Living and studying in Europe can be quite expensive, especially if you also want to travel when you’re not busy with school. The basic expenses can already rack up a significant amount every week, and that’s not including entertainment and travel costs.
You could stick to just studying and seeing what you can within a reasonable distance, but where’s the fun in that? You’re already in Europe; take advantage of every opportunity you get to enjoy the sights, the culture, and the food that the continent has to offer. But how can you do that if you have a budget to stick to?
Here are the best tips that can help stretch your dollar and make studying in Europe more worthwhile:
1. Get an ISIC as soon as possible
An International Student Identity Card (ISIC) will allow you to enjoy discounts on all sorts of things, such as accommodation, food, retail buys, and even entertainment. It only costs $25 a year and will help you save a lot of money during your stay in Europe, especially if you want to make the most out of your time there by exploring.
2. Look for affordable accommodation
Accommodation is one of the biggest expenses when staying abroad, especially for long stretches of time which is true in your case as an international student. Start looking for affordable accommodation long before the date of your departure. Even if you’re studying in a major city, there are lots of affordable options available that will help keep your basic expenses to a minimum.
For example, if you’re studying in London, look for affordable hostels with private rooms that fit your budget. These are some of the most affordable options in big cities, and despite not being as luxurious as having your own apartment, hostels can offer just as much comfort and security, if not more.
3. Travel on non-peak days
If you’re going to travel on your days off from school, do it during non-peak days to save money on transportation. Non-peak days like Monday and Thursday are when tickets are cheapest, unless if it’s a holiday or following a long weekend.
4. Eat where the locals eat
Eating is one of the best parts of being in an entirely new country. There is so much to explore with regard to the food cultures in Europe. However, dining out is one of the easiest ways to rack up your expenses. So if you’re going to dine out, eat where the locals eat. The places where locals tend to flock to are usually the cheapest, and definitely the most authentic compared to higher-end restaurants that mostly cater to tourists.
5. Bring a reusable water bottle
Most major cities in Europe have potable water, which means it’s safe to drink from the tap. Stop racking up unnecessary expenses on bottled water (and increasing your plastic wastage) and bring a reusable water bottle everywhere you go. You can refill it almost everywhere, even in public taps along the street, which are prevalent in countries like Germany and Italy.
However, always be sure to ask the locals if the tap water is potable before attempting to drink it. But when you have an incredibly sensitive stomach, it’s safer to buy bottled water in bulk at the supermarket.
6. Rent a bike
Another major expense while studying abroad is transportation. Renting a car may be out of the question if you’re going to be relying on it daily since it’s a big expense, more so if your accommodation does not have adequate parking. The next best option is to rent a bike. Not only do you get to save money on public transportation, but you also reduce your carbon footprint and increase your physical activity.
Studying abroad anywhere is expensive, but studying in Europe perhaps comes with the biggest price tag. Use these tips to make it easier to stick to your budget. Not only are you stretching your dollar, but you’re making more room for fun activities like traveling to different cities and eating local foods.