One of the best parts about traveling to another city is experiencing the local customs and cuisine, including drinking abroad. Each of our locations has their own rich drinking culture, be it the age-old traditions of wine making in France to the club scenes in New York City. Global Experiences does not advocate drinking to excess, but it’s no secret that most students will spend money on drinking. Below are five tips to help you travel and drink on a budget.
1. Drink a little Less.
The easiest way to spend less money is by drinking less. This is good practice to help your wallet, but it will also help you stay safe. In some of our locations, like Italy and France, binge drinking is considered tacky or rude so it is socially unwise to drink too much. Remember, that you will be working full time so going into your internship with a hangover will reflect poorly on you and your job performance. Keeping a clear head will allow you to really enjoy and remember your experience abroad. If you spend all of your money on drinks and cover charges, then you might miss out on travel opportunities to other parts of the country or continent!
Purchase the local brew or drinks that are native to that country. A Guinness in Ireland will be more affordable than a Budweiser (and better tasting). Choose the alcohol of that country like wine instead of beer, or local whiskey instead of vodka. For example, the wines in Spain, France, and Italy are high quality and can be inexpensive compared to their beer. In the UK and Ireland it's customary to buy rounds for the group to save trips to the bar. To save money (and drink less) try to get your round in early for everyone so you don't feel obligated to stay and drink more.
3. Drink Deals!
Keep an eye out for happy hour specials and student rates. Some cities and cultures always offer food with drinks. Bars in the USA and some places in the UK offer happy hour specials after the workday. In Italy and Spain, it’s common practice to be served free aperitivi or tapas with an order of a drink. Take advantage of any free food or drinks that you can, including the scheduled dinners through Global Experiences.
4. Be Smart with your Drinking!
Along with drinking less, be sure to drink smart. Instead of bringing a credit card with you, take out some cash so you don’t start a tab at the bar. Going out in smaller groups and creating a plan about where you want to go can greatly decrease your chances of wasting money in bars. Staying in small groups and carrying around less cash keeps you safer from petty theft as well.
5. Drink Locally
Clubs are fun, but cover charges can really add up. Be sure to check out some local pubs and restaurants that don’t have a cover charge. Instead of going to the Ministry of Sound or Razmatazz every weekend, go check out the pubs down the street. Having a local spot is great way to build rapport with servers as well as have an idea of the costs of drinks. Of course you’ll want to explore new places, but budget beforehand!