I’ve heard the muttering : “It must be nice to afford Europe travel” and the insinuations about my entitlement, or even snide asides to my assumed elitism. Let’s get this straight –I am incredibly grateful to be able to travel, and I know it’s out of reach for a lot of people for financial, family or work related reasons (as it was for me during the many years I lived hand to mouth) . That said, it should be acknowledged that most people reading this have some discretionary income. Because traveling is important to me, I’ve made specific lifestyle choices that allow me to travel off season, using my own skills and resourcefulness. For example, I don’t own a car and I pack my lunch to work every day. I buy most of my clothes from thrift stores, work out at home, get my books from the library, and only go to restaurants on special occasions, like when friends are in town.
Our most recent trip, ten days in France, cost $981.42 each. This includes airfare and trains/buses between eight towns. Trains in France are not cheap, but I bought sale tickets in advance to keep the expense down as much as possible. All food expenses are included in the total, though I’m not sure entirely if it belongs, since we mostly ate from grocery stores, the same as we would at home. Our rooms ranged in price from €35.50 to €60.00 a night for a double.
I never skimp on admission fees–there’s no point in traveling so far and not seeing what we want to see, but as it happens, our favorite destinations are churches, which are generally free to visit.
To think of this in terms of monthly budget, I could pay for this trip by saving $81.78 a month for a year, or $2.68 a day–less than a Starbucks, just sayin’.