Travel Planning Between Backpack & Bourgeoisie

How can you afford to travel to Europe for three months?

I’m hashtag blessed. For real, traveling to exotic places you see on Instagram isn’t cheap when you account for air and ground travel, accommodations, food and alcohol, and fun excursions.

With places like Iceland and Paris being pretty expensive places while Ireland’s Airbnbs seem more affordable, I averaged night accommodations at $75, which is $2,250 each month. However, food, fun, and travel to said food and fun are dependent on what I’m doing that day. For my upcoming trip, I broadly budgeted for $150 a day ($4,500 month) for the aforementioned, making note that not every day will be a tour since most days will involve working.

At $6,750 a month ($225 a day for you playing at home), a three-month trip pushes well over $20K. So, how am I affording this? For the past few months, I’ve stayed at my parents’ house and banked my paychecks. Returning back home has provided me a nest egg that I can use as a backup to spread my wings. Bird analogies aside, did you caught the word ‘backup.’

My plan is to continue working in my freelance editor position full time, dedicating 40 hours (or more) a week to earn an income while I float from country to country. Ideally, I’ll be able to earn enough to not dip into my blossoming savings account.

What are accommodations in Europe like for $75 a night?

Since I make a comfortable amount for my age and I have pretty minimal expenses at home (less than a grand each month), I’m opting to stay in Airbnbs over hostels and hotels. While I am not sponsored by Airbnb, I will say that their service has changed travel for fellow single thirty-somethings.

An Airbnb that accommodates multiple travelers can have the benefit of securely locking your room at a reasonable price without losing the comradely of a flock of wanderlusts. Hostels are a hub of like-minded explorers who would rather spend more on getting to and being at the destination than sleeping in privacy. These shared rooms can leave much to be desired when you’re trying to sleep over the snores of strangers.

Hotels, even the cheap ones, allow you to leave your suitcase with more piece of mind than in a hostel. Having a private bathroom is also another comfortable perk of hotel living. However, these amenities come with a price. Not only are these sleeping arrangements more expensive but you also lose out on the opportunities of sharing experiences with others. Fellow travelers can let you in on real-time reviews of popular tourist traps as well as unique adventures few know about online.

The nightly budget of $75 a night will mean something different in each location. In Iceland, I am staying at two different private rooms in the capital region of Reykjavik, both of which are small-to-medium rooms with a desk and shared bathrooms. In Belfast, Ireland, I am renting an entire apartment. To make up for the costs in Paris (and the rest of France), I’ll select other rooms to rent in Ireland for less than $50 a night.

Remember, $75 a night is an average. Better to have reasonable stays in less expensive areas rather than opting for a best at the top of your budget. For example, staying at places for $40 a night in Galway and Cork will allow me to stay in $120 a night places in Paris and Ibiza.

What do I need to know to travel for three months or more abroad?

When you travel for a long time, you get tired, sick, worn down, and just generally exhausted at trying to make the most out of your days. Take every fourth or fifth day to do nothing. I call these “Local Days.” Sleep in, have a healthy breakfast, do some laundry, and work. Not every day can be a trip to the Cliffs of Moher or a tram ride through the serrated mountain landscape of Montserrat.

Muscles ache and immune systems can be compromised without adequate rest and TLC. Plus these days help you mitigate the costs of going overseas for a long period. Taking a day to grab some groceries and prepare some easy takeaway meals can make your adventure days that much more rewarding. While eating the local cuisine is always recommended, eating a basic meal of “homemade” sandwiches can give both your wallet and digestive tract a break. Similarly, keeping plastic food baggies with you to store restaurant leftovers can also save you resources and effort.

Some tours or self-guided trips to rural areas will mean bringing food with you, as a restaurant may not be around. A bagged lunch, protein bars, or even some snacks stored in your bag can save you from getting hungry when buying a meal isn’t an option or if you don’t want to blow your budget in one day.

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