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How To Travel Abroad On A (Tight) Budget

By Travel Noire

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Written by Reis Armstrong

The majority of us that are just starting off on our worldly journeys, or even just thinking about it, often think that it costs an arm and a leg to travel. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I actually spent much less money while traveling abroad than I did living in the states and paying rent in a one-bedroom apartment. Not to mention lights, electricity, phone bills, car notes, insurance, etc.

The first tip is to ignore the old rule of traveling being too expensive, otherwise, you’ll never go anywhere. Secondly, you have to realize that as consumers, we tend to spend money on the things that are most important to us. So the same $700 that you may spend on a new technology gadget, could be the same $700 that you use to book a round trip ticket from the U.S. to Spain. Granted, flights aren’t always this cheap, (depending on when you book them), but you get the drift.

For travelers trying to get to Europe for the 1st time, the most expensive part of traveling will be getting out of your home country. But once you get to Europe, traveling is significantly cheaper. You can easily get a one-way flight from London to Italy for 50 Euros ($70 USD), and that’s at the last minute. So just imagine how cheap it would be if you booked in advance!

Google Flights is your friend. I’ve even booked a trip from LAX to London for $100 using Wow Airlines. Yes, $100. The most important thing to remember is to stay flexible with your dates. If you find a great deal to a foreign city that isn’t really on your “to go list”, book it anyway. Especially if the deal is too great to pass up. You can always make your way to your final destination from that “uninterested” city because travel in Europe is so cheap.

So how did I travel so long, for so cheap, while in Europe? Well, for one, Europe has a very extensive travel system. You can rest assured that if trains are too high, you can always catch a flight. If flights are too high, you can always catch a bus. And if buses are too high, you can always download a carpool app called Bla Bla Car, like Uber, but for longer distances.

I usually use RyanAir, EasyJet, or WizzAir for my Euro flights. Depending on where you’re going and how much time you have, you can use MegaBus. Yes, there is a Megabus is in Europe, too. Tickets usually run about 18 USD to get from point A to point B. Traveling on trains vary because the companies usually change depending on which country you’re in. Your best bet is to just use GoEuro.com and compare prices.


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When I left America for my first backpacking trip in Europe, I left with $1800 that needed to last me three months. I made sure to purchase all my connecting European tickets beforehand so that my remaining $1800 went towards lodging, food and other miscellaneous essentials. Now, I am a bit of a “cross that bridge when I get to it ” kinda guy, so $1800 may not be enough for some of you. But hey, I made it back to America with $400 to spare.

For backpackers, the cheapest way to travel is to stay in a hostel. And if you book them in advance you can get them for some pretty low prices. A website named Hostelworld is your best bet. Many people don’t know that if you work in a hostel, you get to stay for free. This is what I did for 2 months in Sevilla, Spain.

Some require you stay for 2 weeks, some require a month. In exchange for my stay and free food, I had to work 15-20 hours a week, which consisted of making beds, cooking paella, and making sangria. Not much work if you ask me. Every hostel is different and offers you different things. When in doubt, just go with what seems like the best option for you.

You can find numerous jobs from farm work, to hostel work, to teaching English on websites like Helpx.net, Workaway.info, or WWOOF.com. You’d be surprised how much work there is abroad for native English speakers. Many may not even require credentials. And even if they do, TEFL certificates are fairly cheap. I got mine on Groupon for $29 USD. Lastly, Australia has a great Work & Holiday Visa for 18-31-year-olds.

So pack your bags, Lovesouls! Don’t be afraid, be brave! Travel smart! And most of all, be a free spirit with a wild heart!

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