Abroad & Broke
by: Josie Smith
We are adventurers: determined to explore, to seek all the experiences the world has to offer. We spend our time chasing the creation of memories. We are the Wendy Darling’s and the Alice Liddell’s. Daring. Curious. Reckless. Bold. Free. We want to experience new things, “discovering ourselves” along the way. What better manifestation of these ideals than to simply pack up and leave: to travel the world. But what happens when we reach our Wonderland, and realize a round trip through the rabbit hole costs a lot more than we realized?
Whether you are studying abroad, volunteering, or just traveling for fun, here is my advice to you:
1. Be flexible with food.
Just because a restaurant seems nice, doesn’t mean the food is better. The best pizza I had in Italy was from a hole in the wall stand rather than the showy pizzerias. Avoid cafes with seating charges or ridiculous prices. The best food can generally be found at a reasonable price.
2. Compromise with time.
There of two types of people: the ones who plan every second of their day, and the ones who won’t plan at all, certain that adventure will find them. Try to find a balance. It can be cheaper to buy day passes ahead of time online, but you’re wasting money and missing out on the opportunity to experience the here-and-now of where you are if you plan too much.
3. Hostel v. Horror Story
I’ve seen the movies. But hostels aren’t necessarily the scene from a psycho murder film. More often than not, common spaces like a living room and bathroom are the only things you share. Make sure you research ahead of time for a safe, central location- and read real reviews. You could save hundreds of dollars on weekend trips without sacrificing safety.
4. Avoid tourist traps.
There are some things in the world you HAVE to see: The Vatican, The Eiffel Tower, and The Palace at Versailles. But avoid the areas where the sole intent is to market to tourists. Go exploring- ask the café barista and find the places the natives like to shop and hang out. The prices will be better, and you’ll get to experience the culture.
The keyword here is flexibility. You find adventure when you let go of expectations.