Here in U2GUIDE, all the team has been traveling for quite some time now, so we do know there are ways to not spend that much, especially in Europe, where you can find so many cheap alternatives to your usual trips. There is something for everybody if you dig a little bit! So let me show you these short tricks on how to travel Europe on a budget to spend the least and still have a blast!
1. When it comes to transportation, the cheapest option is to take the bus. You have great connections between main cities and they usually have Wifi and are pretty comfortable if you have to spend the night traveling. Some companies you can check out are Flixbus, Busabout, Megabus (only for England) and GoEuro.
2. Other suitable option is taking a rail pass. The system is very well connected around all the continent and it’s really useful and cheap if you’re traveling for really long distances. Plus, during the stops, you can get to see beautiful landscapes, especially if it’s winter and there are snowy sceneries. Try Prague, France, Germany or Estonia for some white action!
3. A clever way to avoid paying for accommodation is to take the night train. I know it’s not as comfy as a regular bed, but it’s perfect for saving time and money! You can book your connections around all Europe, from one country to another: Paris to Luxembourg, Serbia to Greece, Spain to France, Italy to Germany and many other options. You can see all of them in EUrail and get the best for you.
4. Travel smartly and avoid the peak season. I know it sounds obvious and you might think that it’s not going to be as fun or that you’ll be traveling alone. But nothing is further from the truth. Europe is a popular destination all year round, but there are some key months (mainly summer) when tourism is crazy, so go during colder months (January to March), put on some warm clothes on and enjoy your trip with way fewer people around you! EVERYTHING will be cheaper!
5. If you’re planning to visit some attractions in bigger cities, check if you can do it at night. For instance, if you travel to Paris and want to see the Eiffel Tower, you can do at night and you’ll get to spot all the city lightened at 10 pm. I can tell you it’s really magical. Do not stick to the hours when everyone else also want to go to the same place as you. Look it up on Google or just call and you can save some cash for sure!
6. And we get to this point from the previous one… Book your tickets as soon as possible. The more time in between your booking and your visit, the less you’ll have to pay. And the most important thing… You will be able to skip all the lines! How amazing is that? Especially when it’s freezing outside and standing in a queue for two hours is not an option. I’ve been there and it’s not the most comfortable way to spend your afternoons…
7. Go local! You knew this option was coming! Yes, you have plenty of options to get to know pretty much any European city with a local guide, who will get you to the secret corners that anyone else goes to! Traveling with insiders is a really nice option to get to know the cities much better, actually living the local experience. And… prices won’t be as high as the ones you pay for more touristy attractions tickets, which is something nice too!
8. Okay, so now we’re into this local vibe here, let me tell you that talking to locals (even with a not-so-perfect accent) is the best thing you can do to discover cheap alternatives when eating, sleeping or visiting. Of course they’re the ones who know best where to head if you want to avoid breaking the bank. This is why it’s so important to learn at least some sentences in the local language, so you can have a better communication during all steps of your trip.
9. Internet. It’s always a thing when traveling. Well, in Europe it is not necessary to spend money on SIM cards or paying for extra wifi in your hostel. Just go to a bar and connect your laptop or phone to their network! You’ll be limited in terms of time, obviously, but at least you’ll be able to not end up totally disconnected from everyone else (which I’d recommend from time to time anyway!) If you’re interested, here’s a guide on how to get some Internet when traveling that might come in handy!
10. Choose your destination wisely. This is one of the most important points. We all know that London, Paris or Rome may not be the cheapest options. So... Dare to try another destination where tourism is not so present. You do have very nice and affordable places to visit in Europe, especially if you go to the East. The Balkans conforms an area that’s totally unexplored for most travelers. Countries like Bulgaria, Macedonia and Croatia are really, really cheap and a wonder to explore locally!
So this it for this article on traveling Europe and not spending much money! Hope these little tricks were helpful for your upcoming trip to the Old Continent! It’s a real adventure, I can tell you! You’ll find so many amazing people and places to visit… just be sure to treat them respectfully. Not only the environment, of course, trying not to pollute as much as you can, but also the locals, who always welcome you with a smile on their faces. Give it back to them!
Photo by John Sting.