarket.