Traveling is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. There is so much culture and beauty in this world that you have yet to witness so why not start today? Next month? This summer? You never need an excuse to travel. However, it can be tricky if you don’t know how to plan your trip properly. Things can get out of hand and money that doesn’t need to be spent somehow just flies right out of your bank account and into someone else’s. Hopefully these 5 easy steps will help you keep your trip budget friendly and stress free!

1 – Join “Scott’s Cheap Flights

This email list is something that E-VER-Y-ONE should be on. It is a free emailing list (until you want to opt for the Premium list which just means you spend money for him to send you more deals, which is something to consider – only $39 a year, $3.25 a month, and you can choose your flight location, your the first to know, you have a 30-day-money back guarantee, etc.) Anyway, this guy, Scott, will send you an email of the cheapest international flight deals that he can find and shows you where they fly out of, how long the deal lasts, the locations you can go to and how much money you would usually spend on a round trip ticket to said destination.

Think this sounds too good to be true? I did too until my husband bought us roundtrip tickets to Greece for only $450 each! FOUR HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS. Normal roundtrip tickets from LAX to Athens, Greece are around $1,000. We got them for just over half off. Yes. Please.

You don’t purchase the tickets through the site. He sends you all the information you need to know and includes links to the airlines you can purchase them from. It’s as simple as 1-2-3. Email. Click Link. Purchase Flights.

Basically, you are losing money by not putting your email down on this list.

Get on it now, here. And follow them on Instagram and Twitter.

2 – Stay in Hostels or book through AirBnB.

Hopefully, when you’re traveling your goal is to immerse yourself into the the culture that you are going too. You won’t be spending much time at your hotel except to shower, sleep and change your clothes. You can book Hostels all over Europe anywhere from $4 – $40, depending on what kind of room you want (double bed, shared, private, etc.). I have friends who just booked their hostel room for $6 per night. No, you did not read that wrong.

Now, if this trip is something that you want to be a little more romantic and you want the privacy that a hotel offers then AirBnB is the way. to. go. AirBnB connects you with a host who is from the area so they can tell you the best places to go, the best food to eat, the best bars, the best everything. They are locals. It’s amazing. My husband and I booked our entire trip to Europe this summer on AirBnB. Our price range was a little higher because we are treating it as a second honeymoon (#becausewecan) but we’re still pinching pennies wherever we can. Our AirBnB in Athens is only $25 a night AND we got a week stay in Santorini at a gorgeous private villa, with beautiful views of the island for less than $1,000! I think we are paying only $100 per night! How can you pass that up?! Answer – you cannot.

Here is a link to hostels in Barcelona for as little as $9 a night.

Here is an example of a simple little AirBnB in Paris that gives you a little more luxury without making you go broke.

Do you research. Take your time. Communicate with the hosts. That’s all it takes.

3 – Decide how long you want your trip to last and give yourself a limit to how much you spend each day while you’re away.

This is my husband’s favorite way of budgeting out a trip. We feel it’s the most stress free way to handle it so you’re not focused as much on figuring out every little detail before you go. Look up a couple of things that you know you want to do, do some research of a few local restaurants to get an idea of prices and then decide from there. This time around we settled on each of us spending only $150 a day, so $300 total. Like I said before, we’re letting ourselves indulge in a slightly bigger budget than usual, you can get away with only spending $70 a day if you’re really set on it. This factors in meals, any shopping we want to do, alcohol, museum costs, etc. Fortunately, Europe is full of beautiful (FREE) things to do. You can buy a cheap bottle of wine and spend the day in a park or walk around looking at old churches, castles, street markets. You don’t have to be constantly spending money to have a good time. Promise.

4 – Once you know how much you will be spending each week, divide that number by how many weeks you have to leave and save that amount each week.

Once you’ve decided on how much you are comfortable with spending each day and you know how long you will be away take that final number and divide it by how many weeks you have until you leave. That is the amount of money you should set aside each week for your trip.

For example, let’s say you decide you only want to spend $70 a day and you’ll be gone for two weeks. That’s $980 – add in the cost of where you stay ($10 / per night hostel) + your airfare ($500 roundtrip, cause you signed up for Scott’s Cheap Flights and got a good deal) – and now you’re total number is at $1,600. Let’s round that up to $1,800 to give yourself a little bit of “Uh-Oh” money and you leave in 5 months. You need to set aside $90 a week (essentially $13 a day). This may seem like a lot, but if you cut out buying your coffee, skipping a couple nights of going out with your friends, making yourself dinner instead of ordering in, you’ll find that it’s a lot easier than you think.

Now, there may be some weeks where this is hard (rent at the first of the month seems to sneak up on all of us) but hopefully there are other weeks where this is easier and you can afford to set aside a little more and it all balances out!

5 – Put that money in a separate savings account so you don’t touch it until you leave for your vacation!

Do not put the money you are saving for trip in your normal savings account and PLEASE DO NOT put it in your checking account. You will spend that money without even realizing it. Set up a separate savings account (if you are part of a Credit Union, this should be free) and put your trip money in there each week. When it’s time for you to leave, transfer that money into your checking and it will be all set for when you arrive in Europe!

We like to keep that savings account open and whenever we can we throw money in there for our next trip. Traveling is a priority for our family so we’re always trying to plan ahead.

The important thing to remember is this – when traveling anywhere in the world, you do not have to go all out and spend all of your money to have a good time. You will have an unforgettable trip and a great time no matter what if you travel with an open heart, an open mind, and a love of adventure. The world will not disappoint you.