I think the most shocking thing about my European Adventure is that I survived on 500 Euros. FOR A WHOLE WEEK! I want to be the first to say that going to Europe (and surviving for a week) is reasonable and you can do it on a budget. The majority of Europe is not as expensive as people make it seem. You can do a lot on a budget that fits your financial situation, or if you are just like me then you do not believe in spending thousands of dollars on a trip. I always get people asking me how can I afford to travel on such a minimal budget. Trips are all about experiences so if you put more of your budget towards the experiences (activities, food, etc.) versus things like lodging you will be able to stretch your coins. Like come on, why fly across the world to sit in a hotel the majority of the time cause it was expensive? Here’s how I did it had a great trip and managed to stick to my budget.
I bought my tours ahead of time
- I went to Barcelona along with my best friend for her 30th and we started planning the trip 7 months in advance. We bought our tickets ($328 RT) in October and bought our tours on Airbnb (City Tour by Bike with Tapas and an afternoon on a yacht for $48. All of our other tours were free! Airbnb has a lot of cheap tours and excursions that I highly recommend you check out.
- Another thing we did to make our coins work for us was to purchase “Bundle Packages”. It’s cheaper when booking tours in advance to book more than one activity together. For example, when I was in Puerto Vallarta last year, my best friend and I booked a city tour, jungle tour, and tequila tour for $60 a person when if we would have booked each tour separately, we would’ve easily paid about $300 a person.
We skimped on Lodging
- We stayed in a Hostel and Airbnb for our week on less than it would cost to stay in a hotel in Miami. Now I know people are hesitant on Hostels and trust me, I was too (I saw the movie... and the sequel) but, I did my research. Barcelona has some of the safest and surprisingly nicest hostels there are. We could’ve stayed in a private room but we wanted to meet people so we stayed in a 4 person (all women) room. It brought us back to being roommates in college. It was nice and only $25 a day with $4 a day breakfast (which was great to say. Think a Hampton Inn Equivalent).
- Our Airbnb was $50 a day and we had a modern apartment to ourselves.
We ate like Queens and didn’t need to splurge on food
- We ate out EVERY meal and never spent over $30 a day. I didn’t even spend over $30 on my friend’s birthday when I paid for her meals. Food is reasonably priced and you get big portions of food so it’s enough to share and save for another meal.
- A good way to not splurge on food is to go to restaurants that offer “Family Style” menu options. For a set price ($15 a person) we got to pick drinks and unlimited tapas that filled us up. We also got to meet great people that way. I met a cool couple who were planning a trip to New Orleans and of course me being a native, I shared some cool places for them to check out.
We walked everywhere
- We walked everywhere except for the few times it rained, and we split a $15 Uber or caught the subway, which is $2.50 one way. Not only did it keep my weight down, because I ate EVERYTHING, but also it got us to see more of the city and act like a local.
- While walking, we got to see the Sagrada Familia, which is a big tourist attraction. It was about a half a mile from our hostel. By walking, I also got to take some nice pictures of buildings, which I loved. We even found a few souvenir spots by walking instead of waiting until it was time to leave and grab souvenirs at the airport (which is more expensive).
I didn’t buy the whole city
- I have a big shopping problem. Normally when I’m on a trip, the majority of my money goes to shopping. I stuck to a plan and only brought a shirt out of Zara (which is way cheaper in Europe than the US), a few postcards for myself, and souvenirs for my parents, siblings and aunt (a Cigarette Lighter, 2 Keychains, a Shot Glass, and a Sweatshirt for $30).
- I always hear from people that they spend a lot of their travel budget on souvenirs. I like to keep it simple. I always get something for myself. I have a postcard collection of all my travels and I make sure to grab something for my parents because they love to travel and they like to collect little trinkets like Elephants and Shot Glasses.
I saved so much money that I came home with Euros. I plan to keep them until I go back to Europe next year. I like to have some of my money left over from travels just as a reminder that I kept to my budget.
Traveling the world doesn’t have to break the bank when you have a plan and stick to it!
Share Your European Experiences Below!
Guest Blogger: IG: @the.leaux.down | Website: www.alltheleauxdown.com