How I Traveled The World For $1,000 Per Month

How I Traveled The World For $1,000 Per Month

150 Days, 15 Countries, $5,000.
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Yup, you read that correctly. An all-expense-paid trip to Europe — round trip flights and all — for $5,000 dollars. No, I did not put myself in danger. No, I did not have to “slum it.” I made the most of every single city I saw safely, and had the time of my life.

According to this trip calculator, the average person pays $212 per day on a mid-budget vacation in Italy. I have broken down the costs for you here:

As you can see, this totals up to $33,901.00 for five months. However, I've broken down the costs that I spent to have a life changing trip here:

Here are 8 ways I visited 15 countries on a college student budget.

1. Stop giving yourself reasons not to go, and JUST DO IT.

So you want to go on a life-changing trip? Great! JUST DO IT. Book the flight, save as much as you can, then LEAVE. This is—by far—the hardest part. People spend decades giving themselves reasons not to travel, but in the end, you just have to make up your mind and take a leap of faith. If you run short on cash, you'll figure it out, just like you always do.

2. Stop being scared of Airbnb, no one is going to kill you. Better yet, find a friend.

I’m willing to bet you have some sort of connection to somebody in the city you want to visit, so why not stay with them? You know they’re safe, and you have a friendly (and free) tour guide on hand! When I traveled to London, one of the most expensive cities in Western Europe, I called a friend from high school who introduced me to one of her friends from college. We had an incredible weekend together, and I made a lifelong friend!

If you really can’t find anyone to stay with, you should not be paying more than 20 dollars per night, per person, for a place to sleep. There are thousands of Airbnb’s that are reviewed by guests, located in the city center, and fractions of the cost of a hotel. Like this Airbnb listing in the center of Florence, listed at $12 per night with a private room.

3. Stop overpaying for flights! Use a flight tracker.

Okay guys, this is where the real money saving is. The trick is: BE PATIENT. I constantly hear people complaining about $2000 flights to wherever they want to go, and I’m here to tell you that that is the biggest rip off ever.

My go-to flight tracker is Google Flights. This program gives you the option of plugging in dates and airports so you can know whenever those prices change. For example, I want to book a round trip flight from Dallas to Italy, so I have a flight tracked for the days I want to leave and arrive, from those airports as soon as the price drops to my “target price,” I’ll buy the tickets! You can do this with as many flights as you want, so if you can’t decide between a few destinations, then choose the one that hits your target the fastest.

4. Better yet, stop overpaying for ALL of your travel.

When traveling within Europe, buses, trains and Ryanair are going to be your best friends. These options are COMPLETELY SAFE, and will be cheaper than any transportation in the U.S., so take advantage of them! In fact, on first glance I found a flight on this airline from Milan to Rome for $11! My bus tickets from Florence to Rome were five dollars each. Keep your schedule flexible and travel where you can find the best deals.

5. The biggest tourist traps of them all are restaurants.

There, now you know. Every single restaurant that costs more than nine euros per plate is a total rip off. When I was living in Florence, friends would complain about a $30 dollar meal when I never paid more than $5 for fresh ingredients every night. How do you avoid getting ripped off? Forget everything you know about eating out. Before you go out to eat, set a maximum price you are going to pay. Luckily, when you look at a menu price, this should be the TOTAL FOR YOUR MEAL. That’s right, taxes have already been added, and you DO NOT need to tip. Additionally, that $15 bottle of wine you just bought? Probably costs close to $5 at the local grocery store. Pack your own refillable water bottle, and you’re good to go!

If you’re staying at an Airbnb or a friend’s house, odds are you have a kitchen where you can make fresh food you buy at a grocery store, and this is always the cheapest way to eat. In Italy, as with many European countries, food at farmers market is the cheapest way to shop for fresh, delicious ingredients. Research the city you’re going to for more precise information!

6. When it comes to entertainment, more expensive doesn't mean more fun.

Who says you can’t have fun on a budget? Some of the most incredible times I had were completely free, you just have to look hard enough for these experiences. The most beautiful view in Florence is a short hike up to a church where you can see the whole city. In London, I saw "A Midsummer Night’s Dream" for free at the Globe Theater, a building that Shakespeare himself designed. Additionally, every major city has at least one company that will give free tours. There is something for everyone if you really look for it!

7. Your grandma doesn't need a $200 vase. No really, she doesn't.

A lot of people (@mom) get caught up in what they need to get for others. When I began shopping for my friends and family, I set a limit on how much I would spend on each person, and found the best gift for that amount. For myself, I began a postcard collection because they are easy to carry and inexpensive.

8. Be prepared for problems, but don't be afraid of them.

Bet you thought I wasn’t thinking about “what if,” right? Well don’t worry, been there, done that, have a solution. Personally, for the five month trip I was on, I needed incidental money of about 500 dollars for a stolen passport, which included the actual passport plus a new flight, credit card, etc. The bottom line is this: stay out of trouble, because most of these problems are avoidable (mine included). Research the types of crime that are prevalent in the area you have chosen, triple check every booking that you make, and wear a fanny pack.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Why Your Grandma Is Your Biggest Blessing In Life

Because nobody loves you more than she does.
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There are many people in your life you are thankful for: Mom, Dad, siblings, cousins, best friends, teachers, neighbors, you name it. You are grateful to have people who constantly support you, who pick you up when you're down and love you unconditionally. But the one person who stands out among the rest of them is your grandma.

SEE ALSO: 10 Reasons Why Your Grandma Is The Best Person In Your Life

Ever since you were little, you and your grandma have always had a special connection. Going over to Grandma's house for the night was something you looked forward to. She knew how to entertain you at your best and worst moments. No matter what you did together, you loved it. Being with your grandma wasn't like being at home or with your parents – it was better. You went to the park, made cookies, went out to dinner, got a “sweet treat" at the mall, played Go Fish, took a bubble bath for as long as you wanted and got way too much dessert than you should have. You did things you weren't supposed to do, but Grandma didn't stop you. Because at Grandma's house there were no rules, and you didn't have to worry about a single thing. Being with Grandma was the true epitome of childhood. She let you be you. She always made sure you had the best time when you were with her, and she loved watching you grow up with a smile on your face.

The older you got, your weekend excursions with your grandma weren't as frequent, and you didn't get to see her as much. You became more and more busy with school, homework, clubs, sports, and friends. You made the most out of your time to see her, and you wished you could be with her more. Although you were in the prime of your life, she mattered even more to you the older you both became. You were with your friends 24/7, but you missed being with your grandma. When the time rolled around, and you got the chance to spend time with her, she told you never to apologize. She wanted you to go out, have fun and enjoy life the way it makes you happy.

Reflecting back on these moments with your grandma, you realize how truly special she is to you. There is no one who could ever compare to her nor will there ever be. All your life, there is no one who will be as sweet, as caring, as sincere or as genuine as her. Even though you're all grown up now, there are things about your grandma that never changed from when you were a kid. She still takes you out for your favorite meal because she knows how important eating out means to you. She writes you letters and sends you a $5 bill every now and then because she knows you're a hard-working college student with no money. She still helps you with all of your Christmas shopping because she knows it's your tradition. She still asks what's new with your young life because hearing about it makes her day and she still loves you to no end. Your grandma is your biggest blessing (whether you knew it or not), and she always will be no matter what.

Cover Image Credit: Erin Kron

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Second Day In Italy: Venice

The fun is only beginning!

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We wake up at about 8 AM, get on the water bus and head to the main island of Venice and head to St. Mark's Square.


St. Mark's SquareBrooke Burney


Our tour guide had scheduled a tour of Doge's Palace or Palazzo Ducale. Here, we met a local tour guide who gave us these devices, in which we would soon become familiar.


Waiting in line to enter Doge's PalaceBrooke Burney

They are radios that have a single headphone. The group wears them while the local guide speaks into a microphone which transmits through the radio so they don't have to yell over the other groups. Almost every other tour group that was there spoke another language, which was really interesting to listen to. But the Doge's Palace has immaculate architecture, incredible art pieces, and lots of history!


EntranceBrooke Burney


Courtyard of Doge's PalaceBrooke Burney


Complaint box Brooke Burney


Upper View of the courtyardBrooke Burney

One of my friends and I actually fell behind the group to take this picture as we wanted to see what was on the other side even though not many groups were going that way. Eventually, we decided that we were gone for too long so we had to run through tunnels and through an underground prison where we found the rest of our group.

After this tour, we walked through Venice, got on a boat and rode for thirty minutes to Murano. Here, we visited a glass shop. We watched a man make a vase and a glass horse while someone was telling us all about the art of glass blowing.


Murano Glass FactoryBrooke Burney


The whole thing took less than 20 minutes which was crazy to me. After the presentation, we perused in their shop. I was openly taking pictures of some of the works until one of the employees told me I couldn't. I don't want to post those pictures so here's a link if you want to look at some of their work.

After this, we went back to Venice where we had about three hours to eat and do whatever we wanted. Our tour guide suggested that we try squid ink pasta and I, adventurous as I am, had to try it.


Squid ink pastaBrooke Burney

It's actually way better than you'd think. It's kind of like chicken Alfredo but with bits of squid instead. After our few hours of leisure, we were to tour the St. Mark's Basilica. We were not allowed to take pictures but the inside of this church had almost, if not every, bible story painted on the walls and ceiling. Plus, the place where they hold mass is beautiful. It does not matter what religion you associate with, this church is a must-see. It's incredibly stunning.


St. Mark's Basilica Churchhttps://www.venetoinside.com/attraction-tickets-in...

After this tour, we finally got to ride the gondolas! The experience was incredible and completely worthwhile. Even though in the moment it didn't seem too exciting, it was totally worth it and I would do it again in a heartbeat.


Gondola dockBrooke Burney


In the canalBrooke Burney


In the canalBrooke Burney


The ride lasted about thirty minutes and the water was maybe three feet throughout the whole canal. Even though the Gondolas were everywhere, our tour guide took us to one of the prettiest routes. When we were finished, we had time to explore, so me and the three girls walked around where we got off the gondola which was about a mile from St. Mark's square. We looped around to a water bus dock which happened to be the one closest to St. Mary's Hospital which was built during the black plague.


St. Mary's HospitalBrooke Burney

When we got back to St. Mark's Square, we shopped around before we found a man who was feeding pigeons. Three out of four of us had gone to France four years prior and we HAD to reenact some pigeon pictures.


France, 2015Debbie Burney



Italy, 2018Karstin Allsup


By this time, it was about 7 pm so we met as a group and went to dinner. Afterwards, we went back to our hotel and our tour guide had told us that there was a beach down the street of our hotel. We had to walk across the island to get there but it was a straight shot. Even though it was dark at this point, we still wanted to put our feet in the water!

And tomorrow, Florence!

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