‘I travelled through Europe for 6 months. Here’s what to save and splurge on.’

This time last year, I was sipping Aperols and indulging in every flavour of gelato in Southern Italy. *Sigh.* As, idyllic as it sounds (and it truly was), it required a fair bit of budgeting to sustain what ended up being six months abroad.

Balancing my expenses meant making certain sacrifices, while still ensuring that I could fully experience everything I wanted. It's a fine balance. But, through the process I gained valuable insights into where you should put your money where you should save. 

So with that being said, here is my list of what I think you should save and splurge on. 

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Save on: travel. 

Yes, flying is faster – but it’s also pretty expensive, especially if you want to buy flights to Athens on a whim. And, if you're anything like me and struggle to squeeze all your things into just a carry-on bag (major props to you if you can), adding extra luggage around the 20 kilo mark will cost you approximately 50 Euros… steep I know. 

If you do want to fly, and of course, sometimes it really is easier, it's best to buy your tickets a couple of weeks in advance to avoid the price hike that occurs as the departure date approaches. 


To avoid expensive flights, I recommend the scenic route! Catching buses and trains is a great way to cut costs when you’re travelling. From my personal experience, bus and train fairs are generally half the price of what you pay for a plane ticket. Plus, a bonus is that you usually get to store your luggage under the bus for free. 

Services like FlixBus are a really affordable way of getting around Europe. Plus, I found them to be quite comfortable, easy to book with (it’s literally all done on an app), and timely. 

Oh, and not only is it cost-effective, it’s also a great way to explore the country you’re visiting. 

And, lastly, ditch Uber. Embrace strolling through new cities and catching public transport with the locals. It’s so much more fun and way cheaper. 

Splurge on: experiences. 

Take that cooking class in Rome where you learn to make angnolotti and drink copious glasses of expensive sangiovese. Marvel at how freaking small the Mona Lisa is when you visit the Louvre. Go see a musical in London's Theatre District and relax and unwind at the thermals baths in Budapest… do it all. 

Don’t compromise on experiences you will cherish. 

I’m not suggesting you see every single museum, in every single city you visit (if you want to, you should). But, if you’re thinking about spending money to see or try something new that excites you – I highly recommend you do. 

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Save on: souvenirs. 

Do you really, really need that strange water painting a woman outside the Notre Dame is trying to sell you? 

It’s unlikely. 

You don’t need a thousand trinkets to remember your holiday. In fact, the photos on your phone will absolutely suffice. Or, you could keep a journal for a more detailed way to remember the experience. 

Now, I am not saying don’t buy something you absolutely fall in love with and you can’t possibly get at home – because I will be the first person to tell you to buy it. But, I think eight keyrings and six fridge magnets is unnecessary. That money will be much better spent on, well, literally anything else. 

Splurge on: accommodation. 

I decided to skimp out on the cost of accommodation once – which ended up with me booking a room in a sketchy part of London. I won’t go into the details of the room… but it was awful. I wish this wasn’t the way I learnt this lesson, but it is… which is why I am imparting my knowledge onto you. 

When looking for accommodation, I highly recommend choosing a place that is centrally located to the attractions you want to visit. Typically, these hotels and hostels may be slightly pricier compared to those that are half an hour or more away. However, the added expense is so, so worth it. Being in the heart of the city allows for a more immersive experience, and the convenience of being able to walk or easily commute to different spots at minimal cost is a major advantage.

Personally, I love staying close to everything, as it’s easy for me to pop in and freshen up or take a quick nap before heading out for the night. I also love being close to bars and nightlife. Knowing that that my room is a short distance away and easily accessible, removes the issue of figuring out how to get home – and for me that's worth the extra expense. 


Save on: food. 

If you have all the money in the world, splurge on all the pricey pastas and expensive cheese your heart desires. But, if you like to keep a modest budget while travelling – you don’t need to blow it all on food. 

While I thoroughly enjoy lavish dinners as much as the next person, it has never been sustainable for me to eat expensive oysters by the pop – especially if I’m trying to make my funds last a while. My suggestion is to indulge in a single, pricer meal at each city you visit. Whether you stumble upon it while exploring the streets or research it beforehand, choose a place you want to try and savour every second of it when you’re there. 

You can still enjoy eating without an exuberant price tag. Sometimes, a cheap sandwich from the supermarket can suffice for lunch, leaving room for a nicer dinner later on. 

Avoid cafes and restaurants near popular attractions where prices are often inflated. Instead, explore the smaller side streets and look for local spots that offer similar dishes at a more reasonable price point. 

Not only will this save you money, but it’s likely you'll discover more authentic and tastier options along the way.

What do you like to splurge and save on when it comes to travelling? Tell us in the comments below. 

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