Why we’ve Chosen Domestic Travel

As we look forward to our year long trip around Australia I thought we’d share some of the reasons we decided to travel domestically. Domestic travel can seem unappealing for a host of reasons. People often travel to experience other cultures, and we can understand why so many people choose to avoid domestic travel. But we really believe everyone should do some domestic travel at some point in their lives! There’s a whole beautiful world out there and we want to see it all, but there’s a number of reasons for why we decided to stay in Australia.

 

No expensive flights

On most international trips your biggest singular  expense will be your international flights! Our flights from Perth to Dublin cost us $1600AUD each, and our flights to America cost even more. When you travel domestically any flights you take will be much cheaper, and you don’t necessarily need to fly at all. We’ll be doing our trip around Australia in our four wheel drive. This cost us $3,500 and will be our transportation and our accommodation for our entire trip! That’s a pretty big saving!

Domestic Travel

Jerry the Four Wheel Drive!

We’ve also got the added bonus of not having to worry about the weight of our luggage, extra airline fees, or any liquid or food restrictions. We want to travel lightly but we have a lot more room for any extra things we might need.

 

No visas

Visa applications can get complicated, costly, and stressful. I’m lucky to have a  European passport which gives me greater access to other countries, but not everyone is as lucky. If you’ve got a passport that restricts your travel in foreign countries then domestic travel is a great option! You’ll save yourself time and money.

 

No travel insurance

Travel insurance is one of those costs that people often overlook when planning a trip. Paying for something that you hope you never need can suck, but it would be awful to be in a bad situation and regret not buying it. Many countries now require you to have travel insurance upon entering. The great thing about travelling domestically is that you don’t need to get travel insurance! Your regular health insurance should cover you for any potential accidents. In Australia we have good public health care and we know that if any problems do arise we won’t find ourselves paying an insane medical bill, like we would have in America.

 

No roaming charges

Another thing you can cross off your to-do list- roaming plans. You won’t need to pay extra for a roaming plan, unlock your phone, or buy a cheap phone at your destination; because your current plan will work just fine! Now you’re obviously not going to plan your holiday around your phone plan (or maybe you do, I’m not judging!) but it’s a nice bonus that saves you money and takes one less stress off your plate.

 

Environmentally friendly

Unfortunately flying to the other side of the world has a big impact on the environment. All those miles in the air equal lots of burning fuel, and lots of burning fuel equals lots of carbon emissions! By opting to travel closer to home your travels can be that little bit greener!

 

No foreign languages

It’s great to be able to visit new countries, pick up parts of other languages and muddle your way through interacting with others. But sometimes it can be exhausting! If you’re bilingually challenged like myself the idea of learning a new language is not only daunting but potentially impossible. When you travel your own country it’s a nice break from struggling to read menus and trying to remember if “sortie” means entrance or exit!

 

 

No currency exchange/bank card issues

This is a cool one because it’s one less thing to put on your pre-travel to do list! When travelling internally you won’t need to exchange currency, get a travel card, or organise anything extra with your bank. And when you arrive at your destination you won’t spend an embarrassingly long time trying to count your cash out at the check out!

Domestic Travel

Australia is so beautiful!

See your own backyard!

We have been in Australia for a fair chunk of our lives now and we’ve still seen the tiniest portion of it! How many times have you met someone while traveling who’s seen more of your native country than you have? How many times has someone asked you for recommendations on what to see and you’ve been clueless? It’s a great thing to be able to experience and explore your own country. It can enrich your understanding of your own culture and your own environment, and it helps you to appreciate your own unique place in the world. That’s why we’ve chosen to experience domestic travel together before we add any new countries to our list!

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How to Pick your Travel Destination 

Picking your travel destination can be really hard! The world is full of dream destinations and when you’ve only got a few weeks of travel time a year and when you spend all year saving for it, you definitely don’t want to regret your choice! Here are a few factors to consider when making that all important decision.

Budget

When it comes to budget travel not all countries are created equal. Work out what the budget for your trip will be and then ask yourself these questions.

How much will it cost to get there?

If your destination is on the other side of the world it will cost more to get there than it would to visit somewhere a train ride away. I could fly to Bali for a third of the cost of flying to Europe, or I could take a bus down South for even less. For most trips the cost of getting to your travel destination will be your biggest singular expense and it’s important to factor that in when researching destinations.

How much to stay there?

The cost of accommodation can vary greatly from country to country, and even from city to city. Switzerland and Germany border each other but it’s still infinitely cheaper to stay in Germany. Look at the available accommodation options in each location. Will you stay in a hostel? Are there highly rated hostels available? Will you have the option of staying in an Air BnB? If you’re the kind of traveler that leaves their accommodation first thing in the morning and doesn’t return until that night you don’t want to visit somewhere where expensive resorts are your only option.

What’s the cost of living?

If you’re on a budget you probably don’t want to visit somewhere where a glass of wine is going to make a dent in your retirement fund. Look at the cost of eating out, the cost of alcohol, the cost of attractions like museums and theme parks. You don’t want to arrive at your travel destination and find that you can’t afford to do anything!

Interests

Obviously you want to visit somewhere with activities that interest you!

What does your dream holiday involve?

Do you want a city break or would you rather explore the great outdoors? Do you like hiking mountains or would you rather relax on the beach? Does a day looking at old architecture sound fascinating or boring to you? The fact is my dream destination might be completely different to yours, and just because trip advisor highly recommends somewhere doesn’t mean you’ll enjoy it! Ask yourself what it is you want from a holiday, whether it’s a relaxing retreat or a challenging adventure trip.

Mobility

How will you get around?

This is another one that will affect your budget! Some areas have better public transport than others, in some hitchhiking is the norm, and in others it’s impossible to get around without your own vehicle. Check the minimum age for renting a car, look at rail pass options, and research the rules of the road in your potential holiday location. If you’re staying in a city check if parking will be an issue, or if you’re doing a road trip look at hiring a camper to combine the cost of travel and accommodation. You could even rent a bike and cycle around, particularly in European countries!

Safety

What are the risks?

We’ve mentioned our thoughts on the dangers of traveling before. We really believe that travelling is generally safe if you’re prepared, but be aware of safety conditions is your chosen destination. For example, I would probably avoid visiting somewhere like Syria for the time being. Even in “safer” countries it’s important to be aware of potential dangers. If you’re in a city known for being a pick pocketing area you need to prepare and be aware of your belongings always. Travel insurance is also an important factor here, make sure you’re adequately covered for whatever activities you’ll be participating in, particularly if it’s a more extreme sport like skiing.

 

If you consider these factors you’re sure to pick a travel destination that best suits you!

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Travel Apps to help you along the way!

Our favourite travel apps

Technology can make life so much easier when you’re travelling! We use lots of apps to help us plan, get around, and safe money while we’re on the road. Here are some of our favourites! 

Gas Buddy-find the cheapest fuel in your area-this is great for road trips and saved us lots of $$$s in California!

Hostel world-this apps got a huge database of hostels around the world. It’s a great tool for backpacking on a budget! 

Rome to Rio-this is a really handy tool for finding different options for getting from A to B! It tells you the time and cost for using plane, train or car!



Rail Planner
-this is the eurail timetable app. It is one of the most useful apps you can have while travelling in Europe and we relied on it heavily! It’s a collaboration of each country’s rail timetable put together in a really functional easy to use app. 

Booking.com– a great way to find the best value deals at your destination! What I love about this app is that they have tonnes of reviews for each hotel so you can find out what kind of place you’re booking!

Air BnB-everyone’s heard about Air BnB! This app has brought the traditional bed and breakfast into the contemporary travel world with great results. Living with locals is a great way to get to know your destination, and usually you can get some bargain prices too!

Trip Advisor– I am an unashamed trip advisor addict. I love to search my dream destinations and find out about all the activities there. Trip advisor allows you to see the highest rated accommodation, eateries and activities in your destination of choice! It doesn’t get much more comprehensive than that. 

Apple Maps– I know Apple maps has been the subject of some criticism,particularly when compared to the more well established Google maps. But I find that often when travelling Apple maps can be the better option. The main reason for this is that Apple maps has a better public transport feature, with detailed directions between stations. And I’m all for not getting lost on my way to the airport!



Pinterest
– I only found out recently that Pinterest is such a hub for travel bloggers. I’ve learned so many new travel tips and found lots of great travel blogs to read by perusing the travel sections of this useful app! It’s definitely worth checking out when planning your next trip. 

Europe on a budget


Europe is a traveler’s paradise. The continent is well connected by rail, the cities are historical and beautiful, and you can experience many different cultures in a short space of time. For most of us there’s only one set back: cost. Travelling in Europe is undeniably more expensive than travelling in Asia or South America. Particularly in cities like Vienna or Paris the costs can be pretty daunting. But I can tell you from experience that it’s very possible to see Europe on a budget. We managed to do it on minimum wage fast food jobs, and so can you! So let’s break down the costs….

Budapest is a great budget city

Getting There

Now, the cost of getting to Europe is obviously going to depend on where you’re coming from and where you’re flying into. We got return flights from Perth go Dublin for $1600 AUD each. This route is one of the more expensive routes to take. I have seen American travel bloggers claim to fly to Europe with WOWair via Iceland for less than $500 return. And if you already live in Europe you get a head start-the initial flight to Europe is the biggest cost for most people.

Sleeping in the airport is good for your budget-not so good for your back!


Getting Around

Getting around in Europe on a budget is easy! You’re spoilt for choice, with a great rail system, intercity buses, and cheap budget flights. If you’re willing to book your travel far in advance with no check in luggage then you might find flying with a budget airline like Ryanair to be the cheapest option. However, if you like flexibilty, comfort and great window views then you’re probably going to want to travel by train! Eurail passes (or interail if you’re an EU citizen) are a great way to save money while travelling in Europe. We got global one month eurail passes for €604 each. This gave us unlimited rail travel in most of Europe for 30 days. It also covered some buses and metro travel. This works out at just over €20 a day for almost all your travel while you’re in Europe. There’s lots of different passes available and there’s often special deals so be sure to have a look at the website and see what suits you.

The first train ticket from our trip!


Staying There

Here’s the big one-accomodation. Europe has some of the best hostel facilities out there. There are lots of options available ranging from budget to boutique. Hostels can seem scary to the inexperienced- the lack of privacy, the snoring, the wobbly top bunk. But honestly, I would almost always pick a hostel over a hotel! The atmosphere is social, the staff are helpful, and the money you save means you get to travel for longer! Below is a break down of all the places we stayed and how much we spent in each place. I’ve listed the price we paid for both of us for the sake of accuracy as occasionally we stayed in private double rooms.

Amsterdam-2 nights in the city-Hostel Meeting Point-€96 (large dorm)

-2 nights at the beach-Flying Pig beach hostel-€119 (large dorm)

Berlin-3 nights in the city-Sandino World improvement hostel-€84 (small dorm)

Freiburg-4 nights in the city-Black Forest Hostel-€84 (large dorm)

Venice-4 nights a short bus ride from the city-Camping Rialto-€84 (two person tent with beds)

Vienna– 2 nights a metro ride from the city-Hostel Hutteldorf-€70 (large dorm)

Budapest-5 nights in the city-Full Moon Hostel-€176 (private double room with ensuite)

Rome-3 nights outside the city-Seven Hills Villiage-€44 (small private wood cabin with shared bathrooms) note-we would not recommend staying here unless you have your own vehicle. It’s far from central Rome with bad public transport. They also appear to have raised their prices since we stayed.
-Total cost for two people-€875

Approximate cost for one person-€437.50-average €17 a night
As you can see we sometimes chose to stay in slightly higher end accommodation. For example, our accommodation in Budapest could have been much cheaper. You can stay in a dorm here for just €9 a night! We did things pretty cheaply, but it’s definitely possible to do it on a smaller budget.

Full Moon Hostel Budapest


Eating There

It’s easy to eat cheaply in Europe. A baguette and some nice cheese is only a couple of euros and one of these A+ chocolate puddings is 19 cents!!

 

These puddings were a staple of our Europe diet

But if you’re like us you’re going to want to treat yourself to a few nice restaurant meals. After all, the easiest way to experience a local culture is by eating their food! Eating out varies greatly in different European countries. We ate out in Budapest one night for €10-this was two starters,two mains and two drinks. In a more expensive city like Vienna it’s hard to get one main course for €10. On average we spent less than €40 a day on food-that’s €20 per person, and we ate out at least once every day. If you’re happy to cook your own food all the time then you easily eat on less than €40 a week in most places.
But let’s say you spend €40 a day. That’s €1200 a month, which is €600 a month per person.

Budget eats in Freiburg

So so far we’re at €57 per day including food, accommodation and transport. From here your costs really depend on you! There are tonnes of free activities around Europe. You can stroll through the unique cities and admire the clash of historical and modern architecture. You can visit beautiful churches and marvel at the intricate detailing. You can hike through the alps or the Black Forest. You can picnic in one of the great urban parks present in almost every city. But of course, you could also visit expensive art museums, got to Disneyland multiple times, or spend all day shopping in designer boutiques. Your activities in Europe can be as cheap as you make them! Here’s some extra tips for saving money when sight seeing!

Most churches in Europe are free to explore!


City passes

City passes are a great way to save money especially if you plan on seeing multiple museums. Lots of cities have some form of pass, but I’ll just talk about the two that we bought.

IAmsterdam pass

This pass covers all public transport within the city and offers free admission to many of Amsterdam’s top museum including the Van Gogh museum. You also get discounts for many other attractions, a free city map, and free admission to the zoo! They offer 24 hour, 48 hour and 72 hour passes. Visit their website https://www.iamsterdam.com/en/i-am/i-amsterdam-city-card to find out if it can save you money!

Berlin Museum Pass

There are multiple city passes in Berlin, but we chose to get the Berlin museum pass. This is a three day pass which costs €24- €12 for a student. It covers all of the museums on museum island and many more in Berlin. It’s worth looking into, especially if you want to explore Berlin’s unique history. Find out more here http://www.visitberlin.de/en/museum-pass-berlin

The IAmsterdam pass includes a canal cruise!

It’s also worth looking at looking at public transport passes as opposed to paying for each trip individually. Free museum days can be a great way to save money. All the museums in the Vatican are free on the last Sunday of every month!

A sneaky sistine chapel photo!

I hope these tips will help you to plan your trip to Europe! If you play your cards right it’s easy to travel on a small budget!