The decision to live and study abroad comes with careful calculations. Hence the smart move is to carefully plan your funds much in advance. Sure, expensive study material and housing adds up to your budget but a mammoth dent in your overall resources is to travel on student budget.
But what exactly do we mean when we say travel?
Think, daily cost of going to and from college!
The money you spend on moving around your local spots like university, part-time job and your best friend’s home become your cost for commuting.
On an average, a student spends between $1050 to $1900* on commute.
*SOURCE: College Board, Annual Survey of Colleges; NCES, IPEDS Fall 2017 Enrollment data.
Much like tuition though, commute is inescapable. No matter how hard you try, you cannot do without it. But it doesn’t mean you cannot be smart about it.
This article focuses on tricks to reduce travel expenses on a student budget:
Budgeting Is The Magic Word!
Take some time out to create a realistic budget. This can and should include the cost of housing, tuition, food, study material and of course, travel.
Before you create a budget, consider realistic costs for each. For example, if the cost of a meal per day is $10, you cannot allocate only $50 to food per month. It may seem silly to point this out but it is a rookie mistake when budgeting and you need to be aware.
Create a list of inflow and outflow of money. In other words, the money that comes in (like your part-time pay, scholarship, a gift from your parents, etc) and that which goes out.
When you have carefully budgeted for your needs, you can allocate some money to leisure like a night of drinking on a weekday and a Netflix subscription.
Get Yourself A Discount Card
Various countries set up discount cards for international students like the ISIC or the International Students’ Identity Card. This card will not only help you get your hands on discounts on museums and galleries but also save up a fortune on commute and public transport.
So do your pocket a favor and get yourself a student discount card after some local research.
Public Transport Is Your Best Friend
Nothing beats the convenience of booking yourself a cab online with simply a few taps. But consider the cost of a cab ride against the fare of public transport and think of how many drinks the difference can buy!
Railways and buses are often very well connected and you can reach anywhere from almost anywhere with a few switches. Various apps can help you navigate your way and you will only thank yourself later.
Consider Walking wherever possible
Aka your legs!
If your destination is within a few miles, consider walking. Putting on some good music and enjoying the streets while giving your thoughts some room will make walking seem like an activity than commute. Besides, you will be doing your health and the environment a favor. There really isn’t a better way than this to travel on budget while at uni.
Think, spring break and your trip home.
Let’s be real, you are going to travel to places even when you’re on a budget. You would want to visit friends in a different city and your parents for thanksgiving. So, it only makes sense to be judicious about its cost.
Here are some hacks to reduce your travel costs:
Plan Your Trips
You know of your university breaks well in advance. Planning your trip will help you save a ton on flights. Booking a seat last minute makes the least economical sense.
Try To Make Your Travel Flexible
Often, airlines offer amazing last-minute deals. If you keep your travel plan flexible, you can book a seat at half the cost through these discounts or spend some time in a few layovers to cut costs.
Grab A Buddy
If you know of a buddy whose travel plans and destination match yours, voila! You’ve saved on gas (if it’s a road trip) and the cost of carpooling to and from airports.
Having a conscious and clear idea of the total expenses will not only show you how to save money on travelling but also help you spend appropriately on leisure.
Because you know, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!