I moved to Ibiza in 2010 before Mike Posner made a song talking about taking pills there. I was invited through a program called Auxiliares de Conversación to aid teachers in the public schools teaching English to the students. The salary wasn’t great my first year there, and I quickly realized that I needed to pick up a side job to be able to afford to Travel Europe when I wanted to.

Still, with the side job, my monthly intake was about 1000 euros ($1,422) in the winter and 1,600 euros ($2,275) in the summer working for a party called Music On at Amnesia.

I still traveled on that $1,422/month salary because Traveling there is so cheap. In this article, I will go over transportation to use, where to stay, how to stay in a new country for free and how to get the most for your money.

Traveling Europe doesn’t have to break your pocket if you do it right

If you are looking for a way to get to Europe from the US, know that there is a low-cost international airline, out of certain hubs. Norwegian Airlines has cheap international flights from Ft. Lauderdale, New York City, Los Angeles, Oakland and other select cities in the US.

If you cannot afford the direct flight to your desired destination, I would catch a flight to the UK and use one of the low-cost European airlines like Ryanair, Vueling or Easy-Jet to get to your next destination. You could also get to France from England on the underwater train the Eurostar for as low as $50.

This way you start your Euro trip in the UK and avoid flying through France if they’re on one of their infamous strikes (which cancel all flights that have to pass through France).

Cheap flights are easy to find once in Europe, by checking the airlines' listed websites and mapping out your journey ahead of time. Most flights allow a carry-on which will be tested once you get to the terminal, so to be safe and check the dimensions and weight permitted before you get to the airport. You don’t have to take a taxi to the airports either, a lot of airports in Europe offer shuttles from a certain destination to the airport for under $12.

Get affordable to free lodging

One common lifestyle that’s understood in Europe is the desire to travel and make connections. Couch surfing is a thing in Europe and on most occasions, you will not get kidnapped and sold on the black market (which is what my family thought before I left). Be smart while traveling of course, but also be open. Most foreigners want to practice English with Americans specifically because a lot of American TV shows are shown in Europe and we have different meanings for words than the British English they’re taught in school.

The opportunity to stay at someone’s home in a foreign country gives you the chance to interact with the locals who can show you the places you may want to visit to get the most of your experience.

It’s not always guaranteed that you will find someone who has the time to host you for your whole stay, so the next cost-effective option is staying at a hostel from $12 for a bed to $50 for your own private room.

In all instances, I would recommend going to the local grocery store to buy food to cook, and make sandwiches for exploring. You can always find a nice view to sit and have a picnic if you can’t treat yourself to a cultural meal in Paris, for example. During my stay in Ibiza, I was fortunate enough to make friends from the mainland of Spain, France, England, and the Netherlands, so I always had a place to stay even if they couldn’t entertain me.

Another option is Airbnb or the European version Wimdu. You can find anything from beds in hostels to rooms in a local’s apartment. In any case, it is very important that you interact with the people around you to open yourself to other cultures and remember to forget your American customs, lots of times they don’t serve you - they will close you off.

Get the most for no money at all

In most of this article, I’ve mentioned how to get the most for your money, but there’s more. Don’t forget your student ID (out of date as well) because a lot of museums offer discount/free days for students. You can check the websites to see when those days are.

If you want to go to parties, talk to the locals to see if there are any parties. They may be able to get you a list. In Ibiza, the party I worked for would charge a fee of 70 euros during the high season. As a promoter, I could offer attendees a discounted list for $25-30 and free for close friends. If traveling to Ibiza, the promoters from the beach parades and street parades are the ones to sweet-talk, and all they need is your first and last name and will tell you to arrive before a certain time.

For souvenirs, find small vendors at the hippy markets to buy from as lots of times you can haggle the price.

When it comes to getting free food (I’ve never done this personally but have friends who’ve done it) you can dumpster dive when the supermarket closes. In many parts of Europe, it’s common for divers to wait out back when the employees put out food that they aren’t going to sell.

Be open to new experiences

The recommendations in this article are all things that are common to the way of life in Europe, and you will not be looked at differently for trying them out. As an American, I had to forget about the way we do things in the US because guess what?!? I wasn’t there anymore.

Europeans know how to survive and the ones who you’ll meet traveling aren’t spendthrifts so you won’t have to put on airs to impress them, just be open to experiencing life’s new adventures.

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