Budget Europe Trip: Top Tips to Stretch Your Euros

A couple enjoying a budget Europe trip

Are you planning a European adventure but concerned about the costs? Totally understandable! Keeping your spending in check while exploring this vibrant continent can be tricky. Fear not, though, because there are countless ways to enjoy a budget Europe trip without missing out on its wonders.

From securing budget accommodations to utilising affordable connectivity, Note down these tips from our co-founders to save big bucks while still soaking up all the incredible experiences Europe has to offer!

6 Tips for a Budget Europe Trip

1. Explore Budget Accommodation

Hostel in Paris as an affordable accommodation option

Consider Hostels

If you’re mindful of your expenses while in Europe, consider staying at hostels. These budget-friendly options are incredibly popular across the continent, with a wide variety available in every city. Whether you’re travelling solo, with family, or with friends, hostels offer diverse lodging options, including dormitories, private rooms, and even family suites to suit your preferences.

One of the biggest draws of hostels is their affordability compared to conventional hotels. Despite the lower price tag, many hostels boast prime locations, like the Flying Pig Downtown Hostel in Amsterdam or The House of Sandeman in Porto. Additionally, they often promote a sense of community among guests and kitchen facilities that allow travellers to prepare their own meals and cut costs further.

Stay with a Local

Exploring Europe with friends can be a budget-friendly option as you can divide accommodation costs among your group. But what if you’re on a solo trip or don’t have friends to stay with?

Consider connecting with locals through hospitality exchange services. These platforms allow users to find hosts who offer free accommodations for short-term stays. Aside from saving on lodging expenses, staying with locals provides an opportunity to connect with residents who can offer insider tips and advice about the area.

Find Work Exchange Options

Another effective way to save money on lodging while you’re on a Europe trip is by exchanging work for free accommodation.

Various places like hostels, farms, and local businesses often offer opportunities for travellers to work for a few weeks in return for a complimentary bed and sometimes meals. This option allows you to delve deeper into the local culture, explore the surroundings, and build connections with residents.

2. Choose Budget-Friendly Activities

The British Museum in London, UK

Check Out Free Attractions and Museums

You’ll find numerous nature attractions like beaches and beautiful parks that are free to visit and perfect for picnics across Europe. Additionally, many cities offer free entry to some of their tourist spots. For instance, in several Italian cities, famous attractions waive their fees every first Sunday of the month, while all public museums in London are open to visitors at no cost.

Moreover, major European cities offer free walking tours, allowing visitors to explore city attractions and delve into history. Remember to tip your guide at the end as a gesture of appreciation for their time and expertise!

Opt for Budget-Friendly Attractions

When it comes to expenses, you’ll generally find that prices rise as you head north or west in Europe, such as in France and the UK. For budget-friendly travel, consider exploring southeastern Europe, including countries like Croatia and Romania, where costs tend to be lower.

As a general guideline, straying from tourist hotspots gives you more affordable options. However, if a particular destination truly captivates your interest, it might just be worth the extra investment. Remember to not focus on budgets so much and consider other factors like unique experiences or personal preferences when making your decision!

Make Use of City Tourist Cards

Local tourism offices frequently offer tourism cards that provide access to various attractions, tours, and restaurants within the city. With these cards, you can enjoy free entry and significant discounts on activities. Some providers also include discount vouchers, complimentary guidebooks, maps, and priority access to make your trip even more convenient.

3. Eat and Drink Wisely

A woman sitting at a European restaurant

Seek Out Food Discounts

While travelling, dining out is likely on your agenda, but it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to enjoy delicious meals. In Europe, numerous websites, like TheFork, offer discounted restaurant bookings that allow you to try out delicious yet budget-friendly meals during your trips.

Try Local Cuisine

If you’re watching your spending closely, it’s best to steer clear of the pricey, tourist-filled restaurants. Instead, opt for local sandwich shops, pizza joints, or outdoor street vendors for more budget-friendly meals. One way you can find these gems is by stepping away from sightseeing streets or asking locals for recommendations on their favourite dining spots.

Carry a Reusable Water Bottle

In many parts of Europe, tap water is safe for consumption. To save some more extra bucks, consider bringing along a reusable water bottle during your trip. By refilling your bottle with tap water whenever possible, you can stay hydrated all while minimising the consumption of single-use plastic bottles.

Cook Your Own Meals

Apart from accommodation costs, food and drinks can also eat up a lot of your budget in Europe. One smart way to save money is by cooking your own meals. Start by shopping at local food markets which you can find in almost every city across Europe, such as Mercat Central de València in Valencia, Spain or Apt Marché in Provence, France, then cook your meals at your accomodation’s kitchen.

4. Find the Most Economical Means of Transportation

A man walking at the airport

Book Flights in Advance

Planning ahead can save you a lot, especially when it comes to flights. To avoid high fares, try booking your flights to Europe about 4 months in advance. According to Forbes, the best deals for flights to Europe are typically found around 129 days before departure, but can range from 50 to 179 days prior.

During your search, consider using sites like Skyscanner to compare airlines, airports, dates, and times so you can find the flights that fit your budget and travel itinerary the best.

Use Public Transportations

Train travel is widely favoured in Europe for its speed, comfort, and scenic views. If you’re travelling across multiple countries, consider investing in a Rail Pass to save significant amounts of money.

Another affordable option for traversing Europe is travelling by bus. Budget bus companies such as FlixBus provide economical fares, with tickets starting as low as 5 EUR!

Utilise Overnight Transportation Options

When it comes to budget-friendly yet time-saving transportation options, consider overnight travel such as night trains. This option not only saves your accommodation budget but also allows you to travel while you sleep, maximising your time during the trip. Basically, night trains serve as both a means of transportation as well as your accommodation for the night!

Share Rides

When planning a budget-friendly trip to Europe, you can also opt to share rides with locals. Ridesharing services, like BlaBlaCar, enable you to catch rides between cities or even countries for a small fee. Aside from their low fares, these services allow you to connect with interesting people and immerse yourself in local culture and life during your journey!

5. Leverage Rewards & Discounts

Airline miles

Maximise Your Points & Miles

A smart strategy to manage high airfare and hotel expenses is by accumulating points and miles. These rewards are earned through frequent spending on member cards or credit cards, with frequent flyer miles typically used for flights and rewards points typically can be used for a variety of expenses, including experiences and hotels. By leveraging points and miles, you can save budget on your next trip to Europe.

Do note that your points and miles might have different expiration dates. Therefore, be sure to check them regularly and before making any bookings!

Take Advantage of Student Discounts

If you’re a student, bring along your student ID card for an even more budget-friendly Europe trip. Many attractions in Europe offer discounts for students, so it’s important not to miss out on these opportunities!

6. Use a Travel SIM Card or eSIM

Enjoying a budget Europe trip by using travel eSIM or SIM card

Travel SIM Card

When it comes to staying connected during your trip to Europe, there are several options available. However, if you’re seeking a budget-friendly and convenient choice, consider using a reliable travel SIM Card for Europe, such as TravelKon.

A travel SIM card helps you avoid hefty roaming charges that can accumulate quickly. With this option, you can select the amount of data, talk time, and text messages you need in advance, avoiding concerns about exceeding your budget or receiving an unexpected bill upon your return home. It also saves you time by eliminating the need to run around the airport and queue in line, as you can enjoy instant connectivity upon arrival. Remember, time is money too!

Travel eSIM

Similar to a travel SIM card, a Europe eSIM offers cost-saving advantages for your Europe trip.
If you have a device compatible with eSIM, you can easily install the eSIM profile provided by your chosen travel eSIM carrier or operator, such as TravelKon, and access its benefits. Using a travel eSIM eliminates the risks associated with physical cards or pocket WiFi, such as loss, damage, or theft, while also contributing to the reduction of e-waste and pollution by eliminating the need for a physical card.

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