How to Travel to Europe on a Budget
Want to go to Europe, but it seems scary because it's expensive? Me too. Before I begin, I must admit that I have never been to Europe. Nope. I would love to go though, and am hoping that could be within the next few years. I was talking to a friend who is planning a trip for the near future, and I thought I should ask around to find out from people who have gone, how to do it for cheaper. I think everyone tries to save a penny here and there, especially on a vacation that seems like it will cost a ton. I thank the four of you who answered my question on Facebook, I got lots of great tips from you! I also talked to a few good friends who have been recently. Here is all the information I could gather on how to travel Europe on a budget:
Saving money on flights to and from Europe:
The season in which you go matters. Summer is the most expensive time to fly there, Spring and Fall are moderate, and Winter is the cheapest. You will also encounter smaller crowds in the winter, but then, it is cold. It all depends on what you are looking for on your adventure. There is a ton more information on how to find good flights to Europe on RickSteves.com. Also, if you have a credit card with points or Skymiles, this is the time to use those perks! (Here's how we feel about credit cards.)
Saving money on food in Europe:
Picnic. Grab food from a street vendor, supermarket or farmer's market and eat it at a park, while you see the sights or take it back to your room. Also, if you are dining at a restaurant find out the restaurant's tipping policy - most of the time gratuity has already been included in the bill.
Saving money on transportation in Europe:
Buy day passes if you plan on taking buses or trams instead of paying for each individual ride. To get from country to country, or city to city, there are a few options. Rail passes - which give you unlimited train rides for a certain amount of days, individual day train tickets, and flights. It seems that you will want to compare all of these options before you buy because depending on the day, season, and how many rides you want to take. One can be much cheaper than another one day, and not the next.
Saving money on accommodations in Europe:
Opt to stay in a less-visited (and thus less expensive) city like Brussels, Milan or Prague and take day trips to the big, very popular cities like London, Paris and Rome. Hostels are the cheapest place to stay, and are usually very clean and comfortable. You can even find Hostels with private rooms and kitchens. If you prefer a hotel, last minute booking on Priceline or Hotels.com can be very cheap. House-swapping is another affordable and comfortable option I keep hearing about, you know, like on that movie The Holiday. [Has anyone ever done house-swapping for vacation, and would you like to guest post for us? I want to know more about that from a real person.]
Saving money on sight-seeing in Europe:
Get yourself a Rick Steves book, as well as download his free audio tours and put them on your ipod or phone before you go. This will save you time and money. Also, if you are going to the top of the Eiffel tower, walk to the top. It's cheaper than the elevator, the line is shorter, and you'll walk off some calories from the many crepes and croissants you'll be enjoying in Paris. It's a win-win-win.
So, now I'm determined to go. In the next few years. It's seeming a lot more do-able, right?! Did I miss anything? Please share in the comments if you have any good tips for making a trip to Europe more affordable!
+If you like this post, you will totally like How to Vacation on a Budget and Party On! Without Breaking the Bank!
+This post may be linked up to one of these parties.