Can we afford an extended trip to Europe?: Part 2

eiffel tower
Photo by stevenvanwel

A few weeks ago, Tony and I started doing the math to see if it would be possible to stay in Europe for two months. We decided to think about it, see if we could save the money, and go from there. After looking at all of our options, we’ve decided to go back to our original plan for a two-week trip in May 2010.

There were a number of reasons, and I wanted to share them with you:


We’re on track to save enough money for our emergency fund, moving expenses, and the extended Europe trip. However, we’ll also be moving across the country and searching for jobs as soon as we were to return from our trip. As much as I wanted to take this trip, I think it’s safer and smarter to hang on to as much money as possible in case we need it during our transition.


This factored into our decision even more than money. The fact is, the only time we could take this trip would be early spring 2011. Tony graduates in December 2010, so we’d be moving out of our apartment, moving our stuff back up north, and preparing for life in the Midwest at the same time. When I think about planning a big move while simultaneously planning a huge trip to Europe, I feel more stress than I’m comfortable facing.

Ease of planning.

Trying to plan the most frugal way to stay in another country for two months was overwhelming. It’s much easier to plan for two weeks. Short term hotels are easier to book than long term rentals. We’ll be able to afford to see and do more in two weeks of vacation than we could in two months living frugally. Trying to plan a huge trip for our first experience abroad seems a little over my head. And of course, two months is a very long time to leave our dog, even if he is with family.


As fun as this trip would be, thoughts of what would face us upon our return to the States could spoil the trip. If we head to Europe before we secure jobs or decide where we’re going to live, I know I would stress throughout the trip about our next steps. Separating our vacation to Europe from our move and going on the trip when I have a secure job with paid vacation time will allow us to focus on having fun. We’ll have six months after the trip to plan the move and decide what to do after Tony graduates.

In the end, all of these factors combined made us decide to nix the extended trip. I’m not saying it was a bad idea. It was an idea — one that I’m really glad we considered.

If every time we wanted something big we thought to ourselves, “There’s no way we can afford that. We shouldn’t even consider it,” then we’d be limited by our decision to live frugally. Instead, I choose to weigh all of our options, think things through, and balance our wants and needs.

I love that frugality allows us to dream big. We can often accomplish these big goals. But sometimes after weighing the options, we decide on a different course. That’s okay. To me, the ability to make these choices for ourselves is one of the best parts about frugality.

4 thoughts on “Can we afford an extended trip to Europe?: Part 2

  1. Megan

    I’m sorry to hear that you won’t be able to stay as long as you hoped, but I think it’s smart to think about everything in the larger picture. I hope you enjoy your two week trip (that is still A LOT of time)!

  2. Fifi

    It really depends on what you want to see and where you want to go. There is a lot to see in Europe and even though 10 days seems like a lot it may not be. You’ll have to stick to a good plan for those 10 days and not bounce around countries since you might miss the whole point of the trip as vacation and come back exhausted!

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