Traveling on a budget? We are too!!
This past August, I took my first trip to Europe. I’ve been asked by so many people how I planned a 2 week trip to four countries for about $2500 including all expenses. Now, understand that I intentionally budgeted high (that’s right, high) because I didn’t want to be limited during my trip. I was able to get my airfare, train tickets, and all my lodging down to just $1500, having another $1000 for food, fun, and even a tattoo in Rembrandt’s last house.
I didn’t have $2500 all at once to spend on traveling, but I did have a budget that allowed me to handle one expense at a time. I also allowed plenty of time in the planning process in order to accommodate this way of budgeting. I’m broke down each cost into a pay period, so a little bit out of each paycheck. More than two grand can seem scary and difficult, but a couple hundred here and there was much more reasonable.
Here’s how I did it:
Since I was flying into Amsterdam and out of Paris, I found that it was cheaper to buy two one way tickets. This also allowed me to buy one ticket one month and another ticket the next month. I flew IcelandAir which was great because they allow “stayovers” at no extra cost. A “stayover” is up to 7 days in Iceland. While I opted out of that option, I did choose a flight that had a long layover, allowing me to spend some time there.
First ticket: Pay-period one $430
Second ticket: Pay-period two $510
Total cost: $940
I needed to take a train from Amsterdam to Belgium. Then a few days later I took a train from Belgium to Paris. I actually booked these through a travel agent. I found that deciphering the schedule and costs was a bit confusing given the language barrier, so I let the agent take care of it for me. Both tickets: Pay-period three
Total cost: $150
Hostels. It’s definitely the way to go. Check out http://www.hostelworld.com. This site is wonderful. I loved the hostels for a few reasons, one of which it’s about $20-$30 a night. I booked in advance with a 10-12% deposit. The hostels also provide you with plenty of opportunity to meet other travelers. I also decided that on my last night, I’d do a hotel room. This was the best decision ever. I booked a room at the CitizenM which, last I checked, has six locations in the world. I intentionally booked this one for the fabulous atmosphere (seriously, check this place out http://www.citizenm.com) as well as its location to the airport. After nearly 2 weeks of travel, having a hotel room to myself was a great way to end the trip. Room cost? Only $75.
All costs: Pay-period four
Total cost: $350
So far I’m at $1440. I did take a taxi from the airport in Amsterdam since it was so late and I was so damned tired, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to figure out public transportation that night. Taxi was $60.
The next couple pay periods I put aside whatever I could. Again, I didn’t want to be limited while I was there. I didn’t want to have to say “no” to certain activities or dining experiences because of a lack of money. I ended up saving another $1500 bringing my total trip budget to $3000 and came home with $500 bucks in my pocket.
So there you have it. I hope it helps and if it does, please share and let us know. And if you have any travel budget tips, please share!! We’d love to know!!!