In my opinion, traveling is the best way to spend your money!!!! It’s so much more worthwhile and satisfying spending on experiences rather than things, and you get to experience a whole new culture, meet amazing people and drink wine legally! Travelling to Europe was the highlight of my year, but since I’m a senior in high school many people were shocked to hear that I saved up the money and just decided to go. But I don’t understand why, I think every person has the capability to make enough money to travel, it just takes a lot of budgeting, self-control, and finding the CHEAPEST OPTIONS. All it took for me was working twice a week for a few months and saving every penny, and the experience ultimately was priceless.
SO here’s a few tips for making your travel dreams possible
1. Fly Budget Airlines
If you don’t mind keeping your backpack under 10 kilos, bringing no luggage, providing your own food, and sacrificing legroom you can get a plane ticket to Europe for as cheap as 200$!!! I flew WOW airlines to London and back from Barcelona and it’s a great deal if you’re okay with being uncomfortable; but for worldly pleasures like bringing a suitcase, picking your seat, or drinking some water, you have to pay a ton.Therefore no longer making it a deal. Also, our flight was delayed 8 hours because a passenger had a stroke on the flight over to Boston and the plane had to turn around. This caused us to miss our connecting flight to London, but the airline gave us meal vouchers and a hotel room, the situation was out of their control. Other airlines like Norwegian Air, Lufthansa or Scandinavian airlines can be quite reasonable for flights into Europe, and a bit more comfortable as well. There are also a lot of budget airlines between European countries like Transavia, Ryanair, Easyjet. Again, these will not include amenities, but if you’re young and broke who cares!!!
2. Make a Budget and Stick to it
The only way I was able to save up the money for this trip was by budgeting STRICTLY. In the past when I made money it always seemed to disappear or float away on food or coffee or other *activities*. I guess the idea of having money in my possession makes me uncomfortable, because I always seem to want to get rid of it when I have it. Not the best strategy. So I started writing down on my phone every time I spent money, and that made me more aware of all the useless shit I was buying. I limited my food and coffee budget and only used tip money as petty cash and didn’t cash my checks for a long time. Also, when traveling you need to stick to a budget so all your cash doesn’t disappear and you’re left stranded. Again, it’s just self-control. And buy cheap stuff. Not that hard.
3. Airbnb is cheaper than hostels???
Yup. Hostels are no longer the cheapest option. With airbnb you can get a room in Barcelona for like $10 a night, AND it’s private and you’re not sharing a bathroom or dorm with 10 other people. But if you’re traveling alone I would still recommend a hostel, because you can meet people really easily and find the spots. Airbnb hosts are usually a hit or miss, but they generally keep their distance. One host kicked us out of the room before check out time, but another one made us a beautiful breakfast.
4. Use Couchsurfing
And I don’t mean necessarily for sleeping on someone’s couch. Although that can be a good option if you’re really broke, it can depend. I guess sometimes people are sketchy. And if I was a woman traveling alone, I would be wary. Lots of creepy dudes hit me up over couchsurfing. But, for my actual point, couchsurfing can be a great way to find cheap or free stuff to do! There are so many cool events organized by couchsurfing, like language exchanges or free bike tours. Also, lots of parties and clubs promote over couchsurfing and sometimes will put your name on the list for a party or give you a discount. In Paris we found this crazy metro party through couchsurfing, and a lot of the guests didn’t even know that it was advertised on there.
5. Ask your friends and family if they know people
This one is kinda a reach, I guess. But if you know someone who knows someone where you’re going, and they could connect you and possibly get you a free place to stay?! That saves a TON. If you’re lucky they might give you some food as well, and/or you might just make a new friend across the world! Yeah, you’re probably gonna be sleeping on someone’s couch, but it won’t be as scary as couchsurfing.
6. Buy metro tickets in bulk
The metro is most definitely how you’re gonna get around in European cities, and it saves a lot to buy 10 tickets at a time rather than one at a time. Also, make sure you don’t lose them. That would suck.
7. Street food and grocery store food is good!!
DON’T go out for every meal, you’re gonna spend all your money in a day. The best thing to do is find local markets or cafes, where the food is authentic and cheap. ALso, street food is everywhere and usually super cheap. As well as grocery stores. Another tip for saving money on food is stay up really late then sleep in and miss breakfast! One less meal to eat! But do whatever you want.
8. Walk whenever you can
You went to Europe to see stuff, right? Then go see it on foot! Honestly the best way to explore a new city or place is to just wander around the neighborhoods and observe. It’s really not all about the attractions. And walking to your destination can save money on bus or train tickets, and tone up your legs while you’re at it.
9. DOn’t fall for tourist traps
Going to see the famous sites and museums is great, but it can be soo expensive. But you came to see this stuff, right? So just choose the top attractions you want to visit and stick to that. You don’t have to go to everything. You also don’t have an obligation to do anything if you don’t want to. You’re on vacation, do whatever you want. If you don’t like art museums, save the 14 euros and don’t post that perfect picture on Instagram showing how artsy you are. Oh well. But also, do some research because there are often days when museums or sites are free or discounted. Do some bargain hunting if you have to.
The best things in life are free! You don’t need to have money to have fun! Traveling is great and you should do it, even if it means being uncomfortable sometimes. But idk, that’s just my two cents.