Restaurant signboardPerhaps you’re sitting there staring at the computer worried about money. I know the feeling because I just graduated school a few months ago. But if your money troubles are study abroad related than you have a unique situation to exploit. For my study abroad bound friends it’s likely you’ve discussed where you’ll want to visit that isn’t where your host family resides. One former study abroad student I know was able to meander from France, through the Netherlands, and into Italy’s Venizia (or Venice). Traveling outside of your study abroad city is definitely to be encouraged.

Every town, whether you’re traveling in the vast Australian Outback or the frigid city of Moscow, has a little bit of a different flavor. I can’t stress enough that Study Abroad is your chance to explore and step outside of your comfort boundaries. Sounds an awful lot like a college acceptance brochure, eh? In lieu of your chance to spend freely and dabble in the not-so-oft seen treasures of this world I’m offering just a few tips of how to save cash so you can spend it wisely.

First tip is to plan way in advance. Fortune was not a favor of the man who dropped everything to go sailing from Spain. Planning ahead does the favor of telling us where we’ll already be spending money so we don’t have to constantly count how much is left for fun things. Keeping a watchful eye on your particular currency exchange rates will help too.

Let’s talk about food. I love it and I love going out to eat. My Koreatown home in Los Angeles offers many Korean BBQ’s and Taco trucks that I’d love to indulge in every afternoon and night. Yet, much like most people, I must brave the kitchen and make my own confections in the interest of saving a little cash. This should be your norm as well. Just go to the grocery store instead of going out to eat every night on vacation. Let’s say you’ve made it to Paris for the week. Good luck paying for French wine by the glass and little omelets every morning without going broke. Do yourself a favor and maybe look up some localized recipes and explore the town market before opening your wallet for a little extra fromage.

So you’ve got an itinerary and a way to save on food. But where to stay? As a student you probably won’t be staying in any Trump hotels or fancy shmancy accommodations. That is, unless you feel like and can, spend the money on it. For those of us tight on a budget but oozing with adventurous sentiments we can always go to hostels. I know Eli Roth had his version of one but in reality they aren’t so bad. You’ll meet some interesting travelers, take selfies in the shared rooms, and even have a little kitchen to cook your own meals. That way when the weekend comes you’ll have fun times lined up and cash to back it.

– Mark Melchior


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Mark Melchior has a B.S. in Television and Film Production from the Park school of Communications, Ithaca College, and is a contributing writer and staff Sommelier at Abroad101. While he’s not telling you how to quell your travel anxieties you can find him at the local record store, stuck in traffic, or quietly eating a slice of pizza. He is based in sunny Los Angeles, CA.

Connect with Mark through LinkedIn.