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9 Cheap Volunteer Abroad Programs for High School Students

Affordable volunteer opportunities for teens abroad are out there! Peruse these cheap volunteer abroad programs for high school students and find your perfect fit. ☆ Are you the type of teen that enjoys helping other people but also wants to travel and discover the world? Are you so eager about it that you can’t wait to turn 18 and take on the world? Well, we are here to tell you that you might not have to wait that long to volunteer abroad and fulfill both your passions.

young woman throwing confetti

Teen volunteering programs abroad are out there for you!

There are volunteer programs out there that…Hold on, let’s rephrase that. There are cheap volunteer abroad programs for high school students that you can apply for (with the consent and the help of your parents, of course) at the young age of 15 even. We bet you didn’t know that, did you? 

So, seeing how summer is right around the corner, why not spend at least a few weeks of it giving back to a community abroad? Maybe in Thailand, where you can cleanse in the crystal clear beaches after an entire day of work, or in Italy where you can spoil yourself with delicious cuisine and gelato. Or go the extra mile and check out a country like Romania and find out all about Dracula!

Whatever your destination is (and regardless of the activity you will be doing), be assured that you will develop a certain set of skills, such as language and cultural immersion, and adaptability and leadership. You will make new friends all over the world, and experience things of which you haven’t even dreamed. Your life experience starts right here.

So let’s check out some of the most popular and cheapest high school volunteer opportunities abroad.

Can teens under 18 volunteer abroad for free?

Hang on a sec. If you’re still in high school, you might be wondering…Can teens under 18 volunteer abroad for free? After all, volunteering with babysitting money might prove more than a little challenging.

Unfortunately…volunteering abroad for free is a myth, for many reasons. Reason number one? Program fees. Hey, they say money doesn’t buy happiness, but it can sure open doors to countless teen volunteer opportunities abroad.

young student overlooking city

Teen volunteer opportunities abroad not only have the potential to change the world, but for some incredible views too!

The good news is that program fees include a LOT…such as every unavoidable day-to-day cost of traveling. For example:

  • Accommodations. Depending on the program you will opt for, there are different types of accommodations included. Some will place you in volunteer housing, where you will be living with fellow volunteers. Host families are also very popular for volunteer programs, increasing your opportunities to bond with your host families, immerse yourself in a new culture, and learn the local language and traditions. 
  • Meals. Well, you gotta eat, right? Program costs help cover your three daily meals, so you never have to go hungry. Local home-cooked meals are to die for! And have you heard about street food? Yum! You may need some extra pocket money for in-between meals and snacks, but trust us, that is one thing you do not want to miss out on.
  • Excursions. Many programs organize excursions to museums, historical sites, or simply take the group out on a fun day in town. Sounds like a great way to explore your new host country, and to take a break from the daily, rewarding work that you’re doing. Thankfully, these events are usually included in program fees.
  • Visa, safety, and support. Since these are programs for teens under 18, fine details are taken seriously, and usually handled by providers. Things such as visa arrangements, risk management, and 24/7 in-country support are generally included in program costs. 

So, can teens under 18 volunteer abroad for free? Short of a full-ride scholarship, no. But, as you can see, you can bet your bottom dollar those fees are worth it. Now that we’ve covered pesky program fees, let’s check out cheap volunteer abroad programs for high school students.

9 affordable high school volunteer opportunities abroad

1.  Global Crossroad  

Just the name of the program is probably calling you to sign up right now! Global Crossroads understands the importance for early volunteering, and as they put it “volunteering abroad is a game-changer” for anyone who gives it a try.

Wanna teach English in China, protect the marine life projects in Costa Rica, work with local orphanages in South Africa, or get involved in special education projects in Mexico? Whatever your vision is for teen volunteer opportunities abroad, Global Crossroad will find the perfect program to suit your needs and preferences. It all begins at the low starting price of $140 per week!

2. GVI 

What better way to spend high school volunteer opportunities abroad than in the beaches of Thailand working on sea turtle conservation, picking up plastic polluting the beaches, or helping renovate classrooms at the local schools? Whatever you pick, satisfaction is near-guaranteed. 

At the end of a hard day of work, you can go on a gorgeous tropical hike, kayak through Phuket caves, or explore some of Thailand’s most beautiful temples and local food markets. What else could make this program more appealing, you ask? How about the fact that they offer a scholarship up to $2800? 

3. International Volunteer HQ

With International Volunteer HQ, one of the safest and cheapest volunteer abroad organizations, you can find teen volunteering programs all over the globe. Volunteers can choose to teach English, sports, or arts, get involved with medical treatment, or help in the agriculture field or wildlife conservation.

The program fees start at $270 per week, but if you sign up for multiple weeks at once, you’ll receive a discount. If this doesn’t get you excited, how about if we tell you that your accommodation is a dormitory-style volunteer house, where you get to interact with other fellow volunteers? Get a little taste of what college life will be like!

protester holding sign

Step one to finding cheap volunteer abroad programs for high school students? Get fired up about a cause.

4. Love Volunteers

Love Volunteers is the perfect organization for those of you who love volunteering. (Hehe, see what we did there?) Love Volunteers provides great volunteer opportunities abroad for high school students with incredible destinations on all continents. If you’ve ever wanted to see countries like Peru, Nepal, Moldova, Rwanda, Kenya, Australia, or Guatemala, this is your chance.

Experience the beauty of the world while you give back to local communities through teaching, supporting women’s groups, building houses, or conserving the environment. Depending on your preferred destination, prices can start as cheap as $259 per week. Not too shabby.

5. The Experiment in International Living

Highly respected and renowned, the Experiment in International Living is exactly that! This organization provides an opportunity to explore the world and experiment learning through a perfect blend of community service, the great outdoors, and language classes.

Develop your cultural and language skills, network, and connect with teenagers from all over the world, especially your host country. If you’re a fan of Messi or love steak, why not experience giving a helping hand in Argentina through the Experiment? Heads up: this organization also offers significant scholarships to their volunteers.

6. Study Programs International

With SPI, those looking for volunteer opportunities abroad for high school students can experience in-depth language immersion and cross-cultural leadership skills. Not to mention, they will volunteer for public work projects, with children in orphanages, or support construction efforts.

SPI offers great placements in Spain, Costa Rica, Mexico, France, and Italy. Latin lovers, this is your chance to spend an entire summer on personal development, language immersion, and do some good in the world. All at the very low price of $300 per week—whoop whoop!

group of teens laughing together

You’ll make tons of cool new friends from all over the world when you find teen volunteer opportunities abroad!

7. Academic Programs International

Finding volunteer opportunities for teens abroad will be just the beginning of life further afield. With API, you can also study, work, intern, or do an entire gap year abroad in college and beyond. Develop your skills and personal growth while working in animal rescue centers, orphanages, conservation groups, schools, and hospitals.

With API you’ll get the chance to experience countries and cultures like Chile, Argentina, Germany, Costa Rica, or Ecuador at an average starting price of $1190 over the summer. If you start planning early, you might find that you’re eligible for their scholarships as well.  

8. Broadreach

Broadreach loves to offer the best programs to their participants—so much so that they’re offering over 50 programs in over 40 countries. If you want to be a part of this amazing community and begin a lifetime of adventure, then Broadreach is where you should start.

If you haven’t discovered your passions by now, we guarantee that you will fall in love with scuba diving, marine biology, animal science, medicine, photography, and STEM with Broadreach. You can also earn certificates, college credits, and community service hours that will look brilliant on your resume in the future. Program fees start at a few thousand dollars per month, but don’t forget about financial aid opportunities. Consider it an investment in yourself!

9. Projects Abroad

With Projects Abroad, you can volunteer pretty much anywhere you want in the world, and the best part about it is that Projects Abroad offers tailor-made projects for high school students just like you! You’ll enjoy a variety of teen volunteering programs with foci such as childcare and community, construction, human rights, medicine, sports, and marine conservation. Sounds exciting, right?

You know what else is exciting? They also have last minute programs, so if you’ve been procrastinating, go check ‘em out ASAP! The cost for a Projects Abroad program usually varies depending on the length of your stay, the season, and the type of work you will be doing. High school programs start around $2000 per two weeks (but they include a LOT in that fee).

Quick tips for covering your volunteer abroad costs!

three young girls smiling together

Our top-notch advice for covering the cost of high school volunteer opportunities abroad will leave you all smiles.

You now know where you can find affordable volunteer abroad opportunities for high school students and what all the costs for the programs include. Now it’s time to figure out how to find the money for it all.

  • Financial Aid. The very first thing you can do is look into financial aid. Financial aid varies depending on destination and program length. Before signing anything, make sure your program is eligible for financial aid. Check with the program itself and see if they can offer you some information on this topic.
  • Scholarships. Why stress about how are you going to get money, when there are people and organizations out there that are willing to give you money. And free money sounds amaaaaaazing! Check out international education organizations like Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, Fund for Education Abroad, Golden Key, Room to Travel, ScholarTrips, or Boren Awards. Each scholarship is different in terms of the awarded amount, the period when it can be used and the length of the program.
  • Grants. Organizations such as the Fund for Education Abroad, Critical Language Scholarships, and Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund have begun providing grants to students who are on the pursuit of meaningful travel. The competition can be fierce, but with great grades and a killer essay or project proposal, you’ll be in the running. 
  • Get a job. We’re sorry to say it, but part time work WILL help fund cheap volunteer abroad programs for high school students. Mowing your neighbors’ yards, walk dogs, babysit, do extra chores around the house, or pick up some shifts at Taco Bell for some extra cash. If you can play an instrument, why not take to the school parking lot and hold a live performance with a tip jar?
  • Sell your stuff. When’s the last time you cleaned—really cleaned—your closet? We can guarantee that you have tons of things in there that you do NOT need anymore, are in good condition, and that someone else could use. Got any siblings? Ask them to donate some stuff to you so you can have diversity in the things you are selling. Then, organize a garage sale or have your parents sell the items on Ebay!
  • FundMyTravel. FundMyTravel will allow you to create your own fundraising campaign to raise money for cheap volunteer abroad programs for high school students and receive donations from family, friends, and friends’ friends. To make the most of it, start early on and with enough time to reach your goal. Tell your story, convince and inspire other people to help you, then sit down and watch the money roll in.

You can afford to volunteer abroad as a teen!

teens hanging out together on a mountain

Get excited! You’re one step closer to teen volunteering programs abroad.

Now go ahead and take a deep breath. It might not be free to volunteer abroad as a teen, but it doesn’t have to cost you (or your parents) an arm and a leg either. We’ve covered cheap volunteer opportunities for teens abroad, ways you can find the money to pay for them, and we’re assuming your parents are already on board with this plan. Sounds like you’re all set!

All you gotta do now is simply put all you’ve learned to work. Don’t procrastinate! Time flies by, and the next thing you know, you’ll have missed the deadline of your essay or application. Have fun and we’ll see the new you in a few months! 

[Join Our Email List for More Tips on Affordable Travel Abroad!]

luciana dinuThis 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.

Fundraising 101: How to Fundraise Effectively & Reach Your Goal

Knowing how to fundraise effectively is half the fundraising battle! We’ve got some hot tips on effective ways of fundraising to help you reach your goal faster. ☆ You have a dream trip, volunteering placement, or opportunity in mind, but you’re worried about how you’ll fund it. (Did we guess right?) We’re here to make sure you have an easy way to collect your funds and find effective fundraising methods—so it won’t be too long before you are booking that plane/train/hot air-balloon ticket and taking a trip that will change your life!

hot air balloons in the sky

Wave hello to your mom AND effective fundraising methods.

Fundraising can seem daunting at first, but if you know how to fundraise effectively you will be surprised by what you can achieve. Using these handy fundraising techniques will help you quickly realize that you can reach your goal. Plus, using effective ways of fundraising is quite fun! Here’s how to fundraise effectively (and reach your goal): 

Tips for how to fundraise effectively

1. Consider your costs (and don’t overspend).

Remember there is no point fundraising lots of money if your upfront costs are nearly the same as what you make! So before you start any event, ask yourself: Will I make more money than it costs to run this event? Will the money I make from this event be more than I could earn from a part time job?

Although these two questions may sound impossible to answer, there are plenty of ways to fundraise without huge upfront costs. Think creatively, and about how can you reduce costs. What do you really need? How can you make the maximum about of money from your event? To fundraise effectively always consider the time you are putting in verses the money you will make. 

2. Determine your audience.

Who should you be marketing your fundraiser to? Peers? Your church? Family? Think about who would be willing to donate, who can donate the most, and adjust accordingly. Some people will want lots of details about why you want the money, and others won’t want to be overwhelmed. Will they want visual prompts? Or will a leaflet they can take home with them be enough? At every event you will need to consider your audience and what they will want. (Psst…FundMyTravel has lots more inspiration for fun ways to spread your message to your audience.)

3. Know why you’re fundraising…and sell it well.

There are so many causes wanting our money, but most of them don’t tell us why it is important to support them. But don’t fret! People still want to support each other—they just want to know why they are doing it. Once you know what you’re fundraising for, you’ll need the answers to a few crucial questions: Where will the money go? How will it make a difference? This may sound simple, but it’s amazing how many people don’t make it clear. So make sure you know what you’re fundraising for, and make sure your audience knows.

wing of airplane among clouds

Effective fundraising techniques will get you where you want to go much more quickly.

4. Be authentic.

There’s no reason to downplay your drive behind a meaningful travel. If people can tell that you have a passion for your cause, your passion will quickly rub off on them. Spend time on your FundMyTravel page, and on your information available at events. Let your passion shine, and you will quickly be inspiring people to donate.

5. Save time and take it online.

Cash is no longer king, so don’t expect people to always have cash on hand to donate to you. Crowdsourcing and online fundraising are great ways to collect your donations online, making it easy for both you and your donors. Prepare something to hand out at your events about providing an option for people to donate online later, or create a contact list of attendees and email them later.

Before launching your FundMyTravel page, spend time on creating it (use the resources available to help make yours the best)! People will want to see a compelling page that will effectively convey your message, so that they have a good reason to donate to your campaign. Remember to invoke a sense of inspiration!

6. Celebrate your achievements.

When you first start your fundraising journey, it may seem overwhelming how much you need to fundraise, and you may have moments of doubt. So while you are on this journey, take a moment to celebrate what you have achieved so far. Every step (no matter how small) gets you closer to your end goal. Also, think about all the fundraising techniques you have developed; one day these may come in useful when you are interviewing for a job!  

7. Don’t forget the after.

After you have finished your fundraising, it’s nice to keep people informed about where their money went. A quick picture on social media, an email to everyone, a blog post, or a video are all great ways to show people you appreciate their contributions (and how their contributions went to good use!). Everyone appreciates a thank-you now and again. Plus, those positive ties may help further on down the road if you ever need to fundraise again.

Effective ways of fundraising will get you to your goal!

woman smiling in field of sunflowers

With determination and perseverance, you’ll meet your fundraising goals.

No goal is impossible, no dream is too small, and effective ways of fundraising will get you closer to your ambition. Before you know it, you will have a million fundraising techniques under your belt, and you will be setting off on your next adventure! FundMyTravel has loads of information about effective ways of fundraising, so take a moment to look and get your creative juices flowing. 

Don’t forget to enjoy the journey of finding effective fundraising methods; after all, it’s a huge part of the experience. And after all that hard work, overcoming the challenge and going abroad will feel even more sweet.

[Start your fundraising journey and sign up for FundMyTravel account!]

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.

When is the Best Time of Year to Fundraise?

You could have the best-planned fundraiser in the world, but if the timing is wrong, it could still fall flat. So…when is the best time of year to fundraise? Check out our inside scoop. ☆ If you’re reading this, congrats for taking the first step to achieve your travel dreams: getting money to fund it! While online fundraising might seem simple enough (just create an account and start sharing your page, right?), knowing the best time of year to fundraise (aka fundraising season) can give you more off-the-chart success.

Fundraising season

Winter, spring, summer, fall…the best time of year to fundraise will come down to a few key components.

Resources like FundMyTravel’s toolkit can help with everything from creating a compelling story (after all, people need to know why they should donate!), to tips on sharing an online fundraising page effectively so it reaches more people. But no matter how awesome your fundraising ideas, whether it’s offline or online, the key to success is timing. So, when is fundraising season? When is the best time of year to fundraise? Why is timing important? We’ve got all that and more for ya right here!

The best time of year to fundraise

The best time of year to solicit donations can vary depending on your target community and more, but make no mistake: timing is everything. If you’re launching an online crowdfunding campaign, you want to start strong, since people may be more likely to donate to an established campaign that has donations coming in.

After all, would you feel more inclined to donate to page that has $0 and looks stagnant, or a page that has some contributions rolling in, and growing? It’s a chicken-and-egg scenario, but here’s a pro tip: Ask a few close friends or relatives to contribute first before advertising your page to the wider community!

Here’s a breakdown of the best time of year for fundraising events by season:

Winter

Fundraising season

Get cozy for a winter fundraising season!

The winter months might be the best fundraising season for you, and it’s no surprise. 

Non-profits receive a large amount of their year’s individual donations during the year’s end, perhaps because people are in gift-giving moods and feeling charitable. While you’re not a non-profit organization (duh), you can launch your own fundraiser during the winter months to ride this feel-good buzz. Winter might be the very best time of year to fundraise.

  • Crowdsource—You’re not going to get out there and go door-to-door in the middle of a blizzard. This is where online fundraising comes in suuuuper handy. Launch your FundMyTravel page during the holiday season to boost your campaign and to avoid getting off the couch.
  • #GivingTuesday—Following the shopping frenzy of black Friday and cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday is a day to donate to charitable causes. Created in 2012, the day is a global movember that “unites countries around the world by sharing our capacity to care for and empower one another”, according to the Giving Tuesday website.

There is a lot of buzz generated from Giving Tuesday, so put your page in front of people who care about the cause you’re promoting, be it volunteering abroad, teaching abroad, or fostering mutual intercultural understanding.

  • Ask for donations (instead of gifts)—Instead of gifts this holiday season, ask friends or family to contribute money (or perhaps plane ticket award miles or other perks) towards your trip. If possible, start mentioning your need for donations to people early, so you can catch the folks who somehow get all of their holiday shopping done super early. Plant the seed in their minds that you don’t need anything this year, but would greatly appreciate if they could contribute to your fundraiser, instead.

Spring

With holiday shopping behind everyone, spring is a great fundraising season for many reasons, including tax returns ($$$) and a few key holidays that could help boost your campaign. Spring might just be the best time of year to fundraise for your cause.

  • Tax returns—We’re talking cold, hard cash! From February to April, a nice boost in cash flow (hopefully) in the form of tax returns can result in more people who are likely to give to your cause. Get your campaign in front of people during these spring months.
  • Easter—If you’re headed off on a mission trip, or just come from a family who takes Easter baskets seriously, consider using family dinner to plug your fundraising campaign (as graciously as possible, of course).
  • Mother’s Day—Are you fundraising to travel for or with your mom? Or perhaps volunteering for a cause related to mothers: maternal health or community organizing? Build excitement around your campaign leading up to this day.
  • Earth Day—Traveling abroad to volunteer for eco-conservation, to learn about sustainability, or for the environment? Share your compelling story with your communities who are passionate about these topics, and launch your page leading up to Earth Day!

Summer

Fundraising season

Keep your cool and find out why summer is a prime fundraising season.

Summer is a mixed bag. People themselves are traveling and school is out, but depending on your fundraiser theme, it may be the best fundraising season for you or the best time of year for fundraising events. Think about your close friends, family, and community events and ways you can ask for donations.

  • Graduation gifts—To celebrate your commencement, ask for the gift of travel! Or, alternatively, just put all that cold hard cash you receive at your graduation party towards your fundraiser.
  • Babysitting, dog-walking, ice-cream-scooping—We’re talkin’ summer part time jobs. Offer to take some time off parents’ hands around the neighborhood this summer and babysit for donations, or offer to walk some dogs. Scoop some ice cream at Cold Stone and put away the paychecks. A lemonade stand ain’t such a bad idea, huh?
  • 4th of July—Host a 4th of July potluck and in your invitations and at the event, briefly ask guests to make a donation to your campaign, if they wish. However, if the 4th falls on a Friday or Monday, a long holiday weekend could also disrupt the momentum of your campaign, so be careful if you’re thinking of launching on a holiday weekend.

Fall

It’s back-to-school time but the holidays are months away. People aren’t immersed in the gift-gifting (and shopping) mood of the holiday season, which means some folks may be more inclined to send some extra money your way now!

  • Rake leaves—Changing leaves means there’s a lot of yard work to be done. Round up some friends (or just yourself!) and offer to help out your neighbors for a small donation. Tell your neighbors about your page and share the link!
  • International days related to your cause—There’s a lot in the fall: International Literacy Day is September 8, World Food Day is October 16, and United Nations Day is October 24. If you are traveling abroad to work or volunteer for a specific cause, you might want to plan your launch near one of these international days. Spread the word to your coworkers, university friends in certain student clubs, or other local communities related to these topics.

Fundraising season is all year round!

Fundraising season

Much like the #PSL, there’s no wrong season to fundraise—even if people tell you otherwise.

Fundraising season can transcend actual seasons nowadays thanks to crowdsourcing and online fundraising. If your travels involve volunteering or working abroad in a social-impact role, get your fundraising page out on day one and promote away on social media!

And even if you aren’t volunteering or working abroad for a social-impact cause, the cause of increasing cross-cultural engagement is important too. If you’re participating in a cultural exchange program with goals for promoting more global understanding, this is a great cause, and one many internationally-minded folks would likely support.

At the end of the day, you don’t want to solely base your decision off this list or one season. The best time of year to fundraise will depend on your ability to engage your own community during certain times of the year. What big events are happening in the lives of people around you during certain times of the year? 

Here are some great times to fundraise, regardless of season:

  • Launch during the first few weeks of the month—Life hack your way to donations by launching your campaign around many folks’ paydays.
  • Launch early in the week—On the weekend, people are usually out and about, but during the week when people are back at their computers, you can launch your online page right when they’re most likely to be checking their emails or looking at their phones on the commute home.
  • Your birthday—No matter what season your birthday falls in, ask for donations instead of gifts.

With a little planning, you can launch your fundraiser with excellent timing, and watch the momentum build. A little thought goes a long way, and you’ll be so glad you planned ahead! So what are you waiting for?

[Make Your FundMyTravel Account and Start Fundraising NOW!]

How to Save Money for a Trip in 4 Months

So you’re planning to go abroad before the end of the year and now you need to know how to save money for a trip FAST. Well, we’ve got the 411 for ya! ☆ Perhaps it’s time to tighten your belt, make some slight adjustments, and start putting a few extra bucks under your mattress for that dream trip. Wait—not perhaps, but stat! You want a bit of a bump in that mattress as a matter of fact. A lump of paper to help you make it so you’re not aghast when you touch down in your new location.

how to save money for a trip fast

Spoiler alert: Learning how to save money for a trip in 4 months has a lot to do with learning willpower.

When it comes to traveling abroad, no one wants to be the thin edge of the wedge if they don’t have to be. But the reality is, if you’re among the throng of folks wondering how to save money for a trip fast, it might be time for some capricious changes (or, sometimes, simply make some slight adjustments). Wherever you’re at in your planning process, there are certainly ways to save money for a trip—the future isn’t all that grim.

If you’re not already at the station, get on the rather ubiquitous train and become more of a conscious consumer. This doesn’t mean watch yourself tip more beers back and swipe your card at every occasion. It’s more about thinking twice before making that next purchase, whether it’s liquid or not.

Start thinking of other ways to sate your costly habits. It all adds up. You might not listen to everything your momma tells ya, but harken to this advice to keep your cool while wandering about. The countdown is on and there’s no turning back. With a few of these oft-forgotten hacks, we’ve got your back if you want to know how to save money for a trip in 4 months.

Leaving this fall? Better watch yourself this summer to make the most of it.

How to save money for a trip in 4 months

Four months might seem like an eternity, but in the scheme of things, it’s practically nothing—especially when it comes to saving money. So put your nose down and get to work. With some planning (and willpower), you will succeed.

Month 1

1. Start a crowdsourcing campaign.

To save money for a trip, one of the first things you should consider is creating a FundMyTravel campaign. This is the crowdfunder’s dream for working your network. It’s super easy, too. Create an account, then your campaign, tell your story, and share it with everyone and their brother. Then watch the funds roll in.

It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate, but be sure to include the basics: who, what, where, when, and why. The more your crowd knows, the more likely they are to give. Paint a beautiful picture of why you’re going abroad, and people will appreciate your cause a lot more. Sharing’s quite caring, eh?

2. Analyze the cost of living in your destination

Get out the legal pad or create a new spreadsheet to work out your expenses. After all, wouldn’t having a rough estimate be useful? If you’re wondering how to save money for a trip in 4 months, you need to first know how much you need to save. A little retroplanning maybe be useful. And then you can fill in the gaps.

Here’s the deal: add up the inevitable—like the cost of the flight, your accommodation expenses, any visas or passports, and maybe even shots and vaccinations depending on where you’re off to. If you don’t have precise figures, round up a bit to give yourself a little wiggle room. It’s also not a bad idea to research the cost of living where you’re going to be living. You might even discover blogs full of the local low-down during your research too.

how to save money for a trip fast

Once you know what the general costs will be at your destination, it’ll be a LOT easier to create (and stick to) a game plan.

3. Set up price alerts

Haven’t bought your tickets yet? Great. Get on those search engines and let them do the work for you. Saving money for a trip will be easier when you set up price alerts to ensure you get the most bang for your buck. Add your dates and the final destination, and let them come to you. Easy peasy. Oh, and when you’re ready to buy, don’t forget to delete your cookies too, ‘cause that evidently can help you save some money too. Also, if you know your return date, it’s often more economical to buy a roundtrip ticket while you’re at it. You know the drill.

Month 2

4. Consider a part time job

Picking up an extra gig this summer to save money for a trip might be necessary. You know, one of those no-strings-attached kind of situations. Summers are great for this and summer jobs are great for this, too. Maybe you could provide an extra hand behind the bar, or check in with a local temp agency. “Hey, I’m here. Do you have anything with my name on it?” Hanging around campus this summer to take a few extra credits? Why not see if you could work on your tan while pulling weeds in the university’s garden (just trust us on the sunscreen).

5. Check those vices

One of the best (but hardest) ways to save money for a trip is to give up the small things that add up fast. If you must go out, limit yourself to happy hour deals. If you must dine out, see what’s on special and take one for the team. Do you really need two huge lattes a day? Conscious consumption, remember. We all know some of them are irreproachable. They get the best of us. You know what you can do. Cook more at home. Consume less. A little bit here and there can go a long way in four months.

Month 3

6. Create an allowance

Now’s the time to really get serious. And if you were already, there’s always room for more seriousness. Do the math to figure out your current expenses. Once you have the minimum, set your limits and stick to them. Do you need that gym membership over the summer? Is it worth it to cancel those premium accounts to stream your music? Creating limits will help you stay on track in your quest to learn how to save money for a trip fast.

how to save money for a trip fast

Big tip: Upgrade the ol’ piggy bank to a glass jar and start hoarding all that loose change you accumulate over the week.

7. Park it

What’s your daily routine like? Do you need your car? If public transit is an option, consider taking the bus. Have a bike? Ride it like you stole it (and certainly cancel your gym membership before you get too far down the road). Parking your car could also allow you to decrease the insurance plan you have on it, help decrease your carbon footprint, and give you time to read on the train. That’s right—saving money for a trip can even help you go green! Worst case scenario, you’ll find and make a new carpool friend.

Month 4

8. Clean out your closet

As you start thinking about packing your bag(s), go through your belongings and get rid of the clutter. Sell your old electronics before they’re too outdated. Have an impressive stack of last semester’s textbooks? Blow the dust off those bad boys and sell them online. A handful of sites are always looking for gently used collateral. Why not throw a yard sale with some of your mates and sell those clothes that don’t serve you a purpose while you’re at it? You’ll be thankful when it’s all said and done. Did you really need all that, anyway?

9. Move in with mom and dad?

This one might hurt, but it is a GREAT way to save money for a trip fast. Bite the bullet for this last month—or more, honestly—and move back into your old bedroom (or basement…sorry they turned your room into storage 😔). Subletting your apartment is a nifty way to earn some cold, hard cash, too. Speaking of cold, the basement is a nice spot to be in the heat of the summer! Maybe mom will even invite you upstairs for dinner some evenings.

Saving money for a trip is as easy as 4, 3, 2, 1!

how to save money for a trip fast

Follow your own four-month plan, and you’ll save money for a trip in no time!

Four months can pass quickly, so it’s best to be a oui bit prepared. Between living a leaner lifestyle and picking up a few extra hours at work before departure, there ARE some great ways to save money for a trip fast. P.S. If you’re a student, consider checking out some of these tricks on how to save money for a trip in four months.

[Create a Campaign on FundMyTravel and Start Fundraising for Your Trip!]

Using Student Loans to Travel: What You Need to Know

Can you use student loans for anything? Say…traveling? We’ve got the inside scoop for you on using student loans for travel! ☆ Travel abroad is an experience like no other, especially when you travel meaningfully. There is nothing like setting foot in a faraway land, learning a new language, discovering a new culture, and becoming a part of a community through work, study, volunteering, or insightful travel. It can be eye-opening, life-altering, and—who are we kidding—expensive.

man with backpack staring up at the sky

Hey man, don’t worry! If you’re determined to go abroad, you CAN make it happen. 

Recent trends have shown that students have been testing a loophole to make overseas travel possible, despite the expense. That’s right, they’re using student loans to travel! Now you may be thinking, can you use student loans for anything? Well, the answer is no. The student loan process can be tricky, with a lot of fine print involved on how to use your financial aid. But the good news is that there are ways to travel the world, even if your education has put you in debt (hey, join the club!).

Here you’ll find everything you need to know about using student loans for travel abroad!

Using student loans for travel FAQ

While it’s possible to use student loans for travel (we know you’re thinking of ways to fund spring break in Cancun!), it’s not always the smartest option. Unless your travel is directly linked to your education, using student loans to travel could have a negative impact on your future. 

Keep reading for the pros, cons, and popular questions about using student loans for travel abroad.

1. How do student loans work?

If you’ve ever taken out student loans for university, the tuition and fees are normally paid directly to your school. Students then receive a loan refund to cover living costs. Think food, clothes, possibly even a car to commute to classes. Now you can spend as much or as little as you want on your living expenses, and this is where students often find a loophole.

Instead of spending money on basic living needs, students are skimping on modern comforts and using the money to travel instead. Is this allowed? Can you use student loans for anything? Is it possible for travel to take precedence over the comfort of living and use student loans for travel abroad?

girl with backpack smiling in front of art structure

Having a million questions (and then some) about using student loans to travel is normal.

2. Am I allowed to use student loans for travel?

Let’s get down to it: legally, student loans must be used for education expenses, including tuition, education fees, books, supplies, and general costs of living while studying. While it’s possible to face prosecution for illegal borrowing, financial aid offices don’t typically track how students spend their money. Students are finding if they misuse their student loans, there are usually no consequences in the immediate future, and more students are using student loans to travel than ever before.

The question is: Do you really want to enter this gray area and put yourself into further debt just to party with your friends on a tropical island? Why not travel in an educational way?

[Need Money to Study Abroad? Ask Your Network]

3. Can I use student loans to study abroad?

Yes! If you want to use your student loans ethically to travel, study abroad is the way to go. While the process can be complicated and intimidating, it is a solution that allows students all over the US to study abroad. Using student loans to travel abroad for your studies makes it possible to see more of the world without cheating the system. 

In order to receive a study abroad financial loan, you have to be enrolled in and able to receive credit at an approved university. Generally, this comes in the form of a federally-funded loan for Americans studying abroad. Don’t forget to double check if your school accepts these loans! If they do, not only will this allow you to use student loans for travel abroad, but you’ll likely save money with the lower cost of international schools.

4. What will study abroad loans cover?

Study abroad loans cover the same costs that a normal student loan covers: tuition, fees, course supplies, and living expenses. While you can spend your loan freely while abroad, the main goal is not to use student loans for travel splurges. In reality, you want to use them only for what you absolutely cannot afford, as you’ll be paying off high interest rates when you return home.

Instead, come up with a game plan to reduce your spending, and try to find a part-time job before you leave or while abroad to cover non-educational expenses. You don’t want to travel thousands of miles away from home just to sit in a classroom—you need some spending money to explore!

5. Is it a good idea to use student loans for travel abroad?

While using student loans for travel abroad is possible, there are many factors to consider before taking out student loans for travel abroad. Whose name is on your loans? If your parents co-sign a loan, you could be putting them further into debt by taking out a student loan for travel. Even if it’s just in your name, high interest rates mean you’ll be paying off debt for years to come.

What are your travel intentions? Most financial aid is handed out on a first-come first-serve basis, so if you use student loans for travel abroad, it means another student may not receive the financial aid they need to study. So are you using that loan for fun, or for educational purposes? While you may not get caught using student loans for an epic trip to Mexico, it’s not always the best idea.

girl with backpack throwing up a peace sign

If you don’t want to use student loans for travel, then it’s time to get creative and consider other options.

Other ideas for funding your travel

Using student loans to travel may be your route if you intend to study abroad, but this is not the only option to fund overseas travel. There are plenty of other ways to fund your travel that won’t set you back in debt.

1. Create a FundMyTravel campaign

Are you planning to travel meaningfully? Do you want to travel abroad in order to learn, invest in your future, further your career, or make a difference in a community abroad? Create a FundMyTravel campaign to fundraise for your travel, instead of using student loans to travel.

Whether it’s family, friends, or strangers, most people are happy to donate to a good cause. Create your campaign and tell a compelling story. Inspire those around you. If you reach out to those who can resonate, you are bound to raise funds to jumpstart your travels abroad.

[How to Write a Fundraising Story + 7 Compelling Examples]

2. Apply for scholarships

Scholarships are available for all kinds of meaningful travel abroad, from studying to interning abroad. This is another great way to fund your trip instead of using student loans to travel. Scholarships are a different source of financial aid, offering full or partial funds to cover your tuition fees for travel abroad programs. Scholarships are much better to use than student loans for travel, as you won’t have to worry about paying back loads of debt when you return home.

3. Work while abroad

Yes, traveling abroad is expensive, but if you can find a way to travel and make some money, you’ll hit the jackpot. Instead of using student loans to travel abroad, consider waiting until you graduate to embark on a working holiday in Australia or New Zealand, or teach your way through Asia. You’ll see more of the world while making money to cover your travel expenses and pay off your outstanding debt at home. Simply make a budget that includes monthly loan costs, and you could come home debt-free!

Plus, you don’t even have to wait until your debt is paid off to travel. Student loans can often be deferred for meaningful travel abroad programs, so you aren’t tied to home to pay off your loans. Worst case scenario: work on the road and seize every opportunity for side gigs!

Using student loans to travel isn’t your only option!

woman staring at computer screen biting pencil

We get it—student loans are STRESSFUL. The good news is that they’re not your only option for going abroad.

Still wondering, can you use student loans for anything? There are gray areas, of course, but you should be using your student loans wisely.

There are so many ways to see the world without going into debt. Of course, while it’s always an option using student loans to travel for study abroad, it’s not always the best option. Consider every factor, and if you can find a way to travel debt-free, take that opportunity instead.

Bottom line: you can always travel abroad—you just need to get creative!

[Create a Campaign on FundMyTravel and Get Going on Your Meaningful Trip!]

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.

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