Spend a Month in Europe for under $1000
I am a wanderer and anytime my life is thrust into a transitory state, between jobs, between educational experiences, between moves, I pack a bag and leave town in search of adventure.
This is an ingrained and necessary coping mechanism to my transitional state. I think better on planes, I plan better in the quiet moments in airport observatory decks, I process the changes best when wandering the streets of a new place, and I love it.
I want to share with you how I was able to spend a month in Europe for less than $1,000.
Here are 8 ways I have been able to travel cheaply:
- Fly Wow Air. This is the holy grail of budget airlines. For $401 USD I booked a flight from Baltimore to Düsseldorf with a day stopover in Iceland. In order to receive the best possible flight price I was willing to be flexible with my time and location. In this case, I would have preferred to fly into Berlin, but the flight to Düsseldorf was $300 cheaper so I went for that one.
- Ditch the fancy. After airfare, you’ll only have $600 left to last you for 4 weeks of travel. That breaks down to $150 per week. This means no all night-bingers in techno clubs, dining out every night, 5 star hotels, or museums with high entrance fees.
- Accommodation: You will need to stay primarily for free with locals through Couchsurfing, or through your personal network like your friends/colleagues/family, or by house sitting your way around Europe. Alternatively to free accommodation, look into splurging once a week on a hostel or Airbnb that is less than $40/per night.
- Plan to stay in each location for one week. Choose countries that are on average cheaper than $20/per day. You can look here for ideas. Pick your top 4 countries or destinations and plan to only move between those. This will help you to keep your transportation costs low. In my case, I chose Iceland for 1 day, Germany for 3 weeks, and Switzerland for 1 week.
- Use cheap transportation services in Europe. You have plenty to choose from including bus services like Meinfernbus and Berlinbus. For European budget airlines, use Easyjet and Ryanair.
- Eat what the locals eat and be prepared to eat in. In Germany and many Eastern European countries, groceries can be much cheaper than in the U.S. Especially items like cheese, beer, wine, and breads. Stick with where the locals shop, for example, in Germany, Aldi or Lidl are popular grocery store options.
- Leave your heels at home. This point is about packing a light load. If you have less to carry with you, you will likely not be charged more for your luggage on airlines. On this trip, I brought less than 15 pounds in my bag. This meant ditching my idea of bringing my heavy DSLR camera, back up shoes, and excessive amounts of clothes. I only have 5 outfits for the entire trip and one pair of shoes.
- Spend time outdoors. Europe has many beautiful outdoor hideaways to swim, hike, and enjoy a good dose of Vitamin D. You can typically swim in most rivers, lakes, and streams in Europe. Sunshine and outdoor time is Free!
I’m convinced other people can travel like this too and would love to hear your stories of budget travel or what you find most exciting about this post!