So you’re visiting Europe for a few weeks/months and want to experience the most of it although you’re on a tight budget? No problem! Here are a few moneysaving tips for traveling in Europe:
- Choose your destination with care: Some countries/cities in Europe are cheaper to visit than others, so choose your destination/s with care. Eastern Europe is much cheaper than say France or Scandinavia, both in terms of travel costs, but also in terms of food, hotels/hostels, and shopping. If you absolutely want to visit say France, Sweden and Italy, look up which months are the cheapest to visit. In e.g. Italy restaurants have different menus depending on when you arrive, where the only thing that’s changed is the price tag of the meal. Generally, it’s cheaper to visit Europe during October-March.
- Book in advance and compare prices: Book your flights, trains, and hotels in advance and you’ll be able to save a lot of cash. Use services such as hotels.com, momondo.com or trivago.com to compare prices on your flights and stays – there is a lot of money to save this way.
- Hotels/hostels/AirBnb: Hostels are often the cheapest to stay at anywhere in Europe, whereas AirBnb can be fairly expensive (often exceeding hotel room costs). If you don’t want to sleep in the same room as others, you can look for hostels with private rooms. Also check out booking.com for private accomodation in bed & breakfasts, these places by far have the cheapest rooms per night in at least Croatia and other countries where there aren’t that many hotels. You’ll often be able to find rooms that are cheaper and nicer than in hostels.
- Transportation: Flights can be really cheap if you book in advance, especially budget air lines like RyanAir, WizzAir and EasyJet. These are often cheaper than trains and save you a lot of time. Buses are however the cheapest, but of course also take a lot of your time. However, you can find overnight buses that will take you to your destination while you sleep – plus you’ll save money on accomodation that night! Also, and this might go without saying, always take a bus/train transfer (whichever is the cheapest) from the airport, and never go for a taxi. As far as transport on site, public transport is often the cheapest way to get around. See if you can get a specific tourist pass or 48 hour pass – many of these also include great offers on museums etc.
- Eat like a local: If you can, cook your meals at the hostel – this is by far the cheapest alternative. Otherwise, you will be able to find cheap food even in fairly expensive cities like Oslo and Paris – look for “ethnic” food like falafel places, Indian, and local fast food. Never eat in town squares or tourist-packed areas as prices are always on the hefty side around those places. Instead you can go explore the outskirts of the city you’re in – don’t be afraid to wander around, and you’ll find amazing local restaurants. Get your food to go and sit down in a park or on the street for some great people watching.
- Drink tap water: In most places in Europe it’s okay (and encouraged) to drink the tap water. Buying water is just wasteful when you have perfectly fine water in your sink. Fill a plastic bottle and always have it at hand.
- Party plan: Make a budget for partying, as this can sometimes be a bit more expensive than you think. Buy beer, wine or liquor in grocery stores and start your partying at home before you head out for a bar or nightclub. Look up some places you can visit without breaking the bank in whatever city you’re in. Some places may require an entry fee, some are just overall expensive and some are really, really cheap, so planning where you’re going can definitely pay off.
Top picture: Unknown source.
Bottom picture of Paris by Moyan Brenn (Creative Commons)