Top 8 Ways to Stay on Budget While Studying Abroad in Europe

1. Commute by Bike

Most European cities are bike-friendly, giving you access to locations that a train cannot. When visiting other European cities, find out what their city bike system costs in relation to the metro. You might be surprised how big the difference is!

In Copenhagen, biking is extremely safe, so commuting by bike is a practical form of transportation. Strap on your helmet and rent a bike for the semester! DIS partners with a few bike rental companies who want to offer you student rates.

Copenhageners ride bikes in city2. Find a Local Library to Call Your Own

The DIS library is chock-full of resources to supplement your courses. However, venture out to public libraries as well, to join the city’s young population of students. Libraries are 100% free to enter, so you could even splurge on a cup of coffee for your reading pleasure, often offered at a student price.

DIS students in royal libraryExpert tip: The Black Diamond Library overlooks the Copenhagen harbor, and is a favorite DIS spot. You can check-out books for free with your Danish CPR Number, which you receive at the start of the semester.

3. Consider Off-the-Beaten-Track Travel

Get creative with your travels! Consider options like WWOOFing, where you stay with a host for free, in exchange for helping with their farm. Or, volunteer at a site in Europe that you’re interested in learning more about. These experiences are budget-friendly, and engaging in these communities will give you an enriching and memorable experience.

SP14 Norway Fjords - sunny! (35)Travel doesn’t mean you have to leave the country either! Spend your weekends or even your longer breaks, getting to know greater Copenhagen and Denmark. Trains, buses, and ferries, will get you everywhere, and some of our best sites (think art museums, nature hikes, Viking history, etc) are within a few hours reach. And this way, you will get to know your host country even better!

4. Live in a Homestay

And speaking of hosts, living in a homestay is a wonderful way to save money during your time abroad. At DIS, all meals are covered under the homestay option, giving you one less expense to worry about. It’s painless to skip out on restaurants and cafes when you’ve got a home cooked meal and hosts to eat it with!

DIS students cooking in homestay5. Bring a Bag

Europe is taking the charge against climate change! As a green initiative, most supermarkets require you to pay for your plastic bags. And as Europe’s Green Capital, Copenhagen is no exception. Generally, supermarkets charge around 3DKK (about .50 USD) per bag.

Although it may seem like a small cost at first, it definitely adds up. Luckily, all DIS students receive a canvas tote bag at the beginning of the semester, perfect for shopping at the local grocer. Just another reason to be sustainable!

6. Eat like a Local

Dodge those tourist traps with expensive menus and subpar cuisine, and shop at local markets and vendors. If at a large market, make a picnic of small bites to get a sense of the local tastes. Not only will you be rewarded for your efforts with gourmet delicacies, but the prices will be modest in comparison to a restaurant meal.

Torvehallerne bread displayIn Copenhagen, our markets are called ‘Torvehallerne,’ where you can find everything from a wedge of French brie, to traditional Danish leverpostej, to Italian sourdough bread. But if this is out of your budget, scattered throughout the city are pølsevogne where you can buy Danish sausages for a low price, as well as kebab and falafel, delicious Eastern Mediterranean quick-eats. Both eats range from 30-40 DKK.

7. Sleep for Cheap

Hostels are networked throughout Europe, and all offer different atmospheres. With reasonable rates and central locations, travelers from around the world choose hostels for their vibrant community feel, and to meet others travelers with an equal dose of wanderlust. Not to mention, most hostels include free-wifi and even breakfast in the stay-rate – allowing you to plan your day’s journey on your City Maps 2Go app, while enjoying fresh juice and muesli.

DIS student at an airbnb apartmentIf you’re traveling with a group, Airbnb is popular among DIS students. You can choose from a variety of prices, hosts, and experiences, and you often have access to a kitchen. Trust us: After a long day of sight-seeing, a homemade dinner with authentic ingredients from the local market could not sound better!

Hear from DIS Student Blogger, Hattie, about her experience in finding an Airbnb in Prague!

8. Budgeting Souvenirs

Just because you are working within a budget, does not mean you can’t buy souvenirs to take home to friends and family. Known in Denmark as ‘loppemarkeder,’ flea markets are an inexpensive way to shop for clothes and trinkets with stories, and the events are held year round.

Every semester, DIS also holds a flea market of sorts, titled the ‘DIS Free Market.’ Current students can stop by to pick up a variety of items left behind from the previous semester – all completely for free.

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