We’ve all heard the phrase; travel costs you so much money! Well, I think I’m living proof that it doesn’t actually cost you all that much! And bear in mind that for 162 of those days I was travelling in Europe. Not exactly a budget destination.
Here is the breakdown of my current expenses so far.
Flights; £217.39 (7 flights, 1 long haul)
Accommodation; £55 (16 nights paid accommodation. Not including 5 free nights in Czech Republic)
Activities; £9.40 (one night of clubbing and one day motorcycle hire)
Travel; £357.50 (includes all buses and trains)
Shopping; £155 (all the clothes, toiletries, camping gear, mobile phones and souvenirs I’ve bought)
Insurance; £60 (very crappy policy just in case for medical)
£6.50 per day budget.
Not bad for someone who could blow £700 on absolutely nothing back home.
So so how did I do it? Why are only 16 nights of my 180 paid accommodation? Why did I spend so much on food? How have I managed 7 flights for £217??
Well, through most of Europe I couchsurfed. I had 13 CS hosts and 5 friends who hosted me. I taught English for one week’s accommodation, and au paired for two months. I got 5 days free in CZ in exchange for a blog post and spent 8 nights in airports and train stations. I took 20 overnight buses and slept in one guys car hitchhiking.
For or flights I ALWAYS use Ryanair. I’m signed up to their mailing lists so I always book during sale times and for long haul flights, skyscanner is my best friend. I booked four months in advance from Klön to Bangkok and it cost me £160 direct.
Buses tend to be Megabus, because they’re great value, overnight and intercity. Sometimes they’re ridiculously late, but at least you get to your destination for £1! Outside of Eastern Europe, it’s been eurolines or lux bus. In Thailand, I’ve tried to take the local bus where I can, instead of paying for minivans. Even though I felt like I was going to die. I have also hitchhiked a lot. A total of 26 rides through 5 countries.
I have never paid into an attraction. France was great because I got into most museums and art galleries free due to being an EU citizen under 26. Other than that, I seek out all the free things to do in the city.
Food. Now this is a kicker. I spent a lot of time in Europe eating bread and fries. Why? They were cheap. I stuck to stores like Aldi and Netto, and I’m super guilty of McDonald’s. But for the free wifi and being able to sit down for three hours at a time, it was worth it. In Thailand, I paid no attention to where I was eating or going, and ended up eating super cheap because that’s what food is here. But my 7eleven trips made it expensive. But for a little more than £50 per month, I think I’ve done well.
Here is what my chart breakdown for Europe looks like;
I definately don’t think that my extreme budget travel is for everyone, it comes with a lot of problems and stresses as well as a lot of amazing adventure. But sometimes life gives you lemons and you make lemonade no matter how crappy and small your lemons are!
My my big budget tips are simply; book flights and buses during sales and try to save on accommodation. Eat from the supermarket in Europe, not restaurants. Refill one bottle of water, don’t buy new ones. Seek out free things to do in the city. 99% of the time there are enough free things to fill your entire trip. Use work away, Woof and odd jobs in order to really save on food and accommodation!