5 star experiences on a 2 star budget.

How to travel the world like a broke girl abroad in her 20’s living without a credit card.

Dedicated to all the people who wonder how I afford my life as they buy a dress and Instagram worthy lunches to impress people they don’t even like that could take me from BCN > LDN and back 3 times.

Fuck Clothes. Buy flights. Open up your mind.

First things first; Before you keep reading

  • Download HotelTonight app
  • Subscribe to Ryanair & Vueling email list + Put them in your priority emails
  • Be ready to book a random flight on a Friday afternoon for the following weekend without thinking twice.

#1 Flight Hacks

The 6:55am flight. Something my poor little brain has become accustomed to these past few years abroad. While my friends scan clothes and gadgets during the black friday sale, I refreshed Ryanair and Vueling like my life depended on it. Let’s use my most recent trip to Rome > Florence as an example. (And my upcomg 29€ return trip to Portugal). If you want to go to a town outside of a big city, I guarantee it is far cheaper than flying into the aforementioned big city and getting a train.

EG: Flight to Rome; 12.99€ + Train to Florence 9.99€ Compared to Direct flight to florence 89.99€

I check in + add to apple wallet + make my matcha and lay out my clothes for the following morning so Zombie ‘5am me’ can glide through the notions without having to think and can go straight back to sleep on the plane. ‘Oh, but I can’t fly budget airlines.’ you say?

I fell asleep as we took off (on time) and woke up as we landed (10 minutes ahead of schedule).

Unicorn face mask: High necessity.

#2 Never catch taxis. Ever.

Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk. I typed in ‘1 day in Rome’ into ‘google itinerary’ and was granted with a mapped out walking tour of fucking bliss around Rome free of charge. Instead of paying the 20€ fee to the train station later that day I grabbed a 2€ mini bottle of wine (complimentary plastic cup from charming Italian) and walked there passing the charming streets of Rome. Getting immersed in all the sights and profound characters I meet along the way.  A traveling hustler takes a polaroid of me in front of the Colosseum, I hand him some cash and we exchange a huge hug. I know the hustle.

 

#3 Accommodation

My friends sometimes coil away in horror at how spontaneous and unorganized I am. I scanned HotelTonight for days before I left but knew I would get the best deal on the ‘morning of’. As I waited for the train to Rome Central, I snagged a BULLSHIT beautiful hotel room on HotelTonight down to 50€ from 120€. When I arrived at my room I was a little less impressed that the photos looked like a McAngus but in reality were a stuffy 2 day old Cheeseburger. One little vulnerable call to reception and I was upgraded to another suite with views I still get goosebumps over.

Low and behold. My 50€ Hotel room view. Duomo Hotel Central, I will NEVER EVER forget you.

 

#4 Eats

Living in the international hub of Barcelona I am so lucky to be blessed with friends from all over the world. There is not one city I have been to recently where someone local hasn’t flooded me with all their secrets and recommendations. In Rome I lapped up the city’s best kept secret pasta place without having to wait for a table. A cool 24€ for a big ass pasta and bottle of wine for lunch that kept me full well into the next afternoon. In Florence, I had more than enough secrets and recommendations to wander the streets eating and drinking within my budget for 2 days. I was so under my budget by the end of my trip I shouted myself a 20€ bottle of wine just to write this blog as I wait for the rain to pass.

 

#5 Detach

Trips like these make me realize how available and reachable I am 24/7. I turned my phone off while I slept a solid 12 hours and refused to turn it back on until an hour after I woke up. What followed was 2 hours sitting on the floor having a panic attack as I responded to every single message/email/inbox/Whatsapp blah blah blah, only to realize…. NONE of these were work-related. My work knew I was uncontactable for 2 days and they were extremely cautious as to not disturb me once during my brain detox.

I realized a lot of the communication in my life is just noise. It serves no purpose in my goals and goes against every value and belief I have in myself. Being in a different country on your own allows you to see what is working and what is not. It allows you to pull it all apart and re-evaluate, coming home with new boundaries and goals set in place.

Without solo travel I imagine myself to be in a lunatic asylum. But here I am

Drinking an entire bottle of wine outside Duomo. My new goals ready to be plastered all over my walls upon my return. I came here 48 hours ago an anxious mess. I can now go home to my fairytale with my sleeves pushed up ready for what comes next.

Solo travel really is the shit. Next stop.

Lisbon <3

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