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Top Travel Money Tips For University Students

It comes as no surprise that university and college students alike desire spontaneous traveling during their longer breaks. Leaving your country to explore abroad opens up your mind and gives you a new perspective on life; not to mention how easily it can become an unforgettable experience.

With the rising costs of education and higher societal demand for post-secondary degrees, lifestyle expenses like traveling are steadily becoming unaffordable to the average student.

We’ve created this guide to promote frugal adventuring so today’s youth can still take pleasure in the new wave of budget-conscious travel.



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The word “broke” nowadays is more commonly associated with students than operating machinery. Thankfully, your school most likely features a few ways to ease your degree’s financial burden – as long as you put in some effort.


Free Degrees

Although you probably won’t see this offer being commonplace at Ivy League universities, there are plenty of opportunities to acquire affordable (and sometimes completely free) tuition at schools that often get looked over. Sometimes you can even find these offers overseas, which lets you travel and study for one price!

The only thing required from you is an applied effort to achieve good grades. The higher your overall GPA, the more competitive you can expect the tuition offers to be.


Bonuses Paid Out

The majority of schools in Canada have several measures in place to increase their program’s affordability. You can apply to seemingly endless amounts of scholarships and grants to alleviate some of your tuition cost.

Naturally, a lot of scholarships are grade score dependent – but don’t let that stop you from submitting applications. As long as you’re willing to put in the time for these bursaries, you have a chance to win worry-free funding.


Making Connections

One of the greatest advantages that post-secondary school has to offer is a sprawling campus filled with like-minded individuals. Traveling overseas with friends can make accommodation costs relative inexpensive, especially if they’re more knowledgeable about certain areas.

By networking with other travel bugs, you all stand to benefit from a shared pool of travel information and potentially split living costs. Maybe someone in your friend group has family you could live with at your destination?





There are several things you can do before you depart to place you in a better position financially. In many regards, pre-trip planning is just as important as the actions you’d take overseas in regards to preserving wealth.


Get Insured

Having proper coverage through travel medical insurance is a basic necessity when visiting abroad. Medical expenses vary wildly across the globe within a huge range; identical procedures can be dirt cheap in some countries and break the bank in others.

As a result, it helps to be covered in any case for unforeseeable health complications. Unless you spend tons of hours researching the medical costs of each country you visit, you may be surprised to see the hospital bill.


Timing The Flight


  • WEEKDAYS – Generally speaking, you’ll save a few dollars on airplane tickets if you decide to fly in the middle of the week (Tuesday/Wednesday) due to the overall low demand.


  • MORNINGS – A basic frequent flyer rule of thumb is to book departure times for as early as possible. Typically these time slots are less competitive – as long as you’re okay with giving up a little rest.


  • OFF SEASON – Depending on when you choose to enroll in classes, you can save big by flying outside holiday breaks. Booking departures for low vacationer demand periods like October, September, May, and June are objectively more affordable.


Frugal Flying

You can realize huge savings by combining good flight timing with the right airline. Flying has never been more accessible to the average consumer, and many companies have resorted to offering inexpensive “barebones” flights.

Large budget airliners such as Ryanair and WestJet are competing for this space by providing extremely affordable airfare (when compared to traditional brands like Air Canada).

It can also be beneficial to compare different options before locking into a flight deal. With so many selections for take-off times, airliners, seats, etc, it pays off to do some extra research.


Cheap Currency Conversion

When travelling outside your home country, you’ll need to exchange some of your native currency to your destination’s currency. There are several ways you can achieve this, but two options stand out as the most efficient:

  • TRADITIONAL BANK EXCHANGE – Exchanging money at a big banking institution is a very safe and secure method of obtaining foreign currency, but it can be a time-consuming process and you’re not guaranteed the best rate.


  • PROFESSIONAL CURRENCY EXCHANGE - By booking conversion transactions with reputable companies that specialize solely in foreign exchange, you can ensure that you’re getting the best possible rates.





Once you’ve done everything you can at home to formulate a budget and prepare for travel expenses, there are still plenty of strategies you can use to further improve your financial status at your destination. Here are some of the most accessible tips on this list – practically anyone can take advantage of these frugal-travel techniques:


Finding Employment

Visiting another country does not have to be fully considered a vacation, especially if vacation travel is seen as a luxury. If you start draining your wallet upon arrival faster than expected, you can always pick up a part time job.

Whether it’s temporary or one-time gig work, it’s not impossible to find a few modest jobs available to make fast money. Even if you’re lacking employable skills, you can easily discover some manual labour jobs just by asking around – a ton of businesses wouldn’t mind an extra helping hand.


Choosing Activities

You’ve probably heard the saying, “spend money on experiences not physical items,” and while the phrase is generally helpful its significance doubles when travelling.

There are numerous attractions and things to do abroad that are either pennies on the dollar or completely free of charge. All it takes is a willingness to walk off the beaten path coupled with a little deal-hunting effort.

Brainstorm cost-efficient activities overseas like sightseeing, nature walks, and interacting with the public. Add these to student discounted experiences (tours, museums, festivals) and you’ve got yourself a very inexpensive adventure.


Spend Consciously

Let’s be honest – you’re likely to encounter periods of reckless spending during your trip. The key is to recognize when these moments appear and limit them to the best of your ability.

Eating out at international pubs and diners is bound to happen at some point, but if you wish to have money left over, treat these as “highlights” of the trip instead of common occurrences. And if you’re prioritizing cultural food and drinks, try to discover cheap local joints instead of eating in tourist hubs. Chances are that smaller home-style establishments are where you’ll find the most authentic flavours anyways!

Another big money saver is window shopping. Tourism-heavy areas are designed to wring your pockets dry with their plethora of boutiques and souvenir shops. Resisting the temptation to impulse buy from these places can be even more rewarding than the product itself.





The truth is, nothing is easy to do on a budget – a budget is designed to limit and constrict. However, there’s still so much enjoyment to be had as a student by travelling frugally, and it’s certainly very doable.

If you really want to get the most bang for your buck, and don’t mind pushing back your travel plans for a while, check out this article that outlines the strength of the Canadian dollar. The best time to explore the world is when your home currency is super valuable!



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By Alex | June 26, 2020 | Guides, Travel Tips | 0 comments