Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Adventuring on a Budget: A Guest Post by Emmeline

Good morning, good morning, good morning! 

I'm happy to say that, according to the calendar at least, spring has officially sprung! It's been warm here in Houston for a little while, but maybe knowing it's spring will bring you hope if you're living in cooler climates, and hopefully this post will help whisk you away to less frozen parts of the world as well!

This morning I'm pumped to share with you a guest post from my friend Emmeline! She and her husband up and moved to France a little while ago and she started a blog called "The Unadventurous Go Adventuring" to chronicle their excursions. Emmeline is so relateable and she's a hoot! Definitely check out her blog, especially if you like traveling and/or France and/or humor. Which should be just about all of you. 

Today, Emmeline's going to be sharing with us a few money-saving tips that'll allow you to travel without having to sell both your kidneys! Hurray for that! 

Without further ado, here's Emmeline!

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Dat babe. Dat view.

Before I got married I wasn’t much of a traveller. My husband, Wade, was, on the other hand. He had been out of the country many times, and he knew what he was doing. About a year and a half into our marriage, he thought it might be fun to teach English for eight months at a high school in France! That’s when I became a reluctant adventurer.  Looking back, I’m glad he yanked me (at times, literally kicking and screaming) out of my comfort zone! We decided that since we were living in France, it might be a good idea to travel to other European countries. I’m not an expert, but I can share some travel trips that have helped keep us sane and have been kind to our bank account.  

Flying:  This seems like a good place to start. Go to Google, type in your destination, and let the magic begin! Google is a great tool for just about anything, but it’s really helpful when looking for the cheapest flights. It will show you on which days flights are cheaper. If you’re waiting for the flights to go down in price, you can set up Google Flights to notify you when the price drops. For your sanity, avoid long layovers and bring your favorite snack on the plane.

Transportation: Okay, you’ve reached your destination! How do you get around? You have a few options: train, bus, or car.  
Train: Get your ticket in advance, the earlier the better. If you’re planning on using the train a lot, look into a train discount card for the country you’re in. We ride trains a lot, and if we’re going somewhere that’s more than an hour train ride, we book first class. I know--gasp!  But honestly, first class tickets are only about five dollars more, and it’s definitely worth it. 
Bus: Chances are it will be cheaper than the train. However, I don’t have much experience with buses.  
Car: Renting a car honestly will probably be cheaper than a train and possibly a bus. When renting a car, consider the cost of gas and the limit on the number of miles that are included. It might be cheap to rent the car but expensive to fill it up. It depends on where you are! 
Last but not least, here’s a form of transportation that I forgot to list--walking!  Walking may be tiresome but hey, you’re saving money and getting exercise! "You go Glenn Coco!"

Hotels:  Alright, we’ve figured out the transportation. Let’s talk about hotels! I know that there are hotel booking websites that claim if you book with them, you’ll get the lowest price. We have figured out that if you go to the actual hotel website, the rooms are cheaper than the discount sites, and sometimes they’ll toss in free breakfast! I know, weird, but it’s true! Try to find a room that has a small kitchenette. Trust me, it’ll come in handy! We also like to use Airbnb; it’s cheaper sometimes and you have all the amenities that a hotel sometimes can’t provide. If you’re hardcore, which I am not, you can do a hostel.

Food:  Guys, this is one thing that can literally eat away your travel budget! (Wink, wink.) I get it. You’re on vacation, so you want to enjoy yourselves. But it can get out of control pretty fast! I’m telling you this as a fellow traveler and a food lover. A good way to keep food costs down is to go the grocery store for food. Remember how I told you to get a hotel room with a kitchenette? It’s much easier and cheaper to buy food at the store than eating out all day everyday. We usually buy breakfast foods, snacks, and sometimes dinner. I do enjoy eating the local cuisine, but we try not to spend too much money on it. If you decide to eat out, it might be a good idea to share a plate instead of getting two entrees. We figured that out the hard way (the expensive way) when we ordered chicken for each of us and they gave us entire chickens each! Learn from our mistakes! I do have to say, as someone who turns into a monster without food, bring snacks wherever you’re going. You want to enjoy your time--not be grumpy because you’re hungry!

Traveling is so much fun!  You don’t want to feel stressed about money while doing it. Know how much you want to spend and try not to go over that set amount. If you do, don’t worry too much about it. Relax, smile, and enjoy the moment. You deserve it!

I hope this was helpful!  Bon voyage! 

-Emmeline


Isn't she great? Now I really want to book a trip somewhere! What are your tried-and-true travel tips? Let me know in the comments below!


If you're interested in writing a guest post for my blog, let me know! I'd love to have you!


Thanks for reading, and I'll see you on the flip-flop!


Melissa

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