How I Saved Money Travelling Around Europe for Three Months.

Everyone’s first objection or complaint is that traveling is expensive. And they are right. But if you are willing to make some sacrifices there are very simple things you can do to save loads of money.

  1. Stay away from Hotels. Use Hostels and AirBnB
    1. This should be obvious. Don’t be an old person and assume the old ways of using hotels for 300 dollars a night. Sacrifice a little and stay in a hostel with a shared room with 10 strangers for 10 bucks a night. You will have way more fun and meet all sorts of people, you will sacrifice some comfort but in a couple years you won’t look back on that hotel bed you had and remember it. I stayed in a hostel 20 min outside of the center of Rome for 25 bucks a night. I had a bed in a room of 9 other beds. They were filled with 9 Chinese ladies that barely spoke English. It was hilarious and uncomfortable. But I would do it again every time. Always check AirBnB, sometimes it is even cheaper than the hostels. A good tip is if you are willing to stay a 10 min or 45 min walk away from the center of a big city there is a good chance there are available AirBnb’s for extremely cheap. I went stayed a few nights in Belfast, Ireland and I got an AirBnB for 15 bucks a night because it was about an hour and half walk to anything interesting. But it saved me over 100 dollars from not staying in the city!
  2. WALK EVERYWHERE YOU CAN.
    1. If you can walk to where you’re going without being late, always do it. Stay away from taxis unless in emergency. They can be really tempting on a hot and humid day. Use google maps to see if their free trains or busses, but walking will allow you to see more of the cities that the average traveler does not. AND you will save tons of money. Taxi spending adds up REAL quick.
  3. Sometimes a plane ride is cheaper than a train ride
    1. This can seem crazy and is not always true. But there are airlines within Europe that are extremely cheap, such as RyanAir. I got a plane ticket from Stockholm, Sweden to Barcelona, Spain for 50 bucks. 50 BUCKS! Instead of taking several trains, maybe a day and a couple hundred bucks I got to Barcelona in a few hours for extremely cheap. The trick with these airlines is they charge you for EVERY little thing. You want to check a bag? Extra cost. You want a drink? Extra cost. Some even charge you to go to the bathroom. So, I was able to take a backpack and not pay any extra costs. The EuroRail pass can be a good deal if you are traveling between countries over a long period of time. I found it to be cheaper to just buy your train tickets in advance online and have all the tickets on your phone and have a printed copy.
  4. If you are feeling really brave, sleep on trains.
    1. This one is if you are really extreme on saving money. I was traveling from Hamburg, Germany to Copenhagen, Denmark and I spent a day in Hamburg and took an overnight train to Copenhagen and that is where I slept! Then I had a whole day in Copenhagen before I had to pay for a hostel. I’m sort of insane, so this isn’t for everyone, but it was an adventure.

I want to know what you think. Do you think these are good ways to save money? Do you think I am a fool? What are some other ways to do it? Let me know in the comments! Be sure to subscribe to my Email Newsletter to get other tips and stories!

Go read my other posts. Stop. Just do it. Archives

Smartphone or no Smartphone?

There is a growing discussion among travelers in the world about whether you should travel with technology or without. More specifically should you bring your smartphone with you everywhere you go or not? We all know how addicted to our phones we are. I mean, every thanksgiving dinner your Grandparents are pacing around griping about everyone not talking to each other and staring into the abyss. That can’t just be my family. This comes into play when you are wanting to travel around. It is an obvious problem that could arise. Are you going to be staring at your phone or staring at the beautiful landscape or talking to new people? Will the technology keep you from experiencing the places you visit to the fullest? You can spend just as much time sucked into a book or a journal as you can with your phone. The key is to not use it ALL THE TIME. Your batter dying is a horrible situation and you don’t want it to happen anyways.

In my opinion going technology free has its place and can be beneficial. BUT, I believe it is not only fine to have your phone with you at all times, I think it is essential to have the best experience you can. For me, having my iPhone with me made everything easier and let me focus more on the experiences that make traveling more fun. When your goal is to have as much fun as possible, spend as little money as possible, and make the trip less stressful then having a smartphone is a NECESSITY.

Let me tell you why. For one, your phone is your camera. Who doesn’t want to take pictures and videos of all the amazing things you see? There’s no real need to haul around a pack just for your camera and equipment. Your phone takes fantastic photos. Another reason is getting around new cities. Being in a country where you don’t speak the language is stressful and also an adventure. Google Translate is pretty incredible as you can scan signs and menus and it translates it real time. It is not very good at it, but it helps you understand a little bit and you can communicate in a very embarrassing way and still have fun.

Google maps is like having an angel on your shoulder telling you exactly what streets to take, what trains or busses to take, when to get off, and how long it will all take. You should make time for exploration and adventure, but sometimes you are time constraint and need to make your train and you can’t read any signs in other languages. Now if you are one of those clinically insane people who still use Apple Maps, stop what your doing and delete that garbage and start using Google Maps like a normal person.

No one likes to look like an idiot on the side of the street trying to flag down a taxi especially when you find out that you can only take taxies at specified stops and you just wasted 30 min waving your hand at every car that passed by. Uber and Lyft are basically everywhere, and you can just copy and paste the address of where you need to go and there is no argument or stress about trying to communicate to the Italian dude where your going and he doesn’t speak English.

So those are some of the reasons why I think having your phone is essential, plus how else are you gonna piss all your friends off on Instagram with your constant posts of you having a blast while they work.

I want to know what you think. Do you think you should travel with your phone or not? Or maybe just sometimes? Why or why not? What are some apps you find essential to help you travel?

Go read my other posts. Stop. Just do it. Archives

How I Almost Died in Copenhagen

 

It was about 3 am and I was on the 4th story floor hanging in the window in my underwear about to jump on the roof about 10 feet down and across the alleyway. Alright I’m jumping ahead a little bit, lets rewind and I’ll tell you how I ended up there.

I didn’t actually almost die. But it sure sounds cooler when I say it like that. I’ll get to what happened, but I want to tell you a little bit about Copenhagen. One of my favorite places I visited in Europe. The reason I loved it so much was because it was one of the cities where I arrived without a plan and had absolutely no idea what to do. I arrived by train from Hamburg, Germany at about 7 in the morning. I had my backpack and had just slept all night on the train. I had a night paid for at a hostel in the center of the city. I checked in and left my pack there in the room that I was sharing with about 8 other people. They were mostly all from Japan and didn’t really speak any English. Luckily, almost every local speaks fantastic English. You will find that this is true for most of Europe. Everyone speaks two or three languages. We suck in America. I left my stuff in the hostel and walked out the door and picked a direction and decided to go that way and find out what I could experience. I ate some awesome waffles and found a river with a bunch of colorful houses. It’s that beautiful spot where you see all the pictures with the tall skinny houses all in red, blue, yellow, and black. I overheard some people talking about the little mermaid statue that is a big attraction in Copenhagen. I had to check it out. It was pretty lame. I wouldn’t recommend it. It was like those situations where there is all this hype and you see this big crown and I arrive there and just say “hmm, that’s neat.” I wandered around the city all day checking out some museums and getting good food.

Now that I got through all that boring stuff here is where the day gets weird. So, my hostel is like a big 5 or 6 story building with probably hundreds of people staying there. It is like a hostel hotel. They have accommodations for people ranging from families to ppl paying as less as possible to have a bed. That was me. I went to bed at about 11 pm feeling pretty good about the chill day seeing the beautiful city of Copenhagen. I woke up at about 3am to screaming and a loud alarm going off and a recorded voice over the intercom saying: “Fire, Fire, Fire, please exit the building…. Fire, Fire, Fire, please exit the building” I thought I was dreaming. Everyone was scrambling to get out of their beds, rush to the stairway, and exit the building. We were on the 4th floor and the stairway door was about 3 feet wide and the whole floor was smashing into it trying to downstairs. I could smell smoke and there were kids crying and everyone shoving to get downstairs. My first thought was no way I’m gonna leave this building in only my underwear and let it all burn down. So, I left the crowd and ran back to my room and grabbed my phone and ran back out. That’s all I grabbed… my phone. I had great priorities. Everyone is struggling to get out and I told myself there is now way I’m dying up here with all these people. So, I run to the bathroom and open window to climb out. Thank goodness Europe doesn’t believe in screens on their windows. I was perched on the windowsill, half naked, about ready to jump onto the roof across the alleyway with my phone. I was about to do it when this guy ran in the bathroom and grabbed me. He said the fire was just a stove fire and there was no danger. We all made it outside and I sat out there for about 2 hours waiting for the fire department to clear the building for us all to go back in.

I was pretty disappointed I wasn’t able to jump out of a window in my underwear in Denmark. It would have been a way cooler story, but it was still quite interesting of a night. And that is how I almost thought I was gonna die in Copenhagen, Denmark.

What do you think? Was that a good story? Or am I just full of myself and think its funnier than it really is? Let me know in the comments and be sure to subscribe to my Email Newsletter!

Go read my other posts. Stop. Just do it. Archives

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

5 Things and a Few Tips You Need to Survive Europe.

Everyone has their ideas on what is important when traveling, in my opinion these are essentials when traveling by yourself in Europe or anywhere for that matter.

  1.  Smartphone
    1. Your smartphone is your best friend while traveling around. Lose the big bulky camera if you are looking for quick and lightweight travel. If you aren’t trying to spend money and you have a huge suitcase and are staying in nice hotels everywhere you go bring a tripod, separate lenses, and the whole shabang. But let’s be real, if that is your case you probably aren’t readying this. Your phone is your camera, your tool for moving funds, your tour guide, and your map. You need to find out what trains to take and where to grab them and what time they leave. That is all available on google maps!
  2. External battery charger!
    1. I used the Mophie Powerstation XL external Battery Pack. This thing will literally save your life. The outlet situation int most of Europe is an absolute shitshow compared to what we have in the US. I spent 2 days on the road sleeping on trains at night and I searched for outlets for hours. Having this battery pack kept me from getting lost in the middle of Italy when I got off at the wrong stop at 3 AM and my phone was dead. Charge it every chance you get. You won’t regret it. Especially if you don’t have access to a plug adapter which brings me to the next point.
  3. Travel Adaptor
    1. For some reason that makes little to no sense, whoever was in charge of deciding what plugs to use across the world thought it would be hilarious to have a different plug and voltage in every single country. Somehow, we can all agree on using the same way to track and tell time, but when it comes to electricity we are all insane. Not only are the plugs only two holes or completely different fit than what we have in the US, the voltage is way higher and can fry many of your electrical devices. Grab an adapter and thank me later. Power Adapter . You can have just regular plug adapters, but the voltage adaption is the most important part when charging your devices multiple times. If you have a laptop check the batter power back for the settings in the back: 100 – 240 V setting means it takes care of the conversion and you should be fine. But you still need the plug adapter
  4. A good VPN – private internet access.
    1. This might be a surprise to a lot of you and you may not even know what it is. Basically, everywhere you connect to the internet you are provided an automatic IP address that is like a mailing address to your device. In some countries this will limit your ability to view things on the internet such as certain Netflix shows or HBO now. Using a VPN will hide your actual IP address and assign you one that pretends you are located somewhere else in the world. I used this to be able to access HBO now and watch Game of Thrones in English. What a great use right? The other benefit is security. You will probably be using public free Wifi connections all over the place. The internet in Europe is actually way better than here and there is free Wi-Fi everywhere. Just ask people. But, remember to use a VPN for your own protection!
  5. Here is a quick rapid-fire list of things to remember:
    1. Bring a quick dry travel towel. Just do it. Don’t complain.
    2. Don’t tip anyone. Unless it is clearly obvious they want and deserve a tip, DO NOT TIP. It is not customary to tip at restaurants or bars in most of Europe. I left 5 bucks in cash at the first restaurant I went to and the waitress called her boss over and asked what to do and they both looked at me like I was an absolute idiot.
    3. Try not to wear flashy, American brand clothing. Wearing your colorful Nikes, and your college emblem and name on a shirt will make you stand out like a sore thumb. Especially if you are in a sketchy place, try not to look like an American just to avoid the risk.

These are some of my important items and tips. What did I miss? Let me know in the comments and be sure to subscribe to my Email Newsletter to receive weekly updates.

Go read my other posts. Stop. Just do it. Archives