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Travel Tip Thursday: How to Travel to Europe for Less than $1,000?

March 3, 2016

Do you love to travel? How can you afford to travel and live life at the same time? Do you feel like you cannot get around to it enough? Is it possible to travel for long periods of time without life falling off balance? Well, I am here to tell you that you can do it. Scroll down to find out How to Travel to Europe for Less than $1,000!

 

 

Are you broke?

 

I get asked SO many questions all the time about how my family and I are able to travel so often without blowing all of our money away. One of the most common questions, "Are you broke?", doesn't even annoy me anymore.

 

As many of you may know, we just recently bought our first home. Right before we left on our one-week escapade to Italy when we traveled via road trip throughout all of Tuscany, actually. We basically lead a double life, a very transparent one at that. Everyone who knows us personally knows we are travel junkies while longing to be a homesteader at the same time. We are stuck between traveling the world and running our businesses from home, our own homeFINALLY!

 

Living a nomadic life varies largely from the life of an entrepreneurial homemaker. In this life, nothing is unattainable, your dreams are always achievable even if it means traveling the world with not even a buck in your pocket. As entrepreneurs, our income fluctuates each month. The money coming in is never stable, although it is always coming in. Bills are bills and they must be paid on time so we do just that. But, there has got to be more to life than just sitting around working to pay off the bills. Something's gotta give! I'm here to show you how you can quickly save up about $1,000 and travel to Europe.

 

 

Ebates

 

I've seen a whole lot of the world but on this particular post I want to focus on how my wife and I got to travel to Europe for less than $1,000 per person with round trip flights, hotel room stays, rental car, some meals, and optional tours. Our trip was primarily to Italy but  I promise you there are many options available to travel to other places, as well.

 

First, EBATES! Like I spoke about on a post recently (7 Money Saving Smartphone Apps), Ebates is my number one go-to app for cash back on my purchases and you will find that it is listed as number one, if you happen to read that post. My absolute favorite way to get my cash back is to use Ebates while shopping on either Walmart, eBay, Target or Groupon.

 

Groupon

 

Ready to dive into traveling with Groupon? Last May, there was an awesome promotional code going around the Internet that took a discount of 20% off any Groupon. There was a cap at $50—which is fine by me because it's still $50 I didn't have before—and of course this doesn't even include the cash back available through Ebates of 6%, at the time {it is currently at 6% cash back}. We, then, chose to search for "Gate 1 Travel", an agency that sells travel packages at a discounted rate through the 'Getaway' tab. Since we had heard of them being on Groupon before, the triple savings whammy had me giddy. We searched all the international trips that appeared in our search for Gate 1 Travel and compared itineraries.

 

Gate 1 Travel has packages for anywhere in the world. On Groupon, you can find getaway packages anywhere from Brazil, Spain, Kenya, Japan to Ireland, Germany, Portugal, more. When we read the dreamy itinerary included in the Tuscany road trip Groupon, we were sold on embarking on a journey to Italy.

 

There were several dates of departure to choose from, as well as different airports to fly out of. We chose the option for an 8-day Tuscany fly & drive departing on January 7 from JFK—that way we could sneak in an east coast road trip right in the beginning of the year. Each Groupon was $800 per person discounted from the original price on the Gate 1 Travel website of $1,000—dependent upon dates and departing airport.

 

 

We made sure to book it with the applicable promotional code of 20% off and we activated the Ebates cash back of 6%. There was already a $200 discount for buying the Gate 1 Travel package through Groupon getaways. With the promotional code and cash back, there was a total savings of $100 instantly: $50 into your Ebates cash back account and $50 right off the top in your cart. We purchased each one separately to be eligible for the promotional code twice and used our Platinum American Express Delta SkyMiles card to make the purchase and paid it off immediately using our SunTrust Delta SkyMiles debit card. This would accumulate miles on every dollar spent x 5 being that the Groupon purchase is for travel. We still accumulated miles for the credit card payment made from SunTrust to American Express but they were only at 1 mile on the dollar, not 5. These miles are currently being racked up for a future trip.

 

After this, we called Gate 1 Travel to confirm our travel package. Once I gave them our Groupon voucher number, they were ready to book our flights on our behalf. They offered to book our flights through whichever airline we frequently flight with. Of course, being fans of Delta SkyMiles, we asked them to book our flights with Delta. They had absolutely no problem doing so and even collected our SkyMiles frequent flier number in order to make sure we would receive the miles into our account.

 

 

Let's review that again:

 

  1. Search for "Gate 1 Travel" on Groupon under the getaway tab.

  2. Activate Ebates to be eligible for cash back on your purchase. It may be up to 20% at any given time. You can also activate Swagbucks for cash back and points.

  3. Choose desired location of travel, best time of departure or preferred itinerary and add it to your Groupon cart.

  4. Surf the web for a possible Groupon promotional code applicable to your getaway purchase.

  5. Book your getaway through Groupon. If you have a promotional code, don't forget to enter it before paying, and; if you have a frequent flier credit card, use that to pay in order to receive miles for this purchase.

  6. Call Gate 1 Travel to confirm reservation and request that flights be solely with your preferred airline in order to collect frequent flier miles on your account for your Groupon getaway. 

  7. Buckle your seatbelt because now you're in for the cheapest, greatest traveling experience of your life!

 

 

The trip was absolutely phenomenal. We left on January 4 to make our drive up to New York to catch our flight January 7. We enjoyed every single minute of our time in Italy. We only took €500, defeating all odds set by other people—including myself from my experience the first time in Europe, and we still came back with €100 in our pocket. We are saving them for the next trip. Maybe Ireland? Fingers crossed!

 

 

We ate the most delicious food and drank the finest of wines, met the best people and learned a ton of Italian, we discovered the highest mountain and explored the lowest valley. There was not a dull moment throughout the entire trip, including our drive back to Florida from January 15 to January 20. Throughout all this, we saved hundreds of dollars, had one of the greatest trips of a lifetime, earned tons of Delta SkyMiles for future trips and we came back with memories that we will never forget.

 

 

From today going forward, I will be writing a Travel Tip Thursday post on the first Thursday of every month. This will give me a space on the blog to share with you all my tips and tricks to travel for the low. There are so many shortcuts on cutting back on spending, saving the extra chump change, accumulating frequent flier miles and even collecting points towards free nights at your favorite hotels. With a place to share my traveling experiences with you all, I can teach you what I have learned and, hopefully, learn from you all as well.

 

 

Last minute math before I let you go:

 

$800 per person = $1,600

$1,600 - $200 cash back & coupon = $1,400

$1,400 + €400* = $1,860

$1,860 / 2 = $930 per person

 

We spent exactly $930 per person including flights, rental car + GPS, hotels, gas, tours, meals, souvenirs and more. This is the way to frugally travel the world while soaking up the zest of life.

 

What travel tips do you have for seeing the world? Where do you plan on going next?

 

XO

 

* I used the exchange rate at the time we purchased our euros. $1.15 per €.

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