You can’t claim the title of being an “avid traveler” till you have explored Europe. The ‘Old Continent’ accounts for over 50% of the world’s tourist arrival and for good reasons. It offers you the truest of adventure with diverse cultures to experience, languages to learn and stories to be heard. You get to walk around history in Europe traversing centuries-old traditions and witnessing the breathing reminders of bygone eras.
From medieval castles to magnificent palaces, from bustling fashion streets of Paris to the wilderness of Russian countryside and the beaches of the Mediterranean to the Swiss Alps, there is something for everyone. These experiences come at a price and Europe offers you the cheapest travel options. Whether it is accommodation, transport, or food, you must spend a fortune to travel to these beautiful places.
Can you cut down on your spending without compromising on the experience? Are there cheaper ways to visit and experience some of the most expensive destinations in the world? We bet, there are and here we have compiled a list of travel hacks that would serve you well on your European sojourn.
Plan Your Travel
Nothing quite matches the experience of experiencing the unknown and traveling without a plan. However, the unknowns often add up to your bills! If you are looking to get the best out of every dollar you spend, plan your vacation.
Do your math on the ticket prices, cost of accommodation, and other fees and you’d be surprised to find they can vary significantly through the year. Work on an East to West or North to South holiday plan that ensures lesser travel and more time to visit places. For instance, spending your nights on sleeper trains can save you on hotel tariffs. The more you plan, the more you will save or visit more destinations within your budget.
Book Cheap Flights
As past flight booking experience would tell you, ticket prices can vary based on the time of the day and between different booking platforms. Thus, you should be willing to spend those extra minutes to find the cheapest tickets. Try ticket aggregator platforms that fetch ticket prices from different booking platforms and you will notice the differences in ticket prices. Do your research and keep track of the discount coupons available and you’d buy yourself the cheapest tickets.
Use Train Passes
Why pay for expensive flight tickets (even on no-frill airlines) and cramp yourself into the most uncomfortable seats? Europe has one of the finest rail networks in the world. With most of the countries being geographically small and connected by high-speed rail networks, you can travel the length and breadth of Europe on the train.
Eurail rail pass alone lets you travel across 33 countries with a single pass covering over 40,000 destinations in Europe. These passes start as cheap as €185, and you can easily buy a 5-day or 10-day pass which connects you to all major cities and little-known destinations across the continent. Buy these passes in advance and check out for the sale offers, you can save even more.
Free Visits to Museums
Your European sojourn would remain incomplete without visits to the famous European museums. These museums document the history of Europe and the rest of the world due to the continent’s colonial past. Museum visits can burn a hole in your pocket. But did you know there are free visit days or hours to some of the best museums in Europe? There are concessions on tickets for certain categories of travelers. Visit the official websites of these museums and explore all your options. You might just be lucky enough to enjoy a Free Pass.
Hostels, Campervans, and Airbnb
If you haven’t inherited millions in heirlooms and plan to blow them up staying at the most expensive hotels, there are plenty of options available. Most backpackers love hostels, and you can find them all over Europe. You’d need to spend anywhere between $10 to $40 per night at these places which is quite a bargain. You can also opt for campervans whenever available as this would help you save substantially. And not to forget, Airbnb which has millions of properties all over Europe. From the high streets of London to the countryside in Greece, there isn’t a place where you can’t find Airbnb accommodation. Do your research and get the best deals.
Pack Your Meals
Unless you are on food vacation, you’d do yourself a favor by packing your meals at grocery stores or making use of takeaways at busy rail stations and airports. Dining out in Europe can be expensive as it is the most expensive continent in the world in terms of food prices heavily relying on imports. You’d have to have a minimum of three meals a day and you can add up the cost of dining at expensive restaurants. Rather packing your food and eating it wherever you find yourself some space shall save you hundreds of dollars during your trip. Find the best takeaways in the towns and cities you are planning to visit, and you won’t regret the choice you make.
Hire a Bike
This trend is picking up around the world and Europe is no different. In most European cities you can easily hire bikes from local shops or make use of those app-based bike hiring platforms. By doing so you will save substantially on cab fares or pay for trams and other modes of transport. You will get to enjoy European life from up-close on a bike and ride along the narrowest streets and alleyways and smell its history.
Avoid Withdrawing Money Daily
Nobody likes traveling with cash but visiting the ATMs daily is a big no. Depending on the country you come from, you are likely to pay a convenience fee every time you visit an ATM overseas. In most cases, you must pay the minimum fee irrespective of the amount withdrawn, and hence it would be wise to withdraw cash for the last few days or a week. Certain cards charge Zero Commission on withdrawal overseas and it would be smart to get one before you arrive in Europe.
Follow these travel hacks to make your memorable European sojourn also good on your pocket!