Many people who are interested in visiting Europe never make the trip because of one thing: money. They think that this trip will break the bank. In turn, they never take the time to consider all their options. Believe it or not, there are many ways to travel Europe on a budget. This holds true no matter which country you are visiting from. To find cheap European travel deals, you must keep an open mind. Those who are only interested in the major cities and five star hotels are going to find out soon enough that the cost is growing out of control. Here are several tips for visiting Europe on a budget:
1. When most travelers think of visiting Europe, these cities come to mind: Rome, London, Paris, Venice, Munich, and Amsterdam. While these are among the most popular destinations and well worth visiting, they are also among the most expensive. If you want to visit Europe for cheap you need to think about some of the more affordable destinations as well. A small sampling of countries includes: Latvia, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Poland, and Southern Spain. These locations may not be at the top of your list, but if you want to save money they are great options. And I can assure you that you will be amazed by what some of these more “unloved” countries have to offer and it will very likely make your trip even more memorable.
2. Stay in a hostel, not a hotel. In Europe, this is a great way to save money. Make sure you check reviews. If you’re not a college student, you want to make sure you don’t check in to a hostel notoriously known for housing the 22 and under crowd as it can be very loud and bustling. If you are looking for a hostel, use these websites to get started:
3. Travel by train once you arrive. If you plan on moving from one European country to the next, traveling by train is a great idea. Not only will you be able to save money, but it gives you the chance to see the countries you are passing through. To get started, visit Raileurope.com. This site gives you options to find an unlimited travel rail pass, book a reservation, and much more.
4. Use Eurotrip.com. Once you navigate to this site you are sure to be intrigued by the headline: “Save On Rail Passes And Hostels — Eurotrip Guarantees The Lowest Prices!” The “Plan a Eurotrip” feature is one that you do not want to quickly pass by. With this, you can upload your budget, travel dates, and destinations. From there, the service will help you find the best possible deals. If you are reasonable with your requests your entire trip will be planned right before your eyes.
5. Book a package. Just as you would for any other trip, consider using travel sites such as Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, and Priceline.com. With these services you can book every aspect of your trip, including flight, hotel, and rental car. Along with this, you will have access to thousands of reviews. Even though these sites do not specialize in European travel deals, you can still save a lot of money if you take your time and thoroughly consider all your options.
5. Don’t forget the discount airlines! If you find you need to fly withing Europe once you’re there, don’t forget that there are some great discount airline options that can save you a ton of money. Some of them are Ryanair, EasyJet, and Germanwings. Make sure you visit these airlines’ websites directly because these will often not show up on normal flight aggregator sites like Expedia and Orbitz. One thing to keep in mind: often these airlines will not fly to the main airport, but rather one that might not be directly located in the city (this is why they can charge such cheap rates for you). Just make sure you don’t forget this and go to the wrong airport! I’ve heard a lot of stories like that.
Have you ever traveled to Europe? If so, how were you able to save money when booking your trip?
(photo credit: Eustaquio Santimano)