“To travel is to live” Legit one of my fav quotes ever! I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: the first time I’ve ever truly felt alive was when I first traveled abroad. But let’s face it, traveling is a luxury! And most people just don’t have it like that!
So in order to make traveling more feasible, I’ve decided to share/backdown what has helped me in planning/budgeting for my travels.
Since this topic was highly suggested, let’s jump right in!
The biggest question I receive is: “How much should I have saved up for a trip like this?
So it really depends on where you are going, some countries are legit so expensive (I could cry) but others can be very reasonable!
To be safe, I always say to give yourself a $2,000 limit when booking a trip abroad.
But considering I have lived and traveled throughout Europe, I will recommend ways in which you can stay under that amount (wellllll, assuming you agree to really ball on a budget).
And I say this because I know many people who only travel in luxury but in all honestly, you can still have the time of your life while watching your pennies, okurrr.
But be forewarned: these amounts are based off of MY experiences in EUROPE, no where else.
ROUNDTRIP AIRFARE ~ $600
This should be the largest lump sum of your trip. And the first matter of business in your planning. You don’t always have to fly in and out of the same country but keep in mind you will have to plan the in-between flights.
I suggest purchasing a non-stop flight as many sites will try to trick you into a good deal but one that has a gnarly layover in a random country, so be thorough with your search.
You will find a reasonably priced non-stop if you are patient. I have made the mistake of booking welllll in advance and honestly, I found much cheaper tickers for the same flight closer to the date. Airlines take advantage, y’all! So be smart with how you book! I say, a good time to book a flight is 2-3 months in advance. Oh, and ALWAYS PURCHASE INSURANCE! The extra $12 is so worth it!
Useful Sites: (Hover for links)
(These sites will compare prices for you, however, sometimes it is cheaper just to go through the specific airline itself)
& In my opinion: Norwegian Air has had some of the cheapest roundtrip flights into Europe that I’ve seen.
STAY: ~ $350-$600 (Based on a 7 night stay)
Once you have solidified your roundtrip flight, the next order of business, I would suggest booking, is your stay(s).
Now, this is where your budget can significantly be affected.
I say: stray away from hotels. Your best options are either highly rated hostels or Airbnb’s. If you are looking into hotels, be well prepared to spend over $150 a night!
You can find hostels that offer private rooms for as little as $20 Euro per person if you are in a group of 2 or more and entire Airbnb’s for less than $75 a night.
Or if you are a solo traveler: you can choose to stay at a hostel as well, but in a common room and you’d also only be looking at $20-35 euro a night. This is a great way to save and meet other travelers! I’ve gone this route plenty of times with random groups of other women but also men!
But remember: this amount can vary dramatically by the city and/or accommodation method you choose. But the good thing here, is that this total amount most likely will be split amongst you and your traveling buddies.
Side note: London & Paris tend to be the more pricier of countries( for hostels at least) but we found the dreamiest Airbnb in Paris for only $70 a night! So it really depends.
Again, this is another area which can highly affect your budget!
If you plan on eating at the hottest restaurants in town and drink your days away, this price budget may not be for you!
But it is possible if are choosy with how and where you dine.
You are traveling, so of course, #treatyoself! BUT, be strategic about it.
Breakfast: Pastries will be your best friend. I know in America, we are used to the grand All-American breakfast: eggs, bacon, toast, avocado, the works! But in Europe (and I’m sure many other regions) breakfast is not as heavy. However, I have seen Europe begin to implement our style of breakfast.
So, in order to save, buy yourself a few pastries to fill up until lunch. We are talking a couple bucks per pastry.
Lunch: Some easy pizza, panino, sandwich, etc ~$10. I know it may be tempting to have a midday bougie lunch or sangria (which is fine) but I say wait for dinner to do this.
Dinner: This is where you can splurge! I def like to map out a few days of the trip to do this but keep in mind, splurging every night can easilyyy take you well off of your budget. A glass of wine, sure, but this doesn’t mean it HAS to be at the trendiest place in town! Don’t underestimate hole in the wall locations! I’ve found some of the YUMMIEST restaurants that were still 5 course meals but under $15 a person. Yelp will be your best friend!
Dessert: This is also where ya girl splurges! Gelato, Nutella anything, hot chocolate, crepes, etc.
Alcohol: So inserting my opinion heavily on this one but alcohol is one of the easiest ways to break your budget.
I say, limit yourself to some wine at dinner and maybe a couple nights out at the local bar, but save what you would have spent on drinks, to pay for an extra day of (exploring connecting flight, activity, etc). And I say this because you can drink all you want back in your home country, but if you’re on a budget, you can reallocate your money towards the real adventures. BUT, this does not mean, don’t drink. Something I’ve done in most of the countries I’ve visited is simply head to the local supermarket and pick up a few bottles of wine (usually $2-$4 a piece) or mini liquor bottles and enjoy them for a night in or just bring them with me for night time picnics, late night strolls, etc.
Side note: There are so many different cuisines throughout Europe so don’t feel bad if you aren’t eating that particular country’s cuisine every single night. Asian and Mediterranean cuisine are quite popular and inexpensive options as well!
CONNECTING FLIGHTS/TRAINS: ~$300 (OPTIONAL)
One of the things I love so much about Europe, is that travel amongst cities/countries is relatively cheap. Usually you can find roundtrips for under $100.
(Here you can search and compare for the cheapest train options for your destination country)
CITY TRANSPORTATION: ~$100
In Europe, (at least) be prepared to walk, and A LOT! BUT… there will be days when you will need a metro, tram, taxi, and/or bus ticket. Each of these will likely cost ($1.50-$3.00 a piece, excluding taxis) So if you’re looking to explore the entire city, these small amounts can and will add up! Unlike the US, one pass is only good for one stop. Many people aren’t aware of this and get fined a hefty amount. PRO TIP: VALIDATE YOUR TICKETS FOR EACH STOP! So many of us (myself included at one point) have tried to beat the system and just sneak on but I highly discourage this (we did eventually get a 100 EUR fine!) From what I was told, many cities have been stricter on their public transportation so just be safe and cover your bases. As an alternative, some cities do offer City passes that you can purchase in bulk (which would avoid you having to purchase a ticket each and every time you ride).
I personally do not shop abroad, unless its an item, I absolutely need. I use the same logic here that I do with alcohol. I can shop back home and instead allocate that money towards my adventures. However, if you are really dying to shop, most cities usually have cheap flea markets that you can potentially pick up some finds. If you are looking to bring home some souvenirs, I suggest something small but thoughtful: postcards, certain packaged foods from that region, etc.
IF YOU ARE A BLOGGER: ~$50 (OPTIONAL)
You may need to allocate some funds for outfits and props. I would suggest thrifting and/or working with brands/hotels to help alleviate the costs.
IN SUM: ~ $1,500-$2,000.
SOO obviously this budget is not a one size fits all model, BUTTTT I swear, it’s what has worked for me.
I hope this break-down encourages any of y’all who view travel as impossible at the moment, as something that can actually be attainable…when done right!
Happy travels, y’all! Xo
4 thoughts on “How to Travel On a Budget”
Great tips for budget traveling! My hubby and I are planning our europe trip for this Summer and cannot wait!
I would like to see more details on collabing with brands, especially for travel. Thx for this post!
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Oh, I’m so excited for you, gal!!! Do you know where you are heading yet? Oh, yea!? Thank you for the suggestion!! I’ll have to get to working on it!
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Thanks for reading!!