I realllyyy want to get a perm. Not some crazy 80s perm, a normal, chill perm. You know.
Many people have asked, so I figured I would go ahead and explain how we traveled to Europe on a budget.
: There are very little ways to get around the price of transportation. Airfare is the biggest one that people worry about. You can switch around days if you are flexible. What we did is research where it would be cheapest to fly into and out of. We flew into one place and out of another. These rates will probably vary depending on when you go, but it’s always good to RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH. A trip like this generally takes a lot of planning if you are wanting to do it frugally.
We also rented a car while we were there to get to and from far away places. We rented one to drive through Italy. It was the best decision ever made. Trains just don’t cut it while you’re driving through tuscany. It’s nice to have the freedom to get out and touch the grass, to roll your windows down and smell the vineyards. Along with that, it’s good to look around at different Car Rental places, look for the deals and if you’re purchasing online, ALWAYS LOOK FOR COUPON CODES! Something that will come around and bite you on the butt is tickets. Make sure you are abiding by the law as best as you can while there, it may be difficult as we didn’t know ALL of the signs and traffic rules… we were hit with a nice $120 ticket about 8 months after our trip was over. So, try your best to follow those traffic rules!
Walk/ride bikes when you can! If you don’t need to take a bus, don’t! Again, it’s nice to be able to go at your own pace on a bike, or walking. Plus it’s just good exercise. If you are staying at a hostel, ask if they have bikes that they rent out to their travelers Going back, buses are convenient when you’re needing to be somewhere thats a distance away and you are on a time schedule. Although, small story, there was a time when we had a small train layover, we were stopped in Pisa, obviously. We really wanted to see the Leaning tower of Pisa. Although we didn’t know if we had enough time, it was across town. Instead of waiting around for buses, figuring out their routes, and spending money, we basically ran/speedwalked to the leaning tower, snapped a few pictures, explored for maybe 5 minutes and darted back just in time to catch our train. It was totally worth the stress of possibly missing the train.
Know that a lot of the time, you can leave your luggage in the hostel while you go out and explore the cities, and even in train stations, there are usually lockers to keep your things while you explore around. I don’t recall a time that we ever had to have our luggage on our backs while exploring.
Americans have such a problem with Hostels, it’s true. I don’t know if it was all of the movies, Taken or Hostel, or what, but whenever I would say, “We’re staying in hostels” people would get really freaked out. Here’s the thing. Hostels are inexpensive, they usually offer breakfast, and they’re fun. There are a few ways you can do it. A lot of the time, you can get rooms with other people (much like a dorm) sometimes up to 16 people in a room. Some have 8, or 4 in a room. The more people you stay with in a room, the less expensive it is. And it is nice to have privacy, especially when you’re away from home and you’re tired from the day, but we did meet some neat people while staying in hostels. These people were from different parts of the world so they would tell us about where they lived, it was a really great experience. There is an option to get a “private room” in the hostels. They are still relatively inexpensive, and they are obviously, in a private room. As mentioned before, a lot of the hostels have either breakfast that’s served, or kitchens. You can purchase your own food, and make it right there in their kitchen. If you make friends, you can even all cook together, and if you’re lucky, they may be from another country and have some fun food to cook for you!
We also did Couch Surfing. Again, people were really worried about this. Basically, how this works is, you got to Couch Surfing.com, you type in where you’re wanting to stay, how many are staying, and what dates„ a bunch of people pop up that are offering their place for you to stay in. Of course, as before, you want to do your research on these people. It’s good to look at their reviews to see if others had good experiences with these people, They usually have a detailed list of what they are into. If you think you could get along with these people, it’s a very rewarding experience. Generally, you stay with people who are from the area you are visiting and they can give you great tips on where to visit, how to get around, where to eat. We stayed up and had late talks with our hosts, they made us dinner, introduced us to their friends, and we talked about the differences between Americans and other countries. It was really a great time. You are not allowed to pay your Couch Surfers, so obviously it’s free, although it’s nice to give them a thank-you gift for letting them stay, or even say thank you by cooking them a meal. The biggest thing is that you have to be able to take risks. As mentioned, many Americans didn’t like the idea of staying in someone else’s home when in reality, it was one of the greatest experiences. Not only that but, it’s a home. It feels like a home, and when you’ve been out traveling for a month, its nice to feel someplace that makes you feel like home again.
When you need to eat big meals, eat big meals, when you don’t eat light. You’re going to do a lot of walking so it’s nice to have some fuel. However, it’s not fun to walk when you have an extremely full belly. In certain cities, like Paris, it’s fun to have a nice dinner. The trouble is finding an inexpensive place. It’s good to know when it’s worth paying more and when it’s not. Many hostels will have free breakfast, and the ones that don’t only have a small fee. If you have high expectations, don’t eat at hostels. However, if you can get by on cereal, fruit, and coffee, you may be alright! Meals, although necessary, can really bite into your budget. Many times, hostels will have kitchens. We would buy food from grocery stores and make our own meals at the hostels. Even stepping in to the grocery stores was an experience. We spent hours in a grocery store in Germany just to explore the different foods. Cooking on your own will really help with the cost of food. Make smart decisions with food. Don’t get the most expensive thing on the menu. Its also good to note that you will be charged for water. In the US, water is free. However, in Europe, it they will charge you, sometimes $4.00 for water! A lot of the time, they will give you sparkling water if you don’t ask for tap. So if you want to avoid that charge, ask for tap water… they may look at you strange but you just saved $4.00! Certain countries will expect a tip, others will not. Some places think it’s an insult. It’s good to do some research on those places before you go. You could always ask someone what the gratuity rules are in each area. Don’t hesitate to ask questions. Ask the locals to suggest food places. Long story short, light breakfast/lunch and sometimes splurge on dinner.
Look for coupons online. Make reservations for tours/transportation ahead of time (if you can. Sometimes it’s fun to have no reservations). Do research!
Any questions? Ask! :)