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How to Have a European Vacation for Only $1,000

A lot of people think that travel has to be expensive, but that just isn t true. Let s take a look at a breakdown of how you could take a summer trip to Europe for only $1,000.

Flights

Many people think that flights are going to kill a budget trip to Europe, or anywhere. But it s possible to employ a few strategies to save money on flights. The way to save the most money is to use miles. Delta, American, and United all charge 60,000 miles round trip to fly in economy between the U.S. and Europe. It s possible to earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening by signing up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card1. These Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to United which will right there get you almost all the way to a roundtrip ticket to Europe. Expect taxes and fees to be less than $100 for a round-trip ticket.

If you have a slightly bigger budget to work with, it may be worth it to spend some time looking for deals on flights. The Flight Deal2 and Fare Deal Alert3 are two fantastic places to start. It s not impossible to find flights to Europe for less than $500 round-trip if you are willing to be flexible on dates, location, and routing. Total Cost Per Person: $90

Lodging

Lodging costs really add up, especially if you think you need to stay in a hotel every night. Airbnb4 and Hostelworld5 to the rescue! Looking at a week in Prague at the beginning of August, there are private rooms available on Airbnb for two guests as low as $22 per night and close to the city center. Plus there are beds available in dorm rooms in decently rated hostels for as low as 7 euros per night.

There are dorms available as low as 4 euros per night but not in hostels I would consider staying in. Let s assume that you re looking to take a 14-day trip with one other person (therefore Airbnb prices and the price for two dorm beds is comparable), and you intend to stay in Central and Eastern Europe where prices should be comparable to these (approximately $10 per night, per person). Total Cost Per Person: $140

Food

Again, eating out can be expensive, but it doesn t have to be. Skip the fancy restaurants that you have to dress up for so you can save a few bucks. Buying food at the grocery store for your breakfast should keep breakfasts under $2 each. For lunch, grab a quick meal like a doner kebab6 or something in a similar price range. It should be easy to find a meal for lunch under $6.

For dinner, stick with casual restaurants. Before you head out on your trip, look up some guides for eating good, cheap food in a city. Here s an example I found after a quick Google search for cheap meals in Prague7. In Central and Eastern Europe you should be able to find dinner for around $10 per day. Let s say that all-in you re looking at $25 per day for food. Total Cost Per Person: $350

Transportation

Transportation is generally pretty easy in Europe. There are good train and bus networks, as well as ride-sharing services like Bla Bla Car8. The Man in Seat 619 is the best train resource out there and Rome2Rio10 is a good resource for comparing transportation options.

Budget airlines like Ryanair and Wizz Air might even make flying within reach depending on how far you are looking to travel and how much time you want to spend in transit. Let s assume that you are looking to visit three different cities on your two-week trip ($40 per transit) as well as have a bit of a budget for public transit within the city ($40). Total Cost Per Person: $160

Activities

Of all of these categories, activities is quite possibly the one that will vary the most between different people. Some people will never spend a dime on activities it s just not their thing. With all of the gorgeous streets, buildings, canals, etc. in Europe, you might just want to wander around outside and take in the sites or sit in the park and do some people watching. On the other side of the spectrum, there are a ton of museums, attractions, and tours you can book, and making it easy to spend $1,000 just on activities during a two-week trip.

If you spent $260 per person on activities you would still be able to make a budget of $1,000 for a two-week trip. Of course, maybe you would prefer to spend that $260 on a nicer meal or some good wine instead it s up to you! Total Cost Per Person: $260

It s totally possible to take a two week trip to Europe for $1,000 per person, even including flights. It s going to mean making use of some frequent flyer miles, looking for free activities, and less expensive meals and lodging, but it would still be a lovely trip.

What s your best budget trip?

Image via Getty

11 In 2011, with a four-week trip around Europe, Caroline became a true road warrior. Caroline likes to mix roughing it and luxury on her travels, sometimes staying in five-star hotels and other times in hostels. Her mantra: splurge…
All Articles12

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $625 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Named a ‘Best Credit Card’ for Travel Rewards by MONEY Magazine
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Sleek metal card design
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • $0 foreign transaction fees, plus chip-enabled for enhanced security and wider acceptance when used at a chip card reader
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs at full value that means 1,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points
  • Travel confidently with premium Travel Protection Benefits, including Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Trip Delay Reimbursement and more

Breakdown

Earn (pt.)

Spend

First 3 months

50,000

$4,000

Restaurants Purchases

2.00

$1

Coffee Shops Purchases

2.00

$1

Fast Food Purchases

2.00

$1

Alcohol & Bars Purchases

2.00

$1

  • Annual Fee: $95 fee waived for the first year
  • Foreign Fees: No
  • Card Type: Bank

FTG Review13 Reward Breakdown14 Points Breakdown15

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

    That’s $625 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards

  • Named a ‘Best Credit Card’ for Travel Rewards by MONEY Magazine
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Sleek metal card design
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • $0 foreign transaction fees, plus chip-enabled for enhanced security and wider acceptance when used at a chip card reader
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs at full value that means 1,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points
  • Travel confidently with premium Travel Protection Benefits, including Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Trip Delay Reimbursement and more

Breakdown

Earn (pt.)

Spend

First 3 months

50,000

$4,000

Restaurants Purchases

2.00

$1

Coffee Shops Purchases

2.00

$1

Fast Food Purchases

2.00

$1

Alcohol & Bars Purchases

2.00

$1

Apply Now16

References

  1. ^ Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (www.frugaltravelguy.com)
  2. ^ The Flight Deal (www.theflightdeal.com)
  3. ^ Fare Deal Alert (faredealalert.com)
  4. ^ Airbnb (www.airbnb.com)
  5. ^ Hostelworld (www.hostelworld.com)
  6. ^ doner kebab (www.yelp.com)
  7. ^ cheap meals in Prague (www.tasteofprague.com)
  8. ^ Bla Bla Car (www.blablacar.com)
  9. ^ The Man in Seat 61 (www.seat61.com)
  10. ^ Rome2Rio (www.rome2rio.com)
  11. ^ (www.frugaltravelguy.com)
  12. ^ All Articles (www.frugaltravelguy.com)
  13. ^ FTG Review (www.frugaltravelguy.com)
  14. ^ Reward Breakdown (www.frugaltravelguy.com)
  15. ^ Points Breakdown (www.frugaltravelguy.com)
  16. ^ Apply Now (track.linkoffers.net)

Tech Journalists Tweeted About a Fitness Tracker to Win a $5430 Vacation Voucher

Tech Journalists Tweeted About A Fitness Tracker To Win A 30 Vacation Voucher

TomTom is gung-ho about getting good press for its new fitness wearable, the TomTom Spark Music GPS Fitness Watch. Fortunately for the company, members of the press are cool with publicizing the Spark if it means they might get something in return. Some journalists attending CES earlier this month received a pitch from TomTom offering vacation vouchers in exchange for social media coverage and a disappointing if not entirely surprising number of reporters went for it. Journalists who tweeted images of their step counts were eligible to receive vouchers worth 5000 Euros (approximately $5430 USD) in exchange for the coverage. TomTom asked them to tweet about how far they walked while using a complimentary Spark.

The journalists who tweeted the highest numbers of steps would receive the vouchers, according to emails provided to Gizmodo. TomTom also offered up a second arrangement for some journalists at CES, as another email provided to Gizmodo indicates. If they borrowed a Spark for a day and tweeted their step count, they could potentially score a first-class flight upgrade home from the gadget-and-hormone-infested cesspool that is CES.

Tech Journalists Tweeted About A Fitness Tracker To Win A 30 Vacation Voucher

TomTom began tweeting at some of the reporters who participated last week, including CNET Associate Editor Dan Graziano.

I m a competitive guy, and I just wanted to be number one on the board for the challenge, Graziano told Gizmodo. As such, the tweets were in no way considered an exchange for the product.

We consider all product giveaways to be review sample loaners, and we endeavor to either return them to the company, or give them away to readers after the review process is completed. (Expect to see the Spark as a reader giveaway in the next month or two.) Graziano continued. Having unexpectedly won the challenge, I ve already notified TomTom that I can t accept the prize.

A quick look at the #TomTomSparkChamp hashtag reveals many more journalists participating in the contest, including writers for Tom s Hardware and Tom s Guide. Graziano didn t answer Gizmodo s question about whether CNET had approved his participation. For another participating reporter, this incident served as a lesson that not all publications are okay with the behavior.

I didn t request prior authorization from my superiors, which I should have done, Tom s Guide writer Michael Prospero told Gizmodo in an email that CCed his boss. Had I won the social contest, I would have refused the prize. In retrospect, I should have not agreed to participate, and going forward, we as a company will not be involved in such contests, even if there is no reward monetary or otherwise as it presents a potential conflict of interest.

We do not allow our staff members to participate in contests such as this, and will clarify the policy to all our employees, Prospero said.

Freelance writer Christine Persaud, who covered1 CES for Wifi Hifi, had a different take. The publication for which I was attending CES was aware that I was participating, she told Gizmodo. I did not view this as a transaction of any sort, in exchange for social media coverage. It was simply a fun contest and I didn t see it as anything more (though TomTom certainly benefitted from the exposure.)

FitTechnica editor Riyad Emeran2, who was selected to receive the 5000 Euro vacation voucher, defended his actions on Twitter, noting that he was fine with accepting an expensive vacation as long as it was a clear competition.

Tech Journalists Tweeted About A Fitness Tracker To Win A 30 Vacation Voucher

TomTom agrees with the journalist it awarded a $5470 vacation for tweeting about its product. This is its statement:

Everyone knows that journalists walk further than any other visitors at CES and this was a way to determine exactly how far. We were clear that it was a competition, which had T&CS that were shared upfront and handed out directly at the event. Journalists and bloggers were completely free to participate or not. The winner was the journalist who walked the most steps (90,000+). We did not request anything in return such as product reviews or additional publicity.

Look, tech companies love dangling3 treats4 in front of writers to nudge5 them towards positive coverage. It s a journalist s job to reject these overtures and transactions. Major tech companies have straight-up paid bloggers6 for positive coverage before, and many including Google hand out generous freebie products7 to writers who cover them. Fortunately for journalists who do want to accept prizes and money in exchange for coverage, there s another option. You can, in fact, hammer out a lucrative career by accepting what tech companies offer in exchange for coverage.

It s called public relations.

Image: TomTom

References

  1. ^ covered (www.wifihifi.ca)
  2. ^ Riyad Emeran (fittechnica.co.uk)
  3. ^ dangling (valleywag.gawker.com)
  4. ^ treats (valleywag.gawker.com)
  5. ^ nudge (valleywag.gawker.com)
  6. ^ paid bloggers (www.bbc.com)
  7. ^ generous freebie products (valleywag.gawker.com)

How to beat expensive Christmas travel prices

It has become something of a festive tradition to complain of the extortionate prices of plane, coach and train tickets over Christmas but not do anything about it until it s too late.

So when the yearly trip to visit the in-laws for Boxing Day rolls round, 130 for an off-peak return to Newcastle still leaves one gasping for air for several minutes.

Of course, you ve known this would be the case for several weeks, but you ve been in Christmas travel cost denial.

While railing against the train operators and swearing to fire off a salvo of official complaints about the sadism of travel companies during Christmas is a satisfying short-term solution, finding ways to beat them at their own game is far more rewarding.

For it is possible to avoid paying three-digit figures simply to cross the UK over Christmas. The following money-saving travel companies have been created specially for commuters who want to avoid breaking the bank to get from A to B during the holidays.

Split ticketing

Travel cards

The high price of train tickets in the UK has long been a sore spot for Brits, but when it gets to Christmas, prices soar so astoundingly it becomes cheaper to fly to Denmark than take the train to Scotland if you live in the South.

That is, unless you decide to split your tickets.

The practice of splitting tickets to save money – where instead of buying a journey from Station A to Station B you buy a number of tickets for different legs of the trip – isn t new, but it used to be a complicated process that carried the risk of getting on the wrong trains or buying the wrong tickets.

Now, however, websites like www.splitticketing.co.uk and apps like Tickety Split do the hard work for you. Enter your dates, and they will separate your journey into separate tickets, often saving you a fortune.

A 130 off peak return from London to Newcastle for December 23 to 27 becomes 106.40, while a return just before New Year can amount to 82, an even larger saving.

You often still travel on the same train without changing, in the same seat, but just have a few more tickets than usual.

Good for: People who won t get confused by owning five tickets instead of two.

Bad for: Those who get easily confused or are liable to lose things like ticktets.

BlaBlaCar

The Airbnb of transport, this website allows people driving to a destination with spare seats in their car to offer a space to passengers going the same way, often just for the price of petrol.

A drive to Edinburgh on December 4 costs only 31 per passenger. Compared to a single train ticket at 81, that s a 50 saving.

You may be required to talk to the other passengers who have booked along with you, but that s part of the adventure.

Rest assured Blabla car checks everyone s identity is authentic, and the community rates drivers and passengers on the site, much like reviewing an Airbnb property.

Good for: Single passengers who don t mind striking up a seven-hour conversation with a stranger

Bad for: Families who own their own car anyway

UberPool

Uber s new car-sharing service works on the same premise as BlaBlaCar, but for local trips. From Friday, UberPool will enable customers to share rides to the same locations in a city, as well as sharing the price. Not only will this cut down on congestion (in theory, fewer Ubers will be on the road), it also makes the idea of taking a taxi to the station seem much less indulgent. Passengers pay a fixed price that is 25% less than an UberX fee, previously Uber s cheapest option.

Good for: Young professionals who want to avoid the rush hour on the tube

Bad for: Antisocial types

Internal flying

Internal flights across the UK can save big bucks. A Ryanair return flight from London to Edinburgh for December 20 to 24 is only 49, while a return flight to Dublin for the same dates is a mere 74. This, admittedly, is not an environmentally friendly transport choice, but could be used as a last resort.

Good for: Families who have relatives in Scotland and Ireland

Bad for: Green-conscious individuals

National Express coaches

A National Express coach return ticket from London to Manchester is only 28 in December.

At five hours and 15 minutes, it takes far longer than a train, but when a return rail ticket for the same journey is 67, it s hard for those on a tight budget to argue against it.

Good for: Anyone who can happily while away the hours on a coach reading and listening to music without getting travel sick

Bad for: The cash-rich, time-poor