Travel Europe On A Budget By Doing These 6 Things

Traveling Europe can be an amazing experience, one that you will remember for the rest of your life. However, it can be easy to drain your bank account if you aren’t careful. Here are a some surefire tips to help you travel Europe on a budget. 

Travel during off-season

The months of October through April are when hotel and flights are the cheapest. There aren’t as many tourists during this time, so lines are shorter and places are less crowded. Therefore, it’s a no-brainer to choose off-season travel if you’re trying to do Europe on a budget.

Europe on a budget
A train arriving at the train station in Innsbruck, Austria | ERICH WESTENDARP

Use ground transportation

In order to keep your carbon footprint low, opt for trains and buses whenever you can. Some trustworthy bus brands include Flixbus, Megabus, National Express and Eurolines.

Trains can also be a great way to get from country to country. There are many different options ranging from high speed trains (TGV) to scenic trains (Renfe or Eurail). Both train and bus stations are located centrally in most cities, so they are pretty easy to get to. 

Local ride share apps are extremely affordable and convenient when you don’t have time to walk or figure out the local buses. In Paris, Marcel comes in handy (especially during a metro strike) and Bolt is used widely, particularly in Eastern Europe.

Find low-cost flights

If you absolutely have to fly, Easyjet, Ryan Air, and Wizz Air are affordable airlines. Keep in mind that these cheap airlines make money through fees though. They charge for checked bags and carry ons that are too big.

Also good to note is that the carry on size for these airlines is usually smaller than in the U.S. For that reason, make sure to check measurement requirements in advance. Sometimes, it’s cheaper to pay for a checked bag online, versus at the airport as well.

If you’re traveling with several bags it might even be more cost efficient to travel with a different airline, do a price comparison. Regardless, if you’re going to fly, make sure you offset your flight.

travel europe on a budget
A private room at Casa Gracia hostel in Spain | HOSTELWORLD

Share Lodging

Homesharing is a great way to meet locals and help stimulate the economy in rural areas. You can find several great options on Airbnb. Hostels and budget hotels, however, can be more affordable than an Airbnb or a typical hotel.

Hostelworld is a great resource when planning your next trip. With over 17,000 properties in Europe, you can likely find something anywhere you go. If you’re open to semi-private rooms and shared bathrooms, you can save even more. Most importantly, you get to meet unique people from all over the world when you stay at a hostel. Perfect when you’re traveling solo.

Stay connected

Roaming charges abroad are still extremely expensive. If you’re going to Europe for more than a few days, then talk to your phone service provider about their different international plans. However, if you will be in Europe for an extended period of time get a SIM card in the country where you will be residing.  

Also, Whatsapp is a free messaging app that is very popular in Europe. It’s also much cheaper than sending actual text messages because it uses the internet. Viber is a similar option although it isn’t as common. Rest assured, most restaurants and cafes have free wifi, so make sure you take advantage of this when possible. 

Modern architecture in Valencia, Spain | JARED PEDROZA

Go off-the-beaten-path

Popular destinations such as Barcelona, Paris, Venice and Rome are amazing places to visit. However, there are many other locations that are just as special and way less crowded. Remember, the further away you get from touristy spots, the cheaper everything is. And of course, the more authentic your experience will be.

Instead of Venice, try Friuli. Instead of Barcelona, try Valencia. Instead of Positano, try Cilento. You get the idea. If you’re trying to travel Europe on a budget, your euros will go much farther this way. Trust us.

-Carli Cuthbertson