On June 21st, I departed to Europe on a one-way Delta award ticket from Boston to Dublin. I plan to post more about frequent flyer miles and credit cards in the future, but will mention now that it’s fairly common to find awards tickets to Europe in the summer for 30k miles (economy), 40k miles (economy plus / Delta Comfort), and 60k+ mile (business / first class). Points are a great way to cover travel, assuming you always pay your credit cards off!
I always try to fly to Europe via Dublin (DUB) or Amsterdam (AMS), booking one way flights with points. There’s an agreement between the U.S. and Ireland promoting tourism, so if you fly back to The States via DUB, you actually clear customs in DUB, meaning when you land in the US it will be as if you landed from a domestic flight (like SFO –> BOS). It’s great! On this trip, we fly home from AMS, on one way 30k mile economy tickets.
Some have asked how we picked the locations along our route, and honestly there wasn’t any grand plan. We had weeks here and there where we had plans to meet friends or family in certain locations — like Provence for group cycling trip, and Berlin to see our friend Larissa — and we filled in the rest.
We took a variety of transportation methods methods between major locations (planes, trains, buses, and boats), and always tried to use public transportation (buses, metros, trams, rental bikes) during our stays. Here is a map of our route!
We also tried to book more economical lodging (Airbnbs, private rooms in hostels, friend’s pull out sofas). Our goal for the year is to have an average nightly lodging cost of <$60/night for two people, because that is roughly what we paid for our studio apartment in D.C..
Europe will likely be the most expensive leg of our gap year, with our average room costing closer to ~$100/night (for two people). You might be thinking – you stayed with friends and in hostels and still ended up spending ~$100/night? Are you crazy? Well, we had one week of complete splurging (Italian cooking school in Tuscany, which I will tell you all about) and several weeks of traveling with family and friends, so we weren’t in the super cheap places we might have stayed if it was just the two of us. More to come!