I hear it often, “I wish I had the resources to travel…”, “I dream of going to Europe”, “One day we’ll make our dream trip”. I’ve realized how many people are afraid to travel due to finances, and I’m here to say… Stop Waiting! You have options! Mike and I needed a reset in our lives, so we decided that we’d take 5 weeks and travel around Europe just with each other. It was crazy, amazing, (and if you follow on Instagram you know it was chaotic! haha).
Thousands of you were shocked to hear that we did it for under $1000 (besides the cost of food and transportation WITHIN the city like rental cars, etc… and of course our different hospital visits 🙂 )
Today I’m excited to share with you how we made that happen, so that traveling can seem more in reach to you than you might think. I’ve been planning our own trips forever, its something that I love and spend a lot of time on, and I LOVE being able to see how inexpensive I can do things for, which has lead me to find some amazing sites and tricks when it comes to traveling.
How to Travel to Europe for Less Than $1,000:
- MAKE YOUR MONEY WORK FOR YOU
What does this mean? We all have bills and every day life expenses that we have to pay for. We put EVERYTHING on travel rewards credit cards that we pay off monthly. From our businesses to just life purchases , everything is bought with credit cards. My favorite is our Southwest Airlines Card. You can apply for one HERE .
Because of this card, WE HAVE NOT PAID FOR A DOMESTIC FLIGHT IN SIX YEARS. In fact, I fly free with Mike wherever he goes, and I also have a companion pass so someone can fly free with me wherever I go.
The Southwest Airlines Credit Card gives you a point for every dollar you spend on it, and the points can be then traded in for flights. For just signing up and spending a couple thousand dollars on it in three months, you can earn enough points for 2 round trip tickets. If you don’t have a card yet, I highly recommend one… this leads us to step two…
- Fly out of New York, Boston, or LA
Flying out of one of these major cities will save you a ton of money (I’ll tell you why in a second). These cities also have direct flights to most destinations, saving you travel time. If you have a Southwest Credit Card, then you will save money not having to pay for a flight to one of these cities, because you’ll use your points to get there, making it free!
- Use Skyscanner.com
I first found Skyscanner.com last year when I was looking up flights for Europe. It’s amazing, and it’s how I decide where we are going to travel to. You can put the airport in that you want to fly out of, and then you can select “take me anywhere” and choose “the cheapest month” so it shows you where you can fly to the cheapest, and when! Just last month I was looking and found ROUND TRIP tickets from NYC to Paris for $225! It’s pretty crazy. We started our Europe Trip in Iceland because flying their from Boston was only $100 each. This is why it’s so important to fly out of a major city. It saves us thousand of dollars as opposed to using Nashville as our base.
Once we were in Europe, we also used Skyscanner to decide where to fly to next. I would literally see where the cheapest (and desirable) next place to fly was, and that’s where we would go. It was fun, and on average we’d pay $50 for BOTH of us to get to the next country on a flight.
Because we were going to be gone for a substantial amount of time, I was trying to think of what to do with our house. We’d still be paying our mortgage even though we wouldn’t be using it, I didn’t want to leave it empty and not watched over for that long, so thought I would pay someone to house sit. After some thinking, it dawned on me to rent it out on Airbnb. We had rented our house out in Phoenix before, and as a host you are really protected from potential bad guests and can also screen the guests that stay.
Renting our home on Airbnb paid for our entire 5 week trip. Yes, you heard me right! You can sign up to become a host HERE
It would be smart to look up big events happening where you live, and plan a trip around those dates when it is more likely to get a higher price per night for your place. I highly recommend hosting, we love it and is one of the best ways to get the cost of our trip down.
There are also websites where you can house swap or pet sit for people. Get creative!!! Traveling doesn’t have to be incredibly expensive, you just have to think outside the box sometimes!
I love Airbnb, have used it for years. In Europe, you can get rooms for pretty cheap, especially if you just rent out a room in somebody’s house. We wanted a local experience on our trip, so we did this several times! It saves you money, and is really fun.
Also, if you use THIS link to sign up for Airbnb you’ll get $40 off your first booking so theres some savings for more Italian pasta right there 🙂 Most places will also have kitchens that you can use if you want to save money and not eat out.
Here are the exact Airbnbs we stayed in and highly recommend during this Europe trip:
Does that all sound simple enough?! It truly doesn’t need to be complicated to travel! And that was for 5 weeks… you don’t need to go for that long! Take the trip friends, plan it out, save the money… and GO! I’ll post our itinerary soon, but you can look at our winter Germany guide here and Paris here.
Let me know below what savings tips was most surprising to you, and where you want to go the most!!! xo, Ashley