Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Europe on the cheap

I should really title this post - Europe on the cheap in your Thirties.

There is a big difference between being in your thirties and being in your twenties. Your twenties are a fine time to live off of potato chips and beer, sleep on a bunk bed and share a bathroom with the entire floor.

Your thirties are a time for meals with silverware, bathrooms with rainfall shower heads and your own room. By this time, your stuff is probably nicer than it was in your twenties and you don't want to store it in a locker at the hostel. Here are some tips for the over-thirty crowd, to keep some bucks in the bank.

1. Open ended plane tickets. The price of a plane ticket is based on a two-leg fare, but that doesn't mean you have to fly in and out of the same airports. Rather than booking one-way plane tickets, simply use the multiple destination option. Fly into one airport, travel across the continent and then fly out of your final destination. We flew into Prague and out of Istanbul on United Airlines. This multiple destination ticket was the same cost as flying into and out of Prague, but much less than two one-way tickets.



2. Locate your nearest grocery store. While I love eating out at restaurants, sometimes it easier (and definitely cheaper) to pick up snacks and meal at the grocery store. Almost every hotel these days has an empty fridge in the room. Use that bad boy to keep your grocery goodies cool. Stock up on yogurt and juices for breakfast on the go. Get some local candies and snacks to keep you satisfied while you walk all over town.

3. Trivago hotel search is AWESOME! You can find adorable boutique hotels for great prices. I like to set the Smiley face option to green and the star rating to 4 or 5. Those settings weed out all the sketchy hotels with scary bathrooms. This site also has the big guys, Marriott, Wyndham, Hilton, and you can find a wide range of prices for the same hotel.

4. Search out the food halls and street markets. These places are your best bet for local fare among locals. Sure, you'll be more likely to be greeted by non-English speakers, but I've found the point and smile method gets me food.



5. Travel with someone. Your twenties are the time to travel alone, meet new people and discover who you are. In your thirties, you probably have one person in your life that you would like to share some experiences with. Whether it be your significant other, your sibling or your coolest parent, traveling with someone makes for wonderful shared experiences. It also cuts your hotel bill in half.

6. Book your rail tickets early. This tip really goes for everyone traveling to Europe, not just us over 30 types. Plan out your route at Rail Europe and they will mail the tickets to your door. The prices are at their lowest when they first become available for purchase (usually 60-120 days out). They get progressively more expensive the closer you get to your travel date. If you fly by the seat of your pants, you may end up paying twice as much! Do your wallet a favor, plan ahead.



7. Visit in May or September. You don't have to worry about a school schedule (at least not your own) and these shoulder travel months are the best for visiting Europe. It's not too hot, the swells of tourists aren't in town and things are generally less expensive. Bonus? You can schedule your trip to hit Memorial Day or Labor Day and you get an extra day away, without using a vacation day!

8. Travel light, but carry Dropps. Everything I brought to Europe was worn at least twice, three times when it came to bottoms. However, you don't want to be wearing underwear for a second day. I like these Victoria's Secret Body by Victoria undies for traveling because they are super comfy, no-show and they dry super fast after washing. Laundry detergent pods are your friend when doing laundry in the hotel sink. Dropps are my favorite because they come in a variety of scents. Tide also makes a version, but I think Tide smells vile.

9. Eat Local. Restaurants with English-language menus tend to be a little pricier than the ones that cater more to locals. The local restaurants are usually less expensive and often tastier!



10. Utilize ATMs. Don't bother bringing travelers checks or a ton of money to convert. ATM fees are much lower than exchange fees. Those exchange kiosks are a total rip-off and give you the worst exchange rates. Your bank may charge you $5 to take money out of a foreign bank, but they give you the actual exchange rate.

What are some of your tips for saving money while traveling? Follow my blog with Bloglovin

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