Have dreams of dining on a moonlit night, while gazing at the Eiffel Tower lit up the distance? Skiing the magnificent Alps? Walking the streets that emperors walked in Rome? What’s standing in your way??? Money you say? Let’s be frank, the expenses involved with travel can be daunting but with some patience and a few commonsense strategies your dreams CAN and WILL become a reality.
I am, by no means, an expert on any subject, travel included. However, I’ve figured out a way to make my travel dreams a reality and I want to share some of my methods with you.
First let me point out that it may not cost as much as you think.
Europe is my favorite travel destination. The exchange rate with European currency is rarely favorable to the dollar and some countries in Europe are more expensive than others but overall, I have been very pleasantly surprised with the prices there. Lodging, food, drinks, transportation, entertainment, etc. are most always much lower than we pay here in the US. This will vary from country to country. Do your research. If you find that your dream destination is on the pricier side, decide if it is something you want to splurge on. If not, pick another destination.
4 easy ways to pay for your next big trip
#1 Save a little.
This seems so obvious: put away a little money each time you get paid. The amount is up to you but be consistent. When we first decided we wanted to visit Europe, my husband and I each agreed to put away just $25 per week, so total $2,600 per year. Because our travel tastes aren’t extravagant, we had enough to go after just two years of saving! If you can make the commitment to do this, and have some patience, eventually you WILL have enough to take the trip of your dreams.
#2 Decide what your priorities are.
If you forego that expensive coffee every morning, you may find yourself sipping a cup of espresso at an outdoor cafe in Paris before you know it! Little expenses add up. Pack a lunch instead of eating out. Cook at home and you could be sipping a cup of wine while taking cooking classes in the Italian countryside.
My husband and I make choices that allow us to travel. We don’t live extravagantly. Our home is modest, and we don’t drive new cars. Sometimes we just must decided where our priorities lie and for each of us that varies.
#3 Rewards miles.
One of the biggest expenses you will have when traveling overseas is your airfare. My husband and I decided to sign up for a travel rewards card, American Airlines in our case. In the span of just 3 years, we have earned enough miles to fly to Europe in high season 6-8 times! Read my article on How to Travel for Free with points.
#4 Share expenses.
Another big expense is lodging. If you can split costs with a friend, or two, or more! it becomes much more affordable. Besides, isn’t everything better with a friend?!
#5 choose your location wisely
This one is a no brainer but WHERE you go has a lot to do with the total cost of the vacation. Obviously if you are wanting to stay in an over water bungalow in Bora Bora it will cost more than Glamping in Mexico. We all have our priorities but it will serve you well to do some research into the cost of your destination. Scandinavian countries are a lot more expensive than eastern European destinations.
I’m going to be perfectly honest for a minute here. During our travels around Europe we have found that it is much less expensive to travel around parts of Europe than it is here in the US, sometimes 2 to 3 times less expensive.
For illustration purposes I did some cost comparisons between popular US vs. Europe vacation expenses:
In the end, we believe it cost us a lot less to travel around Europe, especially since we are able to fly for free. If you haven’t checked out my post on how to do that yet you’ll find it here:
You make your choice, if you are shooting for the luxury locations then it may take a little longer for you to get there. “How to fly for free with points”
Now that you have figured out how to pay for vacation you will want to think about insuring your trip. You have a lot money tied up in your trip. You should give serious consideration to purchasing travel insurance. I highly recommend purchasing a plan that has a “cancel for any reason clause.” Most travel insurance plans do not cover pandemics. “Cancel for any reason” cover most issues that arise, including “we changed our mind and don’t want to go.” NOTE: These type of policies usually have to be purchase between 14-21 days of your initial trip payment. I have used Travelinsurace.com to shop for travel insurance, they provide quotes from top rated insurers. See their “cancel for any reason” search option on their site.
Now that you know how you are going to pay for, and insure your trip, it is time to get down to the fun part, the planning!
Check out my guide for Planning Your Dream Trip: Useful Tools and Resources to Plan Your Best Trip!