Money

How much money do students need? What is covered by program fees? What items will students need money for?

Meals

  • Most (but not all) the meals will be covered by the program
    • Euro - Some breakfasts at hotels; food stipend for other meals; students can cook in their apartments.
    • Pac Rim - Limited breakfasts at hostels and hotels; breakfast and dinner with host family; food stipend for other meals 
    • HonduraServe - Most meals are covered; may want money for snacks and drinks.
  • Food stipends may not cover all meals depending on currency exchange, local costs for food, and eating and budget habits of students.

Laundry

  • Laundry expenses covered in Vienna and with host family in Japan
  • Not provided while traveling
  • HonduraServe - the hotel will do laundry. Allow about $20-25 for the two weeks.

Communication (see page on Communication)

  • Internet provided in Vienna and at Ibaraki Christian (possibly with host family as well)
  • Not covered - Expenses at Internet cafes; telephone cards and calls; postage.
  • Limited Internet available (may be a fee) on HonduraServe.

Extra

  • Euro - All expenses during free travel periods are not covered by program fees; extra sites and activities not required as part of the program are at the student's expense
  • PacRim - Extra sites and activities not required as part of the program are at the student's expense
  • HonduraServe - Need limited amount of money for souvenirs, personal items, etc.

How is the best way for them to get money in another country? Most students and parents have lots of money questions concerning their study abroad trip. There are no perfect solutions and things change often, but here are some recommendations based on former study abroad experiences:

  • Debit cards are the best way to get cash almost everywhere.
    • ATMs are common everywhere and can be used to withdraw cash in local currency.
    • You get the best exchange rates through debit cards.
    • You may have foreign ATM and international transaction fees, but these usually are offset with the good exchange rate.
    • Can track money through online banking.
    • Make sure you only have a 4-digit PIN number.
    • Visa check cards are the best because they can be used anywhere a Visa card is accepted 
    • Some countries have started to use a chip and PIN system for bank cards and may not be able to accept an American debit card.
  • Virtual credit cards are a good backup to a debit card.
    • Cash advances from a credit card can be expensive and you must have a PIN number to withdraw from a credit card.
    • Can be used everywhere credit cards are accepted
    • Must be paid on time so you need someone to pay the bills. 
  • Visa gift cards can be a handy backup.
    • Cannot be used to withdraw cash.
    • Used to pay for souvenirs, travel reservations, etc., anywhere a Visa is accepted.
    • Most banks are providing these free for their customers. They also can be bought in stores, but there is a fee. They can be loaded with any amount.
    • You may want to put small amounts ($50-$100) on several cards and take them out one at a time. That way, there is not a huge loss if one is lost or stolen.
  • Traveler’s checks are not as widely accepted as before.
    • You may only want to carry a few hundred dollars in traveler’s checks for emergencies.
    • American Express is usually the best.
    • These are somewhat harder to use these days.
  • American cash
    • You get the worst rates exchanging American cash into foreign currency. It is not recommended.
    • You only need a small amount of cash for U.S. airports.
Note: For HonduraServe, you will exchange money at the airport upon arrival. Bring U.S. cash (typically $50-$100).

Keep these things in mind:

  • Have multiple sources for getting cash. If one doesn’t work one time, you’ll always have a backup.
  • Make sure your student can access their account online to check balances, move money, etc.
  • Be careful about putting large amounts of cash into your bank account. Your debit number in the wrong hands can wipe out your whole account. Having a backup savings account and moving money as needed would prevent that.
  • Having someone monitor your account while your student travels is a good idea to keep an eye out for fraud.
  • Another backup idea is to open a second bank account at a different bank and get a debit card for that bank. Keep enough money in it to cover emergencies. For some odd reason, sometimes foreign ATMs will reject one card and then accept another one from a different bank. Also, if your student has a card stolen, it takes several weeks for a replacement to be sent to them. Having a backup means they can still get cash.
  • On occasion, foreign ATMs will “eat” a student’s card. This is usually because they put in the wrong PIN or are trying to withdraw over the limit. There is no way to get it back and a new one must be ordered and sent to them. Having a backup card or backup account will ensure that students still have a way to get cash.
  • Call your bank or credit card company to tell them your student will be traveling overseas.
  • Money, credit cards, etc., should be kept in a travel wallet. Only take out a day’s worth of cash.
  • Students should learn the exchange rates and understand them.
  • Students can only bring back $800 worth of souvenirs before they will be taxed.
  • It is best for students to have a budget and stick to it.