Traveling abroad can be one of the most rewarding experiences in a persons life. Unfortunately, many don't realize that domestic travel is often just as expensive or even more so than traveling abroad.
Traveling domestically often means that we indulge in overpriced mediocre meals in tourist traps, and spend days participating in mindless activities that have a lack of cultural or educational meaning.
A standard American pilgrimage (usually made several times in a persons life) is the trip to Walt Disney World. Don't get me wrong, Disney can be the happiest place on earth for a young child. But there are also the hours spent sweltering in line for attractions while its 90 degrees and 100% humidity. Adults and children grow tired, and suddenly it becomes the most miserable place on earth. That's not all. There is a lack of educational value for everyone, adults, teenagers and children alike. An exorbitant amount of money is spent on overpriced mediocre meals, rental cars (which isn't even factored into the chart below!), amusement park tickets, and hotel rooms that you don't even spend time in. On the contrary, a European city, such as Rome offers a vast selection of activities and new experiences. Additionally, it allows for quick day trips to other places of historical significance, such as Pompeii and Florence.
This isn't meant to be an attack on Disney or amusement parks (because I seriously love rides and roller coasters). This is simply an example to show how you can afford a trip that you didn't think you could. Visiting Europe, (Rome in particular) is a dream vacation that most American's never take, mistakenly thinking it is financially unrealistic. Above is a chart that compares the costs of two very different travel experiences. It is comparing average prices of a 7 day trip to Rome, Italy and a 7 day trip to Orlando, Florida. One of my favorite ways to stay on budget while traveling to a foreign place is to check out the local grocery stores or markets for some of my meals and snacks. In the chart below, NYC is used as the starting point for flight purposes only. From the below calculations, you will see that the total cost to visit Rome will actually cost less a visit to Orlando theme parks.
*These expenses are also assuming that the entire traveling party has already a valid Passport.*
What is taken into consideration when crunching the numbers:
4 Roundtrip flights to the destination (from NYC)
2 Hotel Rooms for 7 Nights (2 people per room)
7 Days of Museums (in Rome) & 7 Days of Theme Parks (in Orlando) x 4 people
3 Meals a Day for 7 Days x 4 people
Trusted Travel Girl Bonus Tip: For more discounted airfare, look at driving to a further much larger airport. Also, look into traveling during the off-peak seasons such as October and November, hotels and flights will both be more reasonable. Additionally, there will be less crowds at all of the attractions in comparison to the summer months.