Planning a trip and SAVING money!

June 1st was the beginning of our 8 day trip through Slovenia and Croatia. We had a lot planned in a short time but we managed to do it all and have a great time! Traveling for 8 days can get quite expensive so we managed to do a few things to help ease the pain of our wallets. The largest expense would normally be sleeping accommodations. We use a website called that lists apartments for rent by locals living in the city. There are many different options when it comes to price and quality. We always look for a place that has good reviews from others who have stayed there. We also make sure they have wifi so we can stay connected to the outside world, and that the person renting speaks English. If you’re traveling to a large city or a high traveled tourist location it will be very easy to find someone who speaks English.  For 8 nights we spent around $380 for our sleeping accommodations. That is a great deal especially considering most hotels in the states are around $100 a night!
One of the places we stayed. Nothing fancy but it gets the job done!
Make sure you read the descriptions about each place, in Europe a lot of places for rent do not have a private bathroom. Sometimes you either share with the family that lives there or with other people visiting. I personally do not like to share a bathroom so we always make sure to get a private room and bathroom. We’ve stayed at 7 different apartments in different locations. All but 1 had a small kitchen. If they do have a kitchen they supply the basic needs for the kitchen (pots, pans, silverware, plates and bowls etc). This brings us to the next way to save money; bring your own food! Now I know this doesn’t always work if you fly or take the train somewhere. We drove so we packed a large bag of things to eat (fruit snacks, animal crackers, gold fish, apples, cereal, muffins, poptarts, rice cakes, granola bars, bread, peanut butter and jelly etc). For 8 days we never paid for breakfast OR lunch. We would eat muffins, poptarts or cereal for breakfast (get a small milk at a local market) and then for lunch we’d make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Since we were driving to so many different locations a lot of our lunch times were spent in the car so I would make sandwiches in the car. If you’re not in your car or room during lunch time, plan ahead and pack lunch before you leave. If you don’t drive to your location you can still bring things like fruit snacks, granola bars, apples, and gold fish. It may not be a full meal but you can at least eat less if you do need to buy something. The only meals we paid for were dinner every night. You can buy things at a local market like noodles and sauce for pasta. When we went skiing this winter we’d make pasta for dinner since we’d already spent money on lunch on the slopes. It takes a little planning but it’s worth it to save some money!
Another way to save some money is to stay away from tourist traps. There are obviously tons and tons of souvenir shops. We like to have something from every place we go but try to pick something small. We always get a Christmas ornament from every place and a painting from the large cities (Prague, Venice, Dubrovnik) and we never spend more than 30 euro on a painting. Those are things we can keep forever and will always be used. So many people get trinkets that end up being junk later. So if you want something, stick to something small and sentimental that you know you’ll enjoy forever.
Also, everything usually costs money, museums, boat rides, castles, palaces… pick what is important to you! In Dubrovnik we chose to walk the city wall and not see any museums. There are free things; you just have to find them! On the island of Vis in Croatia we found old WWII submarine hide outs. No one is out there watching them, so if you’re interesting in that sort of thing then go! It doesn’t cost anything. Plan out what you want to spend money on and stick to it!
If any of you have questions about feel free to ask! These are the locations we stayed: Ljubliana in Slovenia then Split, Dubrovnik, the island of Vis, Zadar, and Opatija in Croatia. If you plan to visit any of these locations and want to know who we stayed with I’ll be happy to recommend them to you, especially the one in Dubrovnik!!