How to Travel on a (Very) Tight Budget

Travel is expensive. There's no way around it. However, there are ways to significantly lower your expenses, especially on a long-term trip. Find Cheap Airfare I'll all say here is PLEASE check out Norwegian Air- the fares on this airline are unbelievably low! I talked more about this in my post How to Budget for Travel. As this will almost certainly be your biggest expense, it pays to do your research. Stay With Friends I was lucky enough to have a college friend living in Zurich who allowed Kaitlyn and I to crash at her new flat for a few nights (big shout out to you Ursina!) and with Switzerland being one of Europe's most expensive destinations, this definitely saved us a pretty penny. Not only that, but we got to share in her first dinner party with her friends, cook in a real kitchen, and get a local's advice on the area. Do you know anyone living abroad? We had hopes of staying with Kaitlyn's family friends in Berlin and Majorka- even though those didn't pan out with our timing, they were good last-ditch options. I would also not rule out online programs that match travelers with local hosts- especially if you're traveling with a friend as this could be a bit sketchy solo. Finally, I can't wait to stay with some of the wonderful friends I made on my last trip the next time I'm abroad. I hope to have a couch to crash on in Scotland, the Isle of Mann, Italy, and Sweden! Cha-ching! Buy Groceries Lunch is usually cheaper than dinner if you really want to try out a particular cuisine or restaurant, but whenever possible I'm a fan of good old fashion deli sandwiches. We were in Paris for close to a week and I swear we ate a fresh baguette and brie for at least one meal every day. Around 5€ got enough bread, cheese, fruit and champagne for Kaitlyn and I to enjoy for 2 out of 3 meals per day! And honestly what restaurant is better than a Parisian picnic beneath the twinkling lights of the Eiffel Tower? Be sure to pack a reusable nylon bag to carry your groceries around! Eat In Parks This goes along with buying your own groceries- not being confined to a restaurant allows you to enjoy all that your city has to offer! We enjoyed sandwiches in Greenwich Park outside the observatory with a beautiful view overlooking the London skyline and the River Thames. In Paris we ate in a Montmartre cemetery and below the Eiffel Tower. In Munich we ate pretzels in the English Garden and in Berlin we snacked and walked while searching for remnants of the wall. Walk Around Save money by forgoing taxis, buses, subways and bikes by just walking! Walking a city is an awesome way to see a city at your own pace and along your own route. It's so satisfying to feel like you know the neighborhood around your hotel or hostel and be able to navigate the city after a day or two. We got the hang of the tricky canal boats in Venice and were able to get to the Hauptbahnhof to and from our hotel in Munich. In Paris, we even had a favorite convenience store between our hotel and the closest Metro station. Bring Student Card You never know what kind of discount you'll get with a student card. Movies, museums, public transit and much more will most likely cost you less once you present this magical piece of plastic or paper. I'm thinking I might have to go back to school just to get the discounts! Take Advantage of Complementary Meals Realizing your hostel breakfast doesn't suck is like winning the travel lottery! We had great luck with the Generator Hostels in Dublin and Venice quality wise, though if I recall correctly there was a surcharge for our food. Our hostel in Prague included breakfast, but the food was served in a dark basement and seemed to have been picked over by 8 every morning. The hotel breakfast in Berlin and Munich was amazing, a definitive tie for first place. The lesson here being: eat what's free and load up when it's awesome! I'd be lying if I said I never pocketed a croissant or piece of fruit from a free breakfast buffet. Compare Accommodations Don't just assume that a 12 bed hostel room will be the best deal. In Nice we loved our large all female dorm, and it was definitely the best deal in town. However, once we decided to go to Munich during Germany's World Cup, the hostels were all booked up or charging twice the normal fare. Enter the hotel. Kaitlyn and I stayed in an awesome hotel for 4 nights and because we got to split the room rather than pay per bed, it didn't cost much at all! Similar situations arose in Berlin and Paris- we were very lucky to have the our own space to leave our things out and a nice private bathroom and shower. Those are my best tips to save money while traveling! And plus, you can always strike up a conversation with that local guy (or an Australian- you can always trust an Australian to be the nicest patrons in the joint) at the bar and have your drinks payed for 😉 But I digress, that's a story for another day... How to travel on a very tight budget

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