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Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014


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Stretch Your Dollar: Save Money While Traveling

If you’re planning to step outside your comfort zone and journey to the different corners of the globe, you can do so without coming back penniless. The key is to save money where you can, so you’ll have money available when you find that perfect souvenir or want to indulge in one of a city’s finer restaurants.

Go Local. Ask the people who work at your hostel or hotel where they eat and what they do for fun. Guide books can be very helpful in recommending restaurants and events, but locals can often provide a more authentic experience. Their recommendations can be cheaper or a better value overall.

Buy a student discount card. The International Student ID Card (ISIC) costs $22 and can save students $100s thanks to access to thousands of discounts at home and abroad. Participating companies include Target.com, the Apple Store, STA Travel, hostels, hotels, museums and restaurants around the world. The ISIC card is available at statravel.com.

Enjoy the Backpacking Lifestyle. A great way to save some cash during your travels is by staying at hostels. These are everywhere and give you a good night’s sleep. You can sleep in a dorm-style room or opt for a private room. Breakfast is often included and you’ll definitely meet a ton of fellow student travelers from around the world. Hostels are really cool places to crash, especially ones like the Clink in London. It’s a former courthouse and jail so you’re actually spending the night in the slammer! If you want to spend a little more money, you can opt for a hotel. You’ll find a great variety of both hostels and hotels at http://ibs.statravelgroup.com/b2cus/AniteXmlGateway.aspx.

Book a tour. Fit in all of the cities you want to visit and have a blast without planning a thing by taking a tour. Tour companies offer excursions for all travelers from cultural immersion to trips filled with the best nightlife. These are ideal for the budget conscious because you pay for most of it up front so there are only small expenses like additional activities and souvenirs to cover. Plus, you’ll be traveling with people from all over the world so you’ll likely make some new friends along the way.

Voluntourism or Work Abroad. Voluntourism can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life and there are a variety of programs offered in various locations around the world. Volunteer programs run from one week to several months and you can volunteer the entire time or include travel in your stay.

Working abroad is another way to travel for an extended amount of time and keep the cash flowing into your account, instead of just out. You can teach English to a host family, work as an au pair, teach surfing, tend bar, or be a ranch hand in locations from Costa Rica to Australia.

Get a Credit Card. Paying with a credit card while traveling internationally is something your parents will actually feel good about. Yes, you’ll have a transaction fee (1 to 3% for Visa or MasterCard) for paying with a different currency, but credit card companies can negotiate a better exchange rate than you will be able to get on your own. This largely negates the transaction fees. Using a credit card also helps avoid currency exchange standard fees.

Traveling around the world will be more expensive than a family trip to the local beach, but you can make it affordable, without having to skip anything.

Patrick Evans is the marketing communications coordinator for STA Travel, the largest student and youth travel organization in the world.
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