After traveling to 45 countries out of the 51 independent countries in Europe, it’s safe to say the spouse and I learned a bit about travelling through Europe without breaking the bank.
Here we are without further ado my ways to travel for cheap.
With any luck you’ll find this list valuable as you organize your own European escapade. If nothing else, I hope my individual experience aids you realizing that it’s unnecessary to hit the lottery to travel the world.
If feasible, get a round-trip ticket to and from the same location. Round-trip tickets are usually cheaper than one-way tickets. Search sites like momondo.com and airflightcheaptickets.com and compare it to direct airline costs. Also, don’t be rigid in regards to travel dates to get the most competitive deals.
Do not dine in city squares – they are always expensive tourist traps. A couple other signs that you’re not dining with the locals: “We speak English” signs and multilingual menus.
As alluring as it may be, do not try to visit all the sites at once. It’s normal to want to see every monument and museum, bearing in mind that you next trip to Europe will most likely not be taking place in the near future. However, Europe should be experienced on numerous occasions, and at various times of your life.
If hiring a car, be absolutely sure that the pickup and drop off sites are identical. If you pick up the car in one location with expectations of dropping it off at a different one, you’ll wind up paying nearly double (or more in some cases) the price of typical rental cost. The price hike is even more extreme if the two locations are in different countries.
Seasons to Travel:
Travel low-season to get bargain airfare and hotel markdowns. We reserved our tickets for May 3rd, and the fare could’ve been considerably cheaper had we planned in advance and flew out in April. A few days can make all the difference.
Park lunches are a great way to conserve cash – on top of that they’re oh-so-romantic! Ten bucks can buy a charming, gourmet meal for two.
Bring cash instead of cash machines or credit cards to avoid a multitude of withdrawal and international bank fees.
Contact Families & Friends:
Ring up your long-lost friends, family member and friend’s of friends and see whether or not they’re keen to take you around when you’re in town. More times than none, they will suggest you lodge with them – a major plus! Certainly, the practice may be baffling to most Americans, but it’s quite the norm in Europe. If it hadn’t been for distant relatives and friends of friends, we probably wouldn’t have seen Madrid, Bordeaux, Paris, Bucharest and many more!
Think about staying in hostels if you’re traveling unaccompanied or with one other person. If you’re in a larger group, a hotel may be more cost-efficient. Yes, a hostel doesn’t offer luxury, but it’s a really nice way to meet other holidaymakers in your age.
If staying at a hotel is what you will do, then book rooms at the last minute using sites like lastminute.com. It’s not rare to notch four-star rooms for $175 and under.
Evade hotel breakfasts “included in the room price.” While opportune, these are seldom a good deal. Join the locals at the typical cafe for a delightful coffee and croissant at up to half the price!
Inquire about student discounts. Certain places are more straightforward about student discounts than others, so don’t be unwilling to ask.
Take into account couchsurfing.com to link with locals and find free accommodation in the cities you’re traveling to.
Go on a cruise as a technique to visit several destinations at a very practical price. Several of the finest sights in Europe can be free of charge. Most principal museums give free access on certain days of the month, so do your research and arrange your trips appropriately.
Save on Transport:
Instead of trying to avoid spending a lot by booking a hotel away from the city, stay within a stone’s throw of must-see sights and save money on transportation costs, as well as precious time. Furthermore, the most effective way to discover a new city is by walking!
In regards to walking, a free walking tour is a great way to get to know the city. An English-speaking local guide will take you up and around the city’s major sights. In this case tipping is encouraged.
In just about all European countries, dining outside on a terrace tends to be more expensive than dining inside.
As an alternative to booking a hotel, rent a flat from a local family by booking on sites like homeaway.com and my particular favorite airbnb.com. When we first arrived in London, we spent two nights in a hotel, which turned out to be more expensive than the next six nights in an apartment we found on Airbnb.
Ask for Assistance:
If you are going to use public transportation, make sure you ask for some assistance if you don’t speak the native language to avoid any problems once aboard. Some cities offer tourist passes or a 7-10 day pass that can be used as many times as needed. While others you will have to pay for each trip.
If you plan to go to multiple countries within the EU, think about buying a rail pass option, which offers massive savings. But know that all destinations may not be included, so do some research to see whether one-way tickets may be the best option for you.
Pay Less & Still Get Comfort:
Most of the time, first class and second class tickets differ in no more than the price. Very rarely have we seen a big difference in comfort levels.
Find free Wi-Fi found in just about all city squares, most restaurants and nearly all Starbucks or McDonald’s. You may have to buy something before the waiter will give you the Wi-Fi password, but even that is cheaper than paying for roaming and international charges. Another Internet/phone option is to buy a local simcard, assuming your smartphone is unlocked. Just know that every country will require a different card, so if you’re going to 45 like we did, it’s definitely a good idea to limit your Internet reliance.
If possible, do most of your shopping in cheaper countries like Spain or Portugal. If you lose a travel essential, try to wait until you are well clear countries like Switzerland before replacing it.
Share longer travel fees by hitching rides with locals making the voyage to your chosen destination. Check out sites like amovens.com or blablacar.com. Evade travel agencies and tourist services, as most of them charge supplementary middle-man fees.
Travel to countries that are part of the European Union but don’t use the Euro, like Croatia. Not only are they some of the most intriguing places on the continent, they are substantially less expensive.
Most budget-friendly airlines have stringent limitations for carry-ons and checked baggage, so try to pack light.
Know the tipping rules, as they differ by country. Unlike in America, most waiters are paid by the hour and do not rely on tips as their main source of income.