Ballin’ on a Budget: How to Start Saving for Your Big Trip Abroad


When you plan an exciting trip, especially your first one abroad, you might get overwhelmed with the idea of being able to afford it. The best offense is a good defense and I would definitely agree with that when it comes to travel. By starting early and keeping calm, you’ll have enough money saved up in no time.  Follow these steps on how to start saving for a trip abroad.

But before you start…

Think about what you exactly want and why you want it. Are you planning a 6 month backpacking trip through South East Asia? Do you want to meet new people or spend time roaming alone? Do you want to be able to rave in Ibiza or will you be living off of street food?

Audit yourself.

This should be the FIRST thing you do when you get serious about saving. Track what you buy for one day, one week, and one month. Take one or two items you normally purchase in each category ($150 in nails? Daily Starbucks? ) Be sure to set yourself up for success! Canceling your gym membership when you have never once done an in-home work out is NOT a wise choice. If you pay for cable but only use your Netflix, consider saving a couple hundred doll-hairs on that.

Hit up happy hour.

If you just love going out to eat and drink, that’s understandable and luckily still doable while planning a trip abroad. I’m a HUGE fan of the happy hour at restaurants because you get to munch, drink, and socialize.

Utilize your student ID card.

I can’t tell you how many wonderful things you can get discounted with a school ID. Not only great for clothes and traveling, but even things like Photoshop.

Let your friends know.

My friend told me a tragic saving tale of going to brunch on Miami Beach with a friend and friend’s friends. She was trying to keep it light, one mimosa and a salad. But when the bill came, since everyone was drinking a lot they decided to split it. Let your people know that you have big dreams and plans and they’ll do what they can to help.

Don’t be bougie.

Do you really need the SMART water when the local brand is 50% less? Not if you want to travel the world! There is no reason to be bougie, generic brands are 99.9% of the time the same exact thing as the “name brand” especially home items.


Go through it all, keeping a close eye on clothes or electronics. A $400 camera isn’t really worth that much when you never use it. Sell it and save it. As for your closet, keeping minimalistic clothing (neutral colors with a few pops of bright) will keep you from buying more clothes because pretty much everything matches. Stick with whites, blacks, greys, and the color pop of your choice.

Get serious with rewards.

They are there for a reason! CVS and Walgreens constantly battle it out for the best coupons and rewards. The cards are free AND they give discounts on wine often 😉

Buy in bulk.

I’m not saying you need to buy a 6-box pack of quaker oats, not at all. But staples like toilet paper, laundry detergent, and paper towels are items you use every day so why not save time and money?

Consider applying for a grant.

If you are a student, or seriously involved in a profession, you can win scholarships for a living stipend to study abroad. Keep in mind you should be very involved in the field you are applying in.

Write before you buy.

I’m SERIOUS about this one. It’s okay to need a coat when winter rolls around. It is not okay to buy the same boots in three colors, mittens and gloves, and ear warmers. Especially if you live below I-10. Making a list before every trip (grocery, mall, Walgreens, etc.) will save you from impulse buys.



Where will your savings take you? Do you have any savings tips? 

  • Good tips here…but how I wish I still had a student card! Those were the best!

    • Lauren @

      Is it wrong that I still occasionally use mine from undergrad? #guilty

  • Kay

    Great tips! 🙂 I’ve found myself actually moving abroad as a means to save money! 🙂 x

    • Lauren @

      That’s awesome! Where did you move to? I’ve heard university can be more affordable abroad as well 🙂

      • Kay

        I’ve moved to Dubai to teach! Tax free… and accommodation is included, so I’m able to save money here in a way I was never able to at home! 🙂