Prepare Financially for Your Weekend Adventures
Budget! Budget! Budget!
Traveling every weekend, or even once a month, can really add up. It can be expensive to grab a bite to eat near a well-known tourist attraction. You’ll find that a lot of museums and other attractions have entrance fees and sometimes taxi prices can vary more than you initially expect. So what are some ideas to help you plan ahead and avoid financial insecurity at the end of the semester:
First, live within your means. This sounds simple, but it is easy to splurge on the first few trips you plan for yourself. You’re excited! Independent! And everyone at home is asking you for souvenirs. Know your overall budget and set spending limits for yourself for each trip. Maybe even plan ahead for what gifts you’ll need/want to bring home and which destination may best match the interests of friends or family back home.
Second, think ahead when it comes to food. Sometimes hunger can drive you to stop at the first restaurant that smells good and if you’re busy viewing things like the Louvre in Paris, you could find yourself in a very expensive restaurant that, to be honest, doesn’t even serve good French food. When planning your trip, it can’t hurt to check out a few food blogs to find restaurants near the sites you plan to visit that match your budget and interests – maybe even search for the kinds of places locals frequent and go the extra mile to find out if your destination has any typical dishes or snacks. You can’t beat a Currywurst in Berlin or a kebab in Istanbul when it comes to price, cultural importance, and local appeal.
On that note, if you have any dietary preferences or needs, it can be helpful to check food blogs to find out how to indicate your needs in the local language and how to find restaurants that can respect your dietary needs. For example, check out this blog article for a Gluten-Free Guide to Italy.
Third, know your conversion rates. When you travel it is good for you to know how the local currency relates to your bank’s currency and if you’ll incur bank fees for using your credit, debit, or ATM card in your destination country. You’ll find that some banks have partnerships with financial institutions overseas that can allow you to withdraw cash without paying extra fees. You may want to check with your bank to see if an arrangement of that nature applies to you.
Fourth, spend some time in your destination city. We know we say that a lot but every semester we hear students saying that they wish they’d spent more time exploring their host city. Where you choose to live will likely host all sorts of events and activities throughout your time abroad, but they’ll also have endless streets for you to explore for free. This is the most low-cost way for you to explore, take in some fresh air, and meet new people in the area.