Here's How To Save For Your First Ever Euro Trip
Remember the marshmallow test? Delayed gratification is key!
Save For Later
"Quit your job and travel the world.” It's an idea that many of us entertain, but not all of us realistically consider. Instead, we take small vacations during long weekends to tide us over until we can finally afford to fly to our dream destinations.
But after years of hard work, you're finally ready to take some time off to cross that big Euro trip off your bucket list—how do you start planning?
- Decide where you want to go. Which European countries do you want to visit? Are you leaning more towards visiting the popular cities or exploring the countryside more? Are you interested in art and architecture or outdoor activities? Figuring out which places you absolutely have to see and which ones you're willing to skip gives you a definite goal, which will help your planning process.
- Research on the visa requirements. The kind of visa you need depends on where you're from and where you want to go in Europe. A Schengen visa allows you to visit 26 countries, but if you want to visit the U.K., you'll need to apply for a whole other visa for that leg of your trip. Do your research and be diligent about collecting the necessary documents and preparing the visa fees.
- Book your tickets and accommodations in advance.Ticket prices and room rates are notorious for fluctuating. We suggest scouting for affordable options six to eight months before your departure date. Use apps to track flight costs and hotel promos, and set up alerts for when prices drop (or surge). Take advantage of credit card travel deals like using miles to book flights and redeeming points for free hotel stays.
- Adjust your current lifestyle habits. If you take a look at your financial situation, we're willing to bet that the bulk of your expenses involve overpriced coffee and too much takeout. If you're serious about saving up for this Euro trip, those are two things you need to cut out of your routine, at least until after you get back. Cooking at home and making your own coffee save so much money, even if they require more effort in the morning.
- Open a dedicated savings account. Set up an automatic payment system so that a portion of your paycheck—a fixed amount—gets transferred to this account every time you get paid. This way, the money for your trip isn't visible to you, which would make you less likely to spend it.
- Figure out how to maximize your credit card points. Every seasoned traveler will tell you that credit card points are the lifeline of budget-friendly trips. Those points could be converted to miles and other travel rewards that'll help you save on flights, accommodations, food, car rentals and even tours. Don't miss out on these deals just because you didn't bother to look! The extra cash could have been an extra theater ticket or a Michelin-star meal.
It may seem overwhelming, but traveling on your own halfway around the world is a big deal; you'll never know what type of adventure will come your way. A few sacrifices here and there won't hurt, especially after you cross "Backpack Europe!" off that bucket list.