Traveling Like A Princess {on a Pauper’s Budget!}

Half of my excitement for the upcoming year is rooted in the fact that I’ll finally get to travel to all of the places that I’ve dreamt about since the womb: France, Italy, Spain, Portugal… the list can go on and on. Of course, the downside of travel is that it costs money. Even if we snag an amazing deal on airfare or on train tickets, we’ll have to find a place to stay. After looking around, I’ve found loads of hostels that work well into a student budget. For €15-30 per night, we can stay in a fun little place and bond with fellow budget travelers. Cool. It works. It fits into our measly budgets & we’re able to see everything the world has to offer on a budget. Here’s the downside: whilst perusing hotels and hostels on Expedia (or some other amazing travel site) you see the real hotels — the ones that don’t involve 10 people to a room — and you’re enticed. You want to stay in a real place for a bit. A place where you don’t have to bring your own sleeping bag to ensure proper hygiene. I get it. Here’s an option that too often gets overlooked: vacation homes.

For example, in my idyllic world of amazing travels (aka Summer 2010), I will be traveling to the French Riviera for a little sunshine action; to Rome, for a little artistic inspiration, and to Greece, for a little cultural immersion. I’ve found awesome rentals on a couple of sites (although you can surely find a slew of websites that have similar offerings): craigslist and HomeAway. Both sites have a pretty amazing selection at totally affordable prices — in fact, they’re so affordable if you’re traveling in a group, I find it more cost effective that hostel living!

Here’s some pricing to give you an idea:

French Riviera:

A two bedroom apartment with internet, TV & Wi-fi has two beds (a bunkbed) and a double bed in the Master bedroom. Four people could comfortably fit in this place (and I’m sure you can squeeze 5 or even 6 with couch space) plus you have access to a kitchen, showers, and a balcony overlooking Nice.

€600 for the week! If you assume four people share the place (although you could have more!), you’re looking at €150 per week per person, or €21 per night (about $30)! Even though hostels are probably equivalent, you get the luxury of having your own shared flat or house, plus Wi-fi, TV, and all the amenities of a home!

Next stop — Rome, Italy:

A two bedroom, two bathroom apartment that sleeps five is a short walk from the Colosseum. This bad boy has a Master bedroom and then a second bedroom with three single beds plus satellite TV (not that you’ll be watching TV whilst in Roma). Plus there’s room in the living area with a sofa that could accommodate an extra visitor!

665 per week! With five people comfortably sharing this place, you’re looking at €133 per week per person, or €19 per night (around $27.50)! Check out this view and tell me it doesn’t beat a hostel!


Final stop — Athens, Greece:

Of course there are many Greek islands that would probably better be worth a gander, but we’ll use Athens as an example! This darling home, in a well-connected part of Athens, has three bedrooms and sleeps 8 people. It’s near the beach, the downtown area and close to loads of authentic Greek restaurants and hangouts. There’s a market nearby to purchase local fruits & veggies to cook in the kitchen.

Check out some of these shots:

{Worth €12.50 per night, right?!}

600 – 700 per week! At €700, with 8 people, we’re looking at €87 per week per person, or €12.50 per night ($18.13)! Seriously! What a steal. At that rate, you can have just six people occupy the huge place and still keep your costs super low.


Those places are pretty high up on my list, but I’ve looked for homes all over Europe and have managed to find some really amazing deals if you have a group to travel with! There are some really beautiful places to stay in Lisbon, Florence, Istanbul, Austria, etc., if you take the time to look!  Look for a place with Wi-fi (and some places even have phones with free calls to North America!) and you’ll be well connected so you can have fun during the day and work on your dissertation at night!

Note: Word on the street is that Greece and Portugal are two of the least expensive places to travel. Although the scenery is gorgeous, their respective economies have allowed us to snag some really amazing places on the cheap. On top of saving money on the stay, you’ll be able to save money on food, drinks and cultural excursions!

Happy travels — let me know where you’ll be heading this year!

Signature Stamp - Shannon


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by mia on August 17, 2009 at 6:36 PM

    hello! i love your blog by the way…so i read your list of stuff to do before london…and let me tell u..self tanner is AMAZING over there. in particular this cheap one called rimmel sun shimmer. its THE BEST stuff ive ever used. they have a self tanner and a body bronzer… im allergic to self tanner (tragic!) so i use the body bronzer called sun shimmer. its ike body paint. amazing…gives u an instant dark color that actually STAYS on pretty well considering its not self T!! so not to worry in the bronzer department. i think we’re set! they dont have sephora for some STRANGE reason in uk. but they have all the make up brands either their stores or in a department store of some sort. but if u use mac i bet its way overpriced…since its made in the us. i remember all euro make up in general being about the same price or maybe even a little less when i was in madrid. EXCEPT mac. it was like the same price but in whatever since the dollar sucks it was way more. so i’d stock up on any mac u use. and i also recommend using space/vacuum bags when u pack! worked wonders for me last yr when i moved to spain ;)


  2. Hey missy!
    Glad to hear they have sunless tanner — I thought they might since they don’t really get much of the real thing, but I didn’t want to count on it! The thought of being pasty white scares the life out of me, so I’m trying to stock up! I went to MAC recently and talked to them about getting a back up set of my staples — I have enough money in makeup that I could have paid for my masters with it. Haha! We’ll have to do some beauty shopping together! 30 days!! <3.


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