Two Ways to Make the Most of 90 Days Traveling in Europe on a Budget

The skyline of Rome, Italy on a beautiful sunny day.

Early in my travels, Europe was always the place I dreamt about. If you were to give me one of those “which city are you?” BuzzFeed quizzes that are utterly addicting, I would almost always be the whimsical romantic in the group, receiving Paris as my city time and time again.

There’s no denying it; that continent has incomparable allure.

It can also be mind-numbing, especially for anyone like me who is predisposed to obsess over maps and “must-see” lists. However, learn to avoid a few common pitfalls, and your 90 days could be full of unforgettable experiences.

Fly by the seat of your pants…not your pocketbook

When I planned my trip, I figured that I could always do it better and cheaper on my own. I only knew about travel agents. I didn’t know about cultural exchange programs, and I certainly didn’t think anything like that would end up saving me money.

Traveling in Europe or moving there for an extended period comes with all the same costs as living in the U.S. You have to pay for housing, utilities, food, transportation – everything just as you would back home. Even if you stay in hostels your whole trip, you’ll end up paying the same or more than rent each month. And that is one of many reasons why homestay programs are a beautiful thing.


Find the right fit

First and foremost, you have to be invested in the cultural exchange experience to commit to a homestay. If you’re genuinely interested in experiencing the day-to-day life of your host family, sharing your customs with them and learning about their own, as well as having a lot of independence and personal time to explore, then a homestay might be the right fit for you.

What’s more, it will cost you far less than trying to live in Europe on your own, whether you’re planning to stay in one place or travel around, and your travel insurance, logistics, vetting of your homestay family, and so much more will be handled for you. Most importantly, you’ll have a unique, quality experience living and learning abroad, like a local.

Making the most ≠ seeing the most

A common mistake that travelers make is to try and fit in as many cities as humanly possible. When I planned my five-week trip, I knew that I wanted cushion days where I could just sit in cafes and people watch. Sightseeing is a blast, but it’s also exhausting, and it doesn’t continue to be a blast if you do it day after day after day.

The key to travel, as with most things in life, is quality over quantity. Give yourself time to absorb each place you visit. You’ll have such a better chance to learn about the culture and history, rather than just memorize the tourist sites, and you’ll return home refreshed and ready to plan your next trip!



So, ask yourself why you want to go to Europe so badly? Is your goal to tour the country, or to teach? Is it to learn a new language or experience the culture? Or is it all of the above? Whatever combination you’re looking for, it’s possible. The following two options are just a few of the ways to fit it all in!

1. Teach English in a Homestay

If you’re highly independent and itching to spend a chunk of time gallivanting wherever you please, Teach in a Homestay is a good option for you. Greenheart Travel has placements in countries such as France and Spain with one to three-month program options as well as rolling start dates! It’s a highly flexible and cost-effective program to incorporate into your European adventure.

You’ll spend 15 hours a week teaching your homestay family, allowing you to try out teaching English in a more relaxed setting and see if it’s something you want to pursue. The rest of your time is yours to explore your new home.



If you’re looking to get a little bit of everything on your Euro-trip – professional development, cultural immersion, language practice – this is an excellent program to pair with any independent plans you want to make.

2. Teach English in a Local School

If you would like more structure to your 90 days and prefer to try teaching English in a school setting as a teacher’s assistant, Teaching English in Italy or France could be your jam. You’ll also gain the experience of a homestay, but you’ll get to go abroad with other Greenheart Travel teachers at the same time (with the same start date!), have the support and community of your school, and the opportunity to travel to destinations all over Europe on the weekends.

No matter how you decide to spend your days experiencing a new culture, you’ll come back having had a life-changing, one of a kind experience that taught you more about yourself and what you want in life.

50 thoughts on "Two Ways to Make the Most of 90 Days Traveling in Europe on a Budget"

  1. Ava Bobb says:

    I am interesting in teaching English in Italy and Spain. I will be 56 in August. Would this be an issue. In terms of qualification I do have a degree in Management and Human Resources.

    1. Sara Thacker says:

      Hi Ava! You’re welcome to apply for our Homestay programs in Spain or Italy!

  2. Salome Smith says:

    Very much interested and TEFL accredited. Been teaching an 8 year old from Sao Paulo for one semester and much improvement shown

  3. Fallon Clark says:


    I am interested in teaching English in schools in Italy/Spain/Thailand, please can you contact me about this.

    I have my Certificate of Education and currently work in a College supporting learners with SEN needs.


    1. Sara Thacker says:

      Hey Fallon! Feel free to email Savannah at smcdermott@greenheart.org. She can help you with questions about teaching in Europe and/or Thailand.

  4. Monika says:

    Hi, I have my master degree in English Language and Culture, 4 years of experience of teaching english as a foreign language, ( no TOEFL) , I am EU citizen ( Poland) . Am I eligible for the programs in Spain and Italy?
    Thank You 🙂

  5. Te Iwihoko Te Rangihirawea says:

    Hi There. My name is Iwi and I am very interested in the home stay option. I’ve recently taken up bachata with some friends and have fallen well in love with the dance and the latin culture. I have also started to learn Spanish and to complete the full emersion experience would be to travel to Spain and live with a family.

    I have a bachelors degree in Graphic Design. Does this qualify me? If not what do I need to do to make this happen ?

    Kind regards,

    Iwi =)

  6. Stefany Daltro Teixeira says:

    Hello! I’m a fairly experienced teacher from Brazil.
    I’ve got a CELTA with a Pass B grade, about 6 years experience, 4 of each are post-CELTA.
    Is there any program of yours that I qualify for?

    1. Chase Chisholm says:

      Unfortunately, at this time you wouldn’t be eligible for our Teach English Abroad opportunities. Thank you for asking!

  7. Joseph Pike says:


    I’m a 20-year experienced middle school teacher with a bachelors in biology and secondary education and a master with distinction in instructional technology and media management. My grandparent immigrated from Italy around 1910, so I have always love Italy! Would love to teach there!

    Joe PIke

    1. Chase Chisholm says:

      Let us know how we can make this dream of yours happen, Joe! Thanks for sharing your story.

  8. Jessica says:

    Is this a paid internship? Do i need a degree or any experience?

    1. Chase Chisholm says:

      This blog post doesn’t highlight an internship opportunity. If you’re looking for an internship abroad, visit this page to see some exciting options: https://greenhearttravel.org/programs/adult/work.

  9. Hayleigh Green says:

    Hi! I am currently an elementary teacher in Hawaii, where I have taught for 2 years. I am from Georgia, USA and will be returning there this fall. I am interested in hearing about this program as teaching, children and traveling are my 3 biggest passions. I love learning and living in new cultures. I have and undergraduate and graduate degree in Early childhood Education. Can I get some more information about this opportunity? 🙂

  10. Sonia Marelli says:

    Hello Greenheart,
    I am a teacher in Canada and I am also an Italian Citizen, I would like to know what part of Italy are your schools located?
    Would I qualify as Native English Mother Tongue to teach English?
    Please let me know what months employment would be for and the ages for teaching in class.

    Thank you

    1. Chase Chisholm says:

      These are great questions, Sonia! We’ll pass them along to our program manager for our Teach in Italy program. Expect an email response soon! Thanks for reaching out.

  11. Rosina Pollino says:

    Hi my name is Rosina. I am interested in volunteering as an English teacher assistant in Italy. Would like to know more information. I am an Australian citizen. Do I need to get a visa? Could you please appoint a person who can contact me via email and give me the necessary information required to proceed with this project.
    Thank you

    1. Megan Arzbaecher says:

      Hi Rosina, thank you for your email. We are able to accept Australians on our teacher assistant program in Italy and we would love to have you apply! Feel free to contact the program manager, Savannah McDermott directly with your questions regarding the program. Her email is smcdermott@greenheart.org. You can also learn more about the details of the program here: https://greenhearttravel.org/program/adult/work/teach-in-italy#overview

  12. Marina says:

    Hello, I’m very much intetested in teaching Italy!! What are terms and conditions? Thanks in advance!

    1. Megan Arzbaecher says:

      Hi Marina, thanks for your comment. The terms & conditions are the second step of our application process. You will read through them fully before you submit any payments to ensure that you are comfortable with our terms.

  13. Zoe Schmidt says:

    I’m very interested in this project. Is it also available for people already living in Europe ?

    1. Chase Chisholm says:

      Hello, Zoe! Some of our teach abroad opportunities are open for citizens of English-speaking European countries! Please have a look at our ‘Work Abroad’ page to find out more specifics. Thank you!

  14. Linda van Maastricht says:

    I am retiring at the end of the year after 40 years of teaching. I started my teaching career as a junior teacher in a Jewish school. After 18 years teaching mostly 6-8 year olds the school was bought by a private company , a private school (both Primary and High school) and I became the English teacher for Foreign students whose parents worked at various Embassies.(Israeli -, Egyptian-, Dutch-, German-,French-, Belgium-,Chinese etc. I worked in this position for 14 years.
    After relocating from Pretoria(in South Africa) to Cape Town , I became a lecturer, teaching English and Mathematics at a TVET Trade College.
    I was born to be a teacher and simply love my chosen profession, and I also love travelling…….so perhaps I can combine the two ?

  15. Aloysius Duke Weah, Jr. says:

    I am currently a classroom teacher at the same time pursuing my BA Degree in Education with emphasis in Sociology. I am very much interested in Teaching English in Italy. Wish to expand my experience in that part of the world and also gain fresh cultural knowledge and new language.

    Looking forward to receiving my new assignment.

    Aloysius from Liberia

  16. Bambi Harris says:

    I would like to join

    How do I receive all the arrangements and application?

  17. Fairy Lal says:

    I would love to join you guys. How do I go about it?

  18. melissa says:

    I am looking to work abroad for a different view of scenery, but I couldn’t tell if you get paid while working abroad? I’d still need to make sure all of my bills will be paid over the course of the program and was hoping I could pay to go, but also be paid to work??

  19. Siyanda Trevor Khumalo says:

    Hi I’m an English educator who would like to teach English abroad. I have a Sport science degree as well as a Post graduate certificate in Education. I would like to to teach at elementary as well as high schools.

  20. Riana says:

    I am a qualified Research Psychologist and ‘need a break’! I believe there are numerous types of qualifications that one need before being able to enroll for one of these programs, i.e. TEFL/TESOL and then also would it be for adults or children? Kindly provide more detail about the training course for the actual teachers – do they get it on site/where the programme is offered, or is a more ‘legitimate’ qualification in-country best to obtain before setting of on this wonderful endeavour?

  21. DeLaney says:

    I am interested in traveling to Europe and teaching English in Italy. I am also married though, could my husband join me?

  22. Erika says:

    Can I teach for an additional three months after my session has ended?

  23. Maxwell Bezuidenhout says:

    Can you please tell me more about the program in detail?

  24. Otrina says:

    I am south African citizen do i qualify and how do i apply?

    1. Chase Chisholm says:

      Each of our programs listed on our website have a tab for eligibility requirements. Have a look through the specific programs you’re interested in, and find which ones you might be eligible for! Thanks for your interest. We’re glad you’re excited to travel.

  25. Otrina says:

    I have a bachelor degree currently i am unemployed but i am interested in your program my question is who is going to cover travelling expenses & other expensed?

    1. Chase Chisholm says:

      Hello, Otrina! Travel expenses would be your responsibility.

  26. Kristina Bray says:

    I would like a chance to work abroad in Europe teaching English if I could. I have dual US-Italian citizenship. From what I have read this is more of a chance to travel on a budget, but are there opportunities for a job especially since I can legally work in Europe?

    Thank you,

    1. Savannah says:

      Hey Kristina, you would be eligible to look for work, but we couldn’t assist you in that since our program is short-term and volunteer. The program would be a great way for you to try out teaching and get comfortable in Italy before committing to a long-term contract!

  27. Liz says:

    While I agree that the expense for living those three months is beyond reasonable, it become less reasonable if you do not have any income. Is there any way to make some side cash while there? Does Greenheart have any resources for freelance work such as other tutoring gigs? Are there any connections that can be made through the program to area schools for future employment, etc.? I am looking to move to Europe though I believe something like this will have to be my stepping stone to getting over there.

    1. Savannah says:

      Hi Liz! On all of our current European programs, you’d be on a tourist visa, so you’re not legally allowed to earn any income. It’s extremely difficult for non-Europeans to get long-term, legal work in the EU, due to labor laws. We have these short-term programs to give people that experience without running afoul of EU immigration laws. You can email me at smcdermott@greenheart.org with any more questions about this!

  28. Herschel Concepcion says:

    Hi, I am a native English speaker born and raised in Chicago, IL, USA with journalism experience. Traveling abroad has always been a dream of mine, along with seeking work as a teacher of the English language, writer, and editor for English language publications in non-native English speaking countries. Is Greenheart’s program a good stepping stone for those aspirations?

  29. lina says:

    Hi, i am an international medical doctor leaving in Us.
    Am i qualified to apply?

    1. Jill GHT says:

      Hi Lina, which program are you interested in applying for and we can look at the eligibility requirements. Thanks!

  30. Masheed says:

    Hello! I am not a native speaker but I am a US citizen and fluent in English. I have got my Master’s degree in Education in US and have been teaching at schools for a while. Am I qualified to apply?

    1. Savannah says:

      Hi Masheed! It sounds like you would be eligible! You can read up on the specific eligibility requirements of each program and start an application here: https://greenhearttravel.org/programs/adult/work

      If you have any more questions, you can email me at smcdermott@greenhearttravel.org.

  31. mark singh says:

    I am a retired Canadian lawyer want to register/apply to teach English in several countries including Italy for 3 months each but don’t want to release my date of birth at this juncture. Is there any wayout, please? Thanks.

  32. Rukan Uddin says:

    hi,I’m thrilled to do that but don’t know how much cost I’ve to bear and M.A degree of Bangladesh would be preferable or not?if not what should I do then?

    1. Amber says:

      Rukan Uddin, thanks for writing us. Unfortunately, our paid teaching positions have certain visa restrictions in that we can only accept participants from US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. This is not our policy, but the policies of the governments who issue the work visas. Best of luck to you!

  33. Kyle says:

    i am interested. How do i apply?

    1. Amber Robbin says:

      Hi Kyle, thanks for your comment. You can start the application here.

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