I just graduated college and really want to travel internationally at some point. I am going back to school in the spring for grad school so money is something I will be saving. I have been to Canada and Mexico but would love to go to Europe. Any suggestions welcome!
Cheap but fun? Carnival Cruise Lines. You can get a room that travels to different countries every day (without the need to repack), for about $100/day with food and entertainment included. Where else can you do that?
The Balkan countries are cheap. Also cheaper than the other eastern european countries further north. Places like Bosnia and Herzegovina Albania Serbia and Macedonia are very cheap to travel and very interesting too. They are maybe not as known as some other areas in Europe, but They are all very worth a visit and going there is way more adventurous than sitting in Prague or Venice with a million other tourists.
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There are a couple of new airlines on the transatlantic route now so it's possible to pick up a cheap(ish) seat to Europe. Checkout Norwegian, Wow Air or use notifications on Kayak to find a good fare. Once you get to Europe there are many options to holiday within a budget. Lots of people mentioned Eastern Europe, Portugal and Greecewhich are all good value destinations. I would add Italy Germany and Spain where transport is pretty cheap and it's possible to get a cheap room too.
Travelling by train lets you see a lot of places, you can buy an Interrail ticket which allows travel across a number of countries in Europe within a fixed time frame. Hostelworld or Airbnb are good for cheap accommodation, also checkout www.universityrooms.com - many colleges rent out student rooms during the Summer holidays, this can be really good as you get to use the university facilities in many places (swimming pools, gym, tennis courts, restaurant etc)
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Rio de Janeiro. Hands down. Stay in Lapa the party place. Whole airbnb apartment 30$ a day. Super cheap and the most fun we had-dancing drinking. We spent 10 days living it up and only spent 300$ we hang glided off mountain, did food tours, etc. A must for FUN
Costa Rica! :) it's a natural destination with lots of unique destinations and activities to offer! If you ever consider traveling to Central America, Costa Rica is a must on your trip plan. And of course, I would be glad to help you out with any Costa Rica travel questions if your trip to this beautiful country ever comes true. Pura vida and enjoy this Costa Rica sunset!
Check out Tucan Travel Budget Expeditions. The tour company offers tons of great inexpensive options around the world. For example, a 15-day tour starting from Budapest and ending in Istanbul starts at $1,609 per person (double occupancy room). You get 14 nights accommodation, 12 breakfasts, ground transportation and some excursions. You'll need to get your air tickets flying into Budapest and out of Istanbul.
Take a look at the itinerary, price and departure dates - Transylvania Tale Tour.
Other inexpensive options ideal for young, adventure travelers include G Adventures and Contiki. I recommend going with a tour, rather than planning the itinerary yourself due to the convenience and sometimes it works out cheaper too.
I would suggest checking out Contiki travel. I did a European tour with them when I graduated college. We started in London, took a ferry to Amsterdam and then followed the river by bus to France. It is designed for young adults and was very fun. In fact I'm still friends with some of the people I met. Depending on where you live you can get to Europe for around $500 round trip these days so it does end up being very cheap considering everything that's included.
Europe is usually known as a more expensive travel destination (I'm about to visit there for 4 months and have been doing my research) However, I believe there are many affordable areas such as The Balkans, Eastern Europe and also places like Portugal and even Greece is apparently affordable. It also depends on the time of year you are visiting (Summer is obviously the most expensive being peak tourist season).
If you're after a different adventure though, I would strongly recommend South East Asia. Every where is so cheap and affordable yet the culture is extremely exotic and exciting. Definitely a must see on your journeys.
Good luck and have fun!
I'll talk a little about Asia. If you're able to get to Kuala Lumpur, you'll find that it is quite an international city, with a bustling street food culture, great nightlife, and in general a nice modern city, with friendly people.
Bukit Bintangis a popular area with great malls, great food and nightlife.
Jalan Alorfor some good food, and the hustle and bustle of foreigners enjoying the sights and sounds of Malaysian street cooking.
A mountainside Buddhist temple in Penang
Murals and grafitti in fun Georgetown. A tourist hotspot, with good food!
Penangis a small island that has a beautiful mix of different geographies, beaches (Batu Feringghi), a heritage town (George Town), and hills. The plane tickets for all these destinations from KL are really cheap!
The food is nice in Penang, there was this one Dumpling place called Restoran Zim Sum - very cheap dumplings, great quality, available early in the morning to mid afternoon. Really nice place.
Overall, Asia is awesome, and i've only covered two cities. You can have the time of your life here, on a budget.
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Portugal! The entire country has something to offer, and while small, there is much to see and explore and places to just hang out. In terms of food/accommodation cost it is said to be the cheapest in Western Europe. moving east, you will find Greece is also modestly priced and a warm, welcoming country. North of there you have the entire Balkan with several nations, and the coastlines to the Adriatic Sea. Turkey, a small parts of it, certainly, is in Europe, however, you find nice spots to stay and much room and low prices partly due to the conflicts in neigbouring Syria and eastern Turkey and tourists abandoning the country - mostly unjustified. The Turquoise coast, the Aegean and Marmara as well as Black Sea coasts are all nice. Note that the further northeast you go in Europe, the colder the winters get and the shorter the summer season lasts. In Greece summers last the longest at Crete. Cyprus, too, might be useful to consider, however, you might have to fly there, and it's not as cheap as e.g. the Algarve coast in Portugal. During the spring and fall season Eastern Europe is at its best, and Hungary, especially Budapest is nice. Poland, the Slovak Republic along with the Czech Republic are also good, with Slovakia the least explored. Further east, like Ukraine, Moldova, Romania and Bulgaria can also be explored with ease, if you just stay out of troubled areas. I am sure you can find cheap places and travels all over Europe, but you need to search for the cheap options. The places I mentioned you can go to and expect the cost of food and accommodation to be on the low side. I suggest you let your interests steer you, first of all, and plan from there.
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Yes, there are many ways for young adults, especially college student to travel abroad. I am sure you are aware of the programs at your college or university--if not that is a good place to start. They may offer anything from a short few weeks programs to full years of study in another country.
Another avenue you might consider is the Rotary Service Organization. You can find a link to their programs here: http://www.youngadultexchanges.org/theprogram/
They are most famous for their high school youth exchange programs but they offer programs for young adults too.
You may also do some travel abroad in exchange for work with WOOFing found here:
This is especially useful if money is tight, and you are looking for a more earthy experience.
You could explore becoming a travel writer. Although I don't recommend this unless you really like writing and have the funds upfront to finance your current travels.
Be sure to use your student status as a tool to explore the world. It will garner you goodwill and even discounts as students are often revered the world over. You'll only have this status for a short while--make the best of it!
You can get great lodging deals on hostelworld.com. Just make sure the rating is 80% or better. And look for cheap flights to anywhere in Europe and use that as your jumping off point. Norwegian Air, Iceland Air, plus the regular ones. They also have (at least used to have) a student rail pass you could get until you're 26-ish and that's an lifesaver for continental Europe. They have more discount airlines in Europe also. Summer is high season so maybe wait until fall as well. Just plan and research. And find hostels with kitchens where you can make meals to save also!
Get a Eurorail Youth Pass and stay at youth hostels in the countries you want to visit. Its much easier now than when I did it...now all the hostels are online and you can check availability and make reservations. You will meet others like you and can travel together or solo. Also, consider Servas which has a joining fee and must you have an interview though when a member you can stay for 2 nights with each possible host family/person that you pick -completely free. There are 1000s of hosts in Europe! I did this a few times (Italy, France, England, and USA) It is meant as a cultural understanding and friendship fostering organization sponsored by the UN.
It really depends where are you from, if you are from the states then a flight to Europe should be more expencive...though if you fly to Europe try using routeperfect to plan it while considering your personal preferences...
A general rule of thumb is that countries that do not use the Euro as their currency will be cheaper than those that do.
As Claus Andersen points out, the Balkans are cheaper than most other places in Europe. Although Dubrovnik, Croatia is well known in the travel world and is as expensive as any spot in Western Europe, other spots in the Balkans such as Split, Rijeka and Zagreb (Croatia), Sarajevo and Mostar (Bosnia), and Tivat (Montenegro) are just as lovely and much cheaper.
I haven't been there, but I've heard Bulgaria is inexpensive, and although it's off the beaten path now, the rest of the world is just starting to notice it.
If you want to stick to spots that are more commonly visited, then there are always bargains to be had, even in large cities such as London, Paris, Berlin, Rome, etc. if you're willing to compromise a bit on personal comfort and spend a few weeks eating crappy food. But don't let that deter you from having a great time!
You can save money by staying in hostels, which are perfectly safe even for women travelling solo, and eating at inexpensive restaurants frequented by locals. You can also save on transport by buying advance purchase tickets on trains and low-cost-carrier airlines such as EasyJet, Wizzair or (gag) Ryanair.
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Lots of good suggestions already, especially Claus' recommendation on the Balkans.
Other regions where you can get exceptional value for money are the Baltics and Central Europe. Riga in Latvia, Vilnius in Lithuania and Tallinn in Estonia are astonishingly beautiful, amazingly historic cities with very different personalities, histories and architectural styles. Unlike cities such as London and Paris, they also have the virtue of being a manageable size, which is less intimidating for the traveller, and means you don't spend so much time and expense on transport. They are all worthy destinations in their own right, but also are great bases for day trips to other wonderful places - for example, from Tallinn, you can take a day trip on a ferry to Helsinki (which is otherwise an expensive destination for a budget traveller).
In Central Europe, the obvious attractions are well established destinations such as Prague, Krakow and my all time favourite city, Budapest. These are popular for a reason, but often the less popular cities can be equally interesting, and offer better value for money. I particularly like Warsaw and Olomouc, for example. I also adore Transylvania and Slovenia, which are fascinating places to travel, and also offer good value for money.
Remember that although the intercontinental airfare is a large single expense, but this may be eclipsed by the cumulative cost of accommodation, food and entrance to tourist attractions if you're planning to travel over an extended period.
Similarly, the cost of transport within Europe is highly variable, so research the alternatives once you have an idea of where you're interested in visiting. Flying tends to be most expensive, unless you fly with the low cost carriers such as Ryanair and Wizzair - but then you need to factor in baggage charges (most only include a generous hand luggage allowance in the advertised fare) and the cost of transport to/from often farflung airports to the city centre, which could well negate the saving. Buses are generally cheapest and slowest. As a general rule, trains are the most pleasant alternative, but are hellish expensive in places like the UK, and rail passes (such as Eurail) are not the same bargain they used to be. By comparison, trains in places like Poland are dirt cheap and surprisingly affordable in Germany (especially if you're travelling within the same lande - the German equivalent of a state).
Also think about the time of year you travel. In general, summer is high season, so prices are sky high and tourists are knee deep. Travel out of season, and things change - no crowds, cheaper accommodation and often lower air fares. May and October are my favourite times to travel in Europe, and European cities can be gorgeous in winter and positively magical around Christmas.
The take home message? Identify your interests and do your research. Accept that your initial itinerary will probably look very different to the one you finally settle on, and be flexible enough to consider alternatives that you then review through the filter of your own priorities. And above all, have fun - planning is all part of the travel experience :)
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It is a bit difficult to choose among the many interesting cities that Europe has. However, based on my experience, I will suggest Madrid Barcelona. Czech Republic, Rome, Venice , they are some of my favorite cities in Europe. If you decide yourself by any of these cities, let me know to enlarge and focus on that one.
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You can get around a lot of places for fairly cheap, its probably going to be about the airfare. I would set cheap airline fare searches for cities in Europe and jump when you find a place you want to go with a good deal.
Hey Danielle, if you want to go to Europe and still keep your expenses low, I would suggest looking for destinations in Eastern Europe. Cities like Prague, Budapest or Warsaw could be good starting points to explore the area.