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Things to know before you go

Here are some handy tips before you embark on your Study Travel

  1. Create a personal budget - How much do you spend now? How much will you need to spend there? What should your average daily expenditure be?
  2. Do your research - Use travel guides and websites to learn about your host country. Find out the general cost of living - how much will you need to spend for a night out, transportation, etc. Check the currency conversion rates at sites like Oanda or XE to see how the local currency compares to the U.S. dollar.
  3. Look for student fares - STA Travel and Student Universe specialize in international student travel. Apply for discount cards or memberships
    International Student ID Cards (ISIC) and Hostelling International (HI) memberships get you discounts on things like lodging, transportation, entrance fees, etc.
  4. Check your bank - Make sure you understand what fees you'll be charged for using your ATM or credit card abroad; research fees with other banks to see if you can find something cheaper.
  5. Start saving - Set up a separate bank account just for study abroad and put 25% of every paycheck in it. Do some creative fundraising.

While you are there

  • Limit travel outside your host country or try to take the most efficient routes to get places.
  • Plan your trips ahead of time.
  • Take day trips rather than overnighters.
  • Use hostels rather than hotels (Hostelling International has a large network and offers discounts to members).
  • Explore your host city rather than going somewhere else.
  • Avoid tourist traps.
  • Eat in with your host family or try to cook most of your meals.
  • Share meals with friends or flat-mates.
  • Eat like a local: shop local markets and get suggestions for cafés.
  • Use Skype and pre-paid calling cards rather than a global phone.
  • Send old-fashioned letters and postcards.
  • Suspend your current cell phone plan until you are back.
  • Use buses or the metro rather than cabs or get some exercise and walk!
  • For trips, remember to compare bus, train and air prices when possible. HINT: Many discount airlines have a lot of extra fees that drive up the total cost of your ticket (carry-on luggage, coffee or soft drinks on board, booking fees, etc.) so check into those carefully before purchasing. Sometimes the additional hassle of flying isn't worth the money saved (or not saved).
  • Wait to buy! Make sure to compare prices for souvenirs.
  • If bartering is part of the local custom, then barter. Take a local friend with you to get a better deal if you're nervous.
  • Follow your budget! Keep track of what you spend on a daily or weekly basis.
  • Pay cash: it's easy to overspend with credit cards.
  • Don't carry lots of cash with you - there will be less temptation to spend.
  • Take advantage of student discounts with ISIC, HI membership or university ID.
  • Find out if you're eligible to work part-time with your student visa. If so, become an English tutor or work at restaurant or café - it's a great way to meet new people and potentially improve your language skills!

Other ways to save money while you are gone

  • Rent your car to a friend or sibling while you're gone.
  • Find someone to sublease your apartment.
  • Suspend your cell phone, internet and cable - you can usually do this for up to 6 months at a time.


Getting adequate insurance coverage is mandatory when you travel.  The MN State System requires that all students going abroad have adequate insurance through their program provider or purchase our state's study abroad insurance plan.  Contact CIE for more information on how to purchase insurance.

Last Modified: 7/18/22 11:35 AM | Website Feedback