Six month trip to Europe on $5,000

I’m planning a six-month trip to Europe. Yes, as a starving artist. That isn’t the most incredible part though; the incredible part is what I’m trying to achieve: I want to do it for $5,000 or less and I’d like to try to break even with content writing projects too. As you might imagine, this goal sounds extreme and maybe a little more like an unachievable dream than a real possibility.

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Visiting the Azores last spring might have been the impetus for a long international trip.

When you’ve got something that sounds impossible, what do you do? Well I talk to everyone I can. I started out interviewing freelance writers, and then digital nomads, and then people who have taught abroad. Next I decided that I wanted more freedom than teaching abroad would offer (and it pays so little that I couldn’t talk myself into it being worth donating months of my life too, especially since teaching is not the thing I want to do for the rest of my life).

Through these interviews I learned a lot that I never would have picked up through articles or books or just talking to friends and family or even other travelers. I joined Facebook groups like Teach Abroad in China, and Teach Abroad in Korea, and then shifted to Backpackers in Europe, and of course I lean heavily on my favorite Travel Writers group, who always have good ideas, as long as you connect travel to writing and not vacation.

I’ve got about six guidebooks right now, strewn throughout the house—Rick Steve’s and Frommer’s and Let’s Go (the cheap students’ guide to hostels and low-cost eats). A book like Frommer’s tells you it’ll cost $75 to $100 a day to survive; Rick Steve’s is more like $65 to $85; and then there’s Nomadic Matt online, who wrote a book about how to survive in Europe on $50 a day. But six months rounds out to about 180 days, and for $5,000 that means I need to spend around $27 a day or less—including transportation costs between countries and all. This post will follow with some ways that I’ve learned to save as much money as possible while traveling in Europe. And any questions, comments, or suggestions that you have to share would be greatly appreciated!


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