The value of a trip should be measured by the experiences you've made and the lessons you've learned, not by the amount of money you spent.
Short trips are like a breath of fresh air in your monotone everyday life. After spending 8 hours at work, staring at Excel spreadsheets, answering countless emails, dealing with training sessions, deadlines, meetings and so on, I start feeling really impatient to escape the daily routine and do whatever I want, see whatever I want to see and get as far away from a routine as possible.
No matter if it's a trip within your own country or to somewhere far away (which is even better), it will motivate you to keep going for another week. I still remember, when I bought my ticket to Jordan, I was battling a cold and a fever. I had just booked a flight to Finland a few days before and was also preparing for my trip to Spain.
Off to Jordan… at last
Jordan was a destination I had wanted to visit for a long time and I had been chasing offers on the internet to buy a cheap ticket. Most offers I came across were around 250-300 EUR. I set a limit for myself, that I wouldn't spend more than 70-80 EUR for a return trip to countries within Europe. No way! Simply impossible. And even though Jordan wasn't in Europe, I thought to myself that I had only paid 62 EUR to fly to Israel so there was no way I would spend more than 100 EUR to go to Jordan.
4 days before I was leaving to go to Spain I saw a special deal advertised on Facebook and I knew instantly that, if I wouldn’t buy the ticket right that day, I'd probably never get to see Jordan for that price. I can't describe the joy I felt the exact moment I booked this flight. I jumped, I danced, I sang. I wanted to scream but due to my cold that day, my voice sounded like a little kitten's voice. My colleagues realised what I just did and I somehow felt guilty because it was the fifth airplane ticket I had booked in 4 months. Was it too much? So what!! Who the hell is counting? Who’s paying for this? Me.… I worked for it and I deserve it.
How I afford to travel often
When you have a mortgage loan and are desperate to see the world you sometimes wonder where you get the money from. Credit cards? NO way! Loans from friends or family? Absolutely not! I don’t recommend borrowing money from anyone. Did you save the money? Well ..that could be a start. But how much do you need to save and for how long? This is a question you need to answer yourself. What kind of trip do you want to take? What country do you want to visit? Where are you going to stay? How many days do you want to go for? What are you going to eat? Are you going by yourself or with someone else? Do you want to go out to nightclubs and restaurants? In that case, save a lot of money.
I usually spent no more than 250 EUR for 4 days which includes transport, accommodation, food, museums, souvenirs, etc. I've stayed in hostels in every country I have visited so far; they are cheap and clean. Of course you have to share your room with strangers from different countries. Of course, it's not the same comfort as staying in a hotel. Of course, you don’t have any privacy. And of course, you have to share the bathroom and the kitchen with others. But apart from all that, you have the chance to meet other like-minded people. You have the opportunity to speak about your country, educate people about it, exchange information about how to travel cheap etc.
For example, a girl from Finland who I shared a room with in Spain, told me that I could find the cheapest deals to go to New York if I'd book them early with Norwegian Air. From another girl who I shared a room with in Ireland, I learned that 7 days in NYC would be enough to explore the city on my own.
In the end, you are the one who puts the price on your journey. The value of a trip should be measured by the experiences you've made and the lessons you've learned, not by the amount of money you spent. And trust me, the joy you experience when traveling and the memories you make that will last a lifetime, are absolutely priceless.
How to learn from others and make the most of every situation
In each hostel I've stayed in, I shared rooms with people from all around the world; girls from America, Japan, Argentina, Italy, France, Greece, Sweden etc. As you can see, people from all around the world, with different stories, different motivations to keep moving all share one common goal - seeing the world.
I mean, let's think about it: 4 continents, 4 countries, 4 beds, one room. The whole world can fit into a small hostel room and you all share the same dream. Why shouldn't you be that girl that brings the whole world together in one room? Nowadays, there are so many cheap ways to travel (especially within Europe). So many chances to get lost in this world because that's what travel is all about. Getting lost in the streets of a new destination, not running after tourist attractions.
My cheapest journey ever was in January this year, when I went to Greece. I spent 110 EUR for 4 days including, flights, hostel, street food, entrance tickets to the museum, the Acropolis and the Pantheon. And I didn't get reduced tickets either as I'm no longer a student. Trust me, at 35 I'm definitely done with school.
I remember meeting a girl from New York when I was in Ireland and she told me that she was envious of us Europeans, being able to travel in between countries a lot. We only ever have to take short breaks to visit our neighboring countries. Everything is so close in Europe so we can travel often. However, Americans have to fly for 9-12 hours to come to Europe. What irony I said, me, on the other side wants to go to the US so badly to visit New York whereas the girl from New York would have loved to stay in Europe. Sometimes I feel like we will never be content with what we have.
One thing I have learned from these short trips I have taken over the last 6 years is that there is no one in this world that knows you, or what's good for you, better than yourself. Not your mom, not your dad, your relatives, your husband/partner or even your own child. None of them know what's best for you better than yourself. So if you truly believe that travel is the best thing for you to do, then go do it!
Author - Ana Pascu
I'm currently work in a office, day job. But if I got a job that required me to travel... i won't hesitate to leave it all behind and go.