By Bridget Quimby
Traveling is a great way to get the most out of every moment, gain lifelong experiences and learn about various cultures from around the world. However, traveling is often seen as a luxury that can’t be achieved without spending an arm and a leg. As a college student, there are various ways to travel internationally at the lowest cost possible.
In the summer of 2018, I traveled to four different European countries and spent $1,500. I budgeted and planned out every aspect of my trip without any hiccups, and it was all planned perfectly. If you ever wanted to travel to Europe and never thought you financially could, this is a detailed agenda of how you can make your dreams come true.
The most expensive plane ticket you will buy is the one that gets you from America to Europe because flying within Europe costs next to nothing. It is important you take your time while searching for the cheapest flights and never cash out on a whim. It is said that flights are substantially cheaper on Tuesdays and this is true, so keep this in mind when you’re ready for booking. I like to get the most out of every single day when I am traveling.
When I research flights, I try to always arrive at my destination around 7 a.m.; this gives me the entire day to walk around and get to know the area in which I’ll be staying. This is especially important if you have a short layover in another country before you get to your next stop. I did this when I had a 24-hour layover in Norway. It was a little exhausting being up for so long, but I really felt like I got the most out of that day and saw incredible sites before getting back on the plane.
Once you purchase your plane ticket, packing your luggage will either make or break your trip. You will only need a backpack and nothing more; get the idea of a fancy four-wheeled suitcase out of your head. We have been so conditioned into preparing for the worst and those last minute “what if” decisions that result in packing 50 pounds of clothes you will not wear. It doesn’t matter if you are going away for a week or a few months; only pack a single week’s worth of clothes. You’ll want to choose colors and materials that are interchangeable so that you have options. I always use my 40-liter backpack for flying and I’ll bring a compact day-bag for when I want to explore. By doing this, you are eliminating baggage fees and the hassle of lugging around any unneeded amount of junk. When packing, always roll your outfits and never fold them. When the time comes to head to the airport, always wear your heaviest clothes and clunkiest shoes so they don’t weigh down your backpack. You should also clip a reusable water bottle to your backpack, so you don’t get dehydrated.
Last is our basic needs, which are shelter and food. I love to feel like a local when I’m traveling abroad, so I stick to services such as AirBnb to have a unique experience in each place I visit. Depending on where you are going and how long you’re staying, this could be very expensive. A more affordable alternative to this would be to stay in a hotel or a hostile. With all the money you saved on flights and accommodations you should be able to budget restaurant outings pretty well, but you shouldn’t overdo it. When I stay in AirBnb homes, I sometimes utilize the kitchen when I don’t feel like going out.
Traveling inexpensively is possible and nothing is holding you back. Life is all about balance. If you plan wisely and budget your money, there are lots of places you could travel to. Traveling has opened my eyes to different ways of life that are worth seeing; all you have to do is go.