By Beryl Frishtick
Want to travel abroad during or after high school? Great! You’ll be embarking upon a wonderful adventure that will be sure to stay with you for a lifetime.
But hold up one sec—how are you going to pay for it? International travel is EXPENSIVE. There are so many things to factor in: the flight, domestic travel in your chosen country, room and board, souvenir purchases… all those things add up faster than you think.
NEVER FEAR! There are many ways for you to raise enough money to make your dream a reality.
First, draw up a realistic budget for your trip. How much will you be spending on each category in your budget? These things can be very expensive, especially in countries that have stronger currencies than the US. Make sure to give a realistic estimate for each category so you know how much money you should aim to raise for your trip.
Here are ten nifty ideas for you to do to raise money to travel abroad. Some of them are obvious, and some are not so obvious. Remember, the most important thing is to spread the word about your trip: the more people who know about your goal, the more people who will be willing to help you!
1. Cut down on expenses - Start with putting a little money away each week. If you stop buying lunch at the school cafeteria twice a week, and instead bring lunch from home and save that money for your trip, you’re raising at least $10.00 a week! If you do this for one whole semester, that’s almost $150.00 in extra travel money. Think of what else you could do to save money. Instead of buying books and DVDs, borrow them from the library. Instead of buying new clothes, reorganize your closet and see what items you haven’t been wearing over the past year—either start wearing them, sell them, or give them away to charity.
2. Letter-writing campaign - This might seem a strange thing to do for our internet-centered generation, but it really works. Write a page-long letter detailing your trip and what you hope to experience and accomplish while abroad. Say what cities and towns you’ll be visiting and how you will take advantage of your travels. Give a breakdown of your expenses in the letter so your family and friends understand you’ve taken the time to really plan it out. At the end of the letter, ask for donations—suggested amount $20.00—to add to your fundraising effort. Be as polite and heartfelt as possible. Then mail one copy of the letter to everyone you can think of—extended family members, teachers, friends of friends, local businesses, etc.
3. Yard sale - This one’s pretty simple. Collect all the junk that’s lying around your room (or house—make sure to ask your parents first) and set it out on tables or sheets in your yard to display it. Don’t forget to ask family members and friends if they have any junk you can sell. Make sure to advertise well around your neighborhood.
4. Bake sale - Is there anyone who doesn’t love baked goods? Whip up some cookies, brownies, and cupcakes and sell them for 50 cents and 75 cents each. Soon you’ll be rolling it in. Ask your parents or a special family member to cover the cost of your baking supplies to get even more bang for your buck.
5. Car wash - Get a few friends together and advertise with a big sign by the side of the road. Make sure the neighborhood moms and dads know when and where the car wash is so you get as many people as possible who want you to wash their cars. Don’t charge a set amount for each car—instead, say you’re accepting donations. You’ll mostly get $5.00-$10.00 per car, but the occasional customer will give you $20!
6. Newspaper advertisements - Write a letter to the editor of your local paper or school newspaper about your travel plans and goals. This can be similar to a letter you would send family and friends to ask for donations. The more people who know about your trip, the more who will be willing to help you pay for it!
7. Donation cans -Place festive empty coffee cans around town, decorated with your travel plans and some simple personal information. This is an easy yet effective technique that allows customers to donate their spare change to your trip. Make a point to ask businesses with a lot of foot traffic, like local coffee shops and cafés, if you can put your can in their store. Maybe you can even put one in your school’s main office.
8. Business Sponsorship - Chances are a few businesses around town will give you money for your trip in return for getting good press coverage for themselves. Check out sporting goods stores, local grocery stores, or your local movie theater.
9. Talent show - Maybe you can sing or dance, or you have friends that can. Grab a few of them and set up a fun night of entertainment for friends and family. Charge $5.00 per ticket and advertise all over town.
10. Cash in lieu of presents - Instead of asking for regular presents for your birthday or the holidays, ask for money to help fund your trip. Your grandparents, aunts and uncles will all want to help you out, even if it’s by giving you a small amount of money. And a $20.00 or $40.00 gift towards your trip will be much more worthwhile than two more DVDs to add to your collection. Sites like inlu.com make it easy for people to donate to your trip. You can create an event and allow users (your friends and family) the option to donate whatever amount they choose. Inlu’s motto is “In lieu of excess, hassle and waste, pitch-in for a happier planet.” By using a site like Inlu, your family and friends can give you something that you really want, which cuts down on waste that might occur with other presents. Plus, they don’t have to guess what to give you.
Well there you have it! Ten ways to raise money for your trip abroad. Happy fundraising!