When I first started playing with the idea of taking a trip to England this year, my immediate thought was, “Next year. I financially cannot afford a trip overseas.” But, then I thought, if not this year, will I then tell myself the same thing the following year? It’s that classic saying of “Not today, but tomorrow.” In the end, I did have to put a few expenses on my credit card and financially it wasn’t easy, but overall, most of everything was paid upfront.
So, as we wrap up the end of the year 2017, where will you choose to next travel?
In your twenties(and every season of life might I add), invest in experiences. Materialistic possessions come and go, but the memories you make when you travel can never be taken away from you. It’s the classic MasterCard line of “Flight: $600, Dinner: $30, getting lost in London: priceless.” Side note: We never spent $30 on dinner.
I don’t mind sharing that my total trip to England for ten full days only cost me $1,800. I know, it doesn’t sound right, but it’s true. Here’s my ten tips on how to travel overseas on a budget.
1. We purchased cheap flights through Wow Air, which is basically the Spirit Airlines of International Flights. So, maybe I didn’t get a meal on my flight over and the seats were a little smaller than usual, but it saved me some money.
2. Travel during off-season. Travelling during the summertime or spring break bubble is expensive. The best time to travel is when school is starting again in the Fall, or during the Winter months.
3. Don’t stay in hotels. Stay in Air BnB’s. This was actually one of the most fun parts of our trip! Not only did we get free breakfast at most places, but we got to experience true English culture through the eyes of the locals.
4. Travel lightly. We literally only travelled with backpacks for the twelve days (two of these days were flying days) and it saved us time, energy and money in the end.
5. You don’t need three meals a day. We ate large breakfasts, had a light snack(usually tea and a scone) in the afternoon and then dinner in the evening. When we did eat out, we tended to eat cheaper meals like sarnies and crisps(sandwiches and chips) or good ol’pub food(fish n’chips, english brekkies).
6. Make a list of what tourist sites you want to spend money on and research what there is to do for free in the city. In London, most of the museums are free which is an awesome perk to the public! When it came to paid tourist sites, for example, we didn’t pay to go inside the Tower of London, though we did walk all around the grounds and still got those touristy photographs so to speak.
7. If you are able to, walk! Hey, you might even lose a few pounds on the trip. You really don’t need to take public transportation everywhere. Every dollar saved adds up.
8. When it comes to saving for the trip itself, create a Travel Savings Account. With each paycheck that you receive, put money into that travel account. I personally used the Clarity Money app. It took money out of my checkings account each week and deposited it into the specific trip account that I had created. I didn’t even have to think about it!
9. As you save, say no to a lot of things. Cut down how much you eat out, and buy coffee. During this time, I also didn’t buy new clothes and set my screensaver as a photo of London, so each time I wanted to buy something(that I didn’t necessarily need), I looked at my screensaver and put whatever said item was back on the shelf.
10. While you are travelling, be aware of every dollar you are spending, but also don’t limit yourself so much that you say no to things while you are there. If you have to put some things on your credit card, I promise that you won’t regret it. The chances of you visiting said country again are probably limited, so do as much as you can while also being smart about it. You will be more happy that you paid for experiences over souvenirs in the end. We both brought back home very few souvenirs.