5 Tips for Weekend Travel

By: Emily Margolis

An amazing part of studying abroad is being able to embrace the culture of the city and explore. But for many individuals, a large part of studying abroad is the excitement of traveling on the weekends. This can become a pricey endeavor, but it is achievable on a budget. By planning ahead and utilizing resources such as student discounts, cheap transportation options, and affordable accommodations, students can experience incredible adventures without breaking the bank. Additionally, exploring local attractions and hidden gems in the host city can be just as enriching and rewarding as visiting famous tourist destinations. With careful budgeting and a sense of adventure, studying abroad can be a truly transformative experience that allows students to immerse themselves in a new culture while still satisfying their travel cravings.

Saving up money:

For starters, before you go abroad, saving up and setting aside money is extremely helpful. Once you arrive abroad, you may want to eat out every meal or shop for an entire new wardrobe. But if you are not careful with your spending habits, you will run out of money in a matter of weeks. To avoid this, it is important to create a budget and stick to it. Prioritize your expenses and limit unnecessary spending. Additionally, consider alternative options for meals, such as cooking at home or trying local street food, which can be both cost-effective and a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture. By being mindful of your spending habits, you can make the most of your study abroad experience without breaking the bank. 


A lot of the time, you may end up booking flights at the last minute. When possible, book in advance. For flights, use websites like Skyscanner and Google Flights to find the cheapest flights. Fly on budget airlines. If you know you want to travel a certain weekend but are not sure where to go, select “explore everywhere” and find out what the cheapest destinations are. For big events like Oktoberfest during the fall semester or St. Patrick’s Day during the spring semester, book flights months in advance. Booking flights in advance is a great way to save money and ensure availability, especially for popular events. Additionally, consider being flexible with your travel dates and destinations to find the best deals and maximize your savings. 


When looking for hotels, it is often significantly cheaper to book a hostel. Hostelworld is a great website to find cheap accommodation. Hostels not only offer affordable rates but also provide opportunities to meet fellow travelers and engage in social activities. Another option to save on accommodations is to consider alternative lodging options such as Airbnb, which can provide unique experiences and further reduce costs. 

The most expensive destination I traveled to was:

Switzerland is extremely expensive. The cost of living in Switzerland is notoriously high, making it one of the most expensive destinations I have ever visited. From accommodations to dining out, everything comes with a hefty price tag. However, the stunning landscapes and cities make it a worthwhile destination for those willing to splurge a little. It is important to prioritize your travel goals. If your main concern is to travel to specific destinations, prioritize that over traveling every weekend. If what matters most to you is seeing as many places as possible, opt for more budget-friendly destinations.

Day trips:

Another way to travel without splurging is to take advantage of all the sites to see in close proximity. CIEE offers day trips; for example, for students in Barcelona, some day trips CIEE takes students on include Sitges, Girona, Tarragona, and more. Day trips are a great opportunity to travel without having to worry about things like paying for accommodations. Instead, you can simply enjoy a full day of exploring different cities and attractions before returning to your home base. Additionally, day trips allow you to experience a variety of destinations and immerse yourself in the local culture without the need for extensive planning or logistics.