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How Much Are TEFL Courses? 4 Major Costs to Consider

TEFL, TESOL, teaching English as a foreign language, fitting finger painting into your career…we may call it different things, but when it comes down to it, getting a TEFL certification is a great way to make money abroad. But how much are TEFL courses? 

stack of books on a desk

Depending on where and how you get TEFL certified, your TEFL course costs will vary.

Well that really depends! Are you getting TEFL certified at home? Online? Or are you planning on going abroad? Are you thinking just about tuition, or are you calculating airfare and accommodation?

TEFL course costs can be intimidating, but when you break it down and actually look at what that money goes to, it’s not that scary. We’re here to help you understand what your money is going to. That’s why you’re here — you’re doing your research. You’re brilliant and kind and stupid hot, so you’re definitely going to find a wonderful TEFL program that doesn’t blow up your bank account and fills your life with wonderful experiences. 

So how much do TEFL courses cost? Take a quick easy scroll down to find out! 

How much does TEFL cost?

TEFL course costs can range anywhere between a few hundred bucks to a few thousand. The cheapest programs are accelerated online courses, and the larger ticket items are in-person. There are pros and cons to each option, so step one might be figuring out whether you should get your TEFL online or in-person.

On average, a good, accredited TEFL course will cost between $900 and $2,000 for a 4-week program. If that number scares you, then you’re in the right place. FundMyTravel is a perfect resource for raising that money!

Plus, it’s worth it to invest in a good program (especially when there’s potential to save money when you teach abroad with your brand new TEFL certificate). In fact, TEFL courses are one hundo worth-it-dollars and 50 you’re-making-great-choices-cents (don’t ask for the conversion on that).

1. Tuition

The biggest cost of TEFL certification is the tuition. It’s what pays the teachers, pays for textbooks, and keeps the program facilities running. It’s the number you see on the website and the one you gotta shell out to get that certification. 

You can save a huge chunk on tuition if you opt for an online course, but just ensure it’s not too cheap. Make sure it’s accredited! And make sure you get good resources from whatever program you choose. Are there tutors? Do they provide job search assistance? Dig into the deets. Some programs will let you pay in installments, while others ask for everything up front.  

How much does TEFL cost? It depends on what you sign up for. But tuition is the easiest thing to calculate because it’s pretty static.

airplane silhouetted by clouds

Going for a ride on that big jet plane is going to cost ya.

2. Airfare

Oof, yeah, the actual going abroad can be a major bummer when you realize how expensive airfare can be. That’s one perk of getting your TEFL at home; zero airline fees. But sometimes going abroad to get your certification is the only way to truly immerse yourself in an experience. Besides, if your plan is to get certified and then start teaching in that country, BOOM — you’re already there! And you’ll already have accommodation figured out, the lay of the land, etc.

Since there are TEFL courses all over the world, airfare costs are all over the place as well. In general, it can cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on your port of departure. Some companies will reimburse your airfare if you’re hired. If airfare is something holding you back from getting your TEFL certificate, do research on affordable locations. A ticket to Tokyo might cost $1,000 – $1,500, while going to Mexico is typically around $500.

3. Accommodation

TEFL course costs don’t typically cover accommodation, so take into consideration the average cost of living in the country you choose. Most programs will help connect you with reliable, affordable housing, so the emotional cost of finding an apartment in a completely foreign country isn’t something you need to stress about.

If you want to keep your TEFL course costs down, consider getting certified in countries where your dollar goes further, like Southeast Asia or Central America. On average, it costs $500-$1000 a month to live in Thailand or Bolivia, while European countries can be $1,500 – $2,500. To lessen this blow, look for companies that give you a living stipend once hired. 

4. Visas

This isn’t an exact answer to the “how much do tefl courses cost” question you may have started with, but it’s part of the reality of getting TEFL certified abroad. If you’re an American citizen, you can get into 174 countries for free! This is great for travel, but if you’re working abroad you’ll need to apply for a work visa. Some companies will sponsor this, but not all. So budget $50 to a few hundred to be safe.

3 providers to help keep your TEFL course costs low

1. International TEFL Academy

ITA is one of the best accredited TEFL providers you can find. The main TEFL certification cost for some is actually time, so ITA has a variety of programs to fit a variety of schedules.  You can sign up for the part-time course, the full 170-hour online course, or 4-week in-person classes at one of their on-site facilities. They have 25 locations all over the world, so you have the option of staying home or going abroad during your certification. 

How much? ~$1,400

2. International TEFL and TESOL Training 

TEFL course costs don’t have to be thousands of dollars to be worth it. ITTT offers the cheapest internationally accredited programs we’ve seen bopping around the internet. The online certification is your ticket to teaching, traveling, and working abroad. All you need is an internet connection and a passion for education! Check out how else you can cover the cost of the International TEFL Academy.

How much? Lowest: $350

3. Maximo Nivel 

Maximo Nivel is a fantastic option for those worried about the cost of TEFL certification getting in the way of an authentic experience. Fly into Guatemala for a TEFL course that’ll change your life forever. The accredited course gives you 150 hours of top-notch TEFL training, practicum hours, and job-finding assistance. You can choose between an on-site course or a hybrid of online and on-site to cut costs even more. Even though accommodation isn’t included, they hook you up with free salsa and cooking lessons to help immerse you in Latin American culture. 

How much? ~$1,400

FundMyTravel can help with the cost of TEFL certification

TEFL certification cost shouldn’t get in the way of your next adventure. If you have a passion to teach abroad, a meaningful story, and are willing to put effort into raising funds to get TEFL certified, the hard part is over. FundMyTravel is the perfect tool to tackle the cost of TEFL certification. It provides the platform, the resources, and the support to get your fundraising campaign off the ground. 

If you’re still bogged down by the question “how much do TEFL courses cost?” take a sec to STOP and chill the heck out. It’s just a number, and numbers are fundable sums. FundMyTravel gives you resources to incentivize donors, tips to make successful campaigns, and the flexibility to readjust your goals.  

Don’t let TEFL course costs hold you back!

globe on a desk top

Make a game plan (aka — budget) and get out there to get TEFL certified!

When it comes down to it, the cost of TEFL certification doesn’t really matter. Sure, it can be daunting to drop a grand on anything, but compared to grad school…it ain’t no thing. Even though TEFL certification cost may initially put you in a wee bit of debt, you’ll be gaining so much more in only a month (or less)!

You’ll have comprehensive teaching skills, actual work experience, and the opportunity to move practically anywhere and get paid. Oh right, you’ll be getting paid at the end of this! A few months into your new teaching job abroad and you won’t even remember asking about how much TEFL courses are, because you’ll have paid it off.

These courses are well-known and highly recommended because they get people jobs. We wouldn’t be talking them up if they were dead ends. We want you to succeed with your mission to go abroad! So what are you waiting for? Are you ready to say goodbye to financial worry, and hello to your next adventure? Don’t let TEFL costs get you down; your prospects only go up from here.

Create Your Campaign and Raise Funds to Get TEFL Certified!

6 Companies to Ask for Donations to Jumpstart Your Campaign

Love it or hate it, money is what makes the world go ‘round. That’s not the only thing, of course, but it’s an unforgettable piece to this complicated puzzle that we live in. Someone once said, “a wise person should have money in their head, but not in their heart.” There’s no doubt that your non-profit is run in a wise manner, and everyone involved most likely has a warm heart, but your NGO must have money in the membrane if you’ve found yourself on this article!

crumpled euros

Having a list of companies that donate to fundraisers will make life a LOT easier.

But money in the brain isn’t going to get you and your non-profit very far. What’s better is when there’s money in your brain and in the organization’s hands. But you’re tied up keeping the day-to-day activities going, balancing your books, conducting outreach, and treading water as you maintain membership relations.

Chances are, you already applied for grants and sent out letters and e-mails seeking donations, but have you considered (drum roll please)…corporate fundraising? Corporate fundraising can be an effective way to get that money more than in your head, but equally important, into the account of your NGO.

While your organization might be well-versed in sending members out knocking on all neighbors’ doors, and calling everyone in the phone book to sell candles, cookie dough, and other potentially useful things, there are more effective ways to manage your time to serve your purpose. And if you’re a registered 501(c)(3), you’re in luck!

Why approach companies to ask for donations?

In both corporate and small business America, there are so many companies that give donations to nonprofits. More and more, there are companies willing to donate to fundraisers for a number of causes — it’s what’s often referred to as corporate giving. Who knows, maybe your cause might be exactly what a big (or small) company is interested in donating to. It never hurts to ask!

people in a meeting

Hit that fundraising goal more quickly!

Rather than asking everyone and their cousin, why not start off with a handy list of companies that donate to fundraisers? Seemingly obvious, right? According to Double the Donation’s Research, 65% of Fortune 500 companies offer a matching gift program. Bingo!

Maximize your time and go directly to the (financial) source while waiting for your money tree to mature. You might have a check or two in the mail before you know it. Look to those in your closest circle. Do any of them work for a Fortune 500 company? This might be the best place to start.

Side note: Many companies willing to donate to fundraisers will only donate to nonprofits. It will be easiest to obtain legitimate funds if you’re working with a registered NGO. Whether travel-related or not, fundraising can help you reach some of them #goals! Remember that you can’t do everything today, but you can take one small step in the fundraising direction.

Here are some of the best companies to ask for donations in search of funds for your NGO or non-profit:

6 best companies willing to donate to fundraisers

1. Oriental Trading Company

Recognized as one of the Top 50 Internet Retailers and one of the Top 50 Catalog Companies, the Oriental Trading Company supports nonprofits in the spheres of education, youth, healthcare, and human services — that should cover many bases! Wondering about your eligibility? Your organization must have a current tax exempt status as a 501(c)(3). Submit a request (see below) and you should have a response within four weeks. Boom!

How can I contact them? Request a donation online through their portal here.

2. Google Dot Org

Googles charitable arm gives back to local, national, and global communities. Each year, this organization donates more than $100 million in grants and over $1 billion in products. Applicants can apply for seed funding for entrepreneurial projects in developing countries, along with community grants and disaster relief support. As it’s Google, they also provide funds to help boost online traffic with what they call Google Ad Grants.

How can I contact them? Check out or simply click here.

3. Disney

Another one of the best companies to ask for donations is Disney’s Corporate Philanthropy Program. Committed to building stronger communities and social responsibility, Disney Programs provides grants geared towards children and families totaling over $332 million a year. They support children around the world and also are known to donate books…at numbers in the millions. They have many of their own initiatives but also might be able to help with yours too. 

How can I contact them? Contact the Walt Disney Company here

4. CVS

The CVS Health Foundation is a private foundation that awards grants for education, healthcare, and local community involvement efforts. These non-profit grants are available by invitation only so it might be best to reach out to understand how you might get an invitation. Otherwise, CVS Health provides strategic investments to nonprofit partners across the U.S. from projects that strive to increase access to healthcare for underserved populations to youth prevention programming.

How can I contact them? Have a look at CVS Health to learn more about corporate social responsibility funding projects.

5. Starbucks

Starbucks’ Corporate Philanthropy Program has been alive and thriving for some years now. Founded in 1997, the Starbucks Foundation has given millions of USDs in the form of grants to nonprofits. But not only that! Whether your project involves community service, opportunities for youth, or college achievement, this coffee company might be able to help. Check with your local retailer to find out if they have a donation budget. NGO or not, they are bound to fork over some funds for your initiative. Here’s one of the companies that give donations to individuals.

How can I contact them? Stop in a retail location and ask for the manager; also check out the Starbucks Foundation website.

6. United Airlines

Does your fundraiser include travel expenses by air? Airlines are great companies to ask for donations from. Obvious, right? Well, United Airlines’ Grant Program offers in-kind donations in the form of airline transportation vouchers and cash support on a limited basis. Not concerned with airline transportation? They still might be able to help you out. They also offer cold hard cash support to nonprofits on a limited basis. You can also ask those around you to donate their MileagePlus miles to help you lighten your load. That international conference you’re interested in attending or representing your NGO at? They can help!

How can I contact them? Check out their corporate website to learn more. Most large companies and corporations have a unique process if you’re seeking funds on behalf of a 501(c)(3) organization.

Companies that give donations to individuals

Getting money as an individual (i.e. if you’re not a NGO) can be easy if you have the right people around you. Otherwise, approaching companies and the corporate world seeking funds for a project might be a bit more difficult. They might be concerned with your credibility; how do they really know X amount of money is going to Y project that you speak of?

It’s not a lost cause though, by any means. It might be worth it to reach out to local, family-owned stores in this case. You might be better off speaking with those who live, work, and support your community. Think lawyers and dentists, teachers, and doctors…you know, your current (or former) professionals that might be known to give a hand. Get your ideas together, have legitimate argumentation on-hand, and give it a shot.

Take your handy list of companies that donate to fundraisers, and start asking!

person holding cash in their hands

Don’t hesitate to reach out to companies willing to donate to fundraisers.

There’s not one best company to ask for donations. It depends on your situation; who you are, what it’s for, and how much you need to make the magic happen. While you’re at it, consider creating a FundMyTravel campaign to stimulate giving from your online community. It’s an easy and effective way to share your NGO’s funding goals with those around you.

Hit the pavement, those blank pages, and emails to start reaching out to your prospective donors. Presenting your non-profit’s project in-person can certainly add a more personalized element. Go introduce yourself and shake some hands. If some of these companies are not within a feasible proximity, consider making a call, sending a letter, or typing an email.

Take a moment, prepare yourself, and then start reaching out. Funding your next project doesn’t have to be a nightmare. It’s time to accept that mo’ money means less problems. When it’s all said and done, you’ll surely be saying, “Hey, that wasn’t so bad after all!”

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9 Cheapest Cities for Travel in the World

By far one of the most intimidating aspects of international travel is the cost. Take a look at a flight home for the holidays even just within the U.S., and the expense of travel can make your eyes blur over and your stomach drop (not to mention the toll it takes on your bank account).

view of airplane wing out window

Knowing how to teleport sure would come in handy.

We’ve all heard it, and honestly, most of us have said it too: I’d love to go abroad, but international travel is just too expensive. Affordability is a beyond-fair reason to restrict yourself — even when the cost is guaranteed to provide a life-altering adventure.

Nobody should be limited to their hometown, home state, home region, home country — whatever! — if their heart is yearning to see more. We’ve got the wanderlust bug too…we get you! That’s why showcasing the world’s most affordable cities seemed like not only a worthwhile mission, but a necessary one.

We want you to see that traipsing around the globe isn’t just a luxury of the independently wealthy; it’s an experience that everyone, no matter the budget, deserves. Take a minute to explore these least expensive cities in the world, and we promise you, you’ll find something that will make your heart flutter.

Here’s the scoop on some of the most affordable cities in the world:

9 most affordable cities in the world 

1. Buenos Aires, Argentina 

person standing on buenos aires street

Buenos Aires is one of the world’s most affordable cities right now.

With the Argentinian economy in increasingly dire states, Buenos Aires has become one of the least expensive cities in the world. International explorers will be able to stretch their budget further, and the Argentinian economy will get a much-needed boost from the hospitality and tourism industries’ increased production. Plus, visiting this city isn’t only a matter of its affordability; Buenos Aires is fun.

Argentina’s capital city boasts lively and vibrant latino culture, complete with a tangy frenzy and a soccer obsession. Fresh produce markets, cafes replete with mouth-watering empanadas, extravagant nightclubs, and beers in the park can all be a part of your international experience, all at some of the lowest prices you’ll ever encounter. Even the city’s museum entrance fees are maxed out at $6, with several of them offering discounted days of the week.

2. Bucharest, Romania

For anyone who’s a fan of spooky monster stories and Dracula’s stronghold, a roadtrip through Transylvania might be echoing out your name. This country’s history extends in many more directions than tales to tell in the dark, though. Budget travelers will be enchanted by Romania’s medieval, cobblestone towns, looming castles and cathedrals, and picturesque, sheep-inhabited countrysides (do a quick search of the Transfăgărășan Road for a truly astounding glance at Romanian greenery).

Bucharest itself occupies a fully different role in the country’s vast history, where travelers can view massive, Communist-era structures and visit museums that provide education unlike anything they’ve encountered. One of the best parts of making this city your international destination? Romania is one of the few European countries with a currency other than the euro, so those who are traveling on a budget are sure to get more out of their dollar than most. 

3. Taipei, Taiwan

Despite its location on the other side of the planet, Taipei is one of the best cities for brand new travelers because it’s host to two undeniably important features: it’s easy to navigate, and it’s cheap. Wifi is free throughout Taiwan — you read that correctly, free. So you’ll never need to worry about getting lost or being forced to spend money you don’t have in restaurants or cafes solely to bum some Internet.

Exploring the city is also made cheap and easy thanks to the incredibly efficient subway system that costs less than a dollar per trip. Taipei’s blend of modern cityscape, from the standard hustle and bustle of being a country capital known for its Bubble Tea, with lush scenery such as natural hot springs, make it a must-see Asian destination. And that’s on top of being one of the most affordable cities in the world! Enjoy street food and hostel stays for no more than a few dollars a day.

4. Puebla, Mexico

star of puebla at night

Hop a ride on a giant ferris wheel for almost free!

While you might have friends flocking to all-inclusive resorts in Cancun or Tulum (and while these places are certainly replete with their own charms), a journey to Mexico does not require a bulging wallet. In addition to the benefits of short, cost-effective flights and little-to-no chance of jetlag for North Americans, Puebla offers cheap and free activities, food, and sights in every colorful cranny. Locally-produced Talavera tiles adorn the city center, and churches and cathedrals are strewn throughout for beautiful days of endless exploration.

The “Star of Puebla,” the city’s iconic ferris wheel, is a necessary stop where you can enjoy the best views of the city for just 30 pesos per person. Oh, and while we’re talking affordability, we’d be remiss to not mention the food. Splurge on some of the country’s finest cuisine — and when we say splurge, we mean eat your heart out for under a dollar a meal. If you’re a chocolate lover, you’ll be happy to know that the most famous mole in Mexico is located right here.

5. Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Cambodia is an astounding destination for the enormous variety of travelers and travel-dreams it can host. The largest religious complex in the world, the famed Angkor What, requires a visit, but you can exit the more tourist-based, more costly town of Siem Reap soon after for a completely affordable journey abroad. Phnom Penh, the country’s capital, is host to delicious street food and gracious people, who only recently began recovery after a multi-decade genocide.

Pay a visit to the Killing Fields to learn about and pay respects to a humbling part of history, and rent an affordable motorbike to transport yourself to some of the world’s most stunning beaches. Southeast Asian culture is known for its welcome hosting, so you can save some funds by couchsurfing with locals who are eager to share their nation’s history along quaint Mekong River towns, or even pitch a hammock for a free night’s sleep on the beach beneath the stars. 

6. Tbilisi, Georgia

Now is the time to visit this charming capital city in the Caucasus, as it’s currently one of the least expensive cities in the world…but the secret is sure to be out soon. The city’s infrastructure will be certain to entice your eye, reflecting the cobblestone streets of ancient Persian rule, Eastern Orthodox churches and traditions, and Soviet-era complexes and structures.

Cheap, if not free, walking tours are an excellent and exciting way to get immersed in the history of the city itself, yes, but the expansive tales of the Caucasus in general, too. Beyond its multifaceted architectural beauty, Tbilisi offers affordable excursions to the Caucasus Mountains and the Black Sea. Housing can be as cheap as $5 a night for a room in a hostel, and depending on the length of stay, some might be inclined to rent out an apartment for a more residential experience.  

7. Accra, Ghana

skillet full of food

Some of the most delicious food in the world is also the most affordable.

Lucky for all of us, this lush, coastal West African capital is one of the world’s most affordable cities for westerners. We mean, really, really affordable. Think: eating for a full day at close to $3, or staying in a hotel, with your best friend, for $6.50.

Once you’re satiated and have slept, you are going to be overcome by the entertainment and soundscape of this city. Live reggae, jazz, and African music reverberate around the streets, and befriending locals is an easy way to be in-the-know about nightlife hotspots.

Street art, from traditional carvings to hand-painted, modern advertisements, add to the city’s ambiance and make for a free, active immersion into African culture and lifestyle.

8. Sucre, Bolivia 

Bolivia is the budget-conscious adventurer’s dream. Home to mountains, jungles, and the largest percentage of indigenous people in South America, there will be no pause to the excitement while traveling here. Sucre, in particular, hosts dozens of parades, festivals, and cultural parties throughout the year, and its colonial architecture and manicured parks allow for peaceful beauty on the off-days.

Not to mention, this is one of the least expensive cities in the world. Those passing through can survive on under $25 a day. Those who fall in love with the city and can’t bring themselves to leave can live fairly lavishly for $800 a month,meaning food, housing, entertainment…all of it. Oh, and this is one of the greatest cities in the world to learn Spanish, with private tutors costing $7 an hour. 

9. Lviv, Ukraine 

In and out of conflict, some parts of Ukraine might not always be the #1 travel destination in Europe that comes to mind, but that doesn’t mean the country as a whole should be excluded. Lviv, located near Ukraine’s border with Poland, offers the beauty of Europe at some of the continent’s cheapest prices. Fresh produce can be purchased at markets for 50 cents, and a complete restaurant meal won’t exceed four dollars.

East meets West in this city, where the influence of the Austro-Hungarian Empire lives on, and ruins of medieval cathedrals provide incredible views of the country’s greenery. If you want to stay a while and explore other parts of the country, like Odessa (a coastal city on the Black Sea), you can hop a 60 cent train, after budgeting for a modern, safe apartment at 200 euros per month. We wouldn’t joke about prices this good!

Ready to travel the least expensive cities in the world?

world map full of pins

The cheapest cities for travel are out there. Go visit them!

Are you convinced that some of the cheapest cities for travel are also the best destinations yet?! There was a time when only the wealthiest could see the world by packing up their trunks and taking to the sea. Luckily, that exclusivity for international exploration is a thing of the entirely far-back past.

We may not all be able to budget for exploring every single city in the world, but that would be a little extreme, no?! Plus, some of the world’s most affordable cities end up being the least traversed, and in many ways, the most unique and authentic…on top of inexpensive. Sure sounds like a win-win that we’ve got on our hands!

Most importantly, don’t be discouraged by the continent, the time zone, the flight duration — there is an affordable destination out there for you, that will not only fit your budget, but fit your lifestyle and fulfill your wanderlust dreams.

Now that we’ve got you started with a list of some of the most affordable cities in the world, find your fit, and start budgeting! We recommend doing a bit more research, compiling some spreadsheets, opening a FundMyTravel page to get the word out to your family and friends, and getting your adventure started!

Create Your Campaign on FundMyTravel NOW!

samantha harperThis article was written by Samantha Harper. Samantha’s quest to learn about her family heritage in Prague ignited the travel flame within her. A Wisconsin native and Pitt alumna, Samantha’s insatiable appetite for the world led her into an International Relations master’s program in Italy. Still not feeling like she’d seen enough, she finagled her way into spending a summer in Spain and teaching for a year in Thailand. She is (temporarily) settled in Washington, D.C.

Where is the American Dollar Worth the Most?

If you’re accustomed to packing light and taking to the friendly skies on the regular, you may find yourself asking the following questions quite frequently: Where is the American dollar worth the most? Where does the American dollar go the farthest? Where can I get the best exchange rate for dollars? The answer isn’t always straight forward, but it can help the wanderlust-y among us to squeeze the most miles out of our budget. Plus, sometimes it leads us down unexpected paths.

person posing in bali

There are lots of places in the world where carrying US dollars is an incredible privilege (see: ALL).

Is the dollar strong or weak right now?

The short answer to this question is — it depends on where you’re headed. The U.S. economy has been in pretty good shape these days, so in 2019 there are plenty of places where the dollar goes far. This doesn’t just mean the countries where American money is worth the most in terms of conversion rate; for example, it doesn’t matter if one USD is worth 1 million rubles if your morning coffee will cost you 10 million rubles! But there are countries where the dollar is strong. Do your research and you’ll be living in the lap of luxury at a much more affordable rate than you’re apt to enjoy back home.

11 countries where the dollar is strong

1. Argentina

view of bariloche, argentina

Places where the dollar goes far are also the most beautiful!

Cost of living in Argentina is low, with rent, food, and utilities all coming in a lot lower than you’ll be used to at home in the States. Imported products like cars, clothes, and shoes don’t see much of a savings compared with what you’d pay at home, but if you’re just passing through, you can skip these purchases to keep your budget low!

*Cost of a head of lettuce (for all you healthy eaters out there): $0.70

2. Egypt

Rent and food costs in Egypt are so low you may not believe it at first. As a tourist, you’ll be able to enjoy the country’s culinary delights without making big dents in your pocketbook.This is the kind of space you could spend a lot of time in!

*Cost of a head of lettuce: $0.29

3. Mexico

We hear this one all the time. U.S. money goes a long way in Mexico. Rents, services, even clothing and other goods you might want to shop for all come at very accessible prices in México lindo, but the real benefit is the food. Mexican fare is delicious and there’s so much more to it than burritos — and it’s all at very reasonable price points. Pair that with the vast and diverse territory you can cover here and you may find yourself staying a long time.

*Cost of a head of lechuga: $0.75

4. Vietnam

There’s a reason why budget backpackers love Southeast Asia! Vietnam is very affordable (and so is Thailand!) — cheap beer, cheap transportation. If you’re planning on staying longer, food and clothing can also be purchased at reasonable prices, which is good because it’s a pretty long way from home. Rent will be far less than you’re used to spending in the States, especially if you share a bigger place with roommates.

*Cost of a head of lettuce: $0.65

5. Peru

It seems hard to believe you can take in the incredible cultural history of the Incas and eat one of the world’s most famous and sought-after cuisines on a budget, but believe it! Peru’s major cities and tourist areas aren’t the cheapest around, but they aren’t outrageously expensive either. Meanwhile, in smaller towns and rural areas, you can snag amazing deals on lodging, homemade handicrafts and souvenirs, and delicious, nutritious food to keep you powered up at altitude.

*Cost of a head of lettuce: $.071

6. Costa Rica

person sitting on car looking at arenal volcano in costa rica

Incredible journeys (and views) come along with the best exchange rate for U.S. dollars.

If it seems like there’s a lot of Latin America on this list, it’s because there are a lot of affordable amazing places south of our border, where the U.S. dollar has some serious buying power. Costa Rica is not different. You can really splurge at the luxury resorts along Costa Rica’s beautiful coastlines, but if that’s not in your bottom line, You’ll find plenty more reasonable options. Costa Rican food is simple but tasty, and a hearty meal will only set you back a few bucks. Don’t sleep on the roadside fruit stands, either. They often let you taste for free.

*Cost of a head of lettuce: $.98

7. Canada

Our neighbors to the north may surprise you, but the Canadian dollar usually tracks a little bit below the U.S. dollar. Meanwhile, the sticker prices on meals at restaurants, and on clothing and accommodations look remarkably similar. This leaves you saving a little bit on each purchase without even knowing it. And if you think Canada is just U.S.A. North, think again. There are all sorts of cultural, social, and political differences that make it just as much of an intercultural experience as voyages to farther off lands.

*Cost of a head of lettuce: $1.84

8. Puerto Rico

This might surprise you as one of the countries where the U.S. dollar is strong because, well, they use the U.S. dollar. But Puerto Rico’s restaurant scene stays affordable by celebrating all the great food the island has to offer, and if you stay away from resorts and major tourist zones, rent and shopping come at a reasonable price, too. Plus, not needing to deal in another currency? How convenient!

*Cost of a head of lettuce: $2.38

9. Hungary

Finally some Europe in this list. Take in some serious European Old World charm for a seriously reasonable price tag. Food and drink, especially if you stick to locally-derived options, will keep you full for less. For those staying longer, rents are low and public transportation options are very affordable and accessible. 

*Cost of a head of lettuce: $0.81

10. Philippines

aerial view of palawan, philippines

Incredible, fun, and one-of-a-kind; the Philippines is one of the best places where the dollar goes far.

If you’re planning a long-term jaunt to the Philippines, you will be very comfortable. Rent is just a fraction of what it costs in the U.S. of A. and food and beverages are cheap if you stick with options produced on the archipelago. Transportation is also reasonably priced. Salaries aren’t high in this part of the world, but the demand for Americans to teach English and similar opportunities is fairly strong, and the money you’ll make doing that will be enough to enjoy your time there.

*Cost of a head of lettuce: $1.22

11. U.S.A.

Surprise! I bet you weren’t expecting this one. What it lacks in creativity, perhaps, it gains in being close to home. Of course we all know New York and Miami come at a big cost, but have you seen that great, wide world out there? There has to be an upside to manifest destiny, and that’s the open road. Skipping plane travel and getting to know the small towns and rural areas that make America Americuh can be very informative at a very reasonable price.

*Cost of a head of lettuce: $1.54

Everywhere is the best place for American dollars with FMT

FundMyTravel offers an easy-to-use platform for getting the word out to friends, families, and fans who might want to help you fund your next big, meaningful adventure. Sign up for a free account to start sharing your story, set fundraising goals, and share a link with anyone you think might be feeling generous. (Now’s one of those rare times where you won’t regret the fact that your grandma has Facebook.)

Go find the best exchange rate for dollars!

life is short, enjoy your coffee sign

Bonus: Favorable exchange rates mean affordable (and delicious) coffee!

Where there’s travel involved, your research skills and patience cannot be outdone. When you reap the rewards, you’ll know the time you invest now will be worth it. So get to it! Map out your plans for what you’ll be doing while you’re in-country. Are you on a program where some meals are provided or are you totally on your own? Will you have access to a kitchen to cook? And will you, realistically, cook yourself meals sometimes instead of eating out? How’s your self control at handicraft markets or high-rent fashion districts? 

All of this will help you estimate just how much bang you can get for your buck in countries where the U.S. dollar is strong. Remember: Cost of living can vary greatly from city to city, and sometimes smaller towns aren’t more affordable. Do your best to investigate regionally-specific data for the particular places where the dollar goes far. If you really do it right, there will be dollars left over for the next cheapest spot on your list. May the conversion rate be ever in your favor.

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amelia dietrichThis article was written by Amelia Dietrich. Amelia’s day job keeps her busy helping study abroad professionals grow and improve their professional practice in order to help college students have safe, high-quality educational experiences abroad. When work travel isn’t enough, Latin America is her destination of choice thanks to a past life as a Spanish teacher and bilingualism researcher.

12 Festive Holiday-Themed Donation Incentive Ideas

While December may be the most popular time of year for giving, sometimes wanderlusters are in need of funds long before the joyful season begins. Maybe you’re looking to volunteer abroad for spring break, learn a language abroad for the summer, or study abroad in the fall? 

Additionally, many FundMyTravel campaigns only run for a few months to keep audiences interested while not going over any time limits, and December may not be in that time frame! 

jar of money sitting on wooden table

Festive donation incentive ideas aren’t limited to holidays in December. Get creative and rake in donations!

Many campaigners create a strong message for why they need funds to travel, and they can recruit the help of their network through social media, email, text messages, and other means. Asking may be enough to reach goals in many cases, but sometimes campaigners need extra help.

Lots of organizations use donation incentives to give their cause an extra boost, so why not you too? Elevate your FundMyTravel campaign with the 12 festive holiday-themed donation incentive ideas listed below!

Why are donation incentives a good idea?

Most people would like to feel appreciated in some manner when they donate. Incentives for donors not only encourage participation and provide motivation, but they also show how grateful you are for their contribution.

Donation incentives also help to raise excitement for your cause, and donors are more likely to share your campaign with others. The donation gifts don’t need to be grand or expensive—it’s more about recognizing their contribution. By taking advantage of the holiday during your campaign time frame, you can maximize your efforts while giving back in return!

5 Ideas to Make Your Travel Fundraising Campaign More Appealing to Donors

12 festive donation gifts for the holiday season

1. New Year’s Day — Personalized calendars 

fireworks in a dark sky over a town

New Year’s-themed donation gifts will start the year off right.

January is a time of celebrating opportunities ahead in the new year while appreciating good memories of the year before. A personalized calendar rises to this challenge. Ask each donor to send you 12 of their favorite photos, and you can use an online PDF template to assemble a fun calendar that looks good in black and white.


If that proves to be too challenging, you can find plenty of beautiful, free stock photos to use online on websites like Unsplash and Pixabay. When you’re done crafting your masterpiece, you can email donors the finished result for a calendar they can easily print at home and cherish all year.

2. Valentine’s Day — Gift card raffle

Celebrate love with a fun raffle! Everyone loves the chance to win something amazing. For every person who donates to your campaign, enroll them in a drawing to win a $50 gift card. The gift card can be for a common restaurant, a massage parlor, a theatre, or donor’s choice. At the end of your campaign, post a video of the drawing where you put everyone’s name in a basket and draw the winner!

3. St. Patrick’s Day — Win a treasure

Fill a glass container with lots of candies, which will be the symbolic “pot o’ gold” at the end of the rainbow. You can post a video of the filled container on your campaign page to give them a 3D viewing. For every person who donates, give them a chance to guess how many candies are in the container. The lucky winner who guesses the right amount will win the jar of candy!

4. Easter — Egg-filled surprise

Easter is a good time of year to provide a small incentive for every donor. Fill lots of plastic easter eggs with thank-you notes, mints, candies, keychains, and/or small toys or office supplies. Send a filled plastic Easter egg to each donor for an eggcellent surprise.

5. Mother’s Day — Breast cancer awareness

Moms love May because they get some recognition they deserve on Mother’s Day! For every donor who gives a certain amount to your campaign, commit to contributing a portion of their donation to an organization that fights against breast cancer—or any cause that your mom or maternal figures in your life are passionate about. Donors will be able to tell their mom that they donated in their mother’s name for a good cause.

6. Father’s Day — Choose dad’s gift

Every year, people struggle with choosing a gift for dad, right? To help them out, why not create personalized donation gifts? Donors will receive gifts for their dads based on the amount of money they contribute, and you can customize them. For example, BBQ aprons for $100 donations, mugs for $75, cozies for $50, keychains for $25, etc. You could also have another raffle for the winner’s dad to receive a box of donuts!

7. Independence Day — Virtual bake sale

person holding a sparkler

While you declare financial independence, don’t forget about incentives for donors!

Who doesn’t love a dessert that demonstrates America’s pride with stars and stripes and red, white, and blue? Cookies and cupcakes are usually cheap to make or buy. You can work with local bakers or make the goods yourself for the campaign. For those who donate a certain amount ($100 or more), promise to make baked goods for them or for an organization of their choice (a nonprofit organization, senior care center, etc.).

8. National Dog Day (August 26th) / International Cat Day (August 8th) — Box of Treats

Invite all of your donors to submit the best picture of their cat or dog. At the end of your campaign, ask everyone to vote for the picture they like the most. The donor’s picture who receives the most votes wins a mystery box of treats for the pet! The mystery box could have things like toys, snacks, grooming items, a leash, and other things. You might even be able to get a few things for free at local pet stores if you mention it’s for a good cause.

9. Labor Day — Providing labor

One of the best incentives for donations is via labor for an organization. Choose a few local organizations or schools where you can volunteer. Reward every person who donates a certain amount (for example, $50) with a vote for the school or organizations where they want you to volunteer for a day. The one with the most votes wins your labor!

10. Halloween — Costume contest

If you’re up to this “spooktacular” challenge, you can provide a costume contest as a donation incentive. Choose three embarrassing costumes (that are cheap or easy to make) and ask each donor to vote on which costume you have to wear on Halloween; you can give donors a vote for every dollar they donate! Your friends and family will love this idea.

11. Thanksgiving — Cookbook

A good way to get people to donate even a small amount is the promise of a unique cookbook. Ask everyone who donates to your campaign to contribute their favorite recipe—it can be of their all time favorite food or of their favorite Thanksgiving dish. At the end of your campaign, you can create a PDF cookbook with all the recipes that people gave you, and distribute it to everyone who donated to your campaign.

12. Christmas — Postcard ornaments

Many people in your network would love to receive a postcard of the place you visited as a thank you for their donation. Why not create something special for them to put on the tree every year? You can customize the postcard with frames, embroidery, lamination, etc. and put a ribbon through the top. Each donor will have a special reminder every year of how they contributed to making your travel dreams come true.

7 Creative Donor Rewards Ideas

You’ll have happy holidays with these donation incentives!

two people drinking black coffee

If all else fails, say thanks with a seasonal cup of coffee. (#PSL)

While these donation incentive ideas are for the more popular holidays, you can also take advantage of fun and silly holidays throughout the year. (There would be some pretty creative incentives attached to Arbor Day and Earth Day, for example!) It’s also recommended to reach out to local companies for sponsorship or to gather free supplies for events if you need to minimize expenses. You’d be surprised at how many people you know have a business and would love to take advantage of the free advertising.

If you have skills in photography, carpentry, design, or anything else, you may be able to provide donation gifts with these talents. You can also provide incentives for donations by providing your time or labor for them. Plus, you could also host contests, tournaments, sales, and other events in person if possible and ask people to contribute to your FundMyTravel campaign. Many people also find that incentives for donors have helped them build relationships and surpass their campaign goals!

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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.

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