Fly to Europe for $85...NOT

How do you travel economically? Can it be done?

18 months ago I began planning for a volunteer summer of service in Europe for myself, my son, and daughter. I read article after article about how people could fly to exotic locations for under $100 or spend three weeks in Iceland for $20… I’m being slightly sarcastic. However, when researching budget travel, the answers I found were often unrealistic for the average traveler. Sure, there was a time I may have boarded a shipping airplane or built my own hang glider to cross the Atlantic but that time is past and now I’m looking for more realistic options. On second thought, I think I would still fly a shipping airline for a reduced cost but the point is- these posts that travel bloggers create are not always realistic for families or travelers above the age of 22?

In my experience, the highest costs for our travel are typically our transportation, accommodations, and food. Next, admission/entrance costs, entertainment, parking, and fees.

-We collect miles for hotel and flights. It’s not enough to subsidize travel once per year.
-We drive when possible and fly discount airlines.
-We try to combine work trips with family travel.
-We eat 2x per day instead of 3.
-We use public transportation.
-I purchase our hometown museum family membership and visit the reciprocal “free” museums when traveling.

These ideas help us once we’ve committed to travel but none of them allow us to foster a mentality that we can travel often because it’s affordable. I am working to create an environment that nurtures that mentality… travel is possible.

What routines, practices, experiments or ideas do you try so you may travel within your budget?


I can honestly relate to your experience so much! Often enough, it is possible to find the cheap deals, but if you are an employed person (in a system, that is, not a freelance), there are so many more things to reconsider before dropping everything and going for a 2 week trip, be it in your own continent or another. For me, planning everything in advance and saving for the trip and experiences, avoiding touristic season and extremely crowded bucket-list locations help to keep myself within set budget - be it travelling alone, with a group of friends or my family. Oh and planning the travel itinerary on my own, with a very very rare exception of joining a tour (I have been on a guided and organised tour maybe once in 4 years; but that’s also that I just don’t like them, a completely personal and biased opinion).
It is difficult to cut expenses for transportation costs - depending on a country, petrol eats up major part of the travel budget. Unfortunately, haven’t found a solution for that :confused:
But, depending on your general expenses, cutting down on food budget works for me with choosing very local, street food places and cooking at the place I’m staying. That’s a bit of a common sense one, but more than usual we tend to forget, I believe, how much cheaper it is to cook locally than eating out - and if you’re staying at hostels/guest houses/somewhere with locals, it’s even more fun to ask them for local recipes to try :slight_smile: But I understand that it also works not for everyone.
And also, trying to find as many tips from locals rather than travel bloggers, because it is an often case when bloggers chase an experience that is filmable, bloggable or instagrammable, which is again, not always a case, but a big chunk of information found on google, not to mention sponsorships they receive.
I hope this helps at least a bit!


I will share you my personal experience, whenever I want to travel somewhere I always make a strict budget and sticks to it with discipline I then don’t compromise on it and believe me it always work.

I don’t have much advice, but there’s a cathartic little ditty about just this subject sung by Fascinating Aida, called “Cheap Flights”
WARNING! There’s a considerable amount of foul language. It’s mostly in Irish euphemism, but the meaning comes through clear. Don’t play it out loud in front of your Irish Auntie, unless she’s like my Irish Aunties in which case she’ll love it.