It is absolutely shocking to me how many people are completely stumped when it comes to booking travel. They fear that it’s too expensive, too dangerous, too stressful, or too much work.
If any of those fears resonate with you – you’re in luck! Now is easier (and cheaper) than ever to explore the world. There are very few legitimate excuses as to why one shouldn’t. In fact, I would argue that the benefits far exceed the risks.
Last year, Forbes published an article about why travel is good for your mental health. In our constantly evolving societal epoch – anything that helps recenter and realign our positivity, relaxation, and faith in humanity is vital. On top of that, they also argue that it boosts creativity and resilience, which can lead to better success at work. So – maybe travel is an investment in your future (more successful) self!
Okay – now onto the good stuff… How can you travel to Europe, visit three different cities in three different countries, and spend less than a year of two daily trips to Starbucks? The answer is packaging! And – it can get even better if you have points!
***At this time, we are not endorsed by any outside affiliates. That said, when booking our trips, we have had a lot of success with Hotels.com, Skyskanner, and Tripmasters. We also use and enjoy American Express Platinum, Chase Sapphire Reserved and Capital One Venture credit cards.
Our first package-based trip was London, Paris and Rome for 10 days. We used European Destinations – a division of Tripmasters. Through sites like these, the internet can scour deals and build a package custom for you including all airfare and hotels in a matter of seconds. Yep – that’s right – no wasted time, no extra stress, no added work.
All you have to do is find the package that fits your travel goals and enter your home airport. They find the flights/trains/shuttles that you will need as well as hotels. They even allow you to customize the hotels (should you wish to make adjustments on 3 star versus 5 star properties). We certainly recommend looking into the hotels by reading reviews and making sure that the area is central to where you wish to explore in the city.
Our London, Paris, Rome trip came to $2090 for two people from European Destinations and included the following:
- Direct flight from San Francisco to London via Virgin Atlantic
- Hotel for two nights in London (Holiday Inn Bloomsbury)
- Direct flight from London to Paris via Air France
- Hotel for three nights in Paris (Felicien by Elegancia)
- Direct flight from Paris to Rome via Iberia Airlines
- Hotel for three nights in Rome (Hotel Andreotti)
- Flight from Rome to San Francisco with a short layover in Paris via Air France
From there, we visited a plethora of museums, had all the food and drink we could imagine, and bought a few small items (clothing/souvenirs) at each location. We didn’t “skimp” on the experience.
All in all – this particular adventure cost a total of $2900 for two people to experience Western Europe’s top cities in 10 days.
Now…things can get even better! You might be able to do this for FREE! Yes – you heard me – FREE! Both Noah and I have high yield travel point credit cards. Noah has the Chase Sapphire Reserve and I have an American Express Platinum card through my business and a Capital One Venture card for myself.
These are all relatively expensive cards to have, but the benefits pay for these costs, if you use them! We use these cards like debit cards. Everything we can pay using one of these credit cards, we do it! Then, we pay them off immediately. We try to accrue as many points as possible.
Alongside the amazing point offerings, we enjoy the airport lounge access, top-tier car rental perks, concierge services, TSA pre-check and Global Entry, and annual travel credits. If you don’t have a card like this, check out The Points Guy for news/updates on what might be best for you and who is offering the biggest deals at the moment.
Our next package-based trip to Europe was more through the central zone. We wanted to go to Munich, Berlin, Prague and Vienna. Once again, we hit up three countries in 10 days. I decided to book this one myself using the Chase travel site for airlines (we had points to pay for the airfare – for FREE!), Eurail Pass for unlimited European train travel, and hotels.com (to help us accrue FREE nights!)
The total cost for this trip was $2,700 (after redeeming points for a FREE international flight) and consisted of much nicer hotels, an extra night in Europe, two added locations – 5 cities this time, and the comfort of first class train travel:
- Direct flight from San Francisco to Munich via Lufthansa
- Aloft Hotel in Munich for 2 nights
- Train from Munich to Jena
- Steigenberger Hotel in Jena for 1 night
- Train from Jena to Berlin
- NHow Berlin Hotel (upgraded) in Berlin for 2 nights
- Train from Berlin to Prague
- Old Town Square Hotel in Prague for 2 nights
- Train from Prague to Vienna
- Do & Co Hotel in Vienna for 2 nights
- Flight from Vienna to San Francisco with a short layover in Munich
- Food/drink, entertainment, museum access, and light shopping in all locations visited!
On top of traveling to these destinations at a fraction of the original cost, we used our cards and hotels.com rewards during the trip to accrue even more points towards travel for the next year.
Can you do it cheaper? Absolutely! We tend to stay in 4 or 5 star hotels, take black cars, eat at world renowned restaurants, and pay full price for the museums we want to see instead of buying City Passes. You can absolutely chop about $1000 off of the total price if you stay in less expensive hotels, only travel via public transportation (which is completely possible), and eat more street food instead of fine dining!
All-in-all, it is EASY and INEXPENSIVE to go see Europe. If you’ve been trying to figure out how to do it, hopefully these tips have helped you. Go out and enjoy!
Toast the Moon – Cheers,
Noah and Majhon