Monday, December 19, 2005

Travel Fund - a short-term goal

A friend and I have decided to travel around Europe in two years. So far, Greece, Netherlands, and Germany are a few of the countries, we would like to visit. We decided to keep the number of countries down in order to realistically experience them in a month's time.

My maximum budget for the trip is around $4,000.00. This means that we'll have to do some hostel living with sporadic hotel stays. We'll have international student identification cards hopefully that would help us get discounts on transportation and attractions. Our main goal during the travels is to experience the countries, so shopping wouldn't probably be a top priority except for some trinkets as gifts for people back home or small souvenirs.

I have frequent flyer miles with a couple of airlines due to my last job requiring alot of travel but the miles are spread out over several airlines. So, if I want to fly with United Airlines or American Airlines, I'd have to supplement the gap by buying additional miles. It still works out better than buying a full price ticket during peak season. Depending on where I'm flying into, the price of a round trip ticket for me will be around $500-600. I just have to remember to buy the ticket a year ahead :). Let's hope the frequent fly miles still work then!

About thirteen years ago, when I was in Paris for two weeks with a bunch of school friends, I remember that it only cost about 12 francs per night at a pretty good hostel that includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner. My budget for two weeks was 500 Francs (not including airfare) and it lasted through the hostel stays, outside meals, museums, a river cruise, a play, attractions, metro passes, trinkets, and I think I had some money left over by the time I got home. I was mainly there to draw/paint for an art project for school, so I focused less on spending and more on painting. However, this was 13 years ago *sigh*. Also, I am not sure if I can travel and budget the same way a 14 year old can anymore! I didn't care so much about having to sleep on a bunk bed with eight other people in the room when I was 14.

Another friend of mine laughed at me when I told her about my plan to budget this europe trip. Before I can attempt to make any defenses, she cut me down and said laughingly and repeatedly that noone stays at hostels at our age. Pride makes me want to say that I'll stay at 4-star hotels and rent a car during the whole vacation, but ever since I started this blog, I've become alot more budget minded and have seen how rewarding it feels to watch your savings grow. I refuse to charge credit cards to help me pretend.

Is this what is expected of people in their late twenties? To live and travel in style? If so, I fear for my thirties.


  1. Sounds like an inconsiderate friend. I would have had to bite my lip to keep from saying "you're not invited anyway, so what does it matter to you?"

    Anyway, it is your trip and you're doing it the way you want to do it. Sounds like you'll really get to experience the areas you visit instead of just the touristy spots.

    "Is this what is expected..." Yep, to a lot of people. Get used to it, but don't worry about having to defend yourself. Just enjoy!

  2. Heck, I hostel'ed around Europe when I was 22, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat. My wife, of course, would not agree to this. Shrug.

    It's all personal preference, do what you feel comfortable with. Most nights I'm was tired from walking around all day I didn't care where I sleep as long as it was safe and dry.

    But whatever you do, go. Make sure your friend doesn't flake out on you like 2 of my friends did. Life is about the experiences, not the toys.

  3. Thanks for all the support! I really shouldn't worry about what my age group should be doing. Alot easier said than done though.

    Jonathan, oh, I'm really wary about friends flaking on me as well. I was going to ask another girlfriend to travel as well but knowing her, I know that she would probably flake on me the hour before the plane's supposed to depart.

    Must repeat to self: "Things are not important in life".

  4. If you are below 28 years of age you can get discount in euro rail.
    I was 27ys old when i traveled (backpack) around France and Italy for 15 days. Youth hostels are best place to stay if you want to be economical.
    But remember something’s in USA which are necessity like A/C or luxury in France and Italy.
    Best place to get more information about youth hostel are
    Virtual Tourist and Youth Hostel

  5. Anonymous8:25 PM

    $4000 for a month in Europe is going to be tight, but you can do it.

    Be aware that hostels might not be air conditioned, you will share a bathroom with many others, and you will need to carry minimal luggage that you can shove in a locker (and to be safe, bring your own combination lock).