I am not a travel expert by any means. In fact, international travel is still fairly new to me. Besides Ireland, I've only been out of the country a few times with friends and family. However, I plan on changing that starting this year and I'm excited to say that my next international trip will be to Sweden in February. This time, I will be accompanied by two of my best friends. This trip wasn't exactly planned as I sort of decided to join in at the last minute. It was actually meant to be a solo adventure for one of my friends, but she was more than happy to have the company. To be honest, Sweden was not on my radar for my 2016 destinations, but I am actually very excited to go and have this opportunity to experience another country in Europe. It will be a much shorter trip than Ireland, but we plan to do and see as much as we can while we are there. While I will not be alone this time, I still look forward to sharing yet another journey with all of you. The three of us are very similar in many ways and are currently going through some of the same things in our lives. I think that this will be an amazing way for us all to bond and get even closer. I'm sure it will be another experience of a lifetime and it's such a great way to kick off this year.
I've been receiving many questions from people on social media about tips and/or advice on how to travel on a budget. As I mentioned above, this is still brand new to me. I've traveled many times within the U.S., but a lot of those trips were work related so I don't really count those. I want to share not just the adventures, but insight into how to book these trips without breaking the bank. I think the biggest misconception that people have is that in order to travel you need to have so much money. Everyone's financial situation is different and there is nothing wrong with that, but you do not need to be rich to make it happen. I've got bills and things that I am saving for just like everyone else, but I have found ways to make travel work for me and I know that you can make it work for you too. I am trying out this new series on the blog called Travel Tuesday, which might be once a week or twice a month depending on the content that I have to provide. For each post, I plan to focus on a different aspect of travel whether it be tips and tricks for booking your flights, the best places to stay, top solo destinations, packing light or even just advice on how to create a budget. Basically, it will be anything related to travel and I am completely open to any suggestions that you guys might have. The more I learn, the more I want to be able to share.
I'm a total procrastinator, even when it comes to booking a trip. While some people plan months and months in advance, I tend to do it a bit more last minute. It's honestly just my personality and I suggest to plan things out better than I do as this will help you so much in terms of staying within your budget. If travel has become a new goal for you, then I think one of the first things you should do is to make a realistic list of places that you want to visit this year and do some research. I spent countless hours looking up information for Ireland. Trip Advisor was an amazing resource in terms of reading reviews and getting so much other information. You can look up any destination on there. I was quickly able to get an estimate of the costs just by doing this. Do this for each place you want to travel to and see which one would work the best within your current budget. If this is a trip that you are planning to take at the end of the year or even several months from now, then little by little start saving up. I don't go out every weekend nor do I eat out at restaurants all the time. The money that I am not spending on drinks and out of the house meals is extra money that I can save towards my trip. Every bit helps.
Basically your travel costs break down into three categories: Flight, place to stay, and spending money. I never really book my flight and hotels together, which allows me more time to figure out my finances. For Ireland, the first thing that I did was book my flight and then several weeks later my Galway Hotel and a few weeks after that my Dublin Hotel. Truthfully, I would have saved more money if I had stayed at a hostel like most solo travelers do, but since this was my very first solo trip and it was international, I felt more comfortable doing hotels. I want to touch on hostels later in more detail though because you can actually find some good ones and they are way less expensive than a hotel, plus it's the easiest way to meet other travelers. I always said that I would never consider doing a hostel, but that's because I didn't know much about them. I always thought you had to share a room with a ton of other people, but you can actually get your own room with your own bathroom, which would make me feel much safer. But again, more on that later. For everything, I spent around $2300 on my trip and I had given myself a $3000 budget, so I think I did pretty well staying within my means. I am learning the balance of being able to enjoy myself without overdoing it.
I wanted this post to be more of an intro to this new series, so let me know your thoughts because this is for you! I really want to expand things more on here this year and I thought that this would be a great way to start. <3