Hello, friends. As some of you may know, I spent 2014 through 2018 traveling throughout Europe and The Middle East. A lot of people ask me how I was able to afford this all. I have to be honest, I did have quite a lot of financial support from my parents, and I am very grateful. However, I did pay for everything from 2015 through 2017 and, even when my parents supported me, I was on a tight budget. Through extensive research, a bit of A/B testing, and (a little too much) trial and error, I found a ton of ways to cut the cost of traveling in half, to keep yourself safe, and to just make it more enjoyable in general. I’d like to share them with you.
1. Book your flights on certain days. Sunday’s and Wednesday’s at 1 a.m. are the best times to buy flights. You can usually save up to 30% then!
2. Grocery stores will be your best friend. Eating out all the time adds up, and you can extend your travels by making your own meals and snacking! Also, it’s very interesting to see another country’s version of Vons or even Whole Foods.
3. In a lot of cities, the first Sunday’s of the month offer free entry to all state museums. USE THIS. My favorite museums in Europe were: The Polin Museum in Warsaw, Musée Magritte in Brussels, The British Museum in London, and The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
4. Make sure you always count your change. A lot of people will try and give you less change if they can tell you’re a tourist because they think you won’t notice. If they try to rip you off – call them out!
5. Don’t walk around the street looking confused with a giant map in your hand. it makes you a target for pickpocketers.
6. Before you leave a wifi area, download your route on GoogleMaps, and it will still work even after you’ve left the wifi zone.
7. Be prepared for your flight! Planes get so cold, so make sure you have a warm pair of socks and a blanket. If you’re flying a budget airline like Norwegian Air, bring a ton of snacks and your own drinks. You might end up spending $50 on a sandwich and chips otherwise.
8. Fly budget airlines, especially if you’re only flying short distances. Norwegian Airlines, RyanAir, and EasyJet are some of my favorites. Although they might not be the most comfortable of flights, and you’ll probably have to pay $50 just to bring a carry-on, you’ll be able to afford that weekend trip to Romania or whatever.
1. Skyscanner – For booking flights!
2. Momondo – For booking flights! Side note: both Skyscanner and Momondo give you the option to fly “anywhere.” You can find the cheapest destinations leaving from your airport. This is great for a spontaneous weekend trip!
3. Hostel World – For picking a hostel. This will show you ratings, reviews, locations, pictures etc. of the hostels. But, you should try to book directly from the hostels’ website, as they pay a fee on every purchase made through Hostel World.
4. Mind My House – Global house sitting matching service!
5. Great AuPair – Global au pair, nanny, and babysitting matching company. MAKE SURE YOU SPEAK TO PREVIOUS WORKERS BEFORE COMMITTING TO A FAMILY!!!
6. Couch Surfing – Stay on people’s couches or in their spare rooms for free! It’s usually nice to bring them a gift such as a bottle of wine, flowers, or to take them out to dinner. Don’t make them feel used. Also, try to get as many positive reviews and recommendations, as this will make it easier to find matches.
7. BlaBla Car – This website shows you people who are making trips between cities. You can apply to carpool with them, for a small fee. Usually costs around $8-$30 for a normal day, depending on the locations and time of day.
8. WWOOF – World Wide Opportunities On Organic Farms. Pretty self-explanatory.
9. Vayable – Free city tours!
Eastern Europe, South Korea, Portugal, India, and China! All of these are places on my travel bucket list that get skipped when people are planning vacations. These locations are less expensive than mainstream cities like Paris or countries like Australia, both of which are a lot more costly.
1. City Tours – This lets you download maps so that you can use them offline. Save your hostel, school, favorite restaurant and you’ll always be able to get directions to and from, even if you don’t have wifi.
2. WhatsApp – Popular messenger app that will let you contact your travel buddies!
3. Currency Converter – Also self-explanatory.
4. Rail Map – download offline maps of public transport.
5. Google Translate – Google has a really elaborate translation app. You can even translate signs by the selection that feature and holding your camera over it.
6. Wifi Map – People will post cafe and restaurant wifi codes on these, so you don’t need to ask. This is especially helpful if you don’t want to pay, and just want to stand outside and steal their wifi 😉
That’s all for now, folks. Hope you find this useful! Tag me in your travel posts on Instagram: @elenalovegood