The first time we spent a summer in Europe, we spent $18,000 all in.
I was ready to slit my wrists when I saw my final credit card bill. “Jesus Christ!” I remember saying out loud. “How can anyone afford to go there?”
Our prayers were answered through apartment sharing through Airbnb. I bring this up, because I’m booking a jag through Eastern Europe and I can’t believe how affordable this has made travel for us in the past few years and I’d have to lean on the website heavily to help us stay within our budget if we’re going to be traveling for a year. Some interesting facts about Airbnb:
- They list 4 million properties worldwide (and don’t own a single one)
- It’s active in 190 countries
- They’re valued at over 30 billion dollars (and may go public next year with a stock offering)
If you own an extra property and want to join the gig economy, they’re awesome. My friend Andy uses ‘hostel world‘ to book hostels, but as we have expensive hardware that I wanted to keep secure, (and we had three people) renting an entire apartment was the same price as three hostel beds. Although many people have heard about Airbnb, I’m surprised how many people have never booked accommodation through them.
The dashboard is pretty straightforward. You can filter for price and number of people, but Airbnb owners usually list properties for guests that want to stay more than one night. You won’t have a change of sheets everyday which hotels usually do, but it will save you money in the long run.
What saves you money with an apartment is the ability to cook meals in. In our expensive trip mentioned before, we’d eat two, sometimes three meals out per day. Having a kitchen would allow us to shop in the local markets and cook meals in, limiting ourselves to only 1 meal out per day. This, with some other travel hacks, brought our summers in Europe down to $10,000 minus flights which made it a bit more affordable.