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Traveling abroad offers new experiences and can be a lot of fun. It can also be a learning experience. While there are many ways to travel on the cheap, you still need a fair amount of free cash to enjoy an extended stay. Learning how to manage your money is essential when you are on any trip, and traveling abroad can help you learn how to save every dollar.
One of the first things international travel will teach you is the difference between wants and needs. When you are living abroad on a fixed budget, it isn’t the big expenses (hotels, flights, transportation, etc.) that eat up your budget. Instead, it is the small things like a morning cup of coffee or a postcard at every stop that gradually erode your traveling funds. Learn to say no to anything you don’t actually need on your trip to avoid overspending, particularly when you are going to be out of the country for months.
Americans often have a spending problem, but travel abroad can help you curb your impulse purchasing with some practical money lessons. When you have a limited budget and no work permit for a foreign country, you can’t afford to spend money as if you’ll get a paycheck at the end of the week — and you wouldn’t want to. After all, everything you buy is one more thing you have to carry or ship home.
Sure, you could pay for guided tours but why bother? If you’re already there, most major tourist attractions are very inexpensive or free, as long as you don’t mind touring on your own. Cutting your entertainment costs and finding fun on your own two feet can help you get the most out of your money while living abroad.
A few hours spent on Google can save you hundreds of dollars on the ground. Putting together a plan can help you stay on budget. Find the best shopping areas, look up inexpensive lodging and look at fun destinations with a low cost of living. If you do, you might be able to spend months abroad, not an occasional week or two.
Always have a bit of an emergency fund set aside. If you get sick, mugged or lose something important (like your phone), you need to be able to deal with the issue. Asking friends and family to wire you money might be an option, but you could wait as long as three to five days for the funds to get to you. Traveling abroad teaches you to be prepared for anything.