I guess for every Asian, traveling to Europe is surely on everyone’s list, you have to be there at least once in a lifetime to experience the lifestyle and cultural differences it has to offer.
During my travel the world trip in Asia and working holiday in the Oceania, I have met many people from European countries and heard a lot of stories from people around me saying that I need to step into the wonderful lands of Europe. They look so different altogether.
Well I still do not know that but I always like to see and experience new things especially something unique, so I started to have the urge to set a goal while having my working holiday in New Zealand, that is to save some money and start traveling to Europe.
Talking about money, everyone says that Europe is expensive and traveling to Europe will cost you a bomb comparing to traveling Asia. True enough when I search for the air tickets and accommodation, I am shocked by the price and converting AUD to EUR means you will have 30% lesser to spend. (I use AUD because I converted all my NZD savings to AUD.)
Basic price to fly one way from Asia to Europe usually cost around $500AUD and accommodation is average to $15EUR a day. I am planning to survive on very basic food and so it will be $10EUR a day roughly.
So 90 days x around $25EUR a day will mean I need to save $2250EUR on food and accommodation. So with my Kiasu (Singlish, does not want to lose out) calculation, I factor in another $2250EUR for transport and unforeseen circumstances because I don't know Europe well and I am scared that my calculation might go wrong.
With some savings allowance left I guess it is safe for me to fulfill my bucket list #8 to travel the world to Europe now!!!
Although having enough savings for the trip, it is always great to come up with ways and strategies on how to stretch your dollar further in order to keep traveling.
So here is my plan, as I always say food, accommodation and transport are the 3 main factors that depreciate your budget, so you need to streamline all of them or at least 2 of them so as to stretch your dollar further.
To make this happen, you need to do a lot of homework researching on the Internet, talking to other travelers and reading blog post, you will feel rewarding after you found something that can save you big. Like searching for budget airlines and promotions, any rail package or bus pass that will be worthy to buy.
To save on transport cost, try to compare prices of Europe’s trains, buses and planes to see which is cheaper, I always find breaking up the journey with multiple tickets cost lesser. For example flying from Turkey to Norway to Iceland is definitely cheaper than flying from Turkey to Iceland direct. In the city I always chose to walk to my destinations if they are reachable within an hour or unless there are too much places I want to visit then I will consider buying a day pass for that city.
For searching of accommodation in every city, I plan to use Couchsurfing so that I can interact with locals for more insights and feel the warmth of local hospitality. Another alternative is to seek Food and Accommodation Exchange programs that can cover the 2 main cost factors.
For me, I can save on accommodation by staying in the airport, save transport cost by walking to destination but I cannot go a day without food, therefore I always make simple meals like sandwiches for the day and have good meals only once every 2-3 weeks to save cost. Sometimes if you have good host or exchange program, food can be totally wonderful!
Of course you have to visit the most popular countries and cities, that's what everybody thought of but do you just want to visit the most popular city and that is it? For me I will try to visit the most famous city and another 1 or 2 not so touristic cities or the countryside.
So the problem comes, which cities wahahaha, that depends on what I can find for my food and accommodation exchange programs, have you heard of Tulle in France, Uelzen in Germany or Treviso in Italy? That is what I love about exchange programs, you can visit places off the touristic route and get closer to every culture.
After much research on the different airlines flying from Asia to Europe, I found that Vietnam Airlines offers a very good promotional price to France from Malaysia, flying from Kuala Lumpur to Vietnam by Vietnam Air and transit from Vietnam to Paris by France Airline for JUST $700MYR!!!
That is a lucky search and I bought it right after a few days without much consideration /:)
The period of travel is end November that is autumn in Europe, maybe that is why it is so cheap to fly into Europe. After much planning and confirmation from my accommodation host, out of the 90 days I only need to stay around 5 days in hostel, told you the hard work pays off.
I like to travel slow and enjoy the cities that I visit, this is my way to enjoy travel, and everybody has different styles and preferences in travel or in life. So for the first 90 days, I will be covering only 6 countries and 19 cities. For this trip I also factor in the festivals and carnivals in wintertime and accommodate my routes to the dates.
End of autumn and winter is the low season and a good choice to travel to Europe (except Christmas week and New Year) because everything is cheaper. Some winter events you cannot miss are the Traditional Christmas Markets, Mask festival in Venice, Cologne Carnival and many more.
Oh one important question you might have in mind “Why just 90 days?” Simple, my passport only allows me to stay 90 days in Schengen region of Europe without applying for a visa. You need to find out more about your Visa information before departing.
You must be wondering on your first look that this worksheet seems to be incomplete, there is no transport cost from Paris-> Strasbourg-> Heidelberg and many others too, HE IS CHEATING! Well I am cheating and I will reveal the cheat to you in another post I promise, I have a lot to share wahahaha /:)
The total transport fees covering 6 countries and 19 cities is only $370EUR excluding local transport.
Food cost can be reduced if you make sandwiches, noodles or share meals with your host. I always bring with me a vacuum food container bought from Ikea to store rice, noodles or some other food that I cook to eat on the go. It keeps my food cost to about less than $300EUR, of course I will definitely eat the street food of every country, I love street food!!!
You can see from my worksheet after deducting from my one way air ticket + local transport, food, accommodation and transport, I managed to stretch my budget and saved around $1100EUR which I can spend on other things like entrance fees, museums or extra meals. Luckily I am not a museum fan, but there are many free museums in Europe too if you like museums.
With my style of travel, I am able to stay within my budget while traveling to Europe and had extra money to plan for further trips, that is also a way how I manage to keep traveling the world. Bucket List #8 completed!
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