Europe is one of those dream destinations that everyone has on their mind when they think about travel. When I graduated, the idea of a trip to Europe was the only thing we considered but as you can imagine, we didn’t have a lot of money back then so we had to figure out how to do it on the cheap. Even today, I’m sure the idea of a trip to Europe flashes dollar signs across your eyes. So how do you get that trip of your dreams while keeping the costs manageable? Let me breakdown a few tips that you’ll want to keep in mind as you start planning your itinerary.
Consider Different Parts of Europe
Europe is a large content that spans a lot of different countries. While most of us will gravitate to Western Europe and big cities like London, Paris, and Rome, consider cities and countries that are cheaper to cut costs.
The reason why big cities are expensive is because there are a lot of people living there which drives up the standard of living for locals and because it’s heavily touristed, businesses know they can command a much higher price. So one big tip is to incorporate lesser known, but not necessarily less interesting or beautiful places in Europe. For instance, Bilbao, in northern Spain is somewhere that is not along the main tourist path but is one of those not-to-miss cities being the home of the titanium-clad Guggenheim and the successful mix of traditional Basque culture with modern design.
Book Smart Rooms
Besides transportation, the other big cost to any trip is going to be your accommodations so naturally, you’re going to want to see if you can save money here. When you’re travelling Europe, there’s really no reason to splurge because you’re never going to be in your room beyond sleeping. Whether you’re looking for a room in a big city or somewhere smaller like Yaiza, Bordeaux or Luxemburg, make sure you do your research and consider all of your options.
Hostels aren’t only for young backpackers. There are plenty of private suite rooms available if you’re worried about sharing rooms with someone else. An added benefit of hostels is that there are lots of people to get travel suggestions from and breakfast is often included.
Airbnb is becoming a popular option these days as well especially if your’e going to be in one place for multiple days. You can find some great deals here if you’re travelling with a larger group and in prime locations as well.
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
There are a ton of different ways to get around in Europe. It all depends on how spread out your travels are and how fast you need to get from one place to another.
What I love about Europe is that there are so many low cost carrier airlines that often times, flying becomes cheaper than any other option. I always make sure I check the list of airlines when I plan things out since not all search engines have every single one. The only disadvantage of flying is that you end up spending extra money getting to and from the airport as well as the time wasted going through things like checking in, security, and boarding.
Depending on how you link things up, it may make sense to look at trains as a way to get around. This is never a bad option because train stations are always central in cities and the network is so vast that it can take you anywhere you need to go. If you’re considering trains, make sure you check out the Eurail passes that you can buy beforehand to save lots of money.
Recently, there’s been more tourist-friendly buses made available. Megabus offers numerous routes within the UK with prices as low as £1. Another unique option is a new venture called Busabout which provides hop-on and hop-off flexibility, perfect for the independent traveller.
Look for Deals
If you’re flexible in where you want to go, stay on top of travel deals that come up. For instance, Iceland Air has been making a massive push for travel to Reykjavik, Iceland and they’ve been promoting budget-friendly prices from North America that also allow you to hop into Europe after you’re done your tour there.
Renting a car while in Europe? Make sure you take advantage of car rental coupon codes to help you save additional money.
How do you stay updated on deals? Check my own deals page to get the latest promotions!
Timing is Everything
Last thing I’ll mention is that when you go in the year plays the biggest role out of anything and this applies to anywhere you go in the world. Travelling when everyone else is going is both expensive and not as fun. If you’re able to schedule your trip during low-season when prices are less inflated and businesses are pushing offers to attract travellers to come, you’re going to save a lot more money.