Budgeting for a Smart Traveller

tumblr_m7ezhf9bNa1qjp7nnA popular question from many students at this point is “How much should I budget per week?” This is an excellent question to be asking because it means that you are looking into your options and planning ahead. The answer to that question is – “That depends entirely on you.”

We wish we had a magic number that worked for everyone and we could tell you right away but that is not the case. How much you decide to spend and what you end up doing is entirely up to you, the student.

There are weeks at the Castle where you may not spend a cent since you are in classes during the day, on field studies on the weekends (where you can grab a packed lunch so your don’t have to pay for food) and staying on campus for the rest of the week. If you are not looking to do independent travel that weekend or you just want to catch up on your work, you can always remain on campus where you have your meals taken care of so you never have any added costs, other than laundry. For more about the costs that you can expect at the BISC, check out our Student Handbook (Pg. 38 &39).

Then there are the weeks where you do decide to venture out and do some independent travel and that is when you will start spending money. How much you spend is up to you and it is determined by a number of factors –

  • How are you getting to and from your destination? (train, boat, plane, etc.)
  • Where are you staying? (a friends / hostel / hotel / etc.)
  • Where are you eating? (junk food / local / fine dining / etc.)
  • What are you looking to do? (sightseeing / events / relax / culture/ etc.)

Those are some of the main things to consider and while it is important that you do your research and plan ahead, there are resources available to help you. First up – websites. Obviously not everything you read on the internet is 100% reliable but at least some sites can help to give you an idea. From there, your own research can help you to figure out what is reliable or not.

Two great website to help you plan your trip by region and country are listed below. This can help you plan on a budget and see how much to expect from various things like accommodations and food. These are great when planning the overall budget for your time at the BISC.

When looking at specific options like your accommodations and activities, travel websites can let you know about the various offerings and some helpful tips. Check out this website which describes the types of hotels that exist throughout Europe –

When looking at specific hotels or restaurants, be sure to check out past reviews and recommendations as they can often tell you something you may want to know (e.g. added costs, safety issues, etc.)

Traveling in a group is always a great idea for a number of reasons and we highly recommend it. It can help you with costs and safety. Don’t be afraid to adjust your travel plans once you get to the Castle as you may find friends who you would like to travel with.

Your SLC (Student Life Coordinators) and the Student Services staff at the Castle are fantastic individuals and while they won’t plan your entire independent trip for you, they can give you helpful hints and advice since they have so much experience and really know Europe. You can also check in with our Field Studies Office at the Castle to get helpful tips and tricks from them as you plan your travels.

You probably won’t get the best deals and do everything right your first time you do independent travel, but you are spending a year abroad and you will learn as you go – from your experiences, your field studies, your friends, etc. Good luck with your planning and we can’t wait to see you all turn into travel experts!

Also – Feel free to check out our Day in the Life video to find out more about being a student at the Castle.

Still making plans,
Radissen Ramoutar
Admission Representative

Newsletter #1 08 05 2013Photo Courtesy of Isabella Jope (SLC)

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