The Ultimate Guide for Cheap ways to travel Europe

A street in Paris with stairs leading to a metro station

France, Switzerland, Norway, Finland all have something in common… they’re very expensive. In fact, travelling around Europe can cost a lot of money.

Travelling Europe on a budget is not normally something people think of! If you’re thinking budget destinations places in South East Asia are normally what comes up.

However, there are some cheap was to travel Europe! One of the biggest things holding people back from travelling is the cost. You can get around this you just need to look a little deeper.

Cheap ways to travel Europe

Travel costs

A departure board at an airport

One of the biggest costs of travelling is the cost to your destination or in between destinations. Airfares are usually your most expensive factor when travelling. This especially rings true if you are flying into big cities such as Paris, London or Rome.

When searching for your flights you must look around. Don’t just settle for the first price you come across? Is this really the best price? T

here are many sites that offer great deals for your airfares such as Skyscanner, Google Flights and Momonodo. Try searching for different dates, times or even cities or countries to fly into.

Sometimes it is cheaper to fly into a different country and then take a budget airline flight to your final destination or hop on a bus or a train.

Once you’re in Europe, if you are travelling from city to city taking the train is a fabulous option.

The train systems within Europe are really well set up and you can go almost anywhere you fancy. If you are able to book in advance you may better off buying tickets roughly three months before you travel and purchase individual tickets. However, if you are unsure where or when you are travelling you may want to look into a pass such as the Eurail Pass.

Flexi bus is another great budget option when travelling from point to point – some journeys start at just 5 euro!!

Travelling within your destination

When you are travelling around a city or a town it can be tempting to jump into a cab or a rideshare service such as uber, but these “cheap” costs add up very quickly. Why not travel as the locals do?

Public transport in Europe is fantastic, trains usually arrive every couple of minutes and cost very little compared to cabs.

Most of the time when you are holidays or travelling you can take a little longer to get your destinations. Besides, some of the traffic in big cities can turn a short trip into a long trip

It is also worth remembering that a lot of European cities are very walkable!

It’s hard to find the “hidden gems” when you’re inside a car or a tour bus. Plus, walking is free and great exercise!!

Accommodation

a dorm room with bunks behind curtains

On first glances, a hotel in Paris might seem excessive and out of the question but there are many affordable accommodation options. Perhaps try looking a little further out from the Eiffel Tower, or using an option such as Airbnb, you can sometimes get an entire apartment for the same price as a hotel plus you have home comforts such as a kitchen and washing machine. This can greatly cut down costs elsewhere.

Hostels are another good option – you can always book a private room if bunking down with strangers is not your thing. Hostels have the added bonus of a shared kitchen and often host events such as free walking tours, pub crawls, movie nights, etc.

Eating on a budget

Food is the other huge cost you will encounter. I mean I can’t go days without eating, can you? Besides, trying food is one of the best things about travelling.

There are several ways that you can cut down on your food bill without missing out on the fun. Grab the breakfast at your hostel or hotel, or buy some cereal and milk to store in your mini bar fridge in your hotel. I often find eating your main meal at lunchtime is a great way to find some deals. Restaurants often have the same food at lunch as they do dinner but just at a reduced cost.

You can also scope out the local markets or street food some delicious meals for a fraction of the cost.

Remember, alcohol adds up, especially if you are travelling for a long time. It might be worth buying some alcohol from the supermarket, have a drink without breaking the bank. Take a drink the park for a picnic (wine in the park in Paris? Amazing and it’s as the locals do!) or planning to only go out drinking a couple of nights a week.

City Passes

Final tips and tricks

In case you’re still not sure whether travelling Europe on a budget is possible here are a few extra tips and tricks:

  • Free walking tours in Europe are the perfect way to see a city and hear some of the histories Sandemans New Europe Tours are great. They are free, however, it is polite to tip your guide
  • Talk to the locals. Ask them where they go to eat or drink, what they recommend to do in the city
  • Travel by overnight bus or train – you are combining your accommodation with your transport and saving a bunch of time
  • Take an ATM card with you that do not have fees to withdraw money from ATMs overseas. If your card does charge try and take money out in bulk rather than go to the ATM every day
  • If you pay on your card at a store or restaurant the machine will ask if you want to pay in your home currency or the local currency. ALWAYS choose the local currency. This can save you up to $10 per transaction.
  • Try and avoid peak seasons such as summer. Travel in the shoulder season (just before or after summer) when the weather is still nice but the prices are lower
  • Always search for discount codes or cashback services when booking large expenses such as accommodation or transport.

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