Money Matters - Traveling cheaply
Money Matters
Money Matters
Traveling cheaply:
• Most of us have to refrain from spending very much money when going abroad, but it would
be a mistake to travel in the cheapest way possible. This could mean putting yourself at risk, and
you might end up paying a high price on your health or state of mind. Instead, try to get the most
for your money while accomplishing your goals for the trip and having a great time. Some of the
ways to save money are:
• find a low-priced airline ticket
• go with a group such as a package deal or a tour
• get discounts with an International Student Identity Card (ISIC)
• stay in youth hostels or other safe but inexpensive accommodations
• eat at local eateries or buy groceries and prepare your own meals
• most importantly: develop a reasonable budget and stick to it.
Taking money abroad:
• Take money abroad in as many of the following ways as possible. It is advisable to have
several options of accessing money available to you.
Travelers' checks are the safest way to carry money abroad as they can be replaced if lost or
stolen. They are useful for emergency backup in case the bank machines are down or there is no
other way to access cash. It is best to buy them in the U.S., then exchange them for currency
abroad. Disadvantages are that you may be charged a fee when you cash them, not all stores or
hotels accept them as a form of payment, and some banks in developing countries will not accept
them. Additionally, in certain countries they are difficult to cash and/or generally not accepted.
Check with your program coordinator or inquire at your country-specific pre-departure
orientation regarding the situation for your destination. Travelers' checks come with receipts,
which should be stored in a safe place, separate from the checks themselves, so that you can
replace the checks if lost or stolen. The most widely accepted brand (and easiest to replace) is
American Express. AAA, some banks, and some credit unions issue them with no fee to
• Exchanging some U.S. money for local currency when you first arrive, at least enough for
phone calls and taxi from the airport, is a wise idea. This can be done at major banks or in
currency exchange offices at international airports.
• Consider purchasing at least $100 in local currency before you leave the U.S. in case you
cannot exchange money right away or can’t find an ATM. Several banks in Ames offer this
service. Carry cash in a safe place on your body, such as in a money belt or a pouch around your
neck, hidden under your clothes.
• Students spending a semester or more abroad will be able to set up a bank account in a local
bank after arriving at their destinations. Travelers' checks will be accepted when opening an
account. Opening an account will allow you to obtain a local ATM card and not have to worry
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