Show Me the Money!
Planning a budget is one of the most
important things you have to do before you go abroad. In order to
help make the process a little easier, we've come up with some Do's
and Dont's for living abroad on a budget.
do I need to know about making a budget?
- Budget, budget, budget! This cannot be stressed enough.
Before you travel, try and decide how much money you
will be able to spend while abroad.
- We recommend that you plan on spending at least $4,500 during a
full semester abroad. Some students can get by on less, whereas
some have easily spent more. Consider the amount of traveling and
shopping you intend to do as you structure your budget.
- Make sure to consider the following variables as you set your
What are the DO’S of using credit/debit cards abroad?
- DO bring a credit/debit card abroad! Credit
cards can be useful for emergencies as well as travel! Visa and
Mastercard are the most commonly accepted international cards, but
be sure to do your research! Make sure you are aware of
international withdrawal fees, surcharges, and rates while
- DO notify your bank that you will be
travelling internationally! Your bank may become suspicious
when purchases suddenly appear from all over the coast of
Italy. You do not want them cancelling your credit card in the
middle of your travels!
- DO familiarize yourself with the policies of
your card, payment plan, interest rates, and general usage
guidelines. Especially if you are a first time credit card
user. We recommend this consumer guide
from the federal reserve for tips on credit card usage.
What are the DON’T’s of using credit/debit
- DO NOT travel with large amounts of
cash. For students participating on semester long programs, we
do not recommend you travel with a semester’s worth of
cash. Some US banks have international branches or affiliates,
so be sure to check with your current bank. Some students use
travelers checks, while most prefer to withdraw money from
international atm’s. Usually your US bank will charge you a
small percentage for an international withdrawal, but they also
provide you with the best available exchange rate for that
day. We recommend students withdraw around the equivalent of
250 US dollars at a time, to ensure you are not travelling with
large amounts of cash.
- DO NOT plan on using solely credit/debit cards
while abroad. Credit/Debit cards are not necessarily accepted
everywhere. Depending on your location of travel, you may find
yourself shopping in small outdoor markets or eating in a
countryside café where they only take cash. Try and always
carry small amounts of emergency cash!
What else do I need to
- Familiarize yourself with the
current exchange rate, or cost of living in your country of travel.
The website XE.com
provides information on current exchange rates. A sample cost
comparison of daily expenses can be found
- For students travelling on our
Discover the World program, consider the order of your
travels. Paris is typically the most expensive city, followed
by Rome and Seville. Make sure to plan accordingly based on
your specific rotation!