Gelato & Avventura: Traveling On A Budget

Aside from Rome, I’ve traveled to many other places throughout my study abroad semester, including all throughout Italy (Tuscany, Venice, the Amalfi Coast, Naples, and Pompeii) as well as Barcelona, Paris, Morocco, Prague, and Poland. Before my semester is over, I will also be traveling to Croatia, London, Berlin, and Ireland. I didn’t come to Rome intending to travel so much, but after a taste of it, I was addicted.

Everyone always asks how all of the traveling is possible — trust me, I wouldn’t have been able to do it without finding the cheapest ways possible. Let’s make one thing clear: traveling throughout Europe is extremely economical, and that is one of the reasons I am able to visit so many different places. Nonetheless, it is still easy to spend a lot of money without realizing it, no matter where you are traveling to, and I’ve definitely had my fair share of learning experiences. Here are a few of the tips I’ve learned throughout my traveling:

Be flexible. This is my No. 1 piece of advice. Be prepared for whatever comes your way. If you are a hardcore stickler for certain places that you want to visit, it will be much harder to think in a budget-friendly way. One of my favorite things to do is search for the cheapest ticket available during a certain time and go from there. That’s how I went to Morocco, and it has been one of my favorite trips so far! Traveling in itself is already a wonderful adventure, so don’t be afraid to let go of preconceived notions and just go with the flow.

Plan to a certain extent. Don’t get me wrong, planning is what makes some people thrive, but it’s not really for me. I like to be surprised and take things as they come, but even with this mindset, I realize there are some things that should be planned in advance such as places to stay and methods of transportation. Rooms are booked fast, and you don’t want to be stuck paying for a pricey hotel — unless, of course, you don’t mind sleeping on the streets, which has been done. If that’s your style, make sure to bring a blanket.

Hostel your night away. If sleeping in the streets isn’t really your thing (and it’s definitely not for most people), hostels are the way to go. Don’t be afraid because of the scary hostel stories. I’ve stayed in plenty of hostels throughout traveling, and they have all been amazing. Not only are they cheap, but they are also a great way to meet new people and bond with your friends. Nothing says bonding like staying in a room with nine other people for an entire weekend — our shenanigans in Poland were made so much better because of this.

To food or not to food? I personally believe food is a huge part of traveling since it’s such a big part of the culture, but this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to splurge on every single meal. Sure, going out to a traditional or fancy meal is nice, but I like to stick to one per trip. After that, it’s all about the street food. Believe it or not, street food has as much culture (if not more) than anything you can find in a restaurant. Sausages in Prague, baguettes in Paris, and zapiekanka in Poland — all of these are full-of-culture street foods that made me fall in love with each country even more.

These tips are applicable to most places around the world — just point to a map, and go!