How I Saved $350 Just By Using a Credit Card While Studying Abroad

Since the semester just started some of us are buying notebooks, packing our book bags, and charging our laptops for classes. Others are getting acquainted with a brand new city, trying new foods, and learning a different language. So to all my friends abroad here are some tips to save some coins.

First things first, credit card. Do not use your debit card overseas. I repeat. Do not use your debit card overseas. I made this mistake and racked up $25 worth of international fees. Not cute. Signing up for a credit card takes some research. I got the Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card and ended up getting about $350 cash back through my travel points. Not too shabby. Plus using a travel credit card means no international fees.

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Budgeting is hard. My recommendation would be to plan out all your trips as soon as possible. Try not to do any last minute changes, and carefully make sure you’re booking the right transportation, and time. Make sure that you consider the metro most likely won’t be open till 5 AM so if your flight is at 6 AM you’ll probably be paying for a pricey Uber. Then with the money left over from planning trips, budget about $100 per trip and the rest should be spread out through your time abroad.

When it comes to hostels vs. hotels you might think hostels are cheaper – but you’d be surprised. Hotels.com was a great resource that I used to find really cheap hotels. I paid the same price for a hostel in Amsterdam that I did for a  hotel in Mykonos (that gave FREE breakfast) – don’t even get me started on my hostel experience.

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Finding cheap airfare wasn’t hard at all Skyscanner and Goeuro were the best services I found. They always came through with the best prices and helped me narrow down the best time for me to go. Also, Easyjet is an airline company that will only let you bring ONE bag with you. Seriously, your small little bag that’s just carrying your passport will count as your one bag.

Quick note: Food markets are ALWAYS cheaper than grocery stores, but they’re also harder to navigate if there is a language barrier and metric difference.

These are just a few quick and nifty tips that really helped me not go over my budget. Of course, resisting the urges to shop, buy expensive food, and just completely ball out will of course help but always checking if there’s an alternative cheaper way helps too. Have any budget hacks of your own? Comment them below!

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