When people think about traveling to Europe, the first thing that usually comes to their minds is dollar signs. That’s because in general, a trip to Europe can be fairly expensive, especially if you go to countries in western or northern Europe. Of course, any trip to this continent will be the experience of a lifetime, but it’s no fun traveling somewhere if you’re going to end up broke when you get home. That being said, you also don’t necessarily need to save for an entire year before going to Europe, and you don’t need to waste it all on seeing just one country, either.
That’s because there are plenty of ways to make your trip to Europe that much more affordable.
1) Keep an Eye Out for Cheap Flights
One of the biggest contributors to the high cost of a Eurotrip is the transportation itself. Flying from Australia is pretty expensive any time of the year, but there are ways around that. Keep an eye out for cheap flights and if you can have a flexible schedule, go when flights are cheapest. Skyscanner is a great tool for this because you can search by cheapest dates or by cheapest destination (or both!) If you can save on flights, you’ve already done half the work!
2) Be Willing to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone (At Least a Little)
Many people don’t like staying in hostels or eating at hole-in-the-wall restaurants. But, if you can be willing to step out of your comfort zone a little bit, you’ll find that some meals can cost 3 euro instead of 12 euro, or that you can get three nights at a hostel for the same price as one night at a hotel.
3) Don’t Plan Everything All at Once
Especially if you’re stretched for time, it seems like it would make sense to plan every aspect of your European tour before you go. But, here’s why that’s not economical. First of all, you may change your mind about things you want to do while you’re actually traveling. If you’ve already booked something, like a flight or hotel, you’re not going to want to cancel it. If you do cancel it, you’re losing all that money. If you don’t, you could be missing out on a potentially great experience. Like, what if you meet a nice local that’s willing to give you a tour of the city for free? You never know where an open schedule can take you, and who knows what it can save you!
4) Try to Stay Away from Tourist Areas
AH! Tourist traps. Can’t live with them, can’t live without them. If you’re traveling to Europe, you’re obviously going to be experiencing a tourist trap at some point, since you’re going to want to see all the sights. But, try to book your tickets in advance, eat before you go, and don’t fall for any overpriced souvenirs or common scams. It’s likely you can find that same souvenir or that same dish a few miles outside of the touristy center.
5) Couchsurfing is Your Best Friend
If you’re hesitant about hostels, then you’re probably more hesitant about Couchsurfing. But, in addition to Couchsurfing, there are so many useful apps and websites out there that can save you a ton on accommodation. For example, if you’re willing to volunteer some of your time, perhaps through house-sitting, you may not have to pay at all!
6) Take a Look at Free Walking Tours
Many major cities in Europe offer free walking tours. You should tip your tour guide at the end, but it’s a great way to save money, learn more about the place, and get some exercise!
7) Bring Snacks…Lots and Lots of Snacks
Whatever you do, don’t travel to Europe without bringing snacks and a reusable water bottle. Whenever you get hungry, it may be tempting to pop into that gelato or pizza restaurant, but that could cut into a decent portion of your budget. Always have something in your bag to hold you over until your next meal.
8) Pack Light
We can’t stress this anymore. If you can manage to pack light, you’re going to make your Euro trip that much more affordable. Budget airlines charge a ton for baggage, so if you plan on flying from one country to another, that’s going to be an issue. Also, why deal with the stress? Needing to pay for lockers when your stuff is too heavy and you can’t check into your hotel is so not worth it.
9) Create a Budget
Most importantly, before you go on any trip (but, especially Europe) you should create a strict budget and stick to it. It can be tempting to spend a little more here and there while you’re traveling, but your money should go to one or two things you want to do most in each place. Those are the things that are going to stick with you forever.
10) Go on a Tour!
Last but not least, if you really want to make your trip to Europe more affordable, then book a tour! Tours cover most of these things for you. In most cases, you pay one price and have all these things included. Of course, you may need to bring some additional spending money, but you’ll save money in the long run by doing in this way.
Hana LaRock is originally from New York, though has called other places around the world her home for the last two years. She currently lives in Mexico and freelance travel writer. When she’s not working, she enjoys writing, reading, spending time with her dog, and of course, traveling. You can find her at www.hanalarockwriting.com.