So you’re planning the trip of a lifetime to the beautiful continent of Europe, but you’re a little concerned about making your budget stretch? You’ve come to the right place! Learn how to travel cheap in Europe with these travel hacks, tips and tricks.
Make your money go further by selecting the best accommodation and transportation options, plus discover a range of hacks for saving extra bucks whilst you’re on the road.
Europe is such a diverse place that exudes beauty, history, and culture. It’s not a place where you can visit for a week and then head home as you’ve run out of cash. That would be torturous!
Discover how to travel cheap in Europe so you can tick off your bucket list destinations and have an adventure you will never forget.
How to travel cheap in Europe – Before your trip
The budgeting begins before you even book your flights! Learn how to travel cheap in Europe before you even head off with the below tips and tricks!
1. Create a budget
The first and most obvious step of how to travel cheap in Europe is to create a budget.
Budgets can easily be created in excel, they don’t need to look fancy they just need to track your expenses and spending habits.
There are loads of free templates online, a great starting tool is the budget planner tool created by the Australian government. But let me know in the comments if you would like me to share my personal template.
By reviewing your spending you can determine an achievable weekly or monthly saving goal. Then, simply set up auto payments to your savings accounts to hold you accountable for your goal.
2. Book cheap flights
I always use Skyscanner to book my flights and shop for the best rates. Why? Because I can see prices and promotions from over 1200 travel companies in one spot. Plus it’s easy to filter for my airlines of choice so I can collect or use points.
The more flexible you are the more money you can save.
Check out flight prices below.
3. Save Save Save!
Do whatever you can to save as much money as possible before you head off.
Here are my 5 ultimate ways to save money for travelling fast.
4. Don’t over pack
It’s time to pack now! When packing your luggage and carry on make sure to check the baggage allowance of ALL airlines you are travelling with. The last thing you want is a hefty fee when you get to the airport as your baggage is overweight.
For peace of mind, I also like to weigh my bag. You can get a small baggage scale from Amazon, Target or other department stores for cheap and if you’re a big traveller it will always come in handy.
Try and pack as much as you can so you aren’t tempted to go shopping on your trip and won’t need to purchase necessities when you arrive.
Check out my 9 Must Know Tips for Travel Packing for more hints on packing!
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How to travel cheap in Europe – Tips for on your trip
You’ve left your home country for stunning Europe, now what? Discover how to travel cheap in Europe to stretch your money further without sacrificing the quality of the trip or well, sanity…
From booking your flights, choosing accommodation, and earning extra cash to smaller hacks that will save you a few extra bucks!
5. Pick your accommodation wisely
The first expense is likely your most costly when travelling in Europe. Choosing your accommodation wisely can save you hundreds of dollars.
If you’re wondering how to travel cheap in Europe and stick to your tight budget, the following options are going to best for you:
Unfortunately, hostels in Europe aren’t as cheap as they once were, particularly during the summertime. Hostel dorm beds in Europe can range anywhere from £20- £75+ per night depending on where you are staying and what time of year it is.
✔️ Book your cheap stay at Hostel World
Although I can’t speak from personal experience there are a range of fellow solo female travellers who I’ve heard have had both great and not-so-great experiences.
Check out couchsurfing.com to see if there are any suitable options for you, even if it’s just a night here and there.
Skip paying for accommodation together by volunteering/working in exchange for a bed.
This is a better option for those on longer stays wanting to really experience the local way of living.
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6. Pick up extra work
To create more wiggle room in your budget, pick up a little extra work when you’re travelling around Europe.
My favourite way to make extra income while travelling is online, as it gives me the flexibility to work wherever and whenever.
For me, it’s working on this blog, which is not a quick way to make money so if you’re in a pinch I would explore options such as freelancing, virtual assistant roles, surveys, digital products, affiliate marketing or dropshipping.
Alternatively, there are plenty of backpacker jobs you can pick up as you go including but not limited to: hospitality, farm work, tour guiding, tutoring, babysitting and more.
For a full list of guaranteed ways to make money travelling check out my blog post!
7. Combine accommodation with transport
This next how to travel cheap in Europe hack is one of my favourites. Combining accommodation with transport means bang for your buck!
Get a safe night’s sleep and maximise your time in a destination by opting for red-eye flights, sleeper trains or night buses. Plus, overnight transport often has cheaper fares.
WIN, WIN, WIN!
Book your budget overnight flights with Skyscanner for the best fares guaranteed!
8. Travel out of peak season
In general, the best time to visit Europe is during the shoulder season. April to June and September to October are the shoulder seasons for most European countries. This is the best time to go for cheaper prices and fewer crowds, while still offering relatively decent weather.
Hostel prices soar during the summer months, and I’m talking an extra £20-£25 per night increase! So travelling during the shoulder seasons is well worth it.
9. Have a picnic
Skip dining out and instead head to the supermarket to grab some baguettes, cheese and cold meats. Grab your towel and head to the park with your spread.
Eating out adds up fast so try and limit it to only a few restaurants you are dying to try.
Supermarkets and bakeries will be your best friend.
Grab a loaf of bread, some spreads, cold meats and salad to make toast and sandwiches. I love bakery stops to grab a pie, pastry or sandwich when on the go.
Other staples that are great for sticking to your budget include simple pasta dishes, microwave meals and noodles.
10. Skip buying coffee out
When you’re jet-lagged, hungover or just plain exhausted, hot barista-made coffee is sometimes all you can think about. And yes sometimes they are justified… 3 am flights I think it’s more of a necessity than a nicety!
But buying coffee out is another silent assassin that will add up fast.
Now I’m not saying don’t drink coffee, cause that would be torture.
Pack a small number of instant coffee sachets that only require hot water to get you through your morning.
11. Watch how much your drink
Aperol spritz? I’ll take 2, please!
How to travel cheap in Europe is unfortunately not this.
Europe travel is often very social and boozy. Whether you are a party animal, wine connoisseur or like to enjoy a cocktail or 2 when the sun sets, drinks are expensive.
Here are my tips for how to travel cheap in Europe and reduce your alcohol expenditure:
- Avoid places that have an immaculate view. Hear me out, the better the views the more expensive the drinks will be.
- Look for happy hour specials
- Check out the hostel bar for cheap drinks
- Purchase drinks from the supermarket
12. Don’t enter every tourist attraction
£10 here £10 there, paying to enter attractions, museums and art galleries can become rather expensive.
Make a list of the attractions you really want to see and don’t feel like you have to enter every single one you pass.
Sometimes just checking out the outside is more than enough!
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13. Travel Insurance
Now you may be thinking, isn’t travel insurance an extra cost?
Travel insurance is a small price to pay that can save you thousands of dollars if you fall ill, get injured, lose your luggage, get delayed at the airport are in an accident.
It’s a no-brainer!
I always recommend World Nomads for affordable travel insurance options perfect for world travellers needing flexible options and adventure cover.
14. Stick to window shopping
Splurging on new clothes and souvenirs is not only expensive but puts you at risk of needing to pay for additional luggage if you go over the baggage allowance.
Be wary of compulsive purchases and in general just stick to window shopping.
If you are really keen to purchase a few pieces, create a strict budget and ensure there is enough room in your luggage. And then stick to it!!
15. Take free city tours
Jump on a free tour bus on the first day of your trip to get the lay of the land.
A convenient and free way to get around and learn more about the city you are visiting!
16. Find cheap flights
When booking flights I always check Skyscanner first to see my options. It’s the best way to see every price and promotion from over 1200 travel companies. And it’s easy to filter for your airline of choice if you are trying to collect or use points.
I also recommend you shop around the dates and times and check which destination is cheap for a certain period. The more flexible you are the more money you can save. I can spend hours changing departure dates, destinations and airline preferences to find the best budget deal for me.
When travelling around Europe, RyanAir is likely the best budget airline for those wondering how to travel cheap in Europe. RyanAir always has great deals and excellent connectivity across Europe. Try filtering for RyanAir your flights on Skyscanner and it will tell you the cheapest travel platform to book with because rarely is booking directly through the airline the cheapest option.
17. Bring water everywhere
How to travel cheap in Europe means bringing bottled water everywhere you go.
If you’ve been to Europe you already know that every cafe and restaurant charges for table water.
18. Get a rail pass
I personally prefer trains over buses and air travel as the views are great, the seats are comfortable and you can get up and move around easily. If you are planning to travel around Europe and want to reduce flying, a rail pass is your best money-saving option.
Eurail passes allow you to travel to 33 countries starting from € 185.
But do Eurail passes actually save you money, or are they a giant waste of time?
This depends on your route and length of travel. In general, if you craft your route with the train routes in mind plus you are wanting to hit loads of countries, not just 2 or 3, a Eurail pass will be cheaper than buying tickets individually.
19. Use travel cards
Planning to use your local bank card when travelling to Europe? Think again.
International transaction fees of 3%, flat $3 or worse add up really fast.
I also wouldn’t recommend taking out loads of cash either because if you lose it or your baggage is stolen it’s all gone.
So where does this leave us?
One of if not the best travel cards on the market is Wise.
If you go for a travel card like Wise you will save 85% compared to using your everyday debit card.
Wise has over 50 currencies and can be used in hundreds of countries, sparing you the hassle of juggling multiple cards. And you can withdraw up to $350 AUD per month with no fees! And you can add it to your Apple wallet for easy payment from your iPhone or Apple watch.
Another great all-rounder card to check out is Travelx. Travelex has no Eftpos fees, ATM fees, or currency conversion fees. And you can order it online and have it delivered to you pronto!
And lastly, if you prefer to stick with your trusted bank, they likely will have the option to reduce your international transaction fees so reach out or do your research.
The Wrap Up: How to travel cheap in Europe
If you’ve made it this far, you are ready to head off on your budget Euro trip!
Just remember, whenever you travel there are obstacles and setbacks that may require extra cash so be sure to budget enough money that will give you a safety net.
I wish you all the best on your trip! xx
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