Ways to Stretch Your Dollar When Traveling and Living Abroad

If you’re headed to study or work in a foreign land, chances are you may be tight on cash, especially if you’re a college student or recent grad. You understandably want to fully explore your new home but you also want to save as much money as you can. Check out these ways to stretch your dollar while traveling or living abroad. 

Create a Budget

Come up with your budget before even stepping on a plane. Because you have finite resources, this will force you to include only the activities that will bring you true joy. List out all the expenses you can’t avoid, such as rent, transportation and food, then list out line items for entertainment, clothing splurges, etc.  

Public Transportation

Public transportation is the cheapest way to get around your new city. Get to know the local bus and train systems, as well as the subways. In the process, you’ll get to know more people than you would if you had your own car, putting you in touch with the local culture. You never know who you’re going to meet or what interesting conversations you’ll have while standing at the bus stop. 

You could also buy or rent a bicycle to get around, helping you save money and get in shape at the same time. 

ATMs/Credit Cards

Keeping some cash on hand for quick purchases like bus fare or a snack is a great idea. However, for the bulk of your purchases, use debit or credit cards, which often have a better currency exchange rate than cash. Most credit cards are accepted internationally, and many have security measures in place that will alert you to possible fraud. 


Food alone will take up a large portion of your budget if you’re not careful. Go out for meals once a week rather than a few. Buy your own groceries at the corner store and cook most of your meals. Bonus: buying fresh, local food can help you maintain a healthy diet. Ask a teacher or colleague how to prepare local dishes. This will open up a dialogue and also help you hone your language skills.


No need to pay a tour guide to explore the city. Grab a map or download an app, then get on your bike or take off on foot to explore everything the city has to offer. Visit museums, galleries, malls, parks, universities, landmarks and churches. Check out festivals, fairs and celebrations that highlight the local culture.  

Contact BRIC Language Systems

To help you get the basics down for your trip abroad, check our BRIC Language Systems to learn Mandarin Chinese, Brazilian Portuguese or Spanish. Contact us today.