Traveling overseas can be very expensive as you have to pay for the airfare, accommodation, food, and activities. Let's face it, we don't want to have a boring trip, so fun activities are essential. Europe is one of the top vacation destinations for Americans, especially students who want to explore the world before continuing to college. Europe can be costly, but if you don't have much money, touring around can be done on the cheap. You'll have to make sacrifices though regarding accommodation and travel expenses. For instance, instead of staying in a hotel, you can stay in a hostel or backpackers community. Since you'll be most likely traveling to a variety of cities in Europe, you'll need to use transport to get there. Instead of taking a range of flights you can travel by train with Eurail or the bus.
Europe has a lot of monuments and museums because of its strong culture, but it'll cost a lot, so budgeting on how much you spend on each activity and selecting the cheaper options will be the best bet. You might think that you won't have as much fun if you were to travel like many tourists do, but you could end up enjoying it more on a budget as it's more of an adventure.
25 Travel By Train
There are so many cities in Europe, and I'm sure you'll want to visit most of them. Take a train instead of flying to each destination. It's a lot cheaper with Eurail, you can choose between four rail passes, but the global pass will be the best option as you get unlimited travel to any Eurail participant country. The pass lasts between fifteen days or three months. The prices are according to age and where you want to sit.
24 Stay At A Hostel
A lot of tourists prefer staying in hotels during their stay but that can be pricey, and if you want to travel around Europe you may prefer cheaper options. You'll need to keep every penny you can for train passes, different accommodations, and fun activities, therefore, staying at a hostel will be preferable. The reason why it's so affordable is that you only pay for a bed which can cost about $10 a night in Eastern Europe and about $30 a night in Western Europe.
23 Cook Your Own Meals
While traveling, you don't need to eat at a restaurant for every meal. In fact, you can cook. In hostels, there are kitchen areas so you'll have all the cooking utensils and equipment. You don't need to buy in bulk because of fridge space so purchase items for the day. Cooking your meals will save you a lot of money, and if you don't feel like cooking, you can get a quick ready meal at the grocery store which won't cost a lot.
22 Travel Off Season
There are three different types of travel seasons — low season, shoulder, and high season. The busiest season is the high season so it'll be more costly than the other two. The recommended time to travel is off season which is from November through March. The airfare and accommodation are affordable, and there are hardly any tourist crowds. There are setbacks though such as the colder climate and tourist attractions will close sooner or may not even be open.
21 Visit Attractions On A Budget
Europe is well known for its museums and tourist attractions like the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. These two highlights are on everyone's list so you'll want to see these two famous sights. The problem is there'll be long queues which could take up the day and leave no room for exploring other sites. Instead of joining a guided tour at museums, do it on your own with a guidebook and audio app which will give you more freedom, and it'll still be informative.
20 Go Solo For More Freedom
It can be daunting traveling to a foreign country, especially where there are many different languages. Many tourists opt to travel with a tour group because it's less scary and you have a scheduled plan. Group tours can be expensive so traveling alone or with friends will be cheaper. Plus, you get to decide accommodation, cities you want to visit and tourist attractions. Without a tour group, there's more flexibility as there's no limit on how long you want to stay in one area.
19 Avoid The Big Cities
The major attraction cities like Paris, Rome, and Berlin are more expensive than smaller cities or country towns in Europe. It costs more because it's a top destination for tourists. Instead of spending all your time in the big cities, visit the smaller countries which will be cheaper. It'll only cost you about $25.49 per day in Krakow, Poland. It's not the most accessible town to get to so tourists avoid it. Krakow is historical, so there'll be lots to do.
18 Know When To Fly
Airfare can be costly, but if you know the tricks, it can be a lot cheaper. After you've made all your plans for your big trip, the next step is booking the flight. If it's last minute, the fare will be in the high price range. The best time to book is about 160 days before departure as the price will be affordable. The cheapest month to travel is in March and the best days are Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.
17 Live On The Wild Side By Camping
Staying at hostels can be awkward because you have to share a room and hotels could be too expensive. An option you can choose is camping, and it's cheap. It's about $8 a day, and some places are even about $3 a day. All you need is a tent, sleeping bag, and food. There are toilets, hot showers, and a kitchen, so you'll have everything you need. The bonus of camping is the scenery which you can experience day and night.
16 Tour Eastern Europe Instead
Western Europe countries are the top destinations, and because of this, it's expensive. Eastern Europe is better because the cost of things is cheaper so you will save more. Plus, there are fewer tourists because they prefer the bigger cities. Visit the coastal sites in Bulgaria or castles in Romania and depending on how many days you're there, it won't cost that much. It'll roughly be just under $50 a day, depending on accommodation, food, and activities.
15 Travel By Bus To Your Next Destination
A hop-on-hop-off bus is the way to go if you don't want to travel by flight or train. Going by bus is ideal because you can get off at whichever destination you want to along the way. It's perfect if you're traveling without a tour as there aren't any strict schedules that you have to follow. Busabout is a good company as you can get a pass for about $12 a day. The bus stops all over Europe.
14 Get Inclusive Passes For Sightseeing
A sightseeing pass is a must have as it's a one-off price and it's free to enter the attraction sites. All you need to do is show your card at the entrance. The pass does cover many of the attraction sites. For example, you can get a Paris pass in the price range of $100 to 200. it works out to be cheaper than individually paying for each entrance fee. You can get passes for other cities like Berlin as well.
13 Visit Museums That Are Free
Surprisingly, there are museums in Europe where you don't need to pay to get in. Europe is known for its culture so the majority of the trip will be touring museums. Since you need money for accommodation and food, you can save a fair amount by not paying the entrance fees. There are free museums in Paris, Barcelona, Ireland, and Germany. The best place to go to for a variety is Berlin as they have about eight free museums which are all based on Berlin's history.
12 Ski Anywhere Else But The Alps
Avoid Switzerland at all costs because that's where the majority of the tourists go, and it's expensive. If you don't want to spend a lot of money on a skiing trip, there are cheaper options. Instead of skiing at the Alps, you can ski on the mountains at Poiana Brasov, Romania. The snow peaks aren't as famous, but they're good enough. There are some passes for how many days you want, and they're cheap. You'll save money and avoid a large group of tourists.
11 Explore The Different Greek Islands
If you're already in Europe, you can take a ferry or a plane to the islands. Google both as you could get a good deal with either option. Milos is one of the most popular islands in Greece because there are more than 72 different beaches. There's lots to do in Milos from exploring caves and visiting other islands which you can get to via a short ferry ride. Try and find a good deal on Airbnb as it'll be cheaper than a hotel.
10 Tour Germany
Don't despair if you can't travel across Europe because of a limited budget as you could explore all the different towns and cities of one country. Germany is one of the cheapest countries, and there are many cities to visit such as Berlin and Munich. You can get around with a Bahncard. There are three different types according to a discount, and you can use the pass for any train journey. If you're a student, show your ID card as you'll get a discount for nearly everything.
9 Travel By Bike
Touring Europe by bike does sound gruelling and maybe even impossible, but it's not, and it can be an option. Firstly, it's good exercise, and secondly, you'll get to experience Europe differently and even better than you would by train, bus or plane. It could cost about $14 per day depending on where you go, and all you need is a bike, a backpack for clothes, and sleeping equipment. Instead of sleeping in hostels, you can camp at each destination.
8 Do A Bus Tour
If you're country hopping and doing it solo or with friends, consider doing a bus tour for one component of the holiday. Look for the cheapest tour which is Take Tours as a 14-day bus tour only costs about $91. With the tour, you'll experience many European cities depending on which tour you choose. If you want to stay in a town and not continue the journey until the end, you can get off as there are no strict obligations.
7 Invite Friends To Save Costs
Instead of going solo, travel with friends as you can save money by splitting the costs of everything and you'll have instant company. All you need to do is work out a budget together so that the group will have an idea about the money and who is spending on what. You can also discuss how you want to pay for things, individually or sharing the one price. Splitting tabs can be useful if you're sharing a hotel room, transport fees, and eating out.
6 Cheap Flights Across Europe
If there are time constraints and you can't spend to much time traveling between countries, going by bus or train isn't ideal. There may be no choice but to fly and since it's a domestic flight, prices won't cost a lot like an international flight. GoEuro is a good site as it gives a detailed list of the cheapest to most expensive flights. The price range can be between $100 to over $300, and it all depends on the arrival city.
5 Couchsurf Instead Of Staying In A Hotel
Staying at a local's house during your trip will be ideal for the adventurous and sociable people. Couch surfing is popular because it's cheap and you get to interact with the locals. There's a website where you can search hosts before deciding on the right one. You can talk to the hosts for information about where to go, and they can even teach you their language or share their culture with you. It sounds exciting, and you won't get this experience with other types of accommodations.
4 Sleep On The Train
Another way to save money is to travel to your next destination at night. There are many night trains that you can catch, and you get to save as you don't have to pay for accommodation since you can sleep on the train. The best option is to take the ÖBB Nightjet as it stops in Austria, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland. A seat costs about $16 and about $130 for a single bed. The double beds are cheaper, so even if you're traveling alone, it doesn't hurt to check out the double-bed prices.
3 Stay In A Hotel On A Budget
If you don't want to rough it out by sharing a room, camping or couch surfing and would rather stay in a hotel, you can still do it cheaply. On TripAdvisor, you can search the cheapest hotels across Europe, and they're not costly at all. The rooms aren't all that bad, and some are even $100 a night. Living like a backpacker can be hard work so spoil yourself for one night and rent a hotel room. You'll feel rejuvenated.
2 Eat on the Cheap
As mentioned before, you can cook your food at hostels or while camping, but if you want a treat, you can have a bit of a splurge and still maintain the strict budget. Instead of going to a fancy restaurant, go to a bistro or a budget-friendly restaurant that has specials. Paris is well known for their love of bread and there are many places in the city where you can buy sandwiches for cheap. A sandwich lunch meal will cost about $9.
1 Go On A Free Walking Tour
There are many free things to do in Europe which is great as you can save tons of money. A walking tour sounds strange, but it's insightful as you can learn about the city's history with a tour guide. The best thing is it's free, and the tour guides are locals so they can show you things that you wouldn't get to experience on your own. The tour guides will take you to local spots and will even try to dodge the vast crowds of tourists. It's up to you in the end if you'd like to tip them.
References: Spottedbylocals.com, Thesavvybackpacker.com, Tripadvisor.com, Interrail.eu, Vice.com, Goeuro.com, Oyster.com.au, Taketours.com, Bootsnall.com, Tripsavvy.com, Pausethemoment.com, Ski-in-romania.com, Eurocheapo.com, Parispass.com, Busabout.com, Nomadicmatt.com, Transitionsabroad.com, Cheapair.com, Priceoftravel.com, Wildfrontierstravel.com, Traveller.com.au, Traveltips.usatoday.com, Lifehacker.com.au and Eurail.com.