Hello and Happy December!
I know it’s so cliché to say, but can you believe we’re almost living in 2018?! 2017 has been the best year of my life, but I look forward to seeing what the next year brings!
Whenever I speak with anyone about our travels, I’m always asked how we were able to afford 40 days abroad! I wrote a post a few months back about how we saved up money to travel, which I definitely recommend reading. I’ve had so many people tell me that my suggestions are really helping them save (yay!). Because I know money is such a concern, I decided to build on that post and share ways that Brett and I saved money WHILE traveling!
First, I feel that it’s important to point out that we focused on destinations that weren’t super expensive (for example, we skipped Venice, and only went to one Greek Island). Brett and I travelled to some of the most beautiful spots in Europe that were both pretty quiet and pretty cheap (see our itinerary here). With that out of the way, check out my tips below!
1. Find your flights using Skyscanner. Skyscanner is just like Expedia, however I found that it included more airlines and often had lower pricing. Not only that, but when looking at travel dates, you can use their low fare calendar (sometimes flying out just a day earlier or later can save you hundreds!). When booking our return flights, it was actually less expensive for Brett and I to stay in Budapest 5 extra days than it was to fly home on the date we were thinking about. Skyscanner also has a great “Everywhere” feature — choose your location, put ‘everywhere’ as your destination, and see where across the globe you can fly to for the cheapest price! Not only does this help save money, but it can be great inspiration!
2. Only fly with a carryon, and do not spend extra money to choose your seats. Okay, I know this sounds daunting, and flying across the country with a. only a backpack and b. the possibility of not sitting with Brett on the flight made me a bit nervous (aka I thought about it every day until we left). Good news: you don’t want to carry around more than a backpack for 40 days, and you don’t need more than can fit! Better news: Brett and I were never once separated on our (7) flights. Upon checkin, we were given seats next to each other. Even better news: this saved us from spending almost double on our airline tickets!
3. Book your stays through AirBnB. Hostels are always an option, of course, but as a couple, Brett and I really wanted to have our own private space to feel comfortable and extra safe during our travels. AirBnB had beautiful rooms for less than half the price of hotels! Plus, when looking abroad, make sure you’re searching for both “Entire Home” and “Private Room.” We learned that in Europe, “Private Room” on AirBnB often included hotel type rooms that were totally private and maybe just had a shared kitchen. (Note: in the U.S., “Private Room” always seems to indicate a bedroom in someone’s home, which isn’t what we were looking for).
4. Be food conscious — split meals and make your own breakfast. I love my breakfast but can never justify buying breakfast out. Not only does it take a lot of time, but that breakfast bill adds up quick! With that being said, take advantage of your AirBnB kitchens, and fry up some eggs in the morning (bonus if you grab fruit from the Farmer’s Market, too)! Additionally, Brett and I saved a ton of money by splitting meals. Trust me on this one, you will never regret splitting — you won’t leave so super full and you will spend half the amount of money on each meal. Oh, and on this point, keep in mind that you don’t always have to have a sit down meal. Grab-and-go lunches from food markets are delicious.
5. Be brave; don’t spend money on a SIM Card. Brett and I flew to Europe with the thought that we would be buying SIM Cards, and were so happy to ditch that idea immediately upon arriving. Not only did we talk more and see more without our phones in our faces, but we saved up a good amount of money and time buying SIM Cards. Plus, you can find free WiFi everywhere you go, so if you get lost, just pop in a cafe for a quick drink and grab the WiFi password!
In total, our flights, hotels, food, fun, and everything included, we spent less than $130 each per day. Who else spends more than that a day in their normal lives?!
Trust me, friends, beautiful, cheap travel is totally possible.