So You’re a Broke College Student and Want to Travel Abroad

Ahh, college. The land of the free-flowing booze, ordering delivery at 2 a.m. on a Saturday night and the sea of students dreaming of studying abroad. Never fear, dreamers, I’m here to give you some advice as a fellow college student whose saved thousands in just a year and a half in order to go abroad for three months. Whether you’re going away for three weeks or three months these tips will help save you some extra cash.

1. Get a job. And actually work.

This sounds obvious, but some people might need a reminder. If you’re broke and want to travel, you can’t be picky about what job you want. For you, any job is a good job as long as it pays (and is legal, obviously). And once you get that job, actually show up. So many times I’ve seen people get hired, and then only sporadically show up for their shifts. And once they stop getting scheduled, they come in to complain they aren’t getting any hours! I’ve worked at American Eagle for the past four years. It’s not glamorous, but I get 30-39 hours a week and have received raises solely because I’m reliable.

2. Cut out bars

I know this sounds awful, but hear me out. Think about the last time you went to a bar, and remember that sinking feeling when you saw your bar tab was $45 because you kept ordering $12 cleverly-named cocktails from a speakeasy in D.C.. Instead only buy alcohol from the grocery store to save money, or better yet, watch that bank account balance soar when you stop drinking alcohol altogether.

3. No delivery

Delivery is expensive. In addition to what you’re paying for your food, there’s generally a $2-3 delivery fee as well as the $2 you need to tip the delivery driver. Suddenly that really cheap pizza just turned into almost $20. If you can, go pick up your pizza to avoid the extra costs.

4. Ditch the coffee chains

You know that $5 latte you drink everyday? It adds up to be $100 a month if you’re getting one every day before class. Instead, buy coffee in bulk. A 48-ounce Folgers can will cost you $9.08 on Amazon. An 80-count of San Francisco Bay Fog Chasers is $27.55 (or a whopping $0.36 per cup) on Amazon. Nomadic Matt suggests you cut coffee altogether– but I know how much you need that extra caffeine boost.

5.  Find (free) fun

Go hiking, find a free outdoor concert or wander around your city. An adventure is just a Google search away.

Photo credit: 401(K) 2012 on Flickr.


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