Wow, I can’t belive it’s been a exactly a year since I left the US to live in Sydney, Australia for four months. It still doesn’t feel real that I’m back.
It seems like I’m always traveling. Each time I return from a trip, I already seem to have my next one planned or, at the very least, in the works. All the time, people ask me how I am able to go to all these places and how I can afford to go. People scoff and roll their eyes at my “priviledge” but I know that I’ve worked hard to find these opportunites. A lot of the time, I do know that I am really lucky. I have two parents that work hard to give me some of the global opportunities that I have.
This is my number one tip for traveling on the cheap. Often times, international volunteer opportunities involve day trips to go see nearby sights and these trips always expose you to new cultures and people. I’ve gone on a few volunteer trips and I can easily say that they have been some of my favorite. If nothing else, my best friends were made on these trips. Holla at #ThetaWinterServiceTrip and #EllerGuatemalaServiceTrip
Look through school.
I went abroad though my school on a volunteer trip for spring break, but that isn’t the only opportunity that I looked at. After my freshman year, I went with the honors college to London and Paris and received 6 units of credit too! Considering I got the credit and most things were paid for abroad, it was a good deal. My school has also hosted a lot of affordable trips to a lot of Latin American countries.
Look through work.
My most recent trip to London was through work. Although a lot of jobs don’t offer the kind of experience I was able to do (unless you’re an accounting major, there are so many with the Big 4 firms!), many jobs have locations in other countries where you may be able to go. Although you may just be an *intern* or a *new hire* a lot of companies offer trips abroad to top sellers, employees interested in community service, and more!
If you are going to intern at a large company, check to see if they have an international program you can apply for that would allow you to spend some time in one of their foreign offices.
Related: Who said accountants were boring?
Look for travel scholarships and grants.
I’ve got to say that this one is the biggest opportunity for everyone. There are so many travel scholarships for young, college students out there. Whether you find them through a school website or simply put “travel scholarships” into Google or your search engine of choice (I’m looking at you, Bing), there are so many you can apply for. Think of the math as well: If you spend 5 hours applying to scholarships (you can even reuse a lot of essay questions since the applications are so similar), and you get 1 scholarship for just $500, you just made $100/hour. That sounds like a good deal to me.
Look for international internships.
These are the big money maker, literally. Get a job and work abroad. You can even pay to sublease a place for a few months or get a room on AirBnB. Either way, I wouldn’t really plan on saving any of the money you make while you’re there.
Move abroad and find a job.
This is pretty much the same exact thing as above, but just remember it doesn’t have to be a fancy office job. You can still pay the bills as a waitress if need be. A lot of times, after you move somewhere, it can be rather simple to find a job for the duration of your summer break.
If the above doesn’t work or you’re looking to cut costs even further:
- Follow flight sales on deal sites. For example, Jetsetter, Hopper, Skyscanner, and Expedia are all good sites to look for flights sales. Hopper will actually track previous flights if you’re inflexible with dates and notify you of the best time to purchase tickets! Skyscanner is always sending flight deals to my inbox that show low fares from your home airport – totally worth the email subscription (which is free)! Google Flights and Kayak offer flight price tracking too. Personally, I always use Google Flights to compare prices and cheaper days to fly. Pro tip: Tuesdays are typically the cheapest day of the week to book a flight.
- Be flexible with your dates. Typically, the most expensive flights go out on Friday nights and return on Sunday nights – this is because everyone wants to book these weekend trips. If you’re schedule is flexible, and you can leave on a weekday, opt for that! The flights will almost always be cheaper.
- Stay with host familes. Usually they cook for you as well.
- Try the local cuisine. It’s cheaper than the big restaurants.
- Hostels and AirBnB are both inexpensive and you meet such cool people! Just stay safe when traveling with strangers.
I hope these helped! Cheers!