Less than three years ago, I was working at an office job in my hometown. Feeling stuck and unfulfilled with my current situation. Dreaming of a different lifestyle. Craving freedom.
I googled “how to make money online” and decided to put up a freelance writing gig on Fiverr. A few days passed with no sales and then one day, I woke up with 5 orders in my queue! As I started working on these projects, more and more orders kept piling up.
My plan was working. So, I went with it.
I quit my job and booked a one-way ticket to Europe.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t even making a lot of money. But I was making enough money to start living in Europe and experience a new kind of lifestyle.
What I’m trying to say is that if you’re not earning a ton of money from your online business yet, you can still become location independent.
All you need is $1000 a month.
And to prove it to you, I’ve put together this guide that will teach you exactly how you can live luxuriously abroad on a backpacker’s budget.
HOW TO LIVE IN EUROPE FOR UNDER $1000 A MONTH
Step One: Learn How to Make Money Online
If you plan on travelling long-term, this step is essential.
How you earn a living online depends on your specific skill set. You might want to start your own blog! I was able to make over $2,500 in my first four months of blogging alone. Check out my in-depth tutorial here or sign up for my free course below.
Remember that it’s okay to combine multiple sources of income. There are so many different ways of making money online. See what works for you, and just go for it!
Step Two: Find One of the Best Places to Live in Europe
When it comes to long-term travel, it’s important to choose your destination wisely.
You’ll want to stay somewhere that has a relatively low cost of living and good value for your money. Places like France and Switzerland can easily take you over the $1000 budget. Some of the cheapest places to live in Europe are found in Central, Eastern and Southern Europe. These countries will allow you to stretch out your budget much further.
Since I became a digital nomad in 2016, I’ve lived in Poland, Hungary, Serbia, Romania, Ukraine and the Czech Republic. I chose all of these countries for three reasons: they are affordable, have beautiful scenery and most importantly, fast internet connection.
For your very first month of slow travel, I recommend going somewhere that fits into the same categories that I mentioned above. But also, make sure it is well-connected by public transportation.
Especially if you plan on living in Europe for several months, you might want to start with somewhere like Poland (check out my post about the 7 Stunning Cities in Poland), the Czech Republic or Hungary. These are not only some of the cheapest places to live in Europe, but they’re also the best! You’ll have access to most of the amenities you’re used to at home and many locals speak English.
Once you get used to living in Europe, you can work your way up to some off-the-beaten-path countries in Europe, like Ukraine, Romania or the Balkans.
Step Three: Find an Airbnb Monthly Rental + Use My Airbnb First Time Coupon
Airbnb makes finding monthly rentals in Europe a breeze.
If you haven’t used the site before, click here to use my Airbnb discount, which will automatically give you $45 off your first reservation!
Here are just some of the reasons why I love using Airbnb:
- The price is all-inclusive. So, you’re never stuck with extra or hidden fees at the end of the month. The price you pay includes service fees, utilities, and bills.
- You know exactly what you’re getting. The Airbnb community is an honest place. So, you can feel safe knowing that the reviews you’re reading on that apartment listing are legitimate.
- The peace of mind. When you book with Airbnb, you can rest assured that if something goes wrong, the customer service team is there to help you!
To browse apartments, open up Airbnb and conduct a search based on your qualifications. Save all of the potential options to a Wishlist to make things easier. Once you have a list of suitable apartments, you can start messaging the hosts!
Also, keep in mind that in most cases, the host is willing to give you an even cheaper monthly price than what you see online. They might lower the price even further if you plan to stay for longer than one month and/or in the off-season.
So, send the host a message and introduce yourself. Tell them a little bit about your visit and ask them for their best price! Here’s a screenshot of the exact message that I send:
If the host doesn’t provide an additional discount or if the discount is out of your budget, let them know! Don’t be afraid to haggle a little bit and let them know your ideal price.
Using this method (which I talk about more in this post), I’ve been able to score some pretty sweet deals on Airbnb. After sending the message above, I was able to get an apartment in Lviv for $443 a month! Even though the listed price was almost double.
And I realize Lviv is much cheaper than say Prague or Vienna. But, you can easily find a monthly apartment rental in Europe for under $700.
Plus, if you sign up through the button below, you can slash an extra $45 discount off your total!
Step Four: Be Flexible
This should be a no-brainer. But the more specific you are when it comes to your dates and mode of transportation, the more expensive your trip is going to become.
So, try to be as flexible as you can when you start booking tickets and making reservations.
My travel hack on finding the cheapest flights to Europe is to use Skyscanner. If you have a destination in mind but you’re flexible on the travel date, just click on the “cheapest month” option. Or if you have a travel date in mind but you’re flexible on the place, type “everywhere” in the destination to see what’s available!
If you need to book any bus or train tickets to get to your destination, I recommend booking them in advance! A lot of companies provide early bird discounts. I’ve snagged 8-hour bus rides for a $1 just by booking early! I always use Rome2Rio to find the cheapest routes.
And if you a hotel at the airport or during a layover, head over to Booking.com and see what’s available. Use my Booking.com promo code to get $25 off your stay!
Step Five: Live Like a Local
Because when I said that this was a guide on how to live in Europe for under $1000 a month, I meant it!
That price includes ALL of your expenses, not just the apartment. And in order to stick to that budget, you need to live like the locals do!
Thankfully with Airbnb, all of your utilities and bills will be included. Which means your only expenses should be food, transportation, and entertainment. Depending on where you end up, the cost of living in Europe is relatively inexpensive.
In my post How to Have a $100 Weekend in Prague, I go into more detail about how easy it is to live like a local while experiencing a new city. Here are some general tips for you:
- Take public transportation. Since you’ll be staying in the city long-term, you can even look into getting a monthly transport pass!
- Cook for yourself. Rather than going out to eat every night, put your kitchen to good use! Head out to the local grocery store, grab some food and cook for yourself at home.
- Work in free public spaces. Co-working spaces can be hard to find and sometimes they’re just too expensive. So, head to a free space instead like the local University, library or park. I’m also a fan of heading to the local coffee shop.
- Cut back on the partying. Going out to drink every weekend adds up quickly. In most European cities, it’s perfectly legal to drink in public. Instead of going to the club, stock up on your own liquor and take the party outside. Your wallet will thank you later!
For the most part, I’m able to keep my monthly expenses under $300 a month when living in Europe. In a city like Prague, where restaurants and public transportation are slightly more expensive, this budget can be tight. But in a city like Lviv, you could eat out every night and still have some money left over.
Use this cost of living in Europe calculator to determine how much less you need to maintain your current lifestyle abroad! I also use this tool to compare the cheapest cities in Europe and decide where my money will go the furthest.
Step Six: Turn It Into a Lifestyle
Let’s be honest.
After you spend one month living in Europe, you’ll want to keep doing it. And the good news is that the digital nomad lifestyle is totally sustainable!
Before leaving home, make sure you pack enough clothing for all seasons. This is a tough one for me. It’s been two years and I still haven’t found the perfect capsule wardrobe! You’ll also want to create a mobile office that you can take with you. Mine consists of a laptop, laptop stand, keyboard, mouse, and headphones.
Also, keep in mind that you can only stay in the Schengen area of Europe for a maximum of 3 months out of every 6 month period. This actually gives you a great opportunity to check out some lesser-known parts of Europe like Romania, Ukraine or even Croatia!
For a better explanation of the rules about staying in Europe for longer than 3 months, check out this blog post written by Stefan from StefanRTW.com. He breaks everything down quite nicely! Also, in the next couple weeks, I plan on writing a full how to be a digital nomad guide, so definitely stay tuned for that!
Learning how to live in Europe for under $1000 a month is easier than most people think! You don’t have to be rich and you don’t need any special degrees or documents.
It really comes down to just four steps:
- Figure out how to make money online.
- Find an inexpensive yet beautiful destination.
- Book an Airbnb monthly rental. And get $45 off with this Airbnb first time coupon!
- Be flexible.
- Live like the locals do.
- Become a digital nomad!
And trust me, once you get your first taste of life in Europe… you’ll be back for another month!
If you have any questions or just want to chat about travel, please don’t hesitate to send me an email. And please be sure to share your thoughts in the comments.
Have you ever lived in Europe or travelled long term?