The idea of spending 200 days in Europe came to me by accident. I was planning to go back to the Continent this winter and spring for 3 to 6 months and I was searching for flights.
As always, my primary considerations were arriving at a good place to start at the lowest possible price. The cheapest airfare I could find on a real airline–not one of those discounters that might go bankrupt in the middle of the night–was a round trip, Miami to Paris. It departed on November 18, 2019 and was returning on June 4, 2020. American Airlines, $399! If you’re starting from New York, it’s even less.
The flight was actually less expensive when I first looked a few days before. Missed that. Lesson learned. Book early. If you see a price that looks too good to be true, grab it. Don’t wait for prices to go even lower. They most likely won’t.
Anyway, November 18 to June 4–voila! 200 days. Ok 199 if you must. So I rounded up! Who’s counting?
Like you, I love doing things that are fun, and yes, I like luxury. I even remember having it once. 😄 But even then, I was nothing, if not “frugal.” I love a bargain. Many bargains! The more the merrier.
And guess what! They’re easy to find! So I decided that I’d spend 200 days in Europe on $2,000 a month. On top of that, I got the urge to tell you how I did it so that you could do it too.
So here we are. Are you ready to come along? Let’s go! It’ll be fun!
Europe Can Be Expensive or Inexpensive- It’s Up To You
Now, having spent about 30% of my life in southern Europe along the Mediterranean over the past 4 years, one thing I learned is that life there is generally a bargain.
Sure you can find places to spend lots of money. There are Michelin star restaurants and 5 star hotels in the most expensive resorts.
But in general, accommodations around the Med are surprisingly inexpensive. And we’re not talking hostels here. We’re talking nice little apartments or hotel rooms in the best neighborhoods.
Last year I stayed in a modern 1 bedroom apartment in Nice, France, overlooking the Port of Nice, the Mediterranean Sea, and Nice’s Collines du Chateau, or Castle Hill. It had floor to ceiling arched windows, two Juliette balconies, and those magnificent full length shutters that I ritually opened each morning and closed each night. It was amazing, and it cost just $1500 per month.
Now, this is the French Riviera mind you. It’s not the least expensive place around; that’s for sure. But it is shockingly affordable.
And there are so many places throughout Europe that are just as nice for even less than that. And I have found them. That’s our key to reaching our goal of spending just $2,000 per month.
And there is so much to enjoy there that costs little or nothing. So I decided that it would be fun to tell the story of all the amazing places you can stay, and wonderful things that you can do in Europe that won’t break the bank.
In fact, you can hang out in Europe cheaper than it costs to live at home, in many places in the US. Part of the reason for traveling like this is to explore the idea that it might be fantastic to actually live in one of these places for a few years, or a few months every year!
To find the best place for us with that in mind, we’ll visit many. In total, I’m looking at visiting 47 cities, towns, and villages, in 13 countries, over that 200 days.
Some of them will just be quick stops on the road, and others I’ll settle in for a week. And then in the middle and at the end of the trip, I’ll stop and just hang out and bum around for a month in two of the cities we’ve visited.
Which ones? I don’t know yet. We’ll decide that after we’ve seen them on our outbound journey.
Come to think of it, I’ll even let you vote on it! I’m not saying I’ll listen to you. 😄 I was one of those kids who never paid much attention to what other people liked. We all like different things. “And'” as the famous self-help guru Stuart Smalley said, “That’s ok.”
Then, who knows! Maybe next year I’ll return as a semi-permanent expat. And I’d love to have you join me!
So why not pack a little stuff and just go? Of course, I’m assuming that you have the freedom to do that, or that you soon will. If you’re retired, even retired on a modest income, or working digitally and remotely, you do!
In Europe, The Best Things In Life Are Free!
We’ve all heard, “The best things in life are free.” That’s especially true for those of us with wanderlust. Every new town, city, landscape and seascape we visit brings with them the joys of exploration and discovery. Who doesn’t love travel, and who wouldn’t love if you could afford to do more of it?
Well, you can!
The greatest museums and experiences are not within the walls and under the roofs of the grand buildings in the great cities of Europe. Sure, we definitely want to experience them. They’re a must. We have to experience the Louvre, the D’Orsay, the Prado! Just not every day.
And, if you are like me, the greatest museums of all are the streets and walkways of all those wonderful places that we’ve never seen before. Or that we have seen before, but have fallen in love with. We fall in love with them, and with the people and culture of those places, so different from the familiar and mundane at home.
We may have walked those streets many times, but each time we do it again, we find new pleasures, new joys, new sights, sounds, aromas, and tastes to enjoy and be amazed by. The charm and energy of those places electrifies us. Our spirits vibrate at higher levels, levels that we don’t experience at home.
The best part is that all of that experience is either free, or costs less than what it would cost us to stay home, believe it or not. That’s right. You can hang out in Europe for less than the cost of staying home if you play your cards right.
It’s not just the cities and towns we visit. It’s the sights we see on the roads that connect those places. If you have ever taken a local bus from Nice to Monaco for $1.70, or an intercity bus from Chania to Heraklion, Crete, or from Rijeka to Zadar, Croatia for $17.00, you know what I mean. Or if you have taken the rickety narrow gauge train across the mountains from Ajaccio to Bastia, Corsica, you know what I mean. If you have ever driven a rental car from charming village to charming village, and along the Mediterranean cliffs of magnificent Mallorca for $8 a day (total!), you know what I mean.
You don’t need to take an expensive tour! Take the bus, or rent a car and stop overnight at the charming towns along the way. It will cost a fraction of that herded tour, and you’ll have an immersive experience when you stay in a place for a few days!
Life Is a Journey – Enjoy the Way
Obviously when we travel, we go from place to place. Why fly? OK, we can’t swim across the Atlantic. But you could take the Queen Mary 2. Wonderful experience. I’ve done it three times and you can do it surprisingly inexpensively if you do it in late fall or winter when crazy people like me do it. But this year, I just want to get there! So I’m flying.
But once we get there, stay on the ground. Take the slow, cheap route, and enjoy spectacular panoramas that are a feast for the eyes and the soul.
As I develop this site for you, I’ll tell the stories of my experiences in those streets, and on the roads and rails connecting Europe’s wonderful cities, towns and villages.
More importantly, I will show you how you can do the same thing, for much less money than you probably dreamed possible. You do not need to be rich to enjoy the wonders of the Old World!
Now, please understand, this is not for everyone. This is not an organized package tour that will cost you thousands for a few weeks of being herded around like sheep from one tourist attraction to another, staying in generic hotel rooms. Some folks can afford to do that, and like it. If you are like me, that’s not you!
Nope, this is a do it yourself, inexpensive, self-guided expedition of not just discovery, but of self-discovery, that you will actually live in a very real and touching way. You can do this, and you should do this. The clock is ticking. So seize the day!
Can You Really Stay In Europe for 200 Days on $2000 a Month?
If you are retired and restless, or a digital worker with the freedom to work from anywhere in the world, come along now! Let’s see if, and how, you can hang out and have fun in Europe for 200 days on $2000 a month. I’ll keep tabs for you as we go. Can we do it? I don’t know, but I think so. I have a plan for how to do it, and we’ll definitely get close to our goal.
If you’ve done any long term European travel, you know that we can only stay in most of Europe for 90 days, in what’s called the Schengen zone. So you may be wondering how we’ll stay in Europe for nearly 7 months.
Well, there’s an easy answer to that, and I’ll be showing you that too. It involves a travel hack that not only will allow us to hang out in Europe for 200 days, but it will also get us to, or at least close to our goal of doing it for $2000 a month on average. That’s the key. There are places that will cost more than that. We’ll balance some of the more expensive places with other places that are less expensive and just as wonderful, perhaps even a bit more exciting!
I’ll tell you how I do all of it, right here at 200 Days in Europe.
So this is where it begins. It will be very much a work in progress. There will be lots more content to come in the days, weeks and months ahead. I will soon have a method for you to join the site so that you can receive notifications of updates as they happen. I hope that you will join me in this experience.
Ciao for now!
I loved reading this!!! I always went to Europe during my married years and it was first class all the way. Now that a lot of us are retired and living in fixed incomes; we can only continue to travel more inexpensively. This information will help lots of people consider going to Europe and beyond for a month or more. Thank you again for your insight. And have a safe and fantastic journey.