Budget Abroad with API Alumni

February 23, 2023
budgeting abroad

Meet Aaron Weiner, a University of Hartford student, who studied abroad with API in Florence, Italy. He wrote a blog post for API all about managing money while studying abroad. Read on to learn more about his experience creating a budget while studying abroad in Florence, Italy. 

Without a doubt, the most common question that I get asked from people who are about to head overseas for their semester abroad is this: How much money did you bring abroad? How much was enough to sustain you for 3 months? It’s a loaded question! And it can differ from person to person depending on finances and the way you spend your money. However, I can share how I budget my money from the perspective of someone who spent 3 months in Florence.

Create a Budget Abroad

Before we talk about an overall dollar amount that would be sufficient to bring with you, let’s break down the amount I spent per day/week. Before going to live in Italy, I read a book called “How to Travel the World on $50 a Day” by Matt Kepnes. After reading that book, I figured if I budgeted myself to approximately $50 a day. That would break down to $350 a week. This would result in about $4,500 for the entire semester! I was going in with the idea that there would be some days that I spend over $50 a day, and other days I would spend less than $50 a day. I hoped it would ultimately average out to about $50 a day.

budgeting abroad

The two images above are screenshots from my notes app when I would track my spending while I was abroad. As you can see from the images above, there were a couple days when my spendings was well over $50. There were also a couple days earlier in the week where I spent less than $50. The goal was not to spend $50 a day, the goal was to come close to averaging 50 per day at the end of the week. As you can see at the bottom of the second screenshot, the total of all my expenses came out to $54 a day. That was very good for the week!

Travel Expenses

One thing that I did not track when considering the $50 a day budget was travel expenses. When it came to these expenses, there were ways to reduce those costs of flights and accommodations. For flights, the app “RyanAir” will become your best friend. This is a budget airline where you can find incredibly affordable flights throughout Europe. From what I remember, the most that I spent on a flight using RyanAir was about $89. There was even a time where I found a flight to Morocco for $5! That is not a typo, I almost couldn’t believe my eyes! There are times than you can catch a flight for less than a meal going out to eat in America!

As for accommodations, the app “HostelWorld” kept costs down! Not only are hostels cheap, but they are also the best places to meet other travelers who are typically young and looking to have fun. When looking at the entire semester’s travel considerations, it would be safe to budget about $1000 for all your traveling. This of course varies depending how often you plan to travel outside your host city or country.

When you budget abroad, track everything and come up with a loose plan. If you’re going abroad to a place like Europe (specifically Florence, Italy), I recommend a minimum of $5,500 to last you for the whole semester. If possible, I feel $7,000 will keep you comfortable over 3 months. Obviously, there is not a concrete number that you should head over with as everybody spends their money differently. 

However, that is how I budgeted and believe that other people can benefit from that same blueprint. One final note, if you are trying to decide how to spend your money, don’t be afraid to try new foods, book a flight, or pay for a new experience. You will be making memories that will last a lifetime, so don’t be afraid about money keeping you from a good time. 


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