Is it possible to travel anywhere I want without spending all of my savings and keep my full time job? Of course it is!
I, personally, never thought I would be able to visit Paris, Istanbul, London and many other places in one year with my embarassing income unless I discovered that you can go anywhere you want but you have to follow a few simple rules.
I found out these 3 ultimate rules for budget travel in Europe work the best for me and my situation – student with full time job and low income. I hope you find them useful too as they can be used not only in Europe!
1. Research the destination you visit and find free places and discounts
There are so many free things you can do in certain places. Most of the time you go unprepared and you’re unpleasantly surprised that you have to pay for everything. What you need to do:
- Buy entrance tickets online – it is more likely you’ll be paying less if you buy entrance tickets for the places you want to visit in the city online.
- Search for EU citizens discounts – Note that for most EU students or citizens under certain age many sights are free to visit, you just have to find them.
- Search for travel bloggers discounts – some travel bloggers make deals with some hotels or restaurants and they provide a discount for readers in exchange of ad space or something else.
- Read articles about free things to do or free places to visit in the destination you choose.
For example, when I thought about going to Paris the only thing that stopped me doing it earlier was the money issue. I thought everything was so expensive there. Then I started planning Paris and made an extensive research – I found out that most of the places are free for me (under 26 from EU) – like the Louvre, or at least I have a big discount. Many of the iconic sights you don’t even have to pay to see – Sacre Coeur, Notre Dame, Concorde, etc.
2. Be flexible
There are a lot of low cost airlines in Europe. When I search cheap plane tickets I do it every day, because the prices change all the time depending on the dates. Don’t plan your trip dates before buying a ticket and wait for the best deal to come.
- Spend 20 minutes every day to check airlines websites for cheap tickets even though you didn’t choose a destination you may find that flying to Rome for just 20 euros is whorth it!
- Plan the month but not the dates.
- Use your national holidays to extend your time off from work – most of the time the holiday is only in your home country and airlines can give you really good deals for these dates.
That’s how I bought my ticket for London – I knew the month when I’m going to be there but I never planned specific dates. I knew I want to go to London in October and I checked airlines websites every day and then I found super cheap tickets for 18th to 21 Oct. Then I planned my days off from work.
3. Bring your own food while exploring the city
Budget travel is all about saving money but not giving up on everything you want to try. You probably know that but buying food from supermarkets instead of eating out is going to save you a fortune. In addition to that rule I would suggest you to bring your own food when walking out in the new city, i.e. make sandwiches for later in the day.
This rule saved me in Disneyland where I spent 0 euros for food as I brought sandwiches made with products from the supermarket I found near my hotel. For instance a friend of mine was at Disneyland the same day I was and not only she spent 20+ euros for food but she wasted precious time eating on a restaurant instead of going on rides. I just needed 10-15 minutes for lunch.
Do you do an extensive research before going to a new destination? What are your top budget rules while travelling? Share your thoughts in the comments.