6 tricks to spend wisely during a semester abroad

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Managing your money during a semester abroad is no easy feat.

After a summer internship at CNBC writing about personal finance, I left for a semester abroad armed with plenty of information to better manage my money. But now that I’ve been in Spain for a few months, I’ve found there’s a lot I didn’t know.

Here are six key lessons I’ve learned about how to manage money while studying abroad:

1) Choose your cards wisely

Make sure you know what international fees you’ll be dealing with for each credit or debit card you bring. According to a CreditCards.com report, 56 percent of cards charge a foreign transaction fee — typically adding 3 percent to each foreign charge.

It can be worth opening a new card that doesn’t have such fees but offers other travel perks. Visa and MasterCard cards are great options because they offer low exchange rates and are widely accepted internationally, said Odysseas Papadimitriou, chief executive and founder of comparison site WalletHub.com.

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