Traveling to Europe can be a life-changing experience. Taking the time to visit a continent full of new cultures and ancient history can seriously alter how you view the world. Unfortunately, it’s quite expensive to go to Europe when you live in North America. Not only are the flights pricey, but simply staying there can be an exercise in draining your wallet. Fortunately, a little hard work can help you to turn that trip from a dream into a reality. Below are three strategies you can use to afford a European vacation.
Get Rid of Other Debts
One of the best ways to free up money for travel is to get rid of your other debts. Doing this is a process that makes going to Europe more of a long-term goal, but it will help you to travel more often once it is done. If you can concentrate on getting rid of these payments for a few years, you certainly won’t be worrying as much about how you’ll afford to go on vacation.
There are two simple keys to paying off debt. First, you’ll need to stop accruing debt. Stop spending on credit and don’t take out any loans. After that, you’ll need to start paying down your debts starting with the smallest and moving up. The more money you free up in this process, the more you’ll have for your European vacation.
Look for Cheaper Options
You can make even a tight budget stretch if you really want to go to Europe. All you need to do is look for options that don’t carry the usual tourist price tag. While this may mean making some changes to your itinerary, doing so may be able to get you to Europe much faster. Thanks to the internet, it’s easier than ever to find deals even when you are halfway across the world.
When traveling, your two biggest expenses will be transportation and lodging. While the airlines do set the prices, you can find cheaper ways to fly by flying on specific days or avoiding the busiest times of the year. Lodging is a bit easier—all you need to do is to find alternatives to the typically expensive hotels that house most tourists. You’ll need to do your research, but you can easily save hundreds—or thousands—of dollars by finding alternatives to AirBNB in London.
Dedicate an Account
No matter what other tricks you use, you’ll still need money to get to Europe. One of the best ways to do this is to create a dedicated account for your European trip. This should, theoretically, be an account in which you deposit money but that you won’t access at any other time. It shouldn’t be tied to your debit card and it should be kept separate from any kind of emergency account that you already have.
Try to put a little money into this account every paycheck. If you want to be truly dedicated, throw any spare cash you accumulate during the year into that account. This includes money from holidays and any bonuses you might get at work. It can be tough to put away every extra cent you have, but it will help you to create a much larger fund for your eventual trip.
Affording a trip to Europe means changing the way you interact with money. You will need to eliminate as much debt as possible, create a dedicated account to save up money, and find non-traditional methods to reduce the costs of the trip when you can. If you can make this trip a priority in your life, you’ll find yourself on your way to Europe faster than you may have ever imagined.