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How to Fund a Trip Abroad

by - Published January 17

“How to pay for traveling the world” is a thought that goes through you wanderlusting mind as you plan to embark on your overseas adventure. You are constantly distracted by your checklist of what needs to get done to go abroad and you inevitably can’t help but stress money for travel. As you narrow down your to-dos by deciding a location, obtaining a passport and a visa, booking your flight, and updating your daily countdown, your heart flutters as the time gets nearer. What will you eat? What animals will you see? Will you learn the language? Will you make new friends?! 

Although getting caught up in all of the hype of planning is making you seem like an overcaffeinated puppy, there is one teeny tiny detail that needs to be brought up when going abroad that may make you cringe: mula, money, dinero, dolla bills. So bust out that travel fund jar and start saving for a trip of a lifetime! 

What can I expect my cost to travel the world to be?

hiking boots

Before you start lacing up your boots, you need to secure travel funding.

It is important to make a financial plan when saving to travel the world. Before you even start browsing programs abroad, know your budget range and stick to it. Adventure tourism programs have a wide range of costs and it is possible to find cheap travel abroad programs. Before blindly sending in your deposit, make sure to consider all of the following expenses. 

  • Flights! This will likely be the most expensive part of your trip. If you are flexible on your arrival and departure dates, you could end up saving a few hundred bucks. Try using websites like Skyscanner or Scott’s Cheap Flights to check the cheapest days to fly and save some money for travel. 
  • Country type. Countries come in all different shapes and prices and you need to know how to fund. A trip to Europe will likely be more expensive than a trip to southeast Asia. Check out the in the area that you are heading to so that you can get an idea of what day-to-day costs will look like. 
  • Program type. What kind of adventure are you planning? Finding cheap travel abroad programs is simple if you stay open minded. Volunteering or doing a homestay could also save you a bit of money. 
  • Program inclusions. Does your program include meals, accommodation, transportation, visas, or health insurance? Many do! So research, research, RESEARCH! Otherwise you will need to add those to your list of expenses as well.
  • Program length. When it comes to budget, you will need to be practical how long you are going to be able to travel. Obviously, the longer the trip, the more you will spend. Weigh the importance of money vs. time. 
  • Spontaneous-ness. Plan on bringing some extra money for travel to take weekend excursions with fellow adventurers. It’s no fun having to say no just because you didn’t plan your budget in advance. The most memorable moments abroad can be the ones that weren’t planned.  
  • Extras. Let’s be real. Even if you are the minimalist type who hates buying souvenirs, you WILL buy Thai pants. Don’t deny it. Also, keep into account the little details such as ATM fees, exchange rates, and sim cards.

So now that you understand some basic expenses you wonder, “How will I fund my trip abroad?” Get out that travel fund jar and take some notes on how to fund a trip abroad!

[15 Little-Known Study Abroad Fundraising Ideas]

Strategy #1: Fundraising

two women walking countryside with backpacks

You can’t set out on a grand adventure without a grand savings.

Remember when you were a little seven year old and posted up on the street corner selling lemonade and art? Yes, it was adorable. Same idea-ish when it comes to knowing how to fund a trip abroad. There are many ways to get the word out your adventures and obtain cash by travel funding. Send out letters or emails to people in your network and tell them what you will be doing and why. Let them know which organization you’re program is through and the project you will be working on. Are you helping build houses? Volunteering as an English tutor? Working on a conservation project? Your reason to go abroad is to help make the world a better place! 

Start up a blog or website before you head out so that people can follow your travels. If you update your stories of traveling abroad regularly, then people can see where their money went and its influence. You can also create a FundMyTravel or GoFundMe page to seek out donations for your trip abroad. A strong campaign and statement why you are choosing to go abroad will give people more reason to donate money for travel. 

Overall, BE CREATIVE. Host a fundraising dinner and share your story why you are going abroad. Have a yard sale and purge of things you don’t need. Sell your arts and crafts online. Sing karaoke at a bar in hopes of becoming the next YouTube sensation! Think outside of the box as there is no end in sight when it comes to creative travel funding. 

Additional resources: 7 Volunteer Abroad Grants & Scholarships to Bookmark & FundMyTravel

Strategy #2: Start a travel fund piggy bank

ceramic piggy bank

Your trusty travel fund jar/piggy bank will be bursting with these travel funding tips.

Time to dust off the old travel fund jar and make some deposits. Although donations are wonderful, it is ultimately up to you to save up for your adventure to travel the world. Open a savings account that is separate from any other current accounts that you have. Set a dollar amount for how much you will save each day, week, or month. This is your travel fund, not your “I need new shoes though” fund. Start saving and make it happen! If you don’t have much disposable income at the moment, try to get a part time job, second part time job, or even a third part time job. Every little bit of cash adds up and soon your travel funding will be exploding with mula. 

Goals, goals, goals. Do you really need to eat out five times a week? Do you even use that gym membership? It’s a bit excessive to have Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Netflix. Get rid of things in life that you don’t need and try to live a more minimalist lifestyle so that you can save to travel. Sell what you don’t need on Craigslist or Offer Up to get some extra bucks in “fund my trip” account. If it’s really your goal to get abroad, it is crucial to start saving to travel the world.

Additional resources: How to save money for your adventure, 7 keys to budget travel, How to travel the world on a shoestring budget, & . 

Strategy #3: Find cheap travel abroad programs

Euros laid out

Turn those dolla dolla bills right into Euros and money for travel.

It’s a common misconception that traveling is for those who roll around in money pinky up with a glass of bubbly champagne. However, going abroad through an adventure program does not mean you have to break the bank. There are plenty of resources to save cash and still travel the world through cheap travel abroad programs. Keep in mind that most programs have many added perks which could possibly include airport pickup, accommodation, meals, and besties. 

If you look into spending your travels by volunteering, au pairing, doing a work exchange, or a language immersion program you can cut your travel costs and gain unique experience. 

BONUS! Recommended low cost and cheap travel abroad programs include: Cross Continental, International Volunteer HQ, Love Volunteers, and GoCambio

Additional resources: Cheap volunteer abroad destinations, Volunteer abroad for cheap & Are low cost programs worth it? 

Strategy #4: Apply for travel scholarships 

group of friends laughing and smiling

This must be what it feels like to travel as a Kardashian. $$$$$

Travel scholarships? As in free money to travel the world? Yes, yes, YES! Depending on the adventure you are seeking you could easily be eligible to get sponsored to go overseas. If you plan to teach or want to do some research abroad, look into the Fulbright Program Scholarship. This program will pop out for future employers that scan your resume. If you want to volunteer, you can apply for the International Volunteer HQ Scholarship. Plan on learning a new language? Apply for the Boren Award Scholarship. 

Whatever your purpose behind going on an adventure abroad is, seek out scholarships online. If you have the option to attain free money, do it! Start researching early so that you understand the requirements for individual scholarships. All deadlines and requirements vary. 

Additional resources: 7 travel abroad scholarships & travel scholarships & financial resources 

Funding a trip abroad isn’t as bad as it sounds

Cha-ching! Figuring out how to pay for traveling the world is as simple as that. Now you know that it is possible to know how to fund a trip abroad and rake in cash for your adventures across the world! With some discipline, research, and kicking those binge shopping sprees, you will be across the globe before you can say “I can’t afford it!” Prove your pals wrong and snag that scholarship, start a fundraiser, and pinch those pennies to go on a trip of a lifetime! In celebration to the world full of future adventures, throw a dollar into your travel fund jar and get a head start on funding your trip abroad. 

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