Many people are put off traveling to Europe because of the costs involved. Actually, holidaying in Europe need not be an expensive undertaking.
With some proper planning, you can enjoy Europe without having to break your bank.
1) Start with the purpose of your trip in mind
What is the purpose of the trip? Is it a shopping trip, a sightseeing excursion or an adventure? It can even be a luxurious honeymoon. It doesn’t matter what kind of trip as long as you are clear about the purpose of the trip.
Knowing the purpose of the trip would allow you to make executive decisions that can cut down up to 30% of the trip cost.
If your trip is a shopping trip, saving on your accommodations might just allow you to buy one more Prada wallet. If it’s a luxurious honeymoon, perhaps you might want to consider visiting fewer countries so that you can relax and enjoy your hotel suite.
If you’re looking for adventure, lose that luggage and opt for a backpack. The savings you get from your luggage fee could just pay for that second bungee jump of yours.
Whatever your trip purpose is…
Major on the major and you will do just fine.
2) Fly via the country’s airline
I’ve noticed that if you choose to fly via the country’s airline, it tends to be cheaper. For example, if you’re intending to go Finland, flying via Finnair would cost you less than other airline.
Of course, this is still very much dependent on the discounts various airline may be having. However, it is a good tip to keep in mind the next time you book your flights.
3) Stay in Hostels
Your ticket, your accommodations and your meals would take up the bulk of your budget. If you can save on any of these 3 areas, you would be able to cut down your travel expenditure drastically.
As mentioned previously, plan according to your trip purpose. Given that we are on a vacation, there is a high chance we are not intending to laze around in our hotel room. Hence there is no need to book expensive hotel rooms when a clean and basic hostel room would suffice.
Of course, this is not recommended for honeymooners!
4) Consider backpacking
If you’re not in Europe for a shopping trip, why not save on luggage fees? If you’re intending to fly across many countries, the luggage fee can add up to quite a lot. Besides, have you tried lugging a luggage out of Parisian’s underground train station before? Not fun at all.
5) Travel in a group of four
Four is the magic number when it comes to budget traveling. It is the most economical, efficient and mobile way to travel with regards to cost and safety.
Four is the perfect number to rent a car, book a cab, share a room or even pair off to shop separately. If you have five or six people, you would need to rent two cars/cabs. This would drastically slow down your traveling speed – need more time to prepare, longer transits, etc.
Always travel in fours.
6) Take overnight transport when possible
Overnight transport doubles up as accommodations for the night. When I took an overnight train down from Paris to Munich, I not only saved on a night’s worth of accommodation, I also arrived in Munich in the morning so no daytime was wasted on taking planes!
7) Avoid expensive cities
Some cities are cheaper than the others. Major cities like Rome, London and Oslo are terribly expensive. A simple hotdog meal brought in Oslo can cost up to $15-20! In comparision, you can easily stretch your dollar by traveling to the eastern European countries.
8) Cook your own meals
Meals in Europe are going to cost you. And even after spending so much money, you have no guarantee if the meal is going to taste as good one some of the simple fares you can find in the hawker centers here.
If you can pick a hostel that has kitchen facilities, it’s going to save you so much money. Of course, when you’re sick of pasta and bread, you can always spoil yourself by splurging on a steak every once in a while.
9) Bring a reusable bottle
Tap water in countries like Switzerland and Norway is probably fresher than the water you can find in a Dasani bottle. No need to spend money buying expensive mineral water while you are over there.
Of course, please do checks on the water quality of the countries before you visit or ask the locals.
10) Go on free guided tours
Pass up on those expensive guided tours. Many European countries have high quality walking tours that are free.
Operators like SANDEMANs are giving free walking tours across 18 cities. These walking tours are done by some of the funniest and interesting guides you will ever meet. At the end of the tour, they will usually ask for a non-obligatory tip and you can pay them for whatever you think they are worth.
More often than not, you will tip them because you are so impressed with them. They are definitely more interesting and more affordable than your average tour guide.
11) Maximise your tourist privileges
There are many places that have special perks if you’re a tourist. They may come in the form of extra discounts for attractions, special day passes for public transport or even tax rebates for your shopping. Don’t be afraid to ask if you’re not certain!
Images Credits: greatvaluevacations.com