Traveling to Europe always seemed too expensive and unattainable for me until retirement or that winning lottery ticket. To my excitement, it is something I can cross off my bucket list at age 22. I am fortunate to have a full-time job and by using tight budgeting tricks (like joining a credit union to save on banking fees), I am making traveling possible. Disclaimer: yes, I do have student loans and the financially responsible me should be putting this towards my debt, but on the other hand, traveling while I am young and able is important to me.
Wow Airlines is the best option for budget flying from the US internationally. They recently came to Detroit, and I was amazed at the prices. No, it is not luxurious, but if it means you can see the other side of the world, it’s worth it. Looking at their website today, if you wanted to take a trip from Detroit to Dublin, round trip would be $449.98. For $450 you could also travel from Detroit to San Francisco or Knoxville. Would you rather go across the US or across the Atlantic Ocean? Comment below!
Luggage and Seats
This may be the most extreme suggestion but if you are willing to make it work, you can save hundreds. Skip the checked bag AND the carry-on. Yes, go full penny pincher and only bring a personal item. Your small item doesn’t have to be that small, it can be up to 22 pounds! Bed, Bath and Beyond sells a carry-on that looks like a mini suitcase with wheels. No, you cannot bring multiple shoes, you may only be able to bring the ones you are wearing on the plane but to be able to see another country and culture it is worth it.
Obviously, some airlines allow you to have a carry-on for free, but the budget airlines like Spirit and Wow, charge you for many things that you may take for granted. Bringing only a personal item is one way to get around fees. Another way is to not buy your “seat” if prompted. During the booking process you may be asked to choose your seat. If you do not mind potentially sitting a few rows away from your companion or being in the back of a plane, you can pass on this and save money.
Before your trip, ask your Mom for some cooking lessons. While traveling this may be difficult, but if you are staying at an Airbnb or a hostel, you will have a full kitchen at your disposal. You can still get an authentic feel even if you limit yourself on the amount of times you eat. Go to a fresh market and pick up seafood or something the destination is known for. A baguette, a wedge of cheese and wine in France is a great mid-day snack. If you try to prepare one meal a day yourself, you could save on average $30.
If you can help it, do not become a victim of tourist traps. If you are by the Eiffel Tower or Coliseum, walk a few blocks away for lower prices on food and supplies. Things we take for granted like free water at restaurants are slightly different in other countries. There are so many resources online to locate free walking tours, the best gelato and other information. The Lonely Planet is a great resource that will warn you of scams or things that first-time travelers may not know. Besides looking for the best deals, you also will get yourself more excited for your trip.
Now that you have budget friendly travel trips, start planning! A passport in total is $135 but the experiences you will have will be priceless. What do you do when you travel that stretches your dollar? Start a savings account and take that first step!