ORLANDO – It’s historic, it attracts millions of tourists every year, it has some of the world’s most popular cities … there’s no question that a tour through Europe will be anything but cheap, and that any tourist planning to visit there had better make sure they’ve got a sizeable budget saved up first.
Well, not necessarily. In fact, would you believe that it’s easy to tour Europe for as little as $75 a day? Brek Dalrymple insists that he not only knows this to be a fact, but has the experience doing it to prove those skeptics are wrong.
“Some of the sample costs I tried to figure out were $25 to $75 a day,” he said. “That covers your room, your food, having some drinks, and having some things to do. And it’s very simple.”
Dalrymple, a small business owner who lives in College Park, said he’s done enough tours of Europe to know how to get by on a limited budget. It obviously means skipping the five star hotels and restaurants, but that doesn’t mean depriving yourself of a great vacation where you experience the best that Europe has to offer, he added.
“I believe that traveling cheaply can be more fun, and you see more beauty, and you meet more friends, and it’s more rewarding,” he said.
Dalrymple, who runs BrekGroup Inc., was at the Orlando Public Library on Saturday for a presentation titled “How to Travel the World and have an Awesome Time – for Next to Nothing.”
“The purpose of the talk here today is to talk about how easy it is to do – and how cheap it is to do,” he said. “The purpose of today’s talk is to convince you that you can travel the world very cheaply and very easily.”
Dalrymple brought along plenty of slides from his past European trips to demonstrate all the spectacularly beautiful countries he’s been to – as well as the places he stayed at or dined in that helped keep his budget nice and tight.
“Is it possible to convince people that you can do something that you may not have thought you could do?” Dalrymple asked. “I’m just going to try to give you the important things to know. What I learned about traveling is traveling is a lot of fun and there are a lot of places that are very beautiful. It’s really great for building your confidence. It really helps to destroy your prejudices, because you learn that we’re all the same, and that helps to promote peace, which we could use a little more of.”
Based on his own experiences, Dalrymple said he learned that traveling around the world is not expensive, dangerous, uncomfortable or scary, “even for young single woman and elderly folks.”
It’s also not an experience that limits people based on their incomes, he added.
“If you want to travel around the world cheaply, you have to do these things more cheaply,” he said. “You have to eat more cheaply, you have to drink more cheaply, you have to sleep more cheaply.”
So what are the options for travelers on a limited budget? There are plenty, he added.
“Eating cheap does not by any means mean eating bad food,” he said. “The food in Europe is fantastic.”
Travelers can find great things to eat at decent prices in local grocery stores and farmer’s markets, which are readily available all across Europe, he said.
“It’s really fresh and it’s everywhere,” Dalrymple added.
It’s also easy to find inexpensive drinks at local pubs and bars, and at hostels.
“Hostels are a great place to find a glass of wine,” he said. “There’s no bad wine in Europe.”
Speaking of hostels, they’re a very affordable and comfortable place to stay in, he said.
“You stay cheap in a lot of hostels,” he said. “That’s where you make friends and find out about the area. A hostel to me is like going home for the holidays.”
They’re also cheap, and have all the essentials.
“Hostels usually have a kitchen, they have Internet access, they have a large hang out area,” he said. “Hostels are really very modern, very nice, very comfortable.”
Getting from one city or country to the next is also inexpensive, he said, and the options include traveling by train, scooter, subway, bus, bicycle, ferry boat – or simply walking.
Dalrymple also encouraged people to travel light – taking only the essentials in something as small as a duffle bag, even if it means carrying just a couple of days worth of clothing.
“Everything else you just launder every couple of days,” he said.
Taking these steps, he said, enables just about anyone to visit great places without busting their budget.
“Traveling cheap literally means that you can chill out for months,” he said. “And it’s really good for your soul. The lesson is there’s no excuse to not do it. You can go and do these things, and it might change how you see the world.”
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