How I pay for traveling and steps before traveling
I get this question a lot. One of the cheapest ways to travel and how I started traveling was being an Au Pair. This opened a lot of doors for me. You don't get paid much but typically you get your living for free, food, and insurance. Then they give you pocket money that may be around 300 euros a month (depending on family) With not having much money it was the best way to get to Europe right after high school for me and experience life within a german family. Sometimes you can get lucky and have your family buy your plane ticket!
Secondly, I know this probably doesn't sound so appealing. But it's lot of pushing money back and saving it. I don't have a saving's account yet because everything I earned I put towards traveling. With each paycheck, have your bank put a certain amount of money back each month. Also sometimes you can't take those trips in America that you would with your friends that may cost you around 800 dollars which is a good chunk of money for your flights. It's a lot of give and take. With my trip to Asia, I saved for two years before going. Keep in mind Thailand is so cheap! Which helped out a lot.
Also think about your trip, mostly you don't want to go out for every meal. This starts getting out of this earth expensive. Supermarkets are your best friends when traveling. In Iceland, I had just a bit of money so I never ate out once. Only noodles, pesto, and yogurt. It cut down my cost in half. In Croatia, me and my friend wanted to see if we could just travel with 130 Euros. Our bus ride was only 50 euros there and back (Flexbus is the bomb). Then we spent 50 euros of food, super simple food and drinks. And then 30 euros for our hostel. The hostel gave us these free coupons that we could use for either drinks at night or a smoothie in the morning.
Another thing that helps is writing down everything you are spending, whenever you are with different currencies you think it's monopoly money and lose track of how much you are spending.
Here are some steps I go through before setting my trip:
Holy Moly Flights! Almost every week, I am looking at flights and deals that might come up. When looking up this much you need to delete your cookies because the more you look at a certain flight the more it get's expensive. (weird, I know) Also depending on the time of the year depends highly on how much it will cost. If it is high season, it will cost you twice as much. We went to Thailand during low season (which is the time that it's hot as hell) and everything cost half as much.
The first website I typically look at is skyscanner.com then kayak.com. These are great because they look up different prices between different flight companies for you. I typically play around with the dates to see how much the cost change. Then once I am satisfied with the price, I start googling like crazy to check if there is any other cheaper options. Sometimes it takes me a good month to look up a flight. Especially when flying back home to America for a week.
Wait what? Keep in mind the country and cities. If you go to London, it's expensive as hell. The currency is pounds which will make dollar not seem not too much. But if you go to countries like Hungary, Croatia, Czech Republic, Poland...ect (eastern countries) is much cheaper.
Traveling between countries in Europe like a badass! The transportation in Europe is great! You have trains, buses, and cheap flight companies (like ryanair and easyjet). There is not a straight answer for which way you should travel by, just what you feel that you would like to do, and let's be honest..the cheapest. When going to France from where I live I typically fly. When I went from Munich to Vienna and then to Budapest was by train. To Croatia was with a bus. Prague was also with a bus (highly recommend Flexbus). To Berlin was with a ride sharing website, this is when someone post that they are driving to Berlin and says they have two spots in there car and you split gas cost. London was with flying. America to Asia was flying (30 hours). Also with the trains you can just go to the train stations in that country and buy it there last minute or on there website. Whatever you prefer.
Where should I stay? Hostels are fantastic if you are wanting to meet some super cool people and also can be fairly cheap. (www.hostelworld.com)
But if you are traveling with a group of people and want to be a little more private and have your own space, I would recommend Airbnb. What's also cool about airbnb is that they have different activities in that area you can do too! From wine tastings, cooking classes, to having a comedian as your bike tour guide through the city.
What should I do with my money? First you want to tell your bank you are going to be out of the country. Typically they will just have you list the countries you will be in so that they don't think someone stole your card. You will have some fee's depending on bank but it's totally worth it. Then once you get to the first country you withdraw money there so that you have there currency. Not all, just some and then use the rest with your card.
Get Inspired! This is my favorite part, getting inspired for my trip. Pinterest is probably the best place to do this. Seriously. I look up where I am going or possibly want to go and start researching like crazy! It's also super nice to find out some information about different places that you are going to because once you see it in real life it makes you more amazed. I don't know why, it just does. So get your pinterest game on! You got this (;