How To Travel To Europe With $1,000!

Hi bloggers x readers!

I have teamed up with one of my amazing friends (Erica) who just traveled all over Europe with her mother for $1,000! Can you say jealous and goals? I mean, lets be honest...the flight alone is about $1,000 so how did she do it? Sit back, relax, grab some wine, call your friends or go solo, and get ready to plan! Erica is pretty much giving away FREE advice and be sure to e-mail her for a chance to win more FREE advice! I've already took my notes and bookmarked some website, enjoy!
 *FYI, she has an awesome sense of humor and personality, you'll see what I mean shortly.

xo CCMonai
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Erica: What if I told you that you could go to Europe for a thousand bucks, stay in the nicest hotels, and hardly lift a finger? You would love me, huh?

Ok so that's half true. You can do all that but you will need to lift like maybe two fingers! Seriously, going to Europe had been a dream trip for me and being on a tight budget while my hubby finishes school definitely made going to Europe and not breaking the bank a top priority for me. Stick with me and I will walk you through how to do it! I also have some "best tips" while you're there so #lehhgo!

Flights
First things first, let's get you across the pond. So I'm totally a nauseous flier so for me, the most important aspect of flying is making sure I'm comfy. I always try to check out the plane before I buy my ticket and make sure I can get a seat in the aisle. See my screenshot below ⇊ of how to find the aircraft :).

Ok so what flight, what airline, and further more - how much? An average flight from DC to London Heathrow is about $800. Umm, did I mention I was on a budget? So I instantly began to look for ways to get a deal. I stumbled across the Delta Airlines American Express Card. Turns out they had a pretty great deal - if you sign up for their card and spent $3,000 in three months, you were awarded 70,000 Delta Skymiles. For me, the $3,000 was easy. I used for groceries, bills, and quickly snatched up friends bills to get me there. One caveat, there is a $99 annual fee but again for me, totally worth it. So here I am with 70,000 miles wondering where I can go and luckily for me, the flight from DC to London was 30,000 miles each way! So this means I booked a coach ticket for 60,000 miles and taxes and fees of $275! I booked my ticket about 6 months in advance. Score! This is a great deal, seriously! I also have referral codes for this deal, hit me up!

Flight tip #1: London is literally the cheapest Delta location to fly to from the US. Even if your ultimate goal is another country in Europe, it’s cheaper to get to London first.

Flight tip #2: Use Skyscanner as a plan to figure out where you can travel the cheapest in Europe. For example, if you know you want to explore but want to find the cheapest options, go to Skyscanner and enter your departing airport (ex. LHR), and instead of putting in a specific location, select “Everywhere” and you can see all options by price. I’ve included a screenshot below. Bookmark this site, it is everything!
*Click "SEE MORE" below!

Other Transportation – throughout Europe
 Per my tip above, once we got to Europe it was really easy to navigate to other countries. See my preferred travel methods below: ⇊

✴London to Paris: hop on the Eurostar train and get there in 2.5 hours. I bought my ticket about 5 months in advance and paid $75. Be prepared for the train station in Paris. The area is not the greatest when you arrive and I wouldn't suggest if you are alone.  

✴Paris to Italy: I flew this leg, via Air France Airlines. Again I bought this ticket about 5 months in advance. I flew to Venice and the flight was an hour. The airline was fine, nothing special, but got us there on time so I was good. The flight was $80. If you are ok with using European Low Airlines (EasyJet or Ryanair), the tickets can get even cheaper.

✴Venice to Rome: I hopped back on the train and I am so glad I did. The trip was slightly less than 4 hours but it was so smooth and comfortable. It also gave me a chance to see Italy, which was stunning. The ticket I purchased was business class (which includes charging stations) and I paid $56. I used Trenitalia.

Rome to London: Ideally I would have flown direct from Rome to DC but again, it's always cheaper to fly out of London and even factoring in the cost of this 2 hour flight ($75 plus $30 bag fee), it was still worth it. I flew British Airways and I was very pleased with the service. The food was good and flight attendants were awesome!

So in total, I spent $591 on transportation! Not too shabby!

Lodging
So before I go any further, I need to let you in on a little secret. I am a total germaphobe. So in my mind - the nicer the hotel, the less likely I am going to see a bug or like stray hairs. Yes people, these are the things that keep me up at night. I have to quote my big brother Jay-Z, "y'all think it's bougie, I'm like it's fine, but I'm trying to give you a million dollars worth of game for $9.99." Shameless plug but back to the program.

So in the hotel game, it's all about getting the most out of new credit card offers. I took advantage of two because as I said, I wanted to go as cheap as possible. The first I signed up for was Marriott. They were offering 100,000 bonus points. Same as the Delta Amex - meet a minimum spend and the points are all yours free and clear. I also realized that Marriott and SPG have a partnership so I was able to transfer 7,000 SPG points to Marriott and since the conversion is 3:1, I scored an extra 21,000 points. Here's how I spent my 121,000 points and secured lodging for four nights.

1.   London Moxy Excel - 10,000 points per night
o  Looking back, I would pick a different hotel but only because of the location. It was on the complete opposite side of LHR so we had a long commute. Hotel was nice so I was happy with it!

  1. AC Hotel Paris Porte Maillot - 30,000 points per night 
    • This hotel was amazing! We were about a $5 Uber ride from the Eiffel Tower and Champs Elysees. The hotel was immaculately clean and the service was great! Highly recommend. 
3.   JW Marriott Venice Resort and Spa - 40,000 points per night
o   Ok, so prepare to be amazed. This hotel is worth the hefty price (or points). This hotel was built in 2015 so it's super new. Venice is a carless city so we had a private water taxi to take us back and forth to Venice (we were on a small private island). Pool was beautiful. Tip: Hotel food was pretty pricey so be prepared for $20 sandwiches and $16 cocktails.

The next hotel offer I looked at was Hilton. I signed up for their American Express and by now you know the deal. Spent the minimum and boom, points were there. See below for how I spent my 75,000 points on three nights of lodging.

1.     Doubletree Venice - 10,000 points per night 
o   I stayed here just as a filler night. I got into Venice pretty late so I needed an average hotel until I checked into the JW Marriott. Nothing spectacular and I do not recommend staying here as it is not really in Venice.

  1. Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria Hotel - 32,000 points per night + $175 - Splurge hotel! 
o   Major splurge here. Whenever I think of the Waldorf Astoria, I think of one of my favorite movies, “Coming to America.” So when I got the change to stay here, I jumped right on it. The hotel was great and the staff was spectacular.

So that's seven nights of hotels - the last night we stayed at a hotel right at London Heathrow Airport and paid cash, $70. The Premier Inn is located at the airport and was comfy. 

Total for eight nights of lodging was $420.

Total for all transportation and hotels was $1,011! Crazy right?! I told you it was possible but as you can see, takes a lot of planning and time! 

I have so many more tips and tricks and I plan on sharing with one special reader. I have itineraries, Excel budgets, and personal recommendations. Are you feeling lucky? If so, shoot me an e-mail at ericamjordan0425@gmail.com and use the subject “Europe for $1K Giveaway”. We will be choosing a winner on August 31!

✹If you are interested in my referral code for any of the credit cards, please shoot me an email and I will get you all set up, Happy travels !

1 comment:

  1. Erica...Can I pay you a small fee and let you book our vacation? We could have had 6-7 vacations for the price of one of our vacations this year. I've learned a lot from this blog.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your comment and stopping by my blog!

xo