TRAVELING EUROPE ON A BUDGET
Currently in Warsaw, Poland downing a foreign alcoholic cider that cost a whopping .62 cents.
I hear you're interested in traveling in Europe? Backpacking maybe?
So you've decided to see the world and are looking into traveling Europe on a budget. You've saved the money, booked your ticket, and are now waiting to embark on this life-changing journey. What do you do now?
#1: Buy a backpack
Whether you are technically 'backpacking Europe" or not, using a backpack as your suitcase will be the biggest benefit to your travels. Why? Because it's easy to transport and surprisingly enough (even in todays modern world) a majority of Europe's train stations don't have escalators. This means wherever you go, you'll be dragging your belongings up and down multiple flights of stairs.
A backpack also keeps what you bring and what you buy to a minimal amount. Are the heels worth it? Can you really afford to buy a replica statue of the Eiffel Tower to fit in your bag?
#2: Decide your mode of transport
There are three major ways to travel around Europe.
- Renting a car
- Purchasing a Eurorail Pass
- Flying from point to point
Each mode has it's benefits and weaknesses. Renting a car is usually the most expensive option, yet allows the most freedom on the places you wish to visit. A Eurorail pass is a happy medium, where you have hundreds of destinations to choose from, however accessibility is still limited. Flying from point-to-point is beneficial if you book in advance and choose to stop at a few locations.
#3: Start looking at your budget
It's difficult to determine a budget before you begin your travels. Make sure you have enough set aside to ensure you will not run out of money, but not to plan on spending everything in your bank account. Once you have been traveling for a few weeks, evaluate your costs and set a budget from there.
Remember that a summer in Europe can cost as little as $3,000 or as much as $100,000. Find your balance and don't travel like you're Paris Hilton. Europe on a budget is entirely possible, you just have to manage your finances properly.
#4: Don't over-plan
A completely spontaneous trip can cause stress (trust me), but over-planning can entirely ruin what you had envisioned. The truth is, you can never know what you want to see until you are already there. You may think you'd love Rome, but end up leaving two days early. You'll learn about amazing places to see once you are here, and make sure you don't miss out on the opportunities because your itinerary doesn't fit.
#5: Pack a tent
If you plan to travel during the summer months, cheap accommodation will be booked early and be full by the time you decide to visit. That doesn't mean you won't be able to find hostels for under $10 or night or an Airbnb for under $25, but there will be nights where there will be a firm choice to make:
Do I spend 50 extra dollars on a shitty hotel, or do I pitch my tent in the woods?
(always pitch your tent in the woods)
#6: Don't be basic
London --> Amsterdam --> Paris --> Rome
The above itinerary appears to be the most basic Euro-trip I could think of. If you solely visited cities like these the below will happen:
- You're photos will be filled with crowds and tourists. And if you search the hashtag #paris, there will be thousands of posts that look almost identical to yours
- You will lose culture. Touristic cities tend to be very lively and extremely devolped. Challenge yourself to visit the places where no one will understand you and you'll feel completely vulnerable in their environment.
- It won't be the trip of your dreams. The truth is, you'll probably come home the exact person you were before you left. There may be crazy wild times and tours of museums, but seeing the world isn't always considered living in it.
- You'll regret not challenging your comfort zone. Step out of it! We were never meant to be comfortable, especially in a foreign environment.
Now don't get me wrong, seeing major cities is amazing. I am STOKED to be in Amsterdam in the next couple weeks, and I cannot wait to get back to Venice. But leave room for the little towns and the local favorites.
#7: Stay with locals
Whether it be through Couchsurfing or Airbnb, make sure you spend time with locals. Staying with people is not only a blast (with authentic meals sometimes included), but it really opens you up to where you are visiting.
Locals know the secret spots, what's overrated, and their favorite places in Europe. Listen and learn from them, because they live here--and they usually know what they're talking about!
If you decide to try and couchsurf during the summer months, put out requests at least a few days prior to arrival. Last minute requests usually are denied because the host has already booked other visitors or is unable to accommodate your request.