24 Best Travel Blogs and Websites 2015

Got any good ideas?~DB

“24 Best Travel Blogs and Websites 2015”

by Team Fathom via “Fathom

24 Best Travel Blogs and Websites 2015

When we compiled our original 24 Best Travel Blogs and Websites, we thought we were creating an index that would be useful for readers and for ourselves. Little did we know it would become the most popular feature we’ve ever published.

Three years later, the web has evolved and new talent has emerged. After considering hundreds of sites (the internet: it likes to travel), we’re proud to announce the 24 Best Travel Blogs and Websites of 2015.

This year, we’re honing in on personal journeys and very specific lenses people use when traveling. You’ll find a blog that distills the world into 12-hour itineraries, a website that catalogs the world’s best reading nooks, an online compendium of weekend jaunts from NYC, and a guide to traveling in search of the best oysters. Happy exploring.  . . .


Top tips for keeping money safe abroad

“Top tips for keeping money safe abroad”

by Economic Voice Staff via “The Economic Voice

According to research carried out by my Travel Cash, almost one in four Brits (23%) has been stranded abroad without access to cash, with 30% of those reporting that this was as a result of being a victim of crime.  Myles Stephenson, CEO of my Travel Cash, offers advice to travellers to avoid typical pitfalls when heading abroad:

Carrying cash

“To avoid repeatedly paying for ATM charges, travellers often opt to withdraw lump sums of cash when abroad, which could make them vulnerable to loss or theft. Using a prepaid currency card means that ATM charges can be avoided, removing the need for holidaymakers to carry lots of cash with them and giving them peace of mind.”

Dynamic currency conversion (DCC)

“When using a credit or debit card for shopping abroad, tourists are often given the option to pay for the transaction in their own currency rather than the local one – which is portrayed as being more convenient. Rather than DCC simply showing the customer what the amount translates to in their domestic currency, it usually uses a less favourable exchange rate meaning the traveller pays extra. Tourists are better off paying in local currency or with a prepaid currency card to avoid paying these additional charges, as this kind of expense can add up during the course of a trip.”

Wallet (PD)What to do with your bank card

“Prepaid currency cards, such as those offered by my Travel Cash, also come with the added benefit that if the card were to be stolen, the customer’s personal bank account is not linked to it in any way. We advise customers to take out two cards on their account, so a stolen card can be blocked as soon as the theft is reported and any unused balance can then be transferred to the spare.”

Spread the load

“A good tip for keeping valuables safe is to make sure they are not all in the same place. When out and about it’s advisable to carry only what you need. Keep valuables you don’t require, in a secure place such as a hotel safe. When you are out keeping some spare cash in various different places other than in your wallet could help if you were to run into trouble,  it is never a good idea to keep valuables in your back pocket.”

Be discrete

“It is easy to see how tourists draw attention to themselves rifling through the unfamiliar bank notes of another currency when making a payment. It’s best not to make a scene when doing this and carrying a prepaid currency card means it can be avoided altogether.

“We would always advise all tourists to be aware of their surroundings when on holiday, and to make sure they take the necessary precautions to ensure that their trip goes off without a hitch.”


Planning to study abroad? Remember student travel insurance

“Planning to study abroad? Remember student travel insurance”

by Adhil Shetty via “Money Control”

Overseas Student travel insurance offers to protect financial losses arising out of various unforeseen events. One should take a note of possible health issues and buy a suitable policy


Studying abroad is a dream that most in the student community would confess to having, but few go on to actually realize it. Therefore, once you have earned the opportunity to study abroad, it makes sense focus on your goal rather than fritter your time away in mitigating unforeseen hurdles that one invariably confronts in life. This is where a student travel insurance policy comes in – it can help you be prepared for potential health risks, accidents and other unanticipated hazards.

Here is a detailed analysis of the features and exclusions of student insurances for interns or students who aspire to travel abroad for higher studies.

Ensuring Safety by the Aid of a Relatively Cheap Policy

Many people opine that their personal health insurance will automatically cover the medical issues for a traveler abroad, which, unfortunately, does not hold true in case of injury or illness. Even if the basic medical expenses are covered, there may be limitations on the policy, causing the policy holder to bear a major section of the expenses. On the other hand, with student travel insurance, the traveler can ensure full coverage for medical expenses at comparatively cheaper rates!

Insuring on the Basis of your Requirement

In the case of student exchange programs or internships, many students often decide to postpone their return; others tend to travel to nearby destinations before they return to their homeland. Under such circumstances, the trip-only insurance policies end on the scheduled date, which can be extended further in case of a long-term plan. Thus, whenever you decide to travel abroad, plan your trip carefully, analyzing the place of study and your immediate plans after the course. In case you have the option to gain some experience by volunteering or applying for an internship, it is ideally recommended to consider the long term student travel insurances that can be easily renewed online for an extended coverage.

Coverage for Homecoming

There are many insurers in the market who offer coverage for the short trips to home that student often make. This can be very useful in circumstances where you might need medical help when you have landed in your home country. This is another factor to be considered on while choosing your travel policy. For instance, if your academic institution does not allow you to leave the country during a term, you might not get a chance to pay a visit to your family. On the other hand, if you skip the coverage for brief homecoming, an unanticipated emergency or accident at your home can drain your pockets unless you plan for it beforehand.

Things to be considered Before Purchasing a Policy:

• How Far you are travelling: Medical care expenses are typically governed by the location of the patient as well as the patient’s condition. Consider the distance you are travelling before purchasing the insurance policy. Moreover, if you are travelling in a location with common health risks, you must pay special attention for that coverage in your policy.
• Determining the medical expenses available: In many countries, medical care facilities are provided by the academic institutions as a part of the sponsorship program. However, if your insurance policy includes this cost, it means that you do not need to worry about the bills even if you travel to other countries.
• Your own risk: Students traveling abroad for studies differ in personality and inclination for risk-taking. While some prefer to be hooked with projects and term papers, others might love exploring new places. Needless to say, almost every traveler faces a finite amount of risk, simply because they are away from their home country.

Exclusions in the Student Travel Insurance Policy

Much like all forms of insurance, student travel insurance too has its own set of limitations. Here are the most common exclusions in student travel insurance coverage:
1. Accidents or injuries caused by drinking or under the influence of drugs;
2. Any form of loss due to mental health problem or depression;
3. Returning to home country for availing medical facilities;
4. Accidents caused by personal risks or extreme behavior – for example, adventure sporting, diving or jumping off from heights.
5. Pre-existing medical condition, i.e. if you experience a serious illness or injury about 2-3 months prior to the trip, and in due course of the trip you need medical care for the same cause, the expenses will not be covered by the policy. . . . . .


Book Review: “Italy Travel Guide: Top 40 Beautiful Places You Can’t Miss! “

“Italy Travel Guide:

Top 40 Beautiful Places You Can’t Miss! “ 

by Manuel de Cortes

A handy tour guide gifted to visitors of Italy.


Manuel de Cortes’s recent book, “Italy Travel Guide: Top 40 Beautiful Places You Can’t Miss” is an resources for travelers or students interested in visiting Italy.  At 125 pages, the book is small but still contains quite a bit of useful information on locations worth checking out during your trip.

I’ve never been to Italy, so I cannot actually tell you if the places he recommends are truly the best. But I looked up some reviews and pictures of the spots, and I would definitely want to check them out if it were me. I’m planning my dream trip to Italy one day, and this book gave me some great ideas 🙂

There are seven Chapters, including the introduction and conclusion. He has divided the country into a general overview, North Italy, Central Italy, South Italy, and the Islands.  Each gets its own description and list of recommended locations.  In addition to brief descriptions, he also throws in the fun fact here and there  to spice up your trip.

The book is a little simple, and he doesn’t include directions or tell you how to reach these spots. And it’s usually recommending a larger area (this city, that pot), so specifics like where to find dinner or shop aren’t here.  That will be up to you. But it is a good place to find ideas if you want to get a good look at all the different areas in the country.

Writing style: Pretty good. Some of the writing could have been edited better, but I feel that with a decent editor it would read like a professional.  Mr. Cortes has written several other books, and is obviously familiar with the writing process.  The book is self-published, and you can tell in some places. But overall, I really liked the flow and all the information he includes. A lot of people seem to have really appreciated his use of pictures – he has one for almost all of the major locations. It certainly helps you find them on the streets. 

If you are planning a trip to Italy, I recommend checking his book out.  You can find it on Amazon as a cheap E-book ($2.99) so you can carry it with you as you tour 🙂


Buy On Amazon

My 30 Best Travel Tips After 4 Years Traveling The World

“My 30 Best Travel Tips After 4 Years Traveling The World”

by Matthew Karsten via “The Expert Vagabond

Favorite Travel Tips

It’s now been 4 years since I sold everything and left the United States to travel the world. These are the best travel tips I’ve discovered along the way.

November marks 4 years since I took a one-way flight from Miami to Guatemala City, leaping nervously into the unknown and leaving much of my old life behind while embarking on an epic travel adventure around the world.

It’s been a wild ride, and I’ve learned a lot since then. To celebrate my 4 year “travelversary”, I’ve decided to share a collection of my best and most useful travel tips to help inspire you.

Feel free to share your best travel tips at the end!

1. Patience Is Important

Don’t sweat the stuff you can’t control. Life is much too short to be angry & annoyed all the time. Did you miss your bus? No worries, there will be another one. ATMs out of money? Great! Take an unplanned road trip over to the next town and explore. Sometimes freakouts happen regardless. Just take a deep breath and remind yourself that it could be worse.

2. Wake Up Early

Rise at sunrise to have the best attractions all to yourself while avoiding crowds. It’s also a magical time for photos due to soft diffused light, and usually easier to interact with locals. Sketchy areas are less dangerous in the morning too. Honest hardworking people wake up early; touts, scammers, and criminals sleep in.

Favorite Travel Tips

Travel Tip: Laugh at Yourself

3. Laugh At Yourself

You will definitely look like a fool many times when traveling to new places. Rather than get embarrassed, laugh at yourself. Don’t be afraid to screw up, and don’t take life so seriously. Once a whole bus full of Guatemalans laughed with glee when I forced our driver to stop so I could urgently pee on the side of the road. Returning to the bus and laughing with them gave me new friends for the remainder of the journey.

4. Stash Extra Cash

Cash is king around the world. To cover your ass in an emergency, make sure to stash some in a few different places. I recommend at least a couple hundred dollars worth. If you lose your wallet, your card stops working, or the ATMs run out of money, you’ll be glad you did. Some of my favorite stash spots include socks, under shoe inserts, a toiletry bag, around the frame of a backpack, even sewn behind a patch on your bag.

My Best Travel Tips

Travel Tip: Meet Local People

5. Meet Local People

Make it a point to avoid other travelers from time to time and start conversations with local people. Basic English is spoken widely all over the world, so it’s easier to communicate with them than you might think, especially when you combine hand gestures and body language. Learn from those who live in the country you’re visiting. People enrich your travels more than sights do.

6. Pack A Scarf

I happen to use a Shemagh, but sarongs work great too. This simple piece of cotton cloth is one of my most useful travel accessories with many different practical applications. It’s great for sun protection, a makeshift towel, carrying stuff around, an eye mask, and much more.

My Best Travel Tips

Travel Tip: Observe Daily Life

7. Observe Daily Life

If you really want to get a feel for the pulse of a place, I recommend spending a few hours sitting in a park or on a busy street corner by yourself just watching day to day life happen in front of you. Slow down your thoughts and pay close attention to the details around you. The smells, the colors, human interactions, and sounds. It’s a kind of meditation — and you’ll see stuff you never noticed before.

8. Back Everything Up

When my laptop computer was stolen in Panama, having most of my important documents and photos backed up saved my ass. Keep both digital and physical copies of your passport, visas, driver’s license, birth certificate, health insurance card, serial numbers, and important phone numbers ready to go in case of an emergency. Backup your files & photos on an external hard drive as well as online with software like Backblaze.

My Best Travel Tips

Travel Tip: Take Lots of Photos

9. Take Lots Of Photos

You may only see these places & meet these people once in your lifetime. Remember them forever with plenty of photos. Don’t worry about looking like a “tourist”. Are you traveling to look cool? No one cares. Great photos are the ultimate souvenir. They don’t cost anything, they’re easy to share with others, and they don’t take up space in your luggage. Just remember once you have your shot to get out from behind the lens and enjoy the view.

10. There’s Always A Way

Nothing is impossible. If you are having trouble going somewhere or doing something, don’t give up. You just haven’t found the best solution or met the right person yet. Don’t listen to those who say it can’t be done. Perseverance pays off. I can’t tell you how many times someone has told me what I want isn’t possible, only to prove them wrong later when I don’t listen to their advice and try anyway.

My Best Travel Tips

Travel Tip: Smile & Say Hello

11. Smile & Say Hello

Having trouble interacting with locals? Do people seem unfriendly? Maybe it’s your body language. One of my best travel tips is to make eye contact and smile as you walk by. If they smile back, say hello in the local language too. This is a fast way to make new friends. You can’t expect everyone to just walk around with a big stupid grin on their face. That’s your job. Usually all it takes is for you to initiate contact and they’ll open up.

12. Splurge A Bit

I’m a huge fan of budget travel, as it lets you travel longer and actually experience more of the fascinating world we live in rather than waste money on stuff you don’t need. You can travel many places for $30 a day with no problems. That said, living on a shoestring gets old after a while. It’s nice (and healthy) to go over your budget occasionally. Book a few days at a nice hotel, eat out at a fancy restaurant, or spend a wild night on the town.

My Best Travel Tips

Travel Tip: Keep an Open Mind

13. Keep An Open Mind

Don’t judge the lifestyles of others if different from your own. Listen to opinions you don’t agree with. It’s arrogant to assume your views are correct and other people are wrong. Practice empathy and put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Embrace different possibilities, opportunities, people, suggestions and interests. Ask questions. You may be surprised at what you’ll learn from each other.

14. Try Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing.org is a large online community of travelers who share their spare rooms or couches with strangers for free. If you truly want to experience a country and it’s people, staying with a local is the way to go. There are millions of couchsurfers around the world willing to host you and provide recommendations. It’s fun and safe too.

My Best Travel Tips

Travel Tip: Volunteer Occasionally

15. Volunteer Occasionally

Make it a point to volunteer some of your time for worthwhile projects when traveling. Not only is it a very rewarding experience, but you’ll often learn more about the country and its people while also making new friends. There’s a great site called Grassroots Volunteering where you can search for highly recommended volunteer opportunities around the world.


Five Life Lessons Studying Abroad Taught Me

“Five Life Lessons Studying Abroad Taught Me”

by Hannah Tattersall via “Huffington Post

A wise man once wrote, “Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest of chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.” I am so lucky to realize how true these words are after my experience abroad last month.

For the first five weeks of 2015, I was fortunate enough to study abroad in Italy. My 36 new friends and three adult supervisors traveled by bus throughout the entire country of Italy. We stayed in Venice, Siena, Florence, Rome, and Sorrento with day trips to Pisa, San Gimignano, the Amalfi Coast, and Pompeii. As you can imagine, the trip truly was a dream come true.

I knew coming to the University of Delaware, which was the first school in America to institute a study abroad program in 1923, that I wanted to study abroad at some point during my tenure as a student here. What I didn’t know was just how life-changing studying abroad would be and how much I would learn while I was there. While I did take six credits of class, the learning that I will remember the most is the learning I experienced outside of the classroom: what I learned about myself, about my life and about living on my own in a completely unknown and foreign place.

Since I stayed in five different cities for five weeks, I decided to compile a list of five life lessons I learned during this seemingly magical time in Italy:

1. Don’t think. Say yes to anything anyone asks you to do.
This piece of advice came from my sister who also studied abroad her junior year. I relied on these words for the entire trip as it allowed for me to a) not get bored and b) open my eyes to new experiences and different groups of people. “Want to ride a gondola?” “Sure!” “Let’s go climb to the top of the Duomo!” “Count me in!” Not only did I get to really experience Italy, but I also was able to really get to know everyone on my trip, which was one of my main goals coming in.

2. Even the best fall down sometimes (literally).
I am a dancer, so I like to think I am a graceful person who is not very clumsy. However, the uneven, cobblestoned streets of Italy can get the best of us, especially when you are so enamored with the beautiful sights surrounding you that you don’t watch where you are going. Regardless, I saw my falling as a type of blessing in disguise since I got to venture to the Siena Emergency Room with my professor, his wife and my friend who also hurt herself. Let me tell you – you never truly visit a country until you have to deal with their medical care system. However, it turned into an unexpectedly good day and a memorable story.

3. Experience and feel each moment.
Italy has been on my list of countries I wanted to visit for as long as I can remember. From the first step off the plane to my last day, it felt absolutely surreal to be there. I could not believe I was walking through these beautiful streets and seeing all of this remarkable art and architecture. I remember I even started crying when I got to Florence and saw that my hotel was near one of my favorite churches I studied in Art History in high school! Those moments, the ones where I looked up in disbelief and awe, were plentiful. It was like I was in a movie. I truly felt like an Audrey Hepburn living her Roman Holiday.

4. It is perfectly fine to miss your family.
My family is the most important part of my life. Clearly, I missed them the second I said goodbye. I have never gone five weeks without seeing one member of my family, and thankfully I did not have to in Italy since they came to visit me in Rome! I loved showing them how much I had grown already and how comfortable I was with the Italian culture. As the youngest person in the family, I loved being the person they turned to if they had questions, too. Until they arrived, all I wanted was to have them there and experience the country where we came from with them. When they finally did come, it just enhanced my experience that much more and provided memories for all six of us. . . .


5 Handy Travel Tips for Dealing With a Canceled Flight

Because Cancelled Flights can also happen to Study Abroad Students **DB

“5 Handy Travel Tips for Dealing With a Canceled Flight”

by Catherine Northington via “WallStCheatSheet

For all the brilliant experiences and opportunities that air travel has brought us since its advent, there are a few major pitfalls to cope with in the process. Even the most cautious planners among us can’t predict erratic weather conditions, airline snafus, or other factors leading to cancellations. You can, however, follow these five tips to make the best of a canceled flight at the last minute!

1. Keep essentials in your carry-on

There are tons of helpful resources online when it comes to packing a reasonably sized carry-on bag of essential items. USA Today shares this article covering anything a traveler might need in a pinch, while The Every Girl offers itemized, female-specific lists to suit any travel occasion. Crucial items for any traveler include a toothbrush, hairbrush, moisturizer, headache medicine, chargers, headphones, and a sweater.

For additional tips on efficient packing, check out Lifehacker’s helpful tutorial on the subject.

2. Rebook by phone

Brett Snyder of Cranky Concierge, an air-travel assistance firm, recommends that flyers immediately call the airline’s customer service number upon learning of a flight’s cancellation. Real Simple explains that this easy move will not only eliminate the need to join a long line of frustrated travelers at the check-in counter, but it will also expedite the entire rebooking process.

Always keep the airline’s phone number handy in your wallet or phonebook in the event of last-minute emergencies. USA Today reports that there are three major airlines that offer a “Rule 240″ clause, meaning that the carrier in question will seek out an available seat on another flight out of the airport — even if it’s on a competitor’s flight!


Helping Our Students to Study Abroad: Trends and Advice

“Helping Our Students to Study Abroad: Trends and Advice “

via “Ed Week: Global Learning

“The profile of U.S. study abroad is changing. Today a more diverse range of students are studying in more destinations and through innovative programs that fall outside of the traditional model. Being aware of these trends can help us understand what motivates students to go abroad so we can encourage and support them. By beginning the exploration of other countries in elementary school, we build on students‘ natural curiosity about the world around them. Short-term high school experiences abroad can seed interest in longer, more in-depth study at the postsecondary level. Christine A. Farrugia, Senior Research Officer, Institute of International Education, shares some of the latest trends and her advice.

By guest blogger Christine A. Farrugia 

According to Open Doors,®* 289,408 U.S. higher education students studied abroad from their home institution in 2012/13, an increase of 2 percent over the previous year, and continuing a trend of slow growth (between 1 to 3 percent per year). The high school rate of study abroad remains steady at less than 1 percent. However, against this backdrop of slow growth, there are pockets of strong growth among certain students and in certain destinations and types of programs.

New Students:  STEM majors are the fastest growing group
At the higher ed level, students majoring in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are driving the growth in U.S. study abroad. For the first time ever, STEM majors outnumber study abroad students in other major fields: In 2012/13, they accounted for 23 percent of study abroad students, followed by students majoring in social sciences (22 percent) and business (20 percent).

iiechart STEM.jpg

Over the past fifteen years, study abroad by STEM majors has grown substantially, outpacing growth in other fields. Contributing to this growth is an increasing awareness by students and faculty advisers of the career-related benefits of global experiences, as well as increased efforts by STEM programs to provide more flexible requirements and short-term study abroad options that can be easily integrated into tightly structured STEM curricula.

This growth is likely to continue as more U.S. students are projected to major in STEM fields. This means that study abroad programs will need to provide more options that align with the structured curricula of STEM programs, including engineering courses abroad taught in English.

New Destinations: Asia and Latin America are rising
Asia and Latin America are the new hot spots for U.S. postsecondary students studying overseas.  While over half of these students head to Europe, growth in study abroad in Asia increased by 23 percent and in Latin America increased by 13 percent.

Student interest in studying in Asia has increased along with the region’s economic rise. China rose to the fifth leading study abroad destination for U.S. postsecondary students in 2006/07 and has held that position every year since. Initiatives such as 100,000 Strong in China have increased the number of U.S. students (K-12 and postsecondary) in China by promoting it as a destination for study abroad, as well as student research, internships, language study, study tours, and other forms of non-credit education. But Asia’s popularity among U.S. students is not just about China. Japan, India, and South Korea are also among the top 20 destinations for U.S. students.  . . . .


Voices: Making the most of study abroad travel while in Europe

“Voices: Making the most of study abroad travel while in Europe”

by Gabe Cavallaro via “USA Today“‘

Segovia, Spain (Photo courtesy Gabe Cavallaro)

A month into your study abroad in Europe and you spot that long weekend coming up on the calendar. You’re feeling settled now in your new home and ready to be adventurous again, but this is Europe and picking where to travel is no easy task.

“There’s so many possibilities and every place has merit, every place is worth it,” says Alexz Craddock, the program assistant on the University of Georgia’s study abroad semester in Valencia, Spain, for the last two years.

Without infinite cash or time, it’s difficult to prioritize which places you visit, but you can’t really go wrong, she says.

Here are some strategies that might simplify the decision of where to travel while studying abroad in Europe.

Have a set idea of what you want to do

Coming in with a specific idea of which places you want to visit or things you want to do — and researching them — can make things a lot easier.

Craddock, who in spring 2012 studied abroad in Valencia as a student in the program she now works for, says she took two weekend trips to Italy because her whole life she’d wanted to go there. With an Italian heritage and stories of her parents’ travels in the country in her head, she used that impetus to book trips to Rome, Pisa and small towns in Tuscany.

Zach Pollack, a UGA junior majoring in international affairs and Spanish, says he traveled to Andorra over a long weekend during his current Valencia study abroad trip because he wanted to go skiing in Europe and he read that the country was the best budget skiing on the continent.

La Fontana di Trevi in Rome, Italy. (Photo Courtesy Gabe Cavallaro)

Go with friends

Pollack says where his friends want to go will be another important criterion for planning future trips.  Craddock says she decided where to go over the Easter break on her study abroad largely based on where her friends were going. She hadn’t made plans yet and so when a couple friends asked her to come along on a tour of London, Paris and Dublin, that was reason enough to visit.

Megumi Ogawa, a psychology major at Osaka University in Japan, says she picked her travel destinations when she visited Europe based on where she had friends living. This isn’t something everyone can say, but something to take advantage of, if applicable.

She visited Switzerland, Austria, Germany and Spain and having friends in each country was perfect because they showed her around and were able to translate, she says.

Use the “what’s cheap?” option

Don’t overlook the budget-friendly strategy, especially worth considering if you’re lacking inspiration.

Craddock said she and a friend traveled to Morocco, Ireland and Italy in 2014 after the Valencia program ended based solely on where they could find the cheapest fares. If struggling to decide where to go, you always pick which flights are cheapest.

“If Ryanair flies cheap from Valencia to Paris, you better believe we’re going to go there,” Craddock says.


6 Ways To Cut The Costs Of Your Study Abroad Program

“6 Ways To Cut The Costs Of Your Study Abroad Program”

by  Alexa Davis via “Forbes

When recent Cornell University graduate Evan McElwain, 21, interviewed for his current job at a major financial firm, the first topic of discussion wasn’t his expert knowledge of the markets or opinions on quantitative easing. Instead, he delved into stories about backpacking across mainland China and getting trapped in a flood en route to a music festival at the Great Wall.

“[If] every candidate a company is interviewing comes from the same school, took the same classes, got similar grades, had leadership roles in similar clubs ­‑- it really comes down to who the interviewer thinks is the most interesting,” McElwain said. “Traveling does wonders for making people more interesting.”

Study abroad programs are the stock and trade of most top tier four year colleges and for students who choose to enroll in them they can become an edge in the job search. However according to a report from the British Council, a U.K. non-profit that promotes overseas educational programs, the number of American students considering study abroad has slumped 12% from last year.

study abroad 1

Why? Study abroad program inflation. At an average cost of $31,270 per semester, these programs run about double what a semester at private colleges run. In fact, the cost of study abroad was cited as the single largest nonacademic deterrent among students. Abroad fees only get higher when you tack on living expenses like sightseeing, dining and travelling to nearby countries.

Amid rising interest rates on student loans and state spending cuts, it’s understandable why study abroad has taken the back seat to more pressing expenses. Although flying halfway across the world for a semester is definitely not a drop in the bucket, it can be an affordable investment with careful research and planning. Many US students are unfamiliar with the financial realities of foreign study, with only 23% aware of government-sponsored programs – up from 6% in 2013. In addition to these federal scholarships and grants, there are countless other ways to travel on a budget. We’ve outlined the best tips below so you don’t have to sacrifice your experience to save a buck. . . . .