A Guide to How I Traveled to 5 Countries in Europe for less than $450 Round tripUncategorized
If there’s one thing I am unfortunately good at, it’s spending money I don’t have. This usually comes in the form of overspending on clothes, happy hours, and Starbucks. This year, I resolved to be more mindful of my spending habits with one goal in mind: World Travel.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m still pretty cheap. I mean, I have to be; I make $12.25 an hour in New York city so I’m not exactly sitting on a pile of cash. What I do have however, is resourcefulness and unlimited Wifi courtesy of the Starbucks on Franklin Avenue. Furthermore, this reawakening of the adventurer in myself will at least allow me to feel like I am putting my Sociology degree to good use.
Honestly, the purpose of this trip was the perfect trifecta; I wanted to see how far budget traveling could take me, I yearned for a true cultural exchange, and most importantly I wanted to learn about permaculture and other sustainability options people around the world utilize.
For those of you unfamiliar with the terms permaculture and sustainability, the latter is the act of maintaining an ecosystem without depletion, while permaculture itself is a form of a sustainable and self-sufficient agricultural ecosystem.
You can read more about permaculture and sustainability here
In fewer words, I am a New York city girl with little to no solo travel experience who wants to leave the country to possibly milk cows, feed baby goats, pick olives, and acquire a taste for frog legs and cheese. In my mind, toiling under the Trento sun and running through edelweiss field in Interlaken brings a sense of fulfillment that I had never felt before. Don’t think that I’m still not afraid to venture into the unknown. Even now I am fearful of the unexpected.
The ease in which I was able to accomplish my goal of budget travel almost made me kick myself for not leaving sooner. I mean, I could have been half way to Africa by now if I had checked Europe off my bucket list a year ago. But enough talk, let’s get right to it…
I already have an active passport, so if you need one jump on that task first.
You can find out how to get your passport here.
The next task is actually booking the flights. Living in New York City, one may think that you only have access to JFK and LaGuardia airports but there are cheaper options as well. It may require additional travel time but can save you hundred of dollars. Keeping this factor in mind brought about my 3 Golden Rules for booking flights: seek out smaller airports nearby, book directly through the airline when possible, and book between the hours of 2AM and 3AM, especially on Tuesdays.
Using these tips, I was able to book my entire itinerary over the course of a week. (It would have been sooner but I’m a Libra so indecision, indecision).
The costs of the flights were broken down like this:
NY Stewart International → Shannon, Ireland via Norwegian $117.40
Dublin, Ireland → Nice France via Ryanair $34.00
Nice, France → Zurich, Switzerland via Easyjet $32.27
Zurich, Switzerland → Naples, Italy via Easyjet $33.44
Naples, Italy → Barcelona, Spain via Ryanair $27.43
Barcelona, Spain → NY JFKvia Norwegian $200.20
All prices included taxes and came to a whopping… $444.74!!!
Remember, I’m still cheap so I won’t be checking in any bags. I packed 2 months of my life in a half-full 60L hiking backpack that was damn near too heavy after long wear. (Check out the backpack I used here).
Luckily, I did not have to apply for any visas since I did not plan to do paid work or stay in any one country for more than 30 days , as per the guidelines of each country’s consulate.
The hard part was over! I remember sitting back with a feeling of accomplishment (or maybe it was the fact that I still had enough money left over to order in).