Whether you’re taking part in a study abroad program or going to South Padre Island with your friends for Spring Break, traveling is the highlight of any college experience. But travel can be expensive and strain your wallet to its breaking point. And while discounts on transportation and lodging can ease some of the tension, there are countless other factors that can add further stress—which is why it makes sense to create a travel budget before taking your dream vacation. So if you’re a college student who is a) planning your next getaway and b) planning to keep yourself on a budget, you have nothing to worry about. Because from preliminary travel plans to final airline ticket purchases, Boro—the best personal payment plan for students—will be there to help you every step of the way.
Here are three scenarios in which a travel budget can help you avoid financial stress and will allow you to experience the country (or world) and save money at the same time.
Each will concentrate on six key factors students should take into consideration when outlining their budget plan—food, shopping, transportation, accommodations and sightseeing—and how you can pay for each with easy monthly payments.
Scenario I: Exotic Trip to Thailand
The academic semester is finally behind you. Now the only thing standing between you and your long-awaited summer vacation is 17-hour flight to the other side of the world. That’s right. You’re going to Thailand, home to white sand beaches, opulent temples and affordable prices.
- Food: The prospect of having authentic Thai cuisine in Thailand sounds promising and eating out is super cheap, but eating out for every meal is costly. It can drain your wallet faster than you can say “sawadee khrup” (that’s one way to say hello, by the way). So be sure to spend no more than $150 on meals for an entire week.
- Shopping: While in Thailand, you may see that items for purchase typically range from clothing to medicinal products. With the latter category, be sure to read any visible labels before buying something that may not provide instant relief. Clothing prices depend on which outlet you choose but always try not to buy things you don’t need and keep the amount of space your suitcase has in mind.
- Sightseeing: The thing about Thailand is that you don’t have to restrict your sightseeing to one city. From the Grand Palace in Bangkok to the Khao Yai National Park in Hin Tung, visitors to this magnificent country will find breathtaking splendor around every corner. Boro recommends Phang Nga Bay, a paradise characterized by towering rock formations and colorful coral reefs (perfect for travelers with an adventurous side). The Jim Thompson House Museum’s home of an extensive Asian art collection that is bound dazzle the eye.
- Transportation: Even with discounts from airlines or sites like StudentUniverse, traveling from one part of the world to the other can be expensive. Be sure to do in-depth research as you prepare to book your flight. This will be helpful if you want to spend as little as possible.
- Accommodations: When you’re a college student traveling overseas, your lodging options are often limited to hotels and hostels. StudentUniverse can help you find student discounts on hotels and hostels. As we’ll mention later on, hostels are often a cheaper option that is perfect for those who prefer a communal environment. We recommend the Here Hostel in Bangkok ($24.00 a night, offers laundry service and restaurant).
Scenario II: European Weekend Getaway
When you first considered signing up for the semester abroad program, you had no idea where you were going to spend the next academic year. But now it’s clear you made the right decision in choosing London as your home away from home. From classes and the local culture, to museums and musical experiences, your time abroad has been a memorable one. But as the weekend approaches, you find yourself hankering for a spur-of-the-moment trip that will allow you to explore the City of Lights and Love. We’re refering, of course, to Paris, France.
- Food: If you decide to stay in a hostel, you may want to see if it has a kitchen. We’re not saying cook all your meals, but it is a great way to save money. Try limiting yourself to no more than two meals out each day. Also be sure to do your research and avoid eateries with high prices.
- Shopping: Some travelers tend to go overboard when it comes to finding a souvenir to commemorate their visit. Avoid expensive items like fashion accessories or reproductions of artwork (one such statue at the Louvre Museum costs over $284 dollars alone). If you end up deciding to buy something, go with small items, whether it’s a copy of a favorite book, a nice piece of jewelry or a postcard.
- Sightseeing: Looking for things to do? Take in the 856-year-old beauty of Notre-Dame Cathedral and learn about the history behind the setting of one of literature’s most famous novels. Looking for the perfect way to cap off a night on the town? Visit the world-famous Moulin Rouge and witness a feast for the senses. Should you decide you have the stomach for it, tour the infamous Paris Catacombs to discover the final resting place of more than six million unfortunate souls. (Tickets are a bit on the expensive side, but it’s worth the experience).
- Transportation: Being in Europe means you can easily travel from one country to the next without spending more than ten hours on a plane or train. And you can find reasonable prices, especially if you use StudentUniverse to find the right method of transportation.
- Accommodations: You can either make your visit to Paris a simple day-trip or turn it into a weekend stay. For this scenario, we will say you decided to spend the weekend. Now you have a choice between renting a room in a hostel and booking a hotel suite. Hostels are encouraged as they are not only cheaper (prices go as low as $30 a night) but perfect for students who prefer engaging with fellow travelers. Our recommendation is the Le Village Montmartre. It’s perfect for those who want to see a terrace view of the city at night.
Scenario III: An International Student’s Trip
As an international student attending college in the United States, you probably have a strong desire to spend your vacations taking in the various diverse cultures that make America what it is. With Spring Break coming up, you have the chance to do just that. Now the only thing to do before creating your budget is deciding where you want to go. After a little contemplation and process of elimination, the answer comes to you. You’re going to New York City.
- Food: New York City is home to hundreds of restaurants, both big brands and lesser-known eateries. But just because they are being offered doesn’t mean you have to eat out for every meal. Consider, if you’re staying in a hostel, buying groceries so you can make your own meals when you come back after a long day of sightseeing. But if you absolutely don’t want to cook, NYC has an excellent, and affordable, street food scene. Just walk around and see what you find!
- Shopping: When in a populated city like New York, you will run into hundreds of street vendors hawking their wares. While these are not expensive at all, be sure to avoid the vendors who aggressively force you into buying items like t-shirts and CDs. As mentioned in the previous scenario, stick with small mementos if you do go shopping.
- Sightseeing: There are thousands of places to see in New York City and so little time to see them all. Whether you’re interested in museums (the price of one admission ticket at the Metropolitan Museum of Art costs $25.00) or restaurants (have a bite to eat at Junior’s Restaurant in either their Brooklyn or Times Square location), the Big Apple is bound to have something for you to enjoy. Boro personally recommends visiting Ellis Island,home of one of America’s most iconic monuments. Plus, see Madame Tussauds New York (the perfect place to learn more about the world’s famous—and infamous—celebrities).
- Transportation: We suggest you research the city’s public transportation and purchase any subway passes ahead of time. Should you decide to explore New Jersey or New York state, check out NJTransit and Metro-North Railroad.
- Accommodations: The saying “third time’s the charm” sounds cliché, but it’s true. That said, hostels are encouraged for students who prefer to avoid the high prices that come with hotels. Our personal recommendation: The Local NYC (private rooms, free Wi-Fi and only $40.00 per night).
But wait a minute…
What is Boro and what does it do?
Boro is an online financial service that allows college students to split up payments all sort of purchases, even travel! For purchases ranging from $1000 to $3000 with a starting payment plan of $36 per month, Boro payment plans are customized to suit whatever your needs may be.
Applying for one is easy. Because Boro doesn’t require a credit score, a co-signer or a social security number (if you’re an international student). And all payment plans are interest-free for the first two weeks. So if you decide you want to pay back your entire loan in 2 weeks, you won’t be charged ANY interest or fees.
What makes Boro payment plans perfect for students is that while other services require you to repay an amount in full on a specific date (or face serious penalties and high interest rates), Boro provides a way to split up payments. All you do is pay back a small amount for each month of the payback period (which last from 12 to 36 months).
But the main reason why Boro is the best option for students is because it is here to help you as you start building your credit score. Using a credit card when traveling abroad can end up hurting your credit as most companies charge a high foreign transaction fee. And the high utilization rate that comes with emergencies or purchases of items that are over your budget can do even more damage. This way, you can avoid worrying about paying on time and concentrate on making the most of your travels.
I still have questions…
We hope this travel guide will help you as you start planning your dream vacation. If you have more questions about payment plans or how you can get one, Boro’s payment plan guide has all the answers you seek.
Still deciding on your final destination? Boro’s articles regarding where to go on your fall or Thanksgiving break can provide inspiration, especially if you’re an international student eager to explore America’s popular tourist destinations and hidden gems. If you’re planning on studying abroad, Boro has great advice on how to find the program that’s right for you. Or check out more inspiration from StudentUniverse on everything from study abroad to weekend trips to cheap destinations.
And as always, visit our website and start an application for a monthly payment today. Because at Boro, you’ll find an easy payment plan for students and a smart way to pay.