Financially Planning a Trip Abroad

Leaving the country requires various preparations and currency conversion is an integral part of planning any trip.


Jake Ilkka

It is important to prepare for a vacation ahead of time, including exchanging foreign money.

Traveling abroad is an opportunity that not many students get a chance to experience, but the Antioch Community High School International Travel Club gives students a chance to explore while gaining a new perspective before leaving high school. Although traveling outside of the country as a teen is appealing to some, it comes at a high price.

“We used to do group fundraisers and we stopped doing that; part of the reason we stopped is because you don’t get a lot of money or value out of it,” ACHS International Travel Club sponsor Stephen Rose said. “The individual fundraisers work in a way that the more time you put in, the more money you make.”

The money that the students save in the months before the trip go into a fund of accessible cash while overseas. Car washes and summer jobs are two of the ways travelers save money. Although students save money, they must still pay attention to conversion rates abroad. One American dollar is worth approximately 110 Japanese yen, but value fluctuates often. During the travel club’s spring break trip to Japan, this conversion will be essential for students to know.

“You should look at something and think through it: ‘I’m going to buy that if it’s $5. Maybe if it’s 10,” Rose said. “A student on a past trip thought that he got a deal and he was buying a suitcase for about 20 dollars. Turns out it was 200 dollars after the exchange rate.”

Students must consider this conversion when looking to purchase something, otherwise they may make a detrimental financial decision. For a lot of students, this trip will be their first time out of the country without financial dependence on parents.

“I feel like it’s going to open up my eyes to how much it actually does cost since I’m going to be there by myself without my parents,” sophomore traveler Samuel Sheedy said. 

This independence can be a difficult adjustment, but may also aid in taking the next step in life by giving a new perspective to students. Using their own money may make students more careful with their money. Saving up for a trip is a long process, but it pays off in experience at the end.

“I attended one of the car wash fundraisers to make some money, but I’ve made most of my money from working this past summer,” senior traveler Elliana Nordhaus said. 

Like many other students participating in the Japan trip, Nordhaus spent her summer working and saving. She dedicated her time to making sure she would be financially supported overseas and now that dedication is showing through at the end of her saving journey.

“Plan ahead of time, and save as much as you can for the trip,” Nordhaus said. “This will also help me financially plan to save more for future trips.”

Students or anyone planning to leave the country should consider the value of their money and be careful with prices overseas by creating a spending strategy. Whether going to Japan this year, or planning on taking the trip to Belize next year, it is important to start saving as early as possible and enjoy the experience to follow.