9 Money-Saving Ways to Travel with Student Debt

Wondering how to pay student loans while abroad? Is that even possible? We’ve got the 411 for wanderlusting recent grads who want to travel with student debt! ☆ The young and restless world-traveling dreamers who are freshly coming out of college with a diploma in one hand and a student loan in the other can now take a deep breath. Paying off student debt while living abroad is not a dream anymore! Say whaaaat?

students is graduation caps sitting in graduation ceremony

The student debt represented in this photo probably equates close to a million dollars.

There has never been a time with a greater need for expat students and international employees than now, when the world has opened its borders (for the most part). If your level of English is close to native and you have a diploma, we guarantee that you can find a job pretty much anywhere you want in the world. Can you picture yourself paying off debt while living abroad? Yes you can!

At home, it usually goes that after you finish college and get a job, you start paying off your debt. The process is practically the same abroad as well. Except that it is, well, abroad, and your life is not your ordinary life anymore. A few things may change, like your lifestyle, your salary, your expenses, and of course your daily routine, but isn’t that exactly what you are looking for?

You’re probably here because you’re looking for a change of scenery, and a way to pay off your debt but still travel to your heart’s content. Wanna know how? Keep on reading, friend! You’re about to learn how to travel with student debt.

Is paying student loans while living abroad possible?

Although a student loan should not really be looked at as a “loan” but instead as an investment in one’s self and their career, at the end of the day it’s still a burden that thousands of people have to deal with. It’s a burden that makes a lot of people put their travel dreams on hold until they pay their debt off, and then they can start enjoying life.

Naturally, people look for loopholes—a way you can make both happen, and you don’t have to wait until you’re debt free or too old to travel the world. So…is paying off debt while living abroad possible?

hand holding up rolled american 20 dollar bill

Ugh…every little bit helps when paying off debt while living abroad (we guess).

The answer to that question is a definite YES! But (there’s always a but), there is a certain amount of planning involved to make this possible. Before you jump into something and create more debt, make sure your plan is tight, and you are prepared for anything. If you are still living at home with your parents, paying rent in another country might not be a feasible option for you, and the thought of moving to a whole new country is scary. But we are here to put your worries at ease.

[How to Save Money for Travel as a Student]

Paying off debt while living abroad requires planning

First and foremost, start by taking a hard look at the amount that you owe, re-evaluate your loans, maybe even consolidate them, and know exactly what amount you have to pay towards it every month. From this point on, your loan will be treated like any other monthly bill, meaning that whatever you budget for, this should always be on your expenses list. 

Be smart with your budget and your choices. When you look for accommodation, keep in mind that living outside major cities (rather than downtown) is more affordable. Check for public transportation and connections, get a bike, share rent, hit the local food markets more often, and do free outdoor activities. In other words, be creative at having fun!

You might not be living a glamorous life, but you will be living the most fulfilling life—and you’ll be able to see than principal balance steadily declining. Instead of going out to eat, cook at home and save your money for a trip in your new home country. You can even search for different ways to make some extra travel money, like freelance work or tutoring English to local children. 

And perhaps your debt won’t get paid in full by the time you head back home (that happens and it’s okay!), but by the end of your adventure, a significant part of it will have been paid off and you’ll have had some of the best memories and significant experiences of your life.

Who knows, you could be one of those people who are so much happier in their new host country that they just decide to stay even after they’ve paid off their loan. Either way, we see it as a win-win situation.

9 tips on how to pay student loans while abroad

If you’re still worried and can’t imagine how in God’s name any of this is possible, check out these 10 tips on how to pay student loans while abroad.

person writing in notebook at desk near globe

Get your pen and notebook out, and get started on your plan for paying off debt while living abroad!

1. Get yourself a working holiday visa

One of the best and most popular ways to earn some money while you’re living abroad is through working holidays. You can do seasonal jobs in different countries abroad, like working in a hotel or a resort, as a staff member in a restaurant, or even be part of a crew staff and sail across the globe.

These options give you the chance to live as a local in a new country and become a part of the community, all while you’re earning an income. And if this sounds like bogus advice to you, do yourself a favor a Google the minimum wage in typical WHV countries, like Australia and New Zealand.

Pro tip: Good service brings good tips. Extra cash means extra enjoyment or more down payment towards your loan. If you happen to be working in Europe, you can make beaucoup d’argent from your tips. Check, please!

2. Why not teach abroad?

You’ve just finished college, which means you have a degree in something. It doesn’t really matter what it is, because with a degree and a level of English close to native, you can teach abroad pretty much anywhere you want.

Apply for teaching jobs at universities, public or private schools, language universities and international schools. Even search for companies that hire English teachers for their employees. Some of these jobs might come with accommodation and certain benefits, which will definitely help your budget and reduce your debt immensely.

And it doesn’t have to be English you are teaching (although that’s definitely the most popular choice). You can also teach music, arts, math, or computer science; if your degree is in education, even more doors will open to you, especially in the Middle East.

[7 Tricks to Saving Money While Teaching Abroad]

3. Work remotely #digitalnomad

Isn’t this what everyone is doing or wishing to be doing nowadays? Some actually have the guts to pack their backpack and laptop and travel the world. Start your freelancing career today, because there are countless job opportunities out there for everyone.

Teach English online, become a virtual bookkeeper, write for a few blogs, design someone’s page, or sell cool stuff online. You can be living in a different country every 90 days when your tourist visa expires, all while you’re making payments towards your student loans.

And if you want to pick up and go back home, you can do that anytime you like! You make your own schedule and make your own decisions. Check out websites like Upwork, Rev, and Guru to get you started. 

4. Live a modest lifestyle

Now, in order to be able to live abroad and successfully lower your student loan debt, there are some things you may have to give up, like having a coffee from Starbucks everyday. Consider trying to save more money by shopping at second hand stores sometimes, driving an older car, using more public transportation, walking or cycling, and not eating out every weekend.

These are some of the most common and useful ways you can make living abroad possible and still pay off your student debt. Don’t go imagining a life of abstinence, because this is not what it is. You’re simply choosing to stay in a weekend or two, watch some TV, and relax, in order to have a whole week of adventures. Learn how to live smart and this is a skill that will forever help you in life.

hand holding out two large coins

Does this look like enough for a pumpkin spice latte? NO! Set your budget and stick to it, and you CAN travel with student debt.

5. Choose affordable countries

Choosing the country you will be living in depends on the road you’d like to take to travel with student debt. If you get a good job in, let’s say Spain, that offers certain benefits, then you don’t really have much to worry about.

However, if you’re more of a wild soul, or don’t have the luxury of being offered a generous salary in an expensive European country, then set your sails for more affordable countries, like the Philippines, Thailand, South Africa, or Mexico, where the cost of living is very affordable. 

Pro tip: Use exchange rates to your advantage and live the life of your dreams. You’ll be watching your loan decrease while sipping from a coconut and getting ready for your evening yoga classes.

6. Pass on the four-star hotels

Your biggest cost (after your loans) will be that of your accommodation. But if you are smart about it, accommodations abroad don’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. First rule: don’t live in the big cities.

Hit outside the city areas, which have just as much to offer as downtown—and probably even some cool hole-in-the-wall places you haven’t heard of. You will have to rely on public transportation, walking, or cycling to get where you want to go. But what better way to explore your host country? 

Second rule: you don’t have to live by yourself. You can easily find people to share rent with, or work as an au pair and live with a host family. An opportunity to interact more with the locals and actually live like one is an exciting opportunity that can’t be overstated.

7. Become an au pair, flight attendant, or drive away

And if you want a job where traveling is your job, you just hit the jackpot!

As an au pair, it would be your job to live with a host family in a different country, adapt to their lifestyle, and watch over their kids. You are involved in their daily activities, you get paid, and there are no bills for you to worry about—besides your student loans back home.

When you drop off a rental car somewhere other than where you picked it up, do you wonder how that car gets back to the original place you got it from? Well, rental companies hire people to drive their cars between different destinations. So if you love driving, cars, money, and have a student loan balance to pay off, you should give this job a try.

Or how about being one of those glamorous flight attendants who gets to jet around the world every single day? If you’re okay with an inconsistent work schedule, the payoff is an occasional weekend in a new country or city you’ve never been to before. Every airline has different standards and routes, so consider getting your feet wet with a domestic airline like Southwest before donning that chic Emirates uniform.

[How to Find Cheap Flights: FundMyTravel’s Inside Scoop]

8. Use FundMy Travel before you go!

You always want to have a safety net, which usually translates into a decent amount of cash to start this journey with. It will take you some time to get ready for this journey, so while you do your research and take care of packing and planning, why not start a campaign with FundMyTravel and raise some money with the help of friends, family, and internet strangers? 

Thousands of people like you have already launched campaigns to achieve their meaningful travel goals. You will be surprised at how much people actually value these campaigns and step up to help other people achieve their dreams. Give it a try—you have absolutely nothing to lose and a whole bunch to gain!

9. Sell your s***

Last (but not least for all the pack rats out there), if you have tons of stuff that you haven’t used in ages, and that you are most definitely not taking abroad with you, why not sell some of it and make some money?

A lot of the things you own are replaceable…so replace everything with items from your travels! Basically, you can sell your old things on websites such as Craigslist, eBay, and Decluttr to create a nest egg for your travels (and to create space in your parents’ basement). Then you can use that money to buy yourself incredible experiences and memories abroad. Now that is money well spent! 

Paying off debt while living abroad is possible… shall we pinch you?

world map with pins

Pictured here: All the places you can go while paying off student loans while living abroad.

No, it is not a dream! Everything you’ve read is entirely true and there are thousands of people just like you out there doing it right now. You could too! And this is the perfect time to do it. You’ve worked hard to get your degree, and this will only make the experience so much more worth it.

When you get home, not only will you have significantly reduced your debt (if not even paid it off)  but now you’ve also gained an incredible set of skills and experiences that will make your resume shine amongst the others.

You’re set up for success! So, are you willing to be mildly to moderately (to even significantly) uncomfortable for the sake of achieving your travel dreams? Only the adventurous need apply.

Start Your Campaign With FundMyTravel!

This article was written by Lucy Dinu. Lucy is an entrepreneur and world traveler—plus writer by day, and reader by night. Born and raised in Romania, Lucy has lived in three different countries and, together with her husband, has traveled to over 20. She strongly believes in personal development, speaks five languages (with a sixth in progress!) and is passionate about everything that puts a smile on people’s faces. Through her unique traveling stories, Lucy aims to inspire others to get out of their comfort zone and explore the world.

11 Countries with No Tuition Fees (or Close to It)

If you want to take your degree global, you’ll want to know about countries with no tuition fees. Check them out! ☆ It’s no secret that getting a good quality education can cost an arm and a leg. In fact, student loans are one of the top causes of debt, especially in the United States where university tuition fees average around $35,000 a year!

Countries with no tuition fees

Sitting around in fancy libraries racks up quite the bill.

But earning a top-notch degree doesn’t have to mean spending decades to pay off your loans. If you’re willing to break the mold, there’s a brilliant solution: earn your university degree abroad.

While most write off study abroad experiences to avoid drowning in debt, studying abroad can actually save you money. Do your research and you’ll find there are quite a few countries around the world with no tuition fees.

That’s right, you can quench your wanderlust, have the adventure of a lifetime, and earn a high-quality degree at world-renowned universities – affordably. Say goodbye to student loans, and hello to countries with free university tuition!

Is it too good to be true?

Some say nothing in life comes free. As with any international travel, there will be costs you’ll incur while studying abroad, including flights, visas, and accommodation. Even if you save on tuition, an education abroad still means forking out some hard-earned money.

But countries with no tuition fees for international students are out there waiting for you. You’ll find European countries with free university tuition, especially in the Nordic region, as well as affordable universities spanning from South America to Asia.

By choosing to study in countries with free university tuition, you’ll still come out with less debt and you’ll have a grand adventure while you’re at it!

11 countries with no tuition fees for international students

1. Germany

Countries with no tuition fees

Keep Germany at the top of your list when looking for the cheapest universities for international students.

Oh, Germany: land of hefeweizen, bratwurst, and…free tuition! Germany is one of the most popular countries for international students, and for good reason. It is one of the few countries with no tuition fees for international students, whether you are from the EU or beyond.

While it can be common at some private universities to pay a small administrative fee, this usually includes a discounted public transportation pass, so you save even more. Better yet, Germany has a booming economy, a world-renowned education system, and a plethora of English programs, making it the ideal location for degrees abroad.

  • Average tuition cost for international students: FREE
  • Popular universities to attend: University of Munich, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, Wismar University

2. Norway

Norway has the cheapest universities for international students in the Nordic region and makes the list for countries with no tuition fees. But Norway’s magic does not just lie in the absence of tuition costs. Imagine snowy mountains, deep blue fjords, and the Aurora Borealis to top off the experience of a lifetime!

There’s only one con: Norway is expensive. The cost of living is higher than most other parts of Europe, which means you’ll need a hefty savings account to cover on-the-ground costs. While this may not be a deciding factor for everyone, it’s a good idea to keep this in mind before jumping into a degree program abroad in Norway. 

  • Average tuition cost for international students: FREE
  • Popular universities to attend: University of Oslo, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, University of Bergen, University of Norway

3. Austria

Nestled in the heart of Europe, Austria offers more than views of the Alps, iconic Gothic architecture, and high class living. It also features some of the cheapest universities for international students! While EU citizens study for free, other international students only pay a small fee under $1,000 for the year. That’s over $30,000 in savings compared to your average American university!

Settle yourself in beautiful Vienna to embark on an excellent academic program, and explore museums, go hiking, and feast on schnitzel in your free time. Just double check whether the classes are taught in English or German!

  • Average tuition cost for international students: ~$1,000/year (FREE if you’re from the EU)
  • Popular universities to attend: University of Vienna, Vienna University of Technology, Graz University of Technology, University of Innsbruck

4. Hungary

Countries with no tuition fees

Take your studies to Hungary, and enjoy a beautiful blend of low university tuition and low cost of living.

Hungary reflects the classic feeling of “Old Europe” with its historic streets and charming villages. Its folk culture is very much alive, influencing the art, architecture, clothing, and music, making it a hotspot for international travel.

With its low cost of living, Hungary is also at the top of the list of cheapest universities for international students. While it may not be one of the few countries with no tuition fees, the cheap lifestyle outweighs the small fee to study abroad. In the long run, spending just over $1,000 in tuition fees per year may save you money while living in a cheap destination.

  • Average tuition cost for international students: ~$1,100/year (FREE  if you’re from the EU)
  • Popular universities to attend: Attila Jozsef University, Avicenna International College, Budapest University of Economic Sciences, Central European University

[Need Money to Study Abroad? Ask Your Network]

5. Greece

Greece is magic: picturesque islands nestled into the Mediterranean Sea, crumbly feta with olives, and some of the cheapest universities for international students. Studying in Greece won’t be free (unless you’re from elsewhere in the EU) but tuition costs are still cheap.

Its low cost of living makes it one of the most affordable destinations in Europe – and the constant sunshine only raises the appeal. Whether you want to experience the grungy city life in Athens, the deep history of Thessaloniki, or sunbathe every day after class on the islands, Greece is an excellent destination to earn an education abroad. It rivals countries with free university tuition with its low cost and dreamlike scenery.

  • Average tuition cost for international students: ~$2,400/year (FREE if you’re from the EU)
  • Popular universities to attend: University of Crete, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

6. France

From coastal Marseille to the wine country of Bordeaux, France is spotted with café terraces, warm croissants, and excellent universities. Its world-renowned education system and French charme draw students from around the globe. EU students only pay a registration fee, making it another one of the top countries with free university education, while internationals pay a small annual fee.

With an increasing number of international students, more university programs are offered in English for both undergrad and graduate students. With some of the cheapest universities for international students, endless program options, and an allure like no other, France can be your haven for affordable education.

  • Average tuition cost for international students: ~$4,000/year (FREE if you’re from the EU)
  • Popular universities to attend: University of Bordeaux, École Polytechnique, Le Mans Université, Université de Montpellier

7. Finland

Finland has always been known as one of the few countries with no tuition fees for international students, but this has recently changed with the addition of small fees for non-EU students. Depending on the desired degree and program, students can expect to pay an annual fee. 

Unlike many other countries abroad, however, Finland’s financial aid and scholarship programs are open to international students, making it a desirable location for study abroad. Keep in mind that as with the other Nordic countries, Finland has some of the cheapest universities for international students, yet the cost of living is high. Is it worth the price to visit the land of clean air, happy people, and the real Santa Claus? We’ll let you decide.

  • Average tuition cost for international students: ~$5,000+/year (FREE if you’re from the EU)
  • Popular universities to attend: Tampere University, University of Oulu, University of Jyväskylä, Arcada University of Applied Sciences, University of Helsinki

 [11 Secrets to Win Scholarships for Going Abroad]

8. Mexico

Countries with no tuition fees

Sunny days, delicious food, and cheap tuition. How about heading to Mexico for your degree?

If you venture outside of Europe, it’s more difficult to find countries with no tuition fees for international students, but you’ll still find cheap destinations. So if you’d prefer Caribbean beaches, spicy cuisine, and a vibrant, Spanish-speaking community, consider studying abroad in Mexico.

If you take time to plan and create a budget for international travel, Mexico offers some of the cheapest universities for international students. Choose between both English and Spanish programs, courses in archaeology or international business, and save money with incredible exchange rates. Each American dollar magically becomes 20 pesos, so you’ll be able to live like a king and study affordably.

  • Average tuition cost for international students: ~$1,600+/year
  • Popular universities to attend: The National Autonomous University of Mexico, Tecnologico de Monterrey, Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon, Universidad Iberoamericano

9. Brazil

Craving those South American vibes and want to brush up on your Portuguese? Brazil is another destination with some of the cheapest universities for international students. Similar to Mexico, you won’t find free tuition, but you will find affordable university prices, endless sunshine, and some of the kindest people you’ll meet.

Get lost in the famous Rio de Janeiro or settle into island life in Florianopolis while studying Latin American studies, Portuguese, economics, or health care. In your free time, you can volunteer in underdeveloped communities to boost your CV, play a pickup soccer game with classmates, or sip on caipirinhas on the beach. Whatever you fancy, it will be cheap with affordable living costs throughout the country!

  • Average tuition cost for international students: ~$2,000/year
  • Popular universities to attend: University of Sao Paulo, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Federal University of ABC

10. China

If you’re looking for countries with no tuition fees for international students in Asia, the options are slim. But affordable living costs make it a top destination to earn an education while saving money on tuition. China features some of the cheapest universities for international students in Asia, and it is the perfect location for students majoring in international business.

The only downside: most courses are taught in Mandarin. If you aren’t fluent, there are not many options for degree programs. On the other hand, if you can speak the language, not only do you have access to some of the cheapest universities for international students, but you’ll also open doors to endless international opportunities.

  • Average tuition cost for international students: ~$3,000/year
  • Popular universities to attend: Tsinghua University, Peking University, Fudan University

11. India

Countries with no tuition fees

India is downright affordable both inside and outside the classroom.

With over 50 big cities and one billion people, India is a colorful destination that will open your eyes and shift your perspective. With rapid economic development, this country has grown into a desirable location for travel and study, but even as it continues to develop the cost of living remains low.

Tuition costs range from only $5,000 annually, but you’ll spend even less than this on food, accommodation, travel, and fun. Whether you want to study at a high-ranking university in New Delhi, or embrace the culture of Chennai and Jaipur, India offers some of the cheapest universities for international students and an opportunity to discover an entirely new world.

  • Average tuition cost for international students: ~$5,000/year
  • Popular universities to attend: University of Delhi, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Indian Institute of Science Bangalore

[Using Student Loans to Travel—What You Need to Know]

Other ways to save money while attending universities abroad

Even if you’re lucky enough to study in countries with free university tuition, it’s still important to be money-conscious. You’ll need to save for flights, accommodation, basic living costs, and of course, fun!

Here are some other ways to save money while attending university abroad:

  • Use FundMyTravel to create a nest egg. Before you embark on the journey of a lifetime, why not tell the world about it? Create a fundraising page and share it with family and friends. Tell your story and encourage those you love to donate to a good cause: your education.
  • Buy used textbooks. Even the cheapest universities for international students can put a dent in your wallet when it comes to books. Instead of purchasing brand new course literature, explore ways of getting your hands on used textbooks. Do you know a past student who would be willing to lend or sell you their old books? Does Amazon ship to Hungary? Mexico? India?
  • Get a part-time job. The best way to save money while attending university is always through part-time work. If you can find countries with no tuition fees and student working rights, you’ve hit the jackpot! If not, get a part-time job before you leave to save money you can spend overseas.
  • Stay with a host family. In most destinations, staying with a local host family will be much cheaper than renting your own apartment. Not only can you save money, but host families offer true cultural immersion. You’ll eat local food, experience local customs, and practice your language skills – things you wouldn’t be exposed to by living on your own or with foreign roommates.
  • Take advantage of student discounts. Don’t go anywhere without your student ID! It’s your ticket to discounts on everything from public transportation to restaurants, cinema tickets to museums… and sometimes even flights! While you may only save a few dollars here and there, in the long-run, student discounts can truly save you. 

Countries with no tuition fees are a dream come true

Countries with no tuition fees

Even if you can’t find 100% free tuition, there are tons of countries with universities WAY more affordable in the US.

Don’t waste another minute daydreaming about earning a top-notch education. No matter your financial situation, there is a way to study at a low cost, and sometimes that just means jetting off to the destination of your dreams to study abroad!

Countries with no tuition fees for international students are out there, and all it takes is some research, budgeting, and planning to get you on the right track. Get ready for a grand adventure and higher education, without the debt. It’s never too good to be true!

Subscribe to the FMT Newsletter For More Tips on Affordable Study Abroad

liz gorgaThis article was written by Liz Gorga. Liz is an international traveler, writer, and educator with two home bases: the USA and Australia. She has worked, studied, interned, volunteered, and traveled through more than twenty countries (and counting), and currently resides in sunny Brisbane, Australia. Her life goal is to experience the magic that exists in every inch of the earth, whether she’s hiking in the Himalayan foothills, jumping out of the sky over coral reefs, or devouring a heaping bowl of homemade pasta.

A Step-by-Step Fundraising Plan for Meaningful Travel

Having meaningful travel abroad sometimes means taking the essential steps to fundraising for it. Here’s the only step-by-step fundraising plan you need! ☆

a backpack sitting on a rock

Don’t pack your bags just yet. You’ll need to follow the essential steps to fundraising first!

For those who are thinking “I need a step-by-step fundraising plan, but don’t know where to start”…this article was written just for you. Not everyone excels at planning, and that is completely okay. We can’t all be as smart and organized as Hermione Granger! However, with just a bit of advice and a well-guided plan, you will be off and running towards your travel goals in no time.

Nowadays, online fundraising is so easy to do and there are millions of campaigns out there. (We wish we were exaggerating!) In order to stand out, you need a plan that is well thought out and unique to YOU. Thankfully, it’s not as hard as it sounds and anyone can do it. Ready to get started? Cool! Read on for our step-by-step fundraising plan. 

A step-by-step fundraising plan for meaningful travel

1. Identify your cause or purpose 

What are you fundraising for? A vacation, mission trip, volunteer work, or study abroad? Identifying your cause and purpose is the first of our steps in fundraising because it sets the tone for your online fundraiser.

If you have a clear vision for what you need the money for, it will help others to understand what they are giving towards. So, if you are still indecisive about what trip, program, or location to choose, it’s time to start researching now.

2. Identity your goals 

What are your goals for your trip? In order to create a successful fundraiser, you need to be able to set goals for yourself to help incentivize others. Maybe your goal is to finish your degree, advance the mission of a non-profit, or learn more about another culture. Whatever your goal may be, it’s a good idea to write them down. They will come in handy when you’re ready for the next step—storytelling.

[The Definitive Ranking of Fundraising Websites]

3. Tell your story 

So, you’ve identified the where, when, and goals of your trip. Yay! Good for you! The next steps in fundraising involve telling your story. AKA creating a compelling story that motivates others to donate. Sound difficult? Trust us, it’s not as hard as it sounds.

Use your words to tell a story—explain your purpose and goals for your trip. For example, your story could go as follows: “I won’t just be sipping down curry in India, I’ll be volunteer teaching at a local school to help kids excel at math and science.” Think of storytelling as a way to describe what your daily life will be like.

travel journal next to computer

Telling your story is one of the most important steps in fundraising for meaningful travel.

4. Estimate your costs

This step in fundraising will require some research; however, it’s worth it in order to estimate how much money you will actually need to fundraise for. Look up the cost of living in your chosen location.

Where will you be living? How much does the food cost? Do you plan to eat out a lot or cook for yourself? These are all good things to know before signing up for your trip and asking others for money.

5. Create a meaningful incentive 

If asking for money makes you cringe, creating an incentive (otherwise known as a gift) for your donors can help ease the guilt. So, what exactly is a meaningful incentive? It’s a way to give back to your donors!

There are many ways to do it, but the key is to give back to your donors and show your appreciation in a fun and unique way. Your incentive doesn’t even need to be expensive. Some past ideas have included sending a postcard to everyone who donates $25 or more.

[How to Fundraise Effectively & Meet Your Goal]

6. Create your Fundraiser 

Of course the final step is to create your FundMyTravel fundraiser! By starting your campaign, donations will automatically be sent to your account. Plus, it’s free to create an account and share your campaign! FundMyTravel only takes 5% of all donations to keep the site running and to be able to provide technical and customer support. Sounds pretty nifty, right?

Follow these 6 steps in fundraising, and you’ll be abroad in no time!

open road stretched to the horizon

Once you have your step-by-step fundraising plan in place, you’ll be riding off into the sunset ASAP.

While fundraising for a trip can be intimidating at first, following the step-by-step fundraising plan outlined above will put you on the right track. Every fundraiser must be thought out in order to succeed on some level. As much as we wish, money doesn’t grow on trees! 🌳💰

By creating a FundMyTravel account and starting your campaign, you will have begun the process of fundraising for the trip of a lifetime. Whatever your travel dreams are, they can (and do) come true for many. All it takes is some planning and dedication!

Create a FundMyTravel Account and Start Fundraising!

kaila forsterThis article was written by Kaila Forster. Kaila is a recent graduate from the College of Saint Benedict in Minnesota, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in international business and history. During college, she embarked on her first adventure abroad, studying in Chongqing, China. Upon graduation, Kaila returned to China as a marketing intern with a trading company outside of Shanghai. She is currently working as a Revenue Tax Specialist at the Minnesota Department of Revenue. Kaila enjoys spending her free time cooking, incessantly bothering her cat, and volunteer teaching immigrants and refugees.

How to Save Money for Travel as a Student

We get it—it’s expensive being in school. We’ve got the inside scoop on how to save money for travel as a student! ☆ So no one told you college was going to be this way. 🎵Your job’s a joke, you’re broke, 🎵and…you know the rest.

woman with backpack looking at cherry blossoms

There’s no doubt that everyone is looking for ways to save money in college.

But traveling is your dream, right?! You’re probably wondering how to save money for travel as a student, especially with all the expenses that come with attending a university. Luckily, many college students before you have saved enough money for travel. Your dreams of eating croissants under the Eiffel Tower, dancing the tango in Argentina, or learning German in a castle can come true. 

Saving money usually means something different to everybody. From stashing more income to cutting down expenses to getting a good deal, one size doesn’t always fit all. You’ll need to find the best methods that work for your lifestyle and skillset.

Budgeting your income will be helpful at first, but you may need a few more ideas to help you even more in the long fun. If you’re looking for the best ways to save money in college, we’ve got you covered. You could be saving hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars for travel as a student with these 10 tips!

10 ways to save money in college for travel

1. Part-time job…duh

How do students raise funds for travel? Usually with a part-time job! Here’s your chance to build experience, expand your network, and make some money on the side. From babysitting children to creating fancy lattes to digging up holes, you’ll find a slew of available opportunities in the community for part-time work.

If you need a little more freedom with your time, you could deliver packages for Amazon Flex, drive for Lyft or Uber, tutor students, care for the elderly, or write online. Most universities offer work-study positions and provide sites with job listings that are made just for college students.

[What is Crowdfunding for Travel? How Does it Work?]

2. Buy used textbooks

The average student spends more than $1,200 a year on textbooks! Many college students can’t wait to sell their books. Take advantage of used textbook sites, free textbooks in PDF or eBook form, and college social media groups to find a good deal and to save even more money. 

Almost all bookstores and online textbook sites now allow students to rent textbooks. Another option to explore is sharing the cost of a textbook with another classmate if the textbook is limited or too expensive. You two can become study buddies and share notes via copies and cell phone pictures!

pile of used books

For real: Buying used textbooks can save both an arm and a leg nowadays.

3. Limit the nights you go out

While going out a few nights a week may seem harmless, the cost of entrees, drinks, and entertainment quickly adds up to $50 or more a night! If you go out a few times every week, you’ll be spending more than $400 a month. You’ll want that hundreds of dollars every month to go towards flights, housing, and empanadas fo’ sho’.

Need a night off from your studies? Universities usually offer lots of free or cheap entertainment every week with artsy events, football games, talent shows, and the list goes on. Be sure to dine at home before going out, and you’ll be saving even more money every month! 

4. Raise some extra cash

Are you wondering how do students raise funds for travel? Do you have books, clothes, electronics, and other accessories you no longer want? Of course you do. Lots of mobile apps like Mercari, Letgo, Decluttr, and more are available to help you sell things in a few clicks.

You could also use other mobile apps like Acorn or Robinhood to raise extra cash through investments or stocks if you’re looking to be even more savvy with saving. Some apps will also give you refunds for taking pictures of your receipts, getting healthy with diet or exercise, or selling Instagram pics. Participating in online surveys, medical studies, and focus groups are also some other options.

[How to Find Cheap Flights: FundMyTravel’s Inside Scoop]

5. Test out of classes 

If you’ve learned certain material in high school or through non-traditional methods, you may be able to test out of college classes, which will be a possible answer to your question of how to afford travel a student. Just imagine saving thousands of tuition dollars by passing an AP, CLEP or DSST, or an Excelsior examination!

Plus, graduating faster is always a great way to save money. You’ll need to talk to academic advisors in high school or at college beforehand to assess your options. Sometimes students also take classes at nearby community colleges at a cheaper rate, but you need to make sure the credits will transfer to your university if necessary.

people taking notes in a lecture hall

Classes are expensive, so the less you have to take, the better!

6. Find the cheap stuff

Another way to save money for travel is to avoid buying brand-new things. From clothes to kitchenware to furniture, you’ll find these things for cheap or even free if you look around. Many university dorms, sorority and fraternity houses, and student apartment complexes have lots of stuff leftover that previous residents no longer want.

Be sure to check out the local garage sales, thrift stores, social media groups, and Craigslist ads. If you’re in a pinch, hold a drive for yourself asking all your friends and family online to donate some things for your college years! 

7. Flash your student ID

Consider your student ID to be the easiest financial aid you’ve ever received. This is one of the best ways to save money in college for trips. We’re talking discounts with Amazon Prime, Microsoft/Apple/Dell, public transportation, cell phone plans, clothing stores, insurance policies, grocery stores, movies, gym memberships, healthcare, and so much more.

With many of these discounts, you’ll receive anywhere from 5-90% off. Sometimes they’ll provide loaded gift cards or even free stuff! Even if you’re not sure that you can use your student ID when you’re out and about, ask anyway. The savings you make will all add up in the end for that trip you’ve been dying to take!

[Using Student Loans to Travel: What You Need to Know]

8. Choose a student-friendly bank

If you can’t help but wonder how to save money for travel as a student, your best bet is to find a good bank that caters to college students. You’ll want a bank with lots of local ATMs that don’t charge you for withdrawing money and that doesn’t charge you for having a checking or savings account.

Many of these banks also have free counseling sessions with financial advisors that will help set you up for travel saving success. They can help you decide on how much of your income should automatically go into your savings account every month.

woman throwing graduation cap in the air

Go where students are appreciated the most.

9. Live off campus

Housing is one of the biggest expenses for students next to tuition, so you can save some big bucks by living off campus. If you’re curious about how to afford travel as a student, this is the most common answer. While living on campus may seem convenient, you’re probably spending too much for room and board (unless you’re a resident assistant).

If you can live with your family as a college student, you’ll be saving a lot of money for that trip of a lifetime. However, if your family lives too far away, you could share rent expenses with a roommate or two. You might also be able to rent out your room while you’re out of town! 

10. Reach out with FundMyTravel 

Looking to study abroad to learn a language, volunteer abroad to make a difference, or intern abroad to gain experience for your resume? Recruiting the help of friends and family with a travel campaign via FundMyTravel will be one of the most efficient ways to save money in college for travel.

The main steps include creating an account, deciding on a goal, discussing your cause, and rounding up donations from your network. You could reach out to acquaintances, your extended family, fellow teammates, and more via online or offline methods to rally your cause.

Wondering how to afford travel as a student? Get creative.

group of people throwing graduation caps in the air

Save money for travel as a student, graduate, and get out there!

You’ll find hundreds of ways to get from point A to point B with saving money for travel in college if you get a little creative. While you could get creative literally by selling arts and crafts on Etsy, you’ll soon find out money doesn’t always involve lots of labor all the time.

You could create eBooks or online courses where you can save money every month from income over time. Pinpoint your greatest skills and put them to work. Be sure to round up some friends and family and brainstorm ideas or better yet, find ways to save together! 

Sometimes saving money involves things as simple as canceling subscriptions, buying things in bulk, and cooking more at home. Whatever the case may be, cut down on spendy habits and start building good saving habits to stash away like a squirrel with acorns for winter.

As long as you put in some hard work, you’re bound to see results! Plus, FundMyTravel will help you save for travel like a good friend that’s always there for you. By putting some (or all) of these 10 ways to save money in college into practice, you’ll be on the plane to your next adventure in no time! 

Don’t get stuck in second gear with saving money for travel! Create a FundMyTravel account.

Sydney LutzThis article was written by Sydney Lutz. Growing up as an “army brat,” Sydney could not help but develop a thirst for traveling. She has visited all 50 states as well as England, France, Canada, Germany, and Australia. Sydney graduated with a master’s degree in public communication and technology in Colorado, and taught abroad for a year in Quito, Ecuador. Her favorite things to do include studying Spanish, practicing yoga, and travel writing.

What Makes a Good Fundraiser? 9 Important Components

Whether you’re getting ready to raise money for travel, charity, or anything in between, you’ll want your fundraiser to be a hit! Here’s what makes a good fundraiser. ☆ Fundraisers are a great way to raise money and awareness about your cause. Yes, they can be a lot of work, but with some careful preparation and organization they can be very successful and rewarding. But what makes a good fundraiser?

friends laughing together at golden hour

A solid guest list is step number one to throwing a good fundraiser.

There are so many ideas out there for fundraisers, and you can have a lot of fun organizing yours. Whether you decide to have a chicken race, a giant water fight, or a wedding dress ball, read below for some top tips to make your next fundraiser a goal raiser!

9 tips for a ballin’ fundraiser

1. Know your goal

Keep your fundraising goal in mind whenever you are making a decision. Profit margins can make or break a successful fundraiser. Your budget for the event will depend on your fundraising goal, as you need to make sure your expenses don’t cut into your fundraising goals. Think of as many ways to maximize profits without overwhelming your attendees.

2. Location, location, location

When people are thinking about what makes a good fundraiser they often ignore the location. However, the location of your fundraiser can be the difference between you smashing your fundraising target, or having a mildly successful event. Can people get there? Don’t make it too hard for your supporters to come and dig deep into their pockets.

Choose a location with parking, public transport, and doesn’t seem like a trek to Everest. Is the location suitable for the event you are running? Don’t hire somewhere with strict rules on alcohol when you are planning to make a good profit from selling drinks. If the location is all outdoors, what will you do when it rains? Always have a contingency plan so that your fundraiser doesn’t go off the rails.

3. Timing, my dear friend

Timing is everything. Think about the timing of your event. Is it during the wedding season so everyone is booked up months in advance? Or during the rush of Christmas festivities? Think about when your audience will be free and willing to attend. Does a weekend or a weekday work better? Are your guests morning larks or night owls?

While at the event, make sure everything runs to time. You will probably need to have a rehearsal beforehand to iron out any kinks. After all, you don’t want your guests getting bored and leaving after arriving on time to find your event is delayed.

friends laughing together with a bottle of wine

What makes a good fundraiser? Wine, probably.

 4. Did you send out invitations?

What makes a good fundraiser? People! There is no point in organizing an event if no one turns up. Make sure you send out invitations that have plenty of notice. Think about your audience—do they have facebook, or is sending an invite through the post more appropriate? Maybe you need to use a variety of methods?

The best way to make people aware of your event is to have a group of individuals that can all send invitations to their individual networks. The more people who know about your fundraiser, the more people will arrive, and more money will be raised.

5. Don’t forget to remind people

Yes, you sent out an invitation, but in this busy world people often forget, or get dates mixed up. So make sure you send some subtle reminders in the weeks and days leading up to the fundraiser. Don’t be too brash and in peoples’ faces. Consider sending an email highlighting the achievements of your cause so far with a reminder of the event attached, or a quick Facebook post showing some of the prizes to be won. These small actions can get your attendees excited, and keep the event at the forefront of their mind.

[The 12 Best (And Most Creative!) Fundraising Ideas]

6. Think about the competition

What other fundraising events have been run recently? You don’t want to organize a bridal dress ball, only to find there is already one planned for one week before. You want your event to stand out from the crowd. Research to see what other events have happened and will be happening. See which ones have worked and haven’t worked. And then make yours better!

7. Is there food? People love food!

The easiest way to encourage people to attend is through food. People love food! And hungry people usually equal angry people (and those angry people are less likely to loosen the purse strings). Make sure attendees know there will be food at the event so that they don’t eat beforehand. Also think about what kind of food is the most suitable. What would make you hungry enough to attend an event? (*cough* Chipotle? *cough*)

people eating together at a table

Full people are happy people, and happy people might be more inclined to donate to your cause.

8. “Thank you” are the sweetest words

People are kind, and you will find many people are willing to donate time and/or goods to your fundraiser. Try and take a moment to say thank you at the event, and/or write a follow up note letting them know that you appreciate their support.

Emails are quick and easy, but there is always something extra special about a handwritten note. Also, use social media to keep everyone who attended up to date with what the money that was fundraised has gone towards. This will make them more enthusiastic about coming to future events.

9. Don’t rest!

Your event may be over, and you may want to sit down and recover, but now is the time to strike! Use the contacts you built at the event to start cultivating more donations or opportunities. Your cause is at the front of people’s minds right now, so make sure it stays there.

[When is the Best Time of Year to Fundraise?]

What makes a good fundraiser? All of the above!

women hanging out together

Most importantly: don’t give up!

The main thing that makes a great fundraiser is YOU! Your passion, drive, and commitment will go far to make your fundraiser a success. You are putting your time into this fundraiser for a reason, so allow your enthusiasm to show through and people will quickly want to help out. All fundraisers take a lot of energy and effort to organize, but with the above tips your donations will come flying in and people will be joining you in supporting your cause.

Subscribe to the FundMyTravel Newsletter for More Fundraising Tips

rachel taylorThis article was written by Rachel Taylor. After moving to Malaysia, Rachel caught the travel bug and hasn’t been back to the UK since. Her travels have taken her via Europe, East and Southern Africa, and Asia. She is currently settled in northeast China, where she is hoping one day to hold a conversation in Chinese not about the weather.

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