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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To The Girl Who Hasn't Been Herself Lately

Your spark return, and you will shine like you were meant to.
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Life gets tough. Life gets too much to handle sometimes, and those times make you stronger. However, right now, it seems like you have lost yourself.

It’s difficult when you catch yourself not being you. When you do something or act a certain way and just wonder, “what did I do to deserve this? Why is this happening? When will it get better?” The way you’re feeling is not so much that you’re unhappy, you just feel weird.

Your day will come. I promise you. This is just a phase.

The day you realize how much you have grown from this point in time will be your reward. It is so hard to see now, and I feel your pain.

Your light will return to you. Your pure bliss moments, they are seeking you. Your laughter where your tummy aches is in your reach.

Our moods change far too often for us as humans to understand why, but the encounters you make every day have this effect on us.

You must remember the pure happiness you experienced before your first heartbreak, before the first friend became someone you thought they weren’t, before you lost your innocence. That was a time of true joy as you had not a care in the world for the things that would harm you. Better yet, you didn’t have the option to experience them because you were just a child.

The world can be an ugly place, and your attitude towards life can change every day. One thing is for certain: you did not lose who you are internally. We all put on a face for the world. For the people who we try to impress. For the life we want to live. For the things we want to achieve.

Your definitive personality is still in the works. Believe it or not, it always will be. Times like this change us for the better even though we can’t see it.

Your happiness will return. You will be a better, stronger version of you. In fact, you will be the best version of you yet.

Once this phase is over, you will be okay. This I promise you.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Sutton

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We Need To Start Taking Sexual Assault Against Men More Seriously

If you wouldn't say it to a woman, why would it be okay to say it to a man?

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Meet Becky. Becky is an attractive, 17-year-old woman looking to find an agent to help her Hollywood career. She finds an excellent, popular agent who invites her to his house for an interview. They have drinks and chat, getting along wonderfully all the while.

But things change quickly. The agent keeps giving her alcohol despite her young age until she is undoubtedly drunk. Suddenly, he climbs on top of her and begins to fondle her. She's torn; she can't insult him without ruining her career, but this isn't what she wants. She's able to push him off without aggravating him, but she knew she couldn't report the issue without angering him and his colleagues. She waits 11 years to report the incident, only to learn that she wasn't his only victim.

It's always a horrifying story. A woman was pinned down and groped without consent by an adult man who had no excuse not to know any better. You're undoubtedly disgusted by the agent's actions, but would you feel the same if Becky wasn't a woman?

If it changes your opinion at all, you're a hypocrite.

Becky doesn't exist, but this is a true story according to Blaise Godbe Lipman, an American actor, screen director, and screenwriter. He along with several other young men, such as Lucas Ozarowski, claim that child talent agent Tyler Grasham made "unwanted advances" towards them and came out with their stories as the #MeToo movement gained traction in 2017.

Lucas Ozarowski's Facebook Post Lucas Ozarowski's Facebook post accusing Tyler Grasham of sexual assault

This isn't just a small group of men though. A 2005 study by the Centers for Disease Control found that approximately 16% of men in America had been sexually assaulted, but that percentage ballooned to 43% in 2018 after the MeToo movement brought greater awareness to what sexual assault entailed. 1in6, an organization dedicated to raising awareness about sexual assault against men, thinks that these numbers are still inaccurate. According to 1in6, men are less likely to disclose sexual assault status and "[o]nly 16% of men with documented histories of sexual abuse (by social service agencies, which means it was very serious) considered themselves to have been sexually abused, compared to 64% of women with documented histories in the same study." Because of these differences, the incidence of sexual assault against men may be significantly higher than we've come to expect.

But we have a problem as a society: we don't take sexual assault against men as seriously as we take sexual assault against women.

Take Terry Crews' case, for example. The former NFL player and actor in "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" was groped in 2016, but he only revealed this information to the public in 2017 as he joined the #MeToo movement. His case was more widely publicized than that of Lipman's and Ozarowski's and some people were... less than empathetic.

King T'Tywala's tweet King T'Tywala's tweet regarding Terry Crews

Unfortunately, this is one of the kinder tweets he received. I will not show the following tweets due to the language used, but the people throwing insults about Crews' masculinity ranged anywhere from the relatively unknown to larger names such as 50 cent. Rather than attacking his claims, many people felt the need to take a jab at Crews' masculinity and capability as a person—just like they've done with other men in his position.

Despite the widely held belief that men need to be strong, calm rocks with good control of their emotions, they aren't inherently stronger than women when coping with the aftermath; a man can feel guilty, anxious, hopeless, and even suicidal after the fact. Men can go into crisis, men can feel inferior, and men can fear for their lives every night when they're safely tucked away in bed.

Just like women.

Sexual assault simply doesn't make the victim any "less of a man." It isn't funny. It doesn't make him weak. The only difference is that people are more likely to look down on him and less likely to support him than if he was a woman. We need to address this and start moving forward as a society so that men start receiving the compassion and support that women do after a horrific event like this. By discarding our ingrained beliefs about what a man SHOULD react like, we can respond properly to what that man DOES react like and give him the help he deserves.

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