I was lucky enough to spend an entire month in Lisbon, Portugal this summer. And it was as wonderful as it sounds. So I am sharing some of my favorite pictures as well as how we made this happen.
The first question everyone asks is “Where else did you go?” And the answer is nowhere. We spent an entire month in the city of Lisbon with only a few day trips to smaller sites that were no more than 30 minutes away. The second questions everyone asks is “So you didn’t go to Spain or France?” And again the answer is no, we just hung out in Lisbon.
It was really important to us to have time to relax. We didn’t want to spend the summer “traveling”, we wanted to spend it enjoying. And that is just what we did. We soaked up every inch of that city and had a beautifully relaxing time doing it. We had the luxury of walking by something that seemed interesting and stopping to investigate rather than having to stay on our tourist schedule.
So I know your next question: “How did you do it? You must be rich.” Well, yes and no. I certainly felt rich when I was sipping wine at a cafe in Lisbon this summer but I wouldn’t qualify my husband and myself as rich. Here are some of the details that helped us:
1. My husband is a teacher and has summers off. And I own my own business and can work from anywhere that has wi-fi: This is how we were able to take an entire month off. I actually didn’t. I woke up early every morning and worked for a few hours while my husband slept in or leisurely enjoyed his breakfast. Or I would sneak in some work when we would get back to the apartment after a long day of walking around and before dinner time. It also helps that the summer is pretty slow for me.
2. We rented an apartment instead of staying in a hotel or a hostel. This is such a great travel tip and I know so many people that are doing this now. You can save so much money by renting an apartment for a month or a week. We used Airbnb. Here is the actual apartment we rented. We probably spent more than we could have but it had a fold out couch so my dad was able to join us for a week without getting a hotel room. Having a kitchen really saved on food costs. We would generally eat a least one meal a day at the apartment. We were able to refill our water bottles every morning before heading out and we had a washer to wash our clothes so we didn’t have to pack a lot which wasn’t an option for us anyways because . . .
3. We flew standby using buddy passes. The best travel advice I can offer you is to befriend someone that works for an airline. My husband has a childhood friend that flies for Delta and he gifted us 2 buddy passes. These are not free but they cut our flight costs by two-thirds. Now, flying standby is not for the faint of heart. You will not get on each flight you try and it is emotionally draining to prepare to be gone for a month and then realize you have to wait for the next day to fly out. But it was an adventure and if you have a flexible schedule like us, it’s worth it.
4. We are super good at saving and being responsible with our money. We always live below our means so that we can save money no matter how little we make. We had really been scrimping and saving for years, not just for this trip, but to be able to have savings and feel comfortable spending money on a trip like this. We keep going out to eat to a minimum, we keep going out to drink to a minimum and we aren’t big into shopping in general. We don’t have a cable subscription, just Netflix and I love to make gifts instead of buying them. I never go to the coffee shop anymore. These are just a few of the things like that helped us get to where we are today.
Tune in next week for all the fun things we did.