Cheap ways to travel to Europe
Europe is not a cheap destination. But it is still possible to realize your dream to travel to the oldest continent of the world. How? Here are some of my tips in regards to the following:
- Pack light to save that luggage fee at airlines and buses.
- Be flexible with your travel time. Most flights are cheaper in off-peak hours.
- Pick an European budget airline. I was surprised that the air tickets of the following budget airlines are way cheaper than the deals I get from domestic ones in my country.
- To easily compare for the cheapest, fastest trains, buses and flights, check them via GoEuro.com.
- Sleep on the train/bus to forego accommodation costs especially if it’s a long journey.
- During fall/winter, traveling by land is more guaranteed if done by buses than trains as the latter can always get delayed.
- Use Google Map (offline version if you don’t have internet) to locate your hostel or any tourist attraction.
- Book flights on Tuesday/Wednesday and at least a month or 2 weeks in advance.
- The cheapest places to stay around Europe are hostels. Most of them are clean, and well-run anyway with several facilities.
- Book accommodation through Agoda.com. I’ve always been comfortable booking my lodging with Agoda, as it has a wide range of cheapest hostels, most of them has free cancellation options, there are also some where I can get free booking or airline points.
- Book hostel/hotel on weekend as rate tends to be lower than midweek rate.
- Choose a hostel that is walking distance to tourist spots to save time and money.
- If you can’t decide which hostel to select, always go for the one that includes at least free breakfast and wi-fi.
- Some hostels give free city maps and travel brochures and can even recommend you some local tips.
- Wake up early to avail the hostel’s free breakfast.
- Avoid arriving at the area late at night for your safety (particularly for female traveler) and to save paying a taxi. If you do, make sure you know the direction going to your accommodation and of other transport alternatives to reach there.
- Cheap restaurant meal usually costs between 6 to 15 EUR. Price for a typical meal with drink at expensive cities such as Paris, Luxembourg, Andorra can amount up to 15 EUR. While dining out in Frankfurt, Lisbon, Madrid and other Eastern European countries can be as affordable as 6 EUR.
- Always take a water bottle with you which you can refill along the way. There is always water refill station everywhere in Europe even in airports.
- Eat and drink where locals go.
- Try their local foods which are more reasonably priced than international cuisines. You’ll need to shell out more when you eat out at a Japanese restaurant in Madrid than in a churreria (churro shop).
- Avoid famous restaurants as much as possible. For sweets and pastries, you can never go wrong sampling it at a regular home-grown bakery. For example, a set of churros can only costs as low as 2 EUR if bought in a typical bakeshop but may cost 4 EUR and above in a known restaurant.
- Buy snacks and ready to eat meals at groceries for in-between meals or even for your light dinner.
- Not having vices such as drinking, smoking or gambling can really help a lot. Or if you can’t help it, moderation is key.
- You can buy a bottle of water or meal at your hostel if they offer them because most of the time it will be cheaper. A regular Lisbon hostel may charge you only 1 EUR for 1L of water while it can be more if bought outside.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Travel insurance is an essential when you travel. Depending on your activity, and the required minimum coverage amount required by the Embassy, you can get the most basic insurance. I got insured through Trawick International.
Money matters especially if you’re traveling on a budget.
- Withdraw money at an ATM only when you need it. ATM fee is increasing.
- Since credit and debit cards are widely accepted in Europe, it’s preferable to use them instead of withdrawing every time at an ATM.
- Always make sure to have some spare cash with you, at least 50 EUR.
- Don’t exchange money at train stations. For instance, in Prague, I noticed that the rate of money changers at train stations are worst compared to some that are scattered in the Old town.
- Set an average budget per day which will also vary on where you are at. Let’ s say 15 EUR is your average expense. 10 EUR per day is your minimum forecast which is possible when you’re in a cheap destination (also if you get free breakfast, do walking tour, your lunch meal costs as low as 6 EUR, you bought a light grub at a grocery, book your hostel through your credit card). While it would be 20 EUR or more for your maximum spending (which can include entrance fees, dessert or drink treat, MRT rides, souvenirs)
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