This summer I decided that I would travel Europe for 3 months, and with that decision came A LOT of planning.
For anyone who already loves traveling and knows the ins and outs of how quickly prices add up, then you know what I’m talking about. As a recent college grad, I’m definitely in no position to be spending a great deal of money but that didn’t mean the trip was impossible.
I knew I could see everything I wanted as long as I planned strategically. Prior to the trip, I read a ton of bloggers suggestions and browsed travel websites but nothing really prepared me for this trip more than actually doing it.
My 3 month adventure is coming to close, but in this time I have learned a ton of great and easy ways to cut down costs while traveling!
1. Don’t Check A Bag!!
Baggage fees are literally insane and if I had to check a bag every time I went to a new place I would have spent about $1000 more than I planned.
Instead, I read online about the average size suit case that was accepted as a cabin bag, or the bag that you can bring on the plane to store overhead. I bought the bag that met the requirements: 56cm x 45cm x 25c seemed to be the average and a weight maximum of 10kg or a little over 20 lbs.
I know this is a bit inconvenient to limit yourself to such a small space but it saves so much money. You’re probably curious about how I survived with so little clothing when they got dirty – good question. I often went down the street and used local laundromats which were super cheap.
2. Research Each Place
Before you get to your destination(s) determine what activities you want to do ahead of time and do try to stick to that. Activities can add up quickly, so if you can determine which ones are absolute musts you can cut corners else where, like not going out to eat or spending extra cash on souvenirs.
3. Hold Back On Souvenirs
On that note, souvenirs are cool/fun but try and limit how many you bring back. If you aren’t checking a bag then you know how limited you already are on space. Plus, the little nick-knacks can get quite pricey and how often are really going to use that figurine of a palm tree that you thought was cute?
4. Try To Book Hotels With Kitchens
Most hostels have a community kitchen that you can use whenever you’d like. I also stayed at home shares that I found online – booking a private room and then using the owner’s kitchen. Cooking for myself saved an incredible amount of money.
Think about how expensive it would be to eat out three times a day for 3 months!
5. Go To The Grocery Store
If you don’t manage to secure a place with the kitchen, all hope is not lost! When I wasn’t able to cook for myself, I sometimes went to the local supermarket and picked up easy to go items.
For example, for lunch I could go in and grab a salad/sandwich that’s pre-made. Breakfast I would do fruit to-go, and maybe a yogurt. For dinner, you can still do the sandwich/salad but a lot of stores just have pre-made meals that I could take away. This saved a tremendous amount.
Remember, you also don’t have to do this every day. I definitely did out eat sometimes but grocery shopping helped limit my spending.
6. Create A Budget Ahead Of Time
Create a budget for your trip ahead of time. This will help you easily determine where you want to put your money and how much of it you want to spend. I created a spread sheet in Excel and kept track of things as I went.
This does take some effort, but if you’re really trying to stick to a budget this is the way to go.
7. Forget The International Cell Phone Plan
Unless you actually 100% need your cell phone for something work or family related, I would forget about spending extra on a phone plan. The international plans are CRAZY expensive and don’t even give you that much bang for your buck.
I used Wi-Fi and hotspots as a way to text, send emails and browse the Internet when I needed.