When estimating budgets, two detailed categories should be considered: Pre-departure and After Arrival.

Pre-Departure costs may include the following: passport fees, direct consular fees for visa, airfare, local transportation, independent travel expenses (Eurail passes, etc.) luggage or backpack, and appropriate clothing, if necessary.

Upon arrival, a student usually spends more money the first few weeks while becoming acquainted with new surroundings. A student’s spending habits and lifestyle should be taken into account when estimating spending budgets. Students should consider the following expenses when estimating their budgets while abroad: weekend travel, local transportation, daily meals and dining out, entertainment, museum fees, laundry, postage, telephone costs, and personal items.

Banking and access to money differ by country and site. Depending on the country and amount of time abroad, students can open bank accounts in their host country or many access their U.S. bank accounts via ATM cards.

If accessing a U.S. bank account through an ATM card, we recommend the following:

  • Students should be sure to contact their bank about special procedures such as an international PIN number.
  • A family member should have access to the account from the U.S. in case of access problems.
  • ATM cards should be tied to checking (NOT savings) accounts.
  • Students should bring a duplicate card along with them in case the card gets taken in a teller machine, as can happen anywhere.

NOTE: ATM machines overseas charge higher usage fees than domestic providers.

Credit cards, American Express cards, and traveler’s checks are other ways of obtaining money while abroad, albeit with a fee.