Europe on a Budget

Who doesn’t dream of that magical Europe Vacation?  It is not as far out of reach as it may seem.  Over the years I have researched different ways to travel on a budget and I have come across a few tricks.   I spend a lot of time researching, which also means a lot of time reading through reviews.

Recently, I came across the website Tripmasters.com and I was shocked by the prices.   You were able to book flights and hotels in Europe for the typical cost of the plane ticket alone.  After doing further research, I realized that there is some sort of relationship between the airlines and the hotels that allows you to book the flight for a cheaper price.  This means that there is a four night minimum for hotels, but this four night stay does not have to be spent in the same city.

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Getting to the good stuff.  My brother-in-law is living in Warsaw, Poland for a year with his wife and one year old daughter.   This is a temporary move for work. When they went to book their rental home in Warsaw, they intentionally got a place that was big enough for visitors.  They kept asking when we would come visit.  We knew we had a place to stay, but we would still have to buy plane tickets so we were still talking about a lot of money.  Also, I’ve never been to Paris or Berlin or Amsterdam or London or so many other locations.  Poland had not registered at the top of my list.  When we looked at flights they were over $1,000 each.

We really did want to go visit, so I started researching ways to do multi-city travel, which would allow us to still have some great time with family but we would also get the adventure of visiting a new city on our own.  That is when I came across Tripmasters.  We explored adding on a city to the back of trip.  We looked into everything from Paris to Iceland to Milan.   However, Prague ended up being the cheapest option.  It is supposed to be absolutely beautiful and very cheap.  The current conversion rate is 1 USD to 22 CSK.  Since we are staying with family on the front end, we knew that our costs would be low.  Not only do we have the place to stay, but we won’t be required to eat out every meal like we would if we were staying at a hotel.  However, we will likely spend more in Prague since we will not have access to a kitchen.   This made Prague the perfect option for our budgeted travel.  We were able to book flights as well as nine days in Europe for two people for only $2,072.29.  

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The trip includes five nights in Warsaw, followed by three nights in Prague, Czech Republic.    The package price includes our flights from the United States, a hotel for five nights in Warsaw, flights from Warsaw to Prague, our hotel in Prague, and our flights home.  We are not canceling the hotel in Warsaw even though we will be staying with family because we weren’t sure how a cancellation would impact the rest of the trip.  Also, since my birthday falls in the middle of our time in Poland, we may sneak away for a night and stay in the hotel on our own.

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I was so excited to find this deal.  I will definitely post an update regarding how the trip goes and whether we run into any roadblocks, but I am hoping it will be a smooth trip.  Assuming there are no complications, I would definitely book through Tripmasters again.  They have a number of packages, but there is also the option to build your own trip.

Lastly, I would note that we are able to travel because we have our budget.  We put away money every month towards vacation and we work hard to find budgeted trips on the backside.  We keep a sinking fund for vacations, which means that we never go into debt for our travel.  Currently, we are putting extra towards student loans every month, but we also put away $300 a month for vacation.  That allows us to have $3,600 per year towards travel.  This year that amount funded our Europe trip, as well as a four night all-inclusive trip to Puerto Vallarta.

You have to decide what, if any, amount you would like to put away towards vacation.    This is what works for us, but others may want to use those extra funds towards debt.   You have to decide what is a priority for you and create a budget that reflects those priorities.

Let me know if you have any questions!

Budgeted Brunette