How We Saved Money by Traveling Europe

how we saved money by traveling europe


Ever since we began our journey, I have had at least 1 email/week asking “how do you afford to travel?” I’ve laid out a basic “how to do what we did” list on 5 Steps to Afford Full-Time Travel, but I wanted to share with everyone what our expenses were while traveling Europe. I always tell people that we actually SAVED money by traveling Europe! No one really believes me, but I think I might be able to convince you with actual MATH!

As a bit of a back story, we were living in a very expensive city in Northern Virginia that we loved. Our rent was $3,800 (ouch) and Paul and I both work from home. After doing a little soul searching and a little internet browsing, we realized we could go to Europe and live full-time in Airbnb houses, see the world and actually SAVE money! I know not everyone has an outrageous rent or mortgage, but I think the average family could at least break even if they wanted to.

Now, fair warning, we weren’t living in the lap of luxury on the road, but we were experiencing other cultures, languages, food and people and giving our children a different kind of education! I’ve broken down our expenses and given averages, but always rounding up! I’m going to focus on housing, cars and food as I think these are generally the biggest expenses that people have either at home or traveling.

What Is the Netherlands Known For?

Cost of Living in Northern Virginia

  1. Rent: $3,800/month
  2. Car+Insurance: $550/month
  3. Food: $1,000/month

Cost of Living in Europe, Full-Time Traveling


$2,000 Flights for 6 from San Francisco to Zurich, Switzerland: United Points + Paid Tickets. For more information on how we find great deals on flights read How to Fly for Cheap or Nearly Free. I’m not really factoring these in to the entire price because Paul had to go for work anyway and we probably would have taken a vacation this year that would have cost about that much anyway. But there’s the total if you want it!


wanderlust crew expense report
Our beautiful “gite” or guesthouse in the French countryside

1. Housing

While living in Europe we stayed almost exclusively in AirBnB.  You can read more about how to get the best deals on AirBnB here. And here is $35 off your first rental. Here is the price breakdown by country:

$2,000/month Basel, Switzerland
$1,300/month France
$2,500/month London
$1,600/month Cotswolds
$2,400/month Ireland
$1,300/month Italy
$2,500/month Kent, England

Average Housing Cost:

EUROPE: $1,943
VIRGINIA: $3,800 

cost of living in europe
Old Bumblebee our Land Rover Defender

2. Car

We leased our car through Renault using this program. We had a brand new automatic transmission, 7 seater Renault Espace with zero miles, GPS and insurance and maintenance included. (Note that if you have 5 people instead of 6, you could save significantly more on a car rental!) Towards the end of our trip, we ended up buying an old Land Rover Defender (Bumble Bee, Paul hates that name by the way) and restoring it. So we ended up saving even MORE money when we returned the Renault. But I’ll just include the Renault price since that’s more practical for most people!

The Most Beautiful Cotswolds Villages

EUROPE: $800/month  
VIRGINIA: $550/month

cost of living in Europe
All this fruit in Italy for 9 Euros!

3. Food

We found food expenses to be less expensive than in Virginia, France, and Italy; more expensive in Switzerland, the U.K., and Ireland; and about the same in Germany and Austria. Since we spent equal time in all these countries, I’m leaving the cost of groceries the same. Remember, that we are a family of 6 with our niece living with us half the time.

EUROPE: $1,000/month 
VIRGINIA: $1,000/month

 4. Even MORE Ways We Saved Money

  • Utilities: we weren’t spending money on things for our home, like decorations or repairs and we also were not paying for any utilities which I didn’t even factor in under our original housing costs, which would have been around $500/month for water, electricity, sewer and trash services.
  • Activities: While we probably spent more money on activities, like visiting castles in France or renting boats in Italy, we also weren’t paying for activities for our kids, like sports and music lessons, etc. Depending on your lifestyle there is a lot of money to be saved here as well, but we’ll call it a wash for us with 4 kids!
  • Credit Cards: I know this doesn’t sound like a category to save money in, but we were able to use credit cards with points to pay for our car, flights, housing and a lot of other things! Since we get double points for travel on our Chase Sapphire Card, we were able to rack up a lot of points since our housing was considered travel. We couldn’t have done this paying our rent or mortgage back in the U.S. We were able to earn about 35,000 points on our housing alone! The great thing about this card is that you can transfer the points to almost anything. We transfer to the points to airlines and also to our Marriott account, which has allowed us to stay in one of the nicest hotels in London for a few days for free! The Points Guy is a really good person to follow for information on earning and using points with a credit card and I’ll be having a guest post next week from someone who is amazing at using points!  Just be sure that you pay these cards off right away to make it worth it by not paying a ton of interest every month! That’s the only way the points are worth it! We were able to fly ALL 6 of us back to the U.S. for FREE using points! Which saved us about $3,000 easy! If you are interested in getting a good points card, you can sign up here and get 50,000 points! 
Amazon Prime Day 2023 & Deal Week - My Best Travel Gear and More Picks


EUROPE: $3,743/month
VIRGINIA: $5,850/month

AMOUNT SAVED: $2,107/month

(plus thousands of dollars in flights!)

So that’s how we  SAVED money by traveling Europe!

I’m happy to answer any questions you have about full-time travel or anything else! If you want more information on how to afford full time travel you can read my article here. You can contact me at [email protected] or follow us on Facebook!

I’d love it if you’d PIN THIS!

how we saved money by traveling europe

If you would like to follow along with us day by day you can follow @wanderlust.crew on Instagram or on Facebook  or on Twitter or sign up for our newsletter! We would love to hear from you!

Wanderlust Crew

11 thoughts on “How We Saved Money by Traveling Europe

  1. Isidro says:

    Hi! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but after browsing through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyhow, I’m definitely delighted I found it and I’ll be bookmarking and checking back frequently!

  2. pickup lines says:

    You’re absolutely correct. I loved reading this and I will return for more immediately. My own site is dealing with best flirting lines, you might take a glance if you’re still interested in that.

  3. All Tech Trival says:

    Thank you for writing this info, I bookmarked this website. I’m also interested in facts on mobile app developers, do you know exactly where I could discover a thing such as this? I will be back very soon!

  4. avocat montreal says:

    Hi! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any trouble with hackers? My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing a few months of hard work due to no data backup. Do you have any solutions to prevent hackers?

  5. borvest inkral says:

    Nice read, I just passed this onto a friend who was doing some research on that. And he actually bought me lunch because I found it for him smile Thus let me rephrase that: Thank you for lunch!

  6. Nida says:

    Skype has established its online-dependent customer beta towards the
    world, right after introducing it broadly from the Usa and You.K.
    before this calendar month. Skype for Internet also now works with Chromebook and
    Linux for immediate text messaging interaction (no video and voice
    however, those call for a connect-in set up).

    The expansion from the beta contributes assistance for a longer listing
    of spoken languages to assist bolster that global user friendliness

  7. پنجره says:

    Hello there, you’re certainly right. I frequently go through your content carefully. I am also fascinated by upvc door handles, maybe you could write about that sometimes. I’ll be back soon.

  8. Felipe says:

    you’re really a good webmaster. The web site loading speed is amazing. It seems that you’re doing any unique trick. In addition, The contents are masterpiece. you have done a magnificent job on this topic!

  9. Donaji says:

    Can u share some of the Airbnb’s u used? I having a hard time finding anything for less than 200 a night wondering if I’m missing sth

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.