Budget Tips

No matter why you're heading abroad, one thing remains the same: You'll need money to get there and stay afloat.

The tips in this guide will help you think ahead, and free yourself up to really savor your cross-cultural experience!

First Steps:
What You Need & How To Get It

How long will your adventure last?
Is your journey fixed or are you on an open ticket? What accessories and tools do you require: Transportation, suplies, travel gear, communication devices? Make a list and calculate costs.
Not all budgets are created equal
When it comes to budgets abroad, less can actually be more. Host homes are cheaper than dorms and offer more cross-cultural opportunities; and traveling by bus or train is a richer experience than flying or traveling with a tour group.
Determine your cash sources
Before starting to plan your trip, figure out what resources you have at your disposal, such as savings, earnings, or investments. Explore additional options such as bursaries, grants, awards, or freelance work online.

Making Your Dream A Reality

Determination is the key
Preparation can be time-consuming. Keep in mind that your hard work has a purpose: You're going to build invaluable skills and have a life-changing experience abroad. This thought will keep you motivated.
Automate your savings
Consider setting up an automatic savings plan that diverts a set amount of your paycheck into an account that you can't access on impulse.
Devote three months of full-time work to savings
Take the plunge and save 100% of your salary to pay for a semester abroad. If possible, live rent-free somewhere, perhaps with your parents. Ask friends and family for extra jobs; tell them about your 100% saving plan.
If you don't need it, sell it
If you'll be away for a year or more, we recommend selling the bulk of your possessions. With fewer items to put in storage and more cash for your travels, you won't be sorry that you downsized.
Calculate your investment strategy
Depending on how far in advance you are planning, investment savings plans may help you. For short time periods, the best options will be savings bonds, a treasury bills account, guaranteed investment certificates, or even a high-interest savings account. If you're planning years in advance, equity (stock) and mutual funds may be preferable.
Plan to work while abroad
Start chasing work from the moment you land. Teaching English, Spanish, or French on the side, working in a pub or cafeteria, helping a professor, house-sitting, and babysitting are all good options.
Don't miss your window of opportunity!
As a student or a young person, this may be your only (we repeat only opportunity to live abroad for an extended time. The sacrifices you make to save for your trip will be worth it!

Make Your Money Last

Getting the money is one thing; keeping it in your hands is
another. Make your money last by adhering to the following rules:
Credit card freeze-out
If you have credit cards, put them on hold. If you need to, embed them in a block of ice in the freezer! Remove the temptation to spend.
Buy second-hand
Participate in one or more exchange or study abroad programs. Go for as long as possible, and if possible, go more than once. While abroad, immerse yourself in host country culture.
Save on flights
Booking in advance can save you big on flights. Consider traveling in the off-season, and keep your eyes peeled for seat sales.
Watch credit card fees and charges
Ask your bank about fees for using your visa and withdrawing money abroad. Different banks have extremely different policies, and if you're not careful, you could lose hundreds in unnecessary fees.
Book accommodation in advance
Think carefully about where you'll stay. You can save lots of money by being resourceful and avoiding tourist traps. For instance, if you'll be traveling in areas that aren't particularly scenic, you could take a night train to save on accommodation.
Time your tax hit
If you're planning to work for a year to raise money, consider the tax year. Working from January to December of one calendar year may cost you, as you'll be taxed for a full year. By working instead from June to June, your taxable income will be spread over two years.
Choose a region of the world that's less expensive
While studying or traveling in Western Europe may sound appealing, it will make a fast dent in your savings. Why not head for Eastern Europe or Southeast Asia instead? Get creative!

A Last Word

Each region of the world has its own particular budget-conscious options. Check out guidebooks and other reference materials before you go, and attend free travel info talks in your town.

We wish you a wonderful, well-budgeted trip!
Reproduction rights for this Visual Guide granted to schools.

©Intercultural Systems / Systèmes interculturels (ISSI) Inc. All rights reserved.
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