Making Your Dollar Stretch in Europe

People ask me all the time “How can you travel so much?”, “Where can I find cheap flights?”, “What do I need to do to be able to travel as much as you do?”. While most just assume I have a sugar daddy somewhere, unfortunately I don’t haha.

So I decided to make this list as a reference for those curious. Below I will list most, if not all, my secrets to getting to, through and beyond Europe for the low and how to make your money stretch.

 

Flights.

I have become a pro at this in such a short period of time, seriously! My first European trip, my bestie and I spent $800 each on a round trip ticket. Phew! I was still in school at that time and not nearly making as much money as I am now, 800 dollars was a lot to me. But it’s no point in living in the past, especially because since then  I’ve scored roundtrip tickets for less than $300. Young grasshopper has grown.

Skyscanner I live by this app. I love the search filter. You’re able to choose your departing city and select everywhere as your destination. That allows you to play around with your destination and get creative on how to get to your next one.

For example, say you really want to go to Paris, but you find a cheaper flight on skyscanner going to London. Don’t splurge on the flight to Paris! Stop by London and take a train to Paris, they run daily and if I’m not mistaken every other hour. 

Do your research and get creative. Europe is easy to travel. Start googling planes, trains, buses, ferries and ships.

Accommodations.

This will depend on the person. I personally love splurging on hotels, especially when I grab a super cheap flight! But I am no stranger to Hostels and Airbnb. When I am in a new country and I don’t have any friends, I hostel it up. I usually check on Hostel World. It has reviews from other hostelers ( don’t know if that is a word, just go with it) and you can price check a bunch of them. If you’re not a fan of sleeping with 7 other people, you can always book a private room. Sometimes the private rooms are cheaper than booking a hotel and you can still mingle with your peers outside of the dorms.

Airbnb, the best way to live like a local.Its nice feeling like you’re home even when you’re miles away.

I love airbnb-ing in Paris, haha, I feel like a true Parisian every time I wake up.

But if you go the hotel route, sign up for as many point rewards as possible. I book all my hotels through Hotels.com, with every 10 nights, you get 1 night free. I travel a lot for work and leisure so its super easy for those nights to accumulate.

Last but not least, how keen are you on the idea of sleeping with strangers? Couch Surfing. It’s a free way to hop around and have a place to stay, but should be used to experience ones cultures and not to just be cheap. I’ve only used it to meet locals, but I have a friend Mandi , who swears by it. So there is always that.

Getting Around.

As I mentioned before, Europe has some pretty solid ways to hopping around country to country. Like the infamous low cost carrier Ryanair. Its like Spirit in the states… But instead of going state to state, you’re traveling country to country for less than $50.

Have you heard of BlaBlaCar??? I just found out about it! Its like Uber but for long hauls. You can ride with someone who is going from country A to country B for a fraction of the price of a plane ticket. It sounds super cool, I haven’t used it, but I plan on using it when I have a less structured itinerary.

While you’re in the city? LEARN THE UNDERGROUND AND BUS SYSTEM. Fortunately, you can map out everything on Google and it will provide you with step by step directions. It’s much cheaper than a cab/taxi.

If you rely on Uber? Don’t. It’s becoming popular here. I’ve only used it in Milan and Paris, but it’s still cheaper to walk or take the train. I’m in Germany right now, and Uber is not happening. haha. I think thats why the people here are so skinny. They walk and cycle everywhere.

Also, walk. Stop being lazy, just walk.

Money.

Here is to actually making your money stretch. Very simple and straight forward. You’re an adult.

Cash? Always exchange a little before reaching Europe. It’s not good to walk around with all that money, don’t be stupid.When you’re running low, take out cash at the ATM.

Credit Cards? Try to find one with low or no exchange rates. *** Not to pressure you or anything but my Capital One Journey card is amazing for traveling***

Oh…

And avoid dining, shopping and all things that cost $$$ near tourist areas. Prices are increased, and you are not getting a deal, trust me.

The End.

Hopefully this helps you save a little bit and you can spend it on some nice shoes or that cooking class in Rome.

Ciao

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