5 ways to save money for an extended trip to Europe

Rome is a common stop on an extended trip to Europe ... Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0

Dream of going to Europe someday? Some of the world’s best history, culture, beaches and party destinations can be found here, so we totally get you. Unfortunately, travel here can bankrupt you in no time flat if you don’t have a rock-solid financial plan in place.

Below, we’ll share five ways you can save the cash needed to enjoy an extended trip to Europe.

1) Pick up extra shifts

If you hold down a job in a workplace where you are paid by the hour, you have an advantage over those on salary. Stay longer for overtime pay, or pick up shifts from co-workers looking for time off. The end result: you’ll end up with a bigger paycheque for every pay period going forward.

Take the extra money you make and move it into a travel savings account. This will give you the capital you’ll need to have fun on holiday without spending the cash into your emergency fund.

2) Play online games

By this, we don’t mean Words With Friends or Farmville. There are games on the web which give you the opportunity to make money for your travels. All Jackpots casino online is an example of a website where you can earn a windfall by being dealt a royal flush in poker, nailing a big spin in your favourite slots game, or hitting your number in roulette.

You might not win every time you play, but you never know when you’ll hit pay dirt. Not only that, but you’ll get in plenty of practice prior to dropping in on places like the Monte Carlo Casino – unlike the other tourists, you’ll know exactly what you are doing.

3) Rein in your spending

For all the complaining people do about not earning enough money, they often have cash leaks they fail to notice. A cable package with 100+ channels they barely use, daily lunches, and leaky faucets are just a few examples how the average person wastes their discretionary income.

By tracking your spending habits, you’ll quickly learn where you are wasting your capital. Don’t watch cable as much as you used to? Cancel and replace it with Netflix. Eat out too much? Do meal prep on Sundays, and you’ll have a lunch ready to go every day. Got an inflated water bill? Have a plumber fix the leaks in your home.

4) Prioritize attractions and destinations

The problem with Europe is that there are so many places to go, it can be hard to know which ones to include in your itinerary. What’s more, many attractions in these cities charge sizable admission fees.

Know what interests you the most, then use this knowledge to make travel planning decisions. Love mountains and beaches? Move destinations like Paris down the list and choose spots like Barcelona instead. Prefer food over churches? Don’t waste 20 Euros to get into a cathedral you know won’t captivate you.

5) Earn money while you travel

There’s no getting around it: Europe is one of the priciest places in the world for travellers to visit. Don’t want to deprive yourself of experiences in a bid to preserve your declining bank balance? Pick up an internet side hustle before leaving home.

Spend several hours per week working on freelance projects for clients, and you’ll create a consistent income stream that will allow you go out for that fancy 5-course French meal while your hostel mates eat spaghetti.

5 Things to See and Do in Birmingham

You know about London, but there’s another city you should consider visiting on your next trip to the UK. Birmingham is the second largest city in England, and one of the cities that helped shape the modern world. As one of the leaders in the Industrial Revolution, it has a long history in technological advances along with contributions to music and the arts. There’s so much to do that you might be wondering where to start. So let’s take a look at five things to see and do in Birmingham.

Of course, the best way to go about getting to and from Birmingham airport is by using Blacklane. Blacklane offers a professional driver service that makes it extremely easy to get where you’re going. It’s convenient and affordable. Simply schedule your pickup time and enjoy your ride. It’s that easy.

Symphony Hall: Symphony Hall is easily the greatest concert hall in the UK and one of the greatest in the world. It offers a wide variety of acts, from rock, jazz, classical, dance, and even stand up comedy. It hosts over 270 events a year, so there’s always some kind of entertainment happening. On top of all this, it’s also the home of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, which frequently plays to audiences of over 200,000. Make sure to check their schedule before you visit to see what will be happening while you’re there.

Shakespeare Express: This is a beautiful way to explore the English countryside while also taking in some of its old-time charm. The Shakespeare Express is an old-fashioned steam train that looks like it came from another time. Once you board, you’ll be taken on a ride from Birmingham to Stratford Upon Avon. It’s a gorgeous ride that’s steeped in both history and natural beauty. Depending on when you take the trip, you’ll also be served a delicious meal to eat as you enjoy the scenery.

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery: This is a must-see for art lovers. The Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery contains art that spans centuries of European culture. It features many different kinds of art, such as fine art, ceramics, archaeology, and industrial history. Some of it highlights include the Staffordshire Hoard, the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon gold ever discovered, and a gallery of Ancient Egyptian artifacts.

Sheldon Country Park: If you’re looking to spend some time outdoors during your stay in Birmingham, then Sheldon Country Park is the place to go. This park consists of 300 acres of open grassland, giving you a perfect chance to enjoy some of England’s natural beauty. Sheldon Country Park is also a great place to take the whole family as it features a playground and a farm that houses an assortment of animals.

Great Western Arcade: You’re going to want to do some shopping while you’re in Birmingham, and this is the best place to do it. Not only does Great Western Arcade house a vast selection of retail shops, it also offers plenty of English charm. It was originally built in Victorian times, and still retains much of its old-world appeal. It’s both a perfect place to find what you’re looking for and a fascinating experience in its own right.

The Allure of Travel: The Why, Where, and How of Getting Out There

Not a day goes by without seeing a travel-related post pop up in your social feed.

Honestly, who wouldn’t want to be a digital nomad?

The person traversing while affording the trip through online work. Hell, being able to get out there, away from work for a short while, to experience new cultures, try new cuisines, and participate in memorable experiences is reason enough.

I don’t have to tell you the allure of travel – but I’d like to share why we need it. Plus, some extras on where you could go and making it happen. Sound good? Great!

The Why: A Need for Travel

We travel for several reasons but I think there are some underlying motives we all share:

·  Risks – We want stories to tell and the best ones are often those that involved risks. Finding ourselves in new lands, completely out of our element is a surefire way to accomplish this. We don’t want to be harmed but we push those boundaries when traveling; a calling of the void that pumps adrenaline and creates a unique experience.

·  Perspective – The world is huge and despite our ability to tap into other cultures and experiences through the Web it doesn’t have the same impact. Being in the thick of a festival or invited to dine with a local family shows how interconnected we really are – it’s a humbling experience knowing we’re all trying to find ourselves.

·  Reset – Travel strips the everyday responsibilities; you’re forced to live in the moment. Being able to step away and take everything in lets us unwind and de-stress. We come back glowing; something that spills positivity into our relationships, work, and social life.

To each their own, of course.

The What: Where to Go

Where would you go if you had the time and money to do so? How about:

·  Timeshares – An all-inclusive getaway; Welk Timeshare comes to mind. This option is great for those that don’t want to think about how they’re getting there and just wants to relax. Newer options give flexibility with timing and locations so check ‘em out.

·  Couchsurfing – Will take you just about anywhere if you’re willing to take the (small) risk. In the age of Airbnb, it’s nice knowing people still open their doors to travelers without charging. Join the couchsurfing community to find locations all around the world; host a few of your own!

·  WWOOFING – Volunteer to help organic farmers from all over the world. You’ll put in work time for hosting and food. Plus, you’re helping to build sustainability.

·  Cruises – Working on a cruise line has become a popular option. Reasons include the ability to travel but also save up decent money while your room & board are accounted for. It’s not the best way to get around but it sure beats working a crumby 9-to-5 in town, right?

What’s missing? The destinations.

Since you’ll either have a destination that’s been on your mind for many years or go with the flow. That’s the beauty of travel… anywhere you go will present amazing, new experiences!

The How: Making it All Happen

Making it happens means making travel a priority.

Once you set traveling as your “go-to thing to do” you’ll find it easier to save. You’ll question every expense since it could go toward the travel funds. You’ll have the energy to learn money-saving travel tips that’ll eventually go into effect once there (further refining your travel budget).

There are several smart ways to set yourself up to travel:

·  Take full advantage of frequent flyer credit cards

·  Set up automatic savings toward travel funds

·  Try to compact your PTO and use them on top of 3-day weekends

·  Find a travel buddy so you can split costs

·  Ask for gift cards and money during holidays to fund the trip

Again, it’s about making it a priority – you’ll find a way once you’re dead-set on traveling.

Your turn… Why do you enjoy traveling? Where do you go? And how do you make it happen?