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.

Stuff 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 upcoming 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 ‘ 5 am me’ can glide through the motions without having to think and can go straight back to sleep on the plane. ‘Oh, but I can’t fly budget airlines.’ Do 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 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 travelling 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 floored 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 was 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 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 sh*t. Next stop.

Lisbon <3

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