6 Ultimate Study Abroad Weekend Trips On A Budget! 2024

A woman in a bikini enjoying  beach study abroad weekend trips in front of a building.

Learn from my experience as I recount my study abroad weekend trips and share valuable insights on navigating budgets. 

This is the highs and lows of my budgeting journey, along with practical tips and lessons learned. Get inspired to plan your own weekend getaways abroad while avoiding the common pitfalls. Today I will go over my budget-friendly weekend trips while studying abroad.

I spent 3 months in Italy learning about Roman architecture and Italian history. During my time I took many, many trips outside of the small town of Urbino Italy. I lived and went to school here and just recently had the chance to go back and visit it! 

In my last post, I talked about my study abroad regrets and there I mentioned how we did a lot of group travel. But I was also able to do a good number of individual trips apart from my school group. In the 3 months, I managed to take 6 trips on my own or with a friend! I didn’t expect that to happen before leaving Texas but I knew I wanted to see more of Europe other than Italy.

Before I left I read tons of blog posts about study-abroad weekends. I wanted to know and be prepared for everything, like how much would I likely spend or what should I budget for. So below I broke down my personal trips into sections to help you see how much money I spent, where I went, and what I spent money on. You can use this to help you plan your own study abroad weekend trips in Europe. 

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Are Weekend Trips Worth It When Studying Abroad?

Another thing I want to mention is the time frame you may have. There are a lot of great places to study abroad in Europe and when I was in school I didn’t think of how many days I would have to dedicate to certain places on my weekend trips. But when I found out I would only have 4-day weekend trips for my individual travel I needed to do some quick math.

A study abroad con for me is that the small town I lived in took about 3-4 hours to get to the nearest airport. Flights to other European countries take around 4 hours or less and then you have to factor in connections, and getting to your hostel via public transit.

Having all this I realized I would lose a whole day to travel to my destination and another whole day to get back to school. If I only had 4 days total that means I only have 2 days to explore a city I’m spending my money and time on to see.

This is a lot to take in and accept BUT trust me, it is still very much worth it. If you only have 2 days to see a little bit of another culture then girl, eat them foods, see their buildings, speak their language and see the views!

Please do not talk yourself into thinking it is not worth it because it is and it will transform you! If you have less than 4 days but still lose time to travel, it’s okay to explore places closer to you. One of my 6 study abroad weekend trips was in Italy and I ended up only using 3 of the 4 days I had. Partly because I was running out of money by this time.

The best education you will ever get is traveling. Nothing teaches you more than exploring the world and accumulating experiences.


Shuttle Category

**Note: to save time for me to get to the airport, my region had a shuttle service, and was pretty pricey at $40 one way! I used this service to save myself time and avoid having to take a bus and then a train. If you see Shuttle on the budgets that is what this refers to.**

Trip 1- Switzerland

First up on my study abroad weekend trips is Switzerland. Okay, I know what you’re thinking when you saw the words Switzerland, and thought to yourself “ON A BUDGET? NO WAY” and you are right. Somehow in all my research, no one told me how expensive this country is. I hopped on a plane and thought I was going to spend less than $550 here.

However, Switzerland is perfect for my travel style as it provides an excellent combination of incredible scenery, unique culture, and diverse activities, making it my ideal destination. The country offers plenty of stunning landscapes to explore, delicious cuisine to sample, and exciting activities to enjoy – everything I would want in a vacation!

This trip was 3 nights in Zurich and during my two full days, I took day trips out of the city. I hiked to see a waterfall on one trip and rode a cable car up a mountain on the second. Food prices along with train tickets are what was unexpected for my budget.

When planning your own trips do some research on expensive countries vs budget-friendly ones. Here’s a study abroad tip Switzerland is the most expensive European country to visit, so now you have been warned about at least one.

  • Shuttle $80
  • Flight $230
  • Hostel $153
  • Food $125
  • Souvenirs $20
  • Attractions-
    • Train to Seerenbach Falls $55
    • Hike to  Seerenbach Falls free
    • Train to Wildkirchli $40
    • Cable Car ride $37
    • DIY Zurich walking tour free

Switzerland= $740

Read How To Make and Stick Your Travel Budget Here!

Trip 2- Milan

Next on my study abroad weekend trips is Milan. I was actually lucky enough to have a whole week off instead of just the weekend! They called it fall break because this was the fall semester. After leaving Venice for our group trip I went straight to Milan with a group of friends. The great thing about studying abroad in Europe is you can get to most places via train.

We spent 1 night here and shared a hotel room. I started exploring the city early the next morning. We all had booked flights to Barcelona for that night so within half a day I did my own DIY walking tour, went into Sforzesco Castle, and enjoyed pizza at a restaurant with a view of the castle. Before leaving to catch our flight I did some shopping and watched the street cats of Milan nap at Sempine Park.

  • Train to Milan $24
  • Flight home $135/3 =$45 (shared expense with other fall break destinations)
  • Shuttle $40/3= $13.33 (shared expense with other fall break destinations)
  • Hotel $30
  • Food $52
  • Souvenirs $20
  • Attractions- 
    • Sforzesco Castle $5
    • Sempione Park free
    • Walk around Duomo di Milano free
    • Walk around Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II free

Milan= $190

Trip 3- Barcelona

During this same study abroad weekend trip week of fall break, I spent 3 nights in Barcelona. I stayed in the cheapest hostel I could find and regretted not splurging for the all-women’s dorm room. Nothing crazy happened but I noticed the co-ed room smelled like feet, the men snored loudly at night and I woke up looking at the very hairy back of the man sleeping in the bed next to me.

When I went to visit my friend who paid for the all-women’s room, it smelled lovely and was much neater than mine was. That was my 1st and last time in a co-ed hostel room. During my time I went on a DIY walking tour, saw the Picasso Museum, and rode the bus all the way to Park Guell before learning the tickets were sold out and I should have bought them ahead of time.

  • Flight Milan to Barcelona $66
  • Flight home $135/3 =$45 (shared expense with other fall break destinations)
  • Shuttle $40/3= $13.33 (shared expense with other fall break destinations)
  • Hostel $60
  • Food $60
  • Souvenirs $20
  • Attractions- 
    • Picasso Museum $7.50
    • DIY walking tour free
    • Beach photoshoot with friend free
    • Bus pass, used to go to Park Guell and airport $12

Barcelona= $284

Trip 4- Paris

Paris was one of my all-time favorite study abroad weekend trips mainly because it was my 1st solo travel trip. I spent 3 nights in a hostel in Chinatown and learned to take the metro like I was a local. This trip was also very relaxing because either I did not plan a ton of activities or because Paris’ public transportation is really good.

I would leave in the morning and see the city through the subway and walking, eat breakfast and lunch, then head back to my hostel and take a nap! After I woke up I would leave for more exploring and dinner. I did this both days here and it felt very nice to be productive and still have time for a nap. 

Mind you with my study abroad schedule I NEVER had time for naps so this was heaven to me.

  • Flight Barcelona to Paris $43
  • Flight home $135/3 =$45 (shared expense with other fall break destinations)
  • Shuttle $40/3= $13.33 (shared expense with other fall break destinations)
  • Hostel $82.50
  • Food $82
  • Uber to airport $76 (I was planning on taking the train & buses but because I had a very early flight I felt safer not trying to make the long trek in the dark)
  • Souvenirs $40
  • Attractions-
    • Catacombs $32
    • Louvre Museum $22
    • Moulin Rouge show $26
    • DIY walking tour free
    • Metro pass $14

Paris = $476

Here Are 109 Activity Ideas You Can Do Vacation!

Trip 5- Pompeii/ Positano

With the end coming near to my time abroad I realized I had not yet seen Pompeii and that it would not be a part of my group travel. I decided to make it one of my weekend trips. So a friend and I took the train south and spent 2 nights in Pompeii. 

It took almost a whole day to get there but we still had time to get pizza and watch a movie in our hostel room. We ended up getting the whole room that slept 5 to ourselves for both days. The next day we walked over to the Pompeii ruins site and explored the greatly preserved city.

After that, I took a 2 hour-long bus ride through the winding roads of the Amalfi Coast. Sadly so did everyone else and I had to stand up the whole way and got car sick. But seeing Positano in person for the 1st time might have made up for it. 

  • Bus $8
  • Train $80
  • Hostel $35
  • Food $30
  • Souvenirs $20
  • Attractions-
    • Pompeii entry $17
    • Bus to and from Positano $6.50

Pompeii/ Positano= $197

Read My 2 Study Abroad Regrets Before You Go!

Trip 6- Ireland

For the last of my study abroad weekend trips right before returning home to Texas, I went to the green country of Ireland. My grandpa graciously gifted me some money and I was able to squeeze in one more adventure. I spent 3 nights in Dublin and took two-day trips to places all over the place.

I saw the Cliffs of Moher, the Giant’s Causeway, the Titanic Museum in Belfast, Christmas markets in Galway, the Dark Hedges, Dunluce Castle, Kilmacduagh Monastery, and the Burren. You can find the tours I took here. I would recommend them to anyone visiting Ireland. I even used them for a free walking tour of Dublin before I caught my flight back to Italy!

  • Flight $125
  • Shuttle $80
  • Hostel $108
  • Food $60
  • Souvenirs $20
  • Attractions-
    • Cliffs of Moher tour $50
    • Titanic Museum in Belfast tour $72
    • Dublin walking tour $5

Ireland= $520


How do I plan a weekend trip while studying abroad?

To prepare for study abroad weekends, create a budget for your trip and determine how much money you can spend. Research potential destinations that fit your budget and interests, taking into account the time it will take to get there and any activities or attractions that may be in the area.

Once you’ve selected a destination, secure accommodations such as hotels or hostels and book any necessary transportation or activities. Finally, make sure to plan ahead for meals, entertainment, and sightseeing to ensure you make the most of your study abroad weekend trips.

How much is the average study abroad weekend trip?

The average cost of a study abroad weekend trip can vary widely depending on the destination. Generally, costs can range from around $400 to over $1,500 for airfare, accommodation, meals and activities. It is important to plan and budget carefully when planning study abroad weekend trips to make sure you stay within your budget.

I love my Travel Planner because it has everything I need to make a great trip!

Final Thoughts-

I hope this helps you with planning for your study abroad weekend trips. Make sure you plan your travel budget wisely and don’t forget to research the culture and customs of the country you’re visiting. If you plan on visiting Switzerland, Milan, Barcelona, Paris, Pompeii, or Ireland you can use this post as a guide for those trips.

Happy exploring!

Kaylee Janell's signature

Read More About Studying Abroad!

43 Easy Study Abroad Bucket List Items To Do This Year!

43 Best Study Abroad Gifts For Students

Here Are My Top 2 Study Abroad Regrets: Don’t Do The Same!

6 Ultimate Study Abroad Weekend Trips On A Budget!

The Surprisingly Top 6 Studying Abroad Pros And Cons

How To Prepare For Study Abroad (Includes Checklist)

Best 15 Tips For Studying Abroad In Europe

The Best 50 Inspiring Quotes About Studying Abroad!

The Best Places In Europe To Study Abroad: Told By Students!

PS. If you found this post helpful, please share it to Pinterest! You can use either of the images below for easy pinning!

Discover 6 affordable study abroad weekend trips.

What Are My Recommended Resources For Planning A Trip?

When planning my trip, I use my trusted trio of CheapOair, Viator, and Booking.com to provide a comprehensive solution for everything I need.

CheapOair is a go-to resource for affordable flight tickets. With its extensive network of over 600 airlines, it offers a wide array of choices, enabling you to easily compare prices and select the best deal that suits your budget and travel schedule.

Viator on the other hand, is an excellent platform for booking tours and activities. It provides access to thousands of sightseeing tours, attractions, and events in over 1,500 locations worldwide. It ensures you don’t miss out on the unique experiences each destination has to offer.

Booking.com is your reliable partner for accommodations. With over 28 million listings including hotels, apartments, and hostels, you can find the perfect place to stay that fits your budget and preference.

Together, these platforms make trip planning convenient, cost-effective, and fun. They ensure you have everything you need, from flights and accommodations to activities – at your fingertips.

Check Out My Resources Page For All My Recommended Travel Tools!


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