Initially, when I was looking into studying abroad, I struggled to find any accurate information about how much it would cost me prior to the trip. Any information I could found only gave approximates. In the Study Abroad booklet that Murdoch University gave us to help us prepare for our Study Abroad Trip, they recommend about a minimum $10,000 AUD for the entire trip, including everything from flights, student housing, transport etc. 

So I decided that I would keep track of excatly how much everything cost me in the hopes that it could possibly help other students who are considering doing a Study Abroad program in Spain. 

Here is a breakdown of the costs, BEFORE arriving in Madrid, Spain!


I flew from Perth, Western Australia to London, England via Adu Dhabi Airport on the 14th August, arriving the 15th August 2017. I stayed in London for a few days before joining the England & Scotland Contiki Trip. This was a 9-day trip and it ended in Glasglow, Scotland. From Glasglow, I flew down to Southhampton, England where I was picked up by friends and spent a few days with them in Poole before taking a bus back to London. I spent a day and a bit in London before flying to Madrid, Spain on the 1st of September 2017 to start my study abroad semester.



The earlier you book, the cheaper you'll be able to get your flights. I used to find my flights. This site is absolutely the best and it allows you to search for an entire months worth of flights so you can figure out which is the cheapest time to fly. Helpful af. For all my flights I paid upfront, except for my Madrid-Perth flight which I paid off over a few weeks with the STA Travel lay-by option. This is actually a really great option as it only requires a $99 deposit to book. Be aware, with this option you have to pay off your flight 10 WEEKS prior to your flight departing. Thanks to Bec from Murdoch STA Travel for being so kind and helpful with organising my travel arrangements! Don't forget to purchase an ISIC student card as this will help you get cheap flights and loads of other benefits!

  • PERTH-LONDON (via Adu Dhabi):     $726.11
  • GLASGOW- SOUTHHAMPTON:          $119.80
  • LONDON- MADRID:                          $157
  • MADRID- PERTH (via Adu Dhabi):     $943
  • ISIC Student Card:                          $30

How much I budgeted: $1700
How much it cost me: $1975.91


The original price I was given for a Spanish Student Visa was $91.20 as of January 2016. However, it actually was only $85.20. I was also originally told by the Spanish Embassy in Melbourne that because I lived in Western Australia I was required to fly to Melbourne to lodge my visa. This is incorrect, you don't have to fly to Melbourne and you can post all your documents for your visa to them. Do your VISA as soon as possible as it can take up to a month to be approved. I can't stress this enough to start as early as possible.

  • Student Visa:                                 $85.20
  • Money Order Fee:                          $8.95
  • National Police Check:                   $52.60
  • Passport sized photos:                    $16.95
  • Express Mail + Postage:                   $7.60
After I sent my visa application I never heard a reply from them and spent two weeks trying to get in contact with them by email and phone. Finally, 10 days before I was about to fly out I received a reply via email saying my visa was confirmed and ready for pick up. They gave me no options on how to pick it up (The embassy is in Melbourne and I live in Perth) so I replied asking how. They said I had to pick it up in person or send them a letter with an envelope within it for them to send it back to me in. This was not outlined in the visa application or anywhere else online.

  • Express Letter + Postage                 $7.60
  • Express Platitum Satchel                 $15.95

How much I budgeted: $100
How much it cost me: $194.85


I always find that the cheapest way to travel solo is to stay in hostels. I book all my accommodation on as it's a great site, always has good deals and the app is helpful af! For the first couple of nights in London, I knew I wouldn't need any nice. I just needed a bunk as I planned to be out exploring all day. And that's what I got. Very basic, very tight and sharing with a Russian family with small children. For the hostel when I got back from my Contiki trip I knew I would need something a bit more comfortable. Meininger was an incredible hostel and probably the best hostel I've ever stayed in, in my entire life.  Get $30 AUD off your next booking on when you click here. 

  • Smart Hyde Park Inn Hotel (3 nights)                       $54.32
  • MEININGER Hotel London Hyde Park (2 nights)         $61.81

How much I budgeted: $100

How much it cost me: $116.13


The university I studied at in Madrid didn't have linked housing, like universities in other countries may have. Instead, Madrid had many apartment buildings that had rooms for rent for only university students. So it didn't matter what university you were at, as long as you were a student you could rent there. I found a room to rent in an area called Gaztambide (which was a 15-minute walk from my university) for the semester using the site called I have to pay a service fee and one month's rent to secure my room. My rent didn't include bills. I will make another blog post about 'What I Paid DURING Study Abroad in Madrid' when I finish my semester to include living expenses.

  • Service Fee:                                   $126.30 (85 euro)
  • One Months Rent Deposit:               $585.70 (353 euro)

How much I budgeted:

How much it cost me: $711.70


My home university, Murdoch, covered us for travel/health insurance while we were there during the semester, except for semester breaks. For my own travel insurance, I always use Travel Insurance Direct (TID).

  • 14th Aug- 1st Sept:                           $98
  • 4th Sept- 23rd Dec:                           $0 (covered by my home university)
  • 23rd Dec- 7th Jan:                            $72
  • 7 Jan- 19th Jan:                                $0 (covered by my home university)
  • 19 Jan- 24th Jan:                              $55.80

How much I budgeted: $250
How much it cost me: $225.80


It's always a good idea to get a few check up before you go on a big trip!

  • Medical Check Up                                $120 but because of my health card it was $0
  • Dental Check Up                                  $260 but after health insurance is was $0

How much I budgeted: $400

How much it cost me: $0


Before I started my semester in Madrid, I did a 9-day Contiki around England and Scotland. This started in London and ended in Glasglow. It included 8 nights in twin share hotel rooms, hot breakfast every day, four group dinners, transport and a very good driver, on board wifi, a very informed and friendly tour guide #ContikiTresea and some other epic included activities. 

  • England and Scotland Contiki:          $1888
  • Contiki ME TIME Activities:               $50
  • Spending Money                               $250

How much I budgeted: $2500
How much it cost me: $2188


Until next time,
Chels x

p.s Please keep it in mind that this list only includes costs PRIOR to my trip and not week to week and month to month living costs in Madrid!

Instagram- @littlek
Twitter- @littleksnap


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