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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7 Dilemmas All Girls Have When It Comes To Packing That Boys Don't Know About

The struggle girls go through in order to fit an entire wardrobe into a tiny bag.

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Let's be honest, packing is always the most painful part about a vacation. Sure, the flight there could be bad depending on your seat arrangement, but packing a suitcase will always win. All girls can relate to this dilemma. How do boys do it? Us girls have an entire wardrobe of clothes to fit inside a tiny canvas bag.

And then we have to come face-to-face with the airline agent as we shamefully stand in front of the scale awaiting that unknown number.

Here is a "cheers" to all those vacations that us girls have successfully jammed full a suitcase in the spirit of looking cute for that perfect Instagram. However, let's now reminisce upon those struggling times we went through to get through that TSA security checkpoint.

Here are the top seven dilemmas every girl can relate to:

1. Packing 40 pairs of underwear for a 7-day trip (and sadly there is no exaggeration here)

For some unknown reason, we must always find it necessary to pack about five pairs of underwear for every day we are on vacation. Sure, we may not need them, but if I pee my pants every day four times a day…then I'm prepared.

2. Having to substitute your nice shampoo for the watered-down shampoo in the hotel

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It's always a sad moment when you realize your hair will never be as silky smooth on vacation purely due to the fact that you packed too many pairs of shoes and no longer have room for your salon brand shampoo and conditioner.

3. Having enough clothes to come up with a week's worth of “Instagram chic” outfits

Am I the only one who stands in front of a closet full of clothes to repeatedly scream, "I HAVE NO CLOTHES"? I will never understand how girls have enough clothing to come up with an entire week's worth of trendy cute outfits that are all unique.

4. Praying (and possibly offering up a sacrifice) that your compact does not break during the flight

There is nothing worse than opening up your makeup bag after a plane ride to find your beloved compact crumbled. So, in preparation, you pull out the bubble wrap and cushion that baby until you can't see it anymore.

5. Fitting all your shoes in the tiny space left that your clothing isn’t occupying

After your outfits are all decided and packed, it comes time to squeeze in eight pairs of shoes. Now is the time to sit back and cry because how on earth is it possible to fit two pairs of shoes, one pair of flip-flops, two pairs of wedges and five pairs of sandals into the quarter of space left in your suitcase?

6. Calling in the forces (consisting of your entire family) to get your suitcase closed and zipped

After you played (and conquered) the best game of "Tetris" yet, it is time to get that baby zipped shut. You gather the family, and it becomes a new bonding experience where you all pile on top of a tiny rectangle and squish down until you almost break the zipper in order to get it closed.

7. Getting that (almost) 50-pound suitcase down the stairs and into the car

Now that you've done (what you thought was) the hard part of packing, it comes down to the time where you need to use the deteriorated muscle on your arms and lift all 50 pounds of packing and haul it down the (what seems like) 13 flights of stairs and into the trunk of the car.

All the stress that comes with packing is just another reason you need this vacation. Go relax, have fun and try not to think about how you'll have to pack everything back up at the end of it all... with the addition of any souvenirs you buy.

Cover Image Credit:

Max Pixel

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I Lived In Europe And I Can NEVER Go Back To Small-Town America

I want to be part of a city that is always moving at the speed of light.

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I've been pretty clear in my dislike of my small Midwestern town. I think I've made at least two articles here about how I feel about where I live, so this is not a new topic on it. However, I have new insight into it, having lived in Europe for a month.

At the time that I'm writing this, I am finishing up a month-long study abroad in Paris, France. I flew out from Minnesota on May 31st and began my journey in Paris on June 1st. And it has truly been a journey. I am living in the heart of the city, riding public transportation daily, and trying my best to speak French like a local. And I love it. I never want to leave.

In my small hometown, there is nothing. The nearest mall is around an hour away. There are two fast-food restaurants in town, and everyone knows everything. In Paris, the world is at my fingertips. I can walk down the street for a pain au chocolate (the best thing every created, btw) or hop on the nearest métro station and be at the Eiffel Tower or the Champs-Élysées in less that 10 minutes. I can meet a new person on public transportation every day while also picking up a conversation with my server at the local café that we were talking about yesterday.

Paris makes me feel free in a way that I never did in my small town. I may only be one person in a population of over 2 million, but I have never felt more myself. I have never felt so independent or so excited to go out and explore the world. There is always something new to discover in Paris. I don't have that back home. Paris is always active, always pushing toward the future. I love the speed. Home is slow, barely moving forward. It plods along, slower than the tractors that drive along the side of the road.

I can't go back to somewhere that crawls forward. I crave the hustle and the bustle of the line 1 métro station at 9 a.m. when everyone is trying to get to work and there is no room on the train. I crave a brisk walk down the street, past people cruising through the streets on their motos and teenagers smoking on the sidewalks.

Paris is everything that I've always wanted. I want to live somewhere that is a constant adventure. Sure, I want to keep traveling and I totally intend to, but I wrote this article to say that I can never go back to stagnation. I love it here. And sure, I'll come back home to see my family. But I'd so much rather they come and visit me. Because Paris is so much better than any hole-in-the-wall town could be.

Cover Image Credit:

Alyson Amestoy

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