10 Budget Travel Tips: Europe

Planning a budget Euro-trip can be complicated for first-timers. So here are my favourite travel tips:

  1. Cheap Flights – Europe is best done through flights or coaches (Buses). If you are travelling across different countries in Europe, then it is better to book a flight if you are short on time. If you have plenty of time on your trip, you can also book a coach from one city to another. Irrespective of what they show in movies, trains across countries in Europe are very expensive. They are generally unaffordable for the budget traveller. On the other hand, you can find very cheap flights at http://www.skyscanner.com or cheap coaches at http://www.flixbus.com. The prices of intra-Europe flights may vary from £25 to £100 depending on when you book it. Cheapest flight tickets are available up to a month or two in advance with your travel dates falling in the middle of the week.
  2. Carry-on Luggage – Low-cost airlines like Ryanair, EasyJet etc. charge you extra for checked-in baggage. Often, this is a hefty price (£35-40) that cuts a hole in a student’s pocket . It may well be more expensive than the great deal you got while purchasing your ticket from a travel website. Therefore, it is advisable to carry a small cabin bag with lesser stuff rather than a huge suitcase with shoes that you are never going to wear. Follow the minimalistic path and save your money. Also, remember to carry your makeup and toiletries in a clear sealable bag for security check (if you follow my advice and carry only cabin baggage).
  3. Centrally Located Hostel/Hotel – It is better to stay in the heart of the touristic centre rather than commuting for one hour everyday. You may find cheaper hotels slightly outside the centre but often these hotels will be located in areas that lack both energy and people. It is better to stay right in the centre to witness all the action for yourself and to minimise your transport costs. It also saves you a lot of time. Since the city centres are lively and crowded, they are also walkable at night and you can walk home safely after a fun night out. By staying centrally, you can easily explore the major tourist sights on foot and soak in the spirit of the city while doing so.
  4. Breakfast Included – Choosing this option while booking your hotel will save you both time and money. Often-times, booking.com has hostels/hotels that offer breakfast and are reasonably priced. Starting your day hungry could cause you to be grumpy and finding reasonably priced breakfast on a hungry stomach can also be annoying. Breakfast included is a better option because, the hostels and hotels offer a buffet breakfast as opposed to eating a £5 sandwich at a cafe. I like to stuff myself at breakfast so that I am energised for the day. It also keeps me from splurging at lunch hour because then I combat my hunger with a five pound sandwich rather than a ten pound pasta.
  5. Pre-booking Attractions – If you are visiting a popular tourist spot like Rome and you want to see the Colosseum, your best bet to save time is to pre-book it. Same applies for a visit to the Vatican. Some attractions like the Colosseum, Louvre, AnneFrank House, and the Vatican etc. need to be pre-booked in order to avoid queuing for hours and perhaps wasting your whole day. I went to Amsterdam in the peak of winters. At that time, the closest slot to pre-book a visit to the Anne Frank House was available in May.  I cannot imagine what the waiting list is like in the peak season, May itself! I also spoke to a lady who had queued to see the Anne Frank House for five hours in the middle of continental winter. In the end, I decided against it and missed out on an extraordinary experience.
  6. Food – If you are on a budget avoid dinning right in the middle of Piazza Navona, Piazza Di Spangna and other major tourist sites in Rome or anywhere else in Europe. These restaurants serve pasta for 14 euros when you can find absolutely delicious pasta for 6 euros on walking down a few streets. If you really want to enjoy the ambience, I suggest that you grab your cheap meal at a distance from the tourist spot and return to the ‘touristy cafe’ just to have a coffee or some dessert.
  7. Comfortable Shoes – I cannot stress the importance of this item in your luggage. travelling Europe involves a lot of walking and you will need these when your feet cry in pain after a day of walking around in cheap Forever21 flats.  Sneakers will also come to your rescue when you decide to join a 3 hour walking tour or a local hiking trip.
  8. Local Languages – It is always good to learn a few basic words of the local language before you embark on your travels. For example just saying “Grazi” in Italy or “Obrigado” in Portugal helped the locals warm up towards me. I could see some of their expressions change from suspicious to comfortable. Usually, this would be followed by a short and happy conversation starting with, “Where are you from, young lady?”
  9. Waking Up Early – I know that this is the last thing some of you want to do on a holiday. But if you want to click good pictures and avoid the crowds, then waking up early is your best bet. Some places get extremely crowded by 11AM. Waking up early helps you be one of the first ones in the queue and prevents you from wasting time. To truly experience the magic of Charles Bridge in Prague and click great pictures without the crowds, 6 AM would be a good time to visit.
  10. Doing Day Trips – Cannot afford to stay in another city? But it is close-by? You can do a day trip. For example there are some good day trips from Naples to Amalfi Coast and Capri if you cannot afford the luxurious hotels and steep prices of Capri but still want to experience it. I took a very cheap day trip from Dubrovnik to Kotor Bay in Montenegro. I also organised a day trip on my own from Rome to Florence just because I wanted to tick it off my bucket list. It was much cheaper than staying in Florence and flying back to London from Florence. In hindsight, Florence is not a city that can be experienced in a day. But some cities are and you can use these day trips to save both time and money. Websites like http://www.viator.com offer some great day trips but I find Viator slightly expensive for a student budget. However, you may find other suitable options upon researching further.

 

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3 Thoughts

  1. a really good one and quite informative post . Such great posts on Budget travel did help me to save some good amount of Currency however ,out of my own travel experiences of recent years , I too have penned down some small but practical tips to get Luxury Hotels as well as some good add-ons (room upgrade , sightseeing etc.) on a budget price .

    You can thank me later on,here’s the post !

    Planning to travel abroad? Just a 5 minute read might save you some money !! 🙂

    https://the-passport-souls.travel.blog/2017/08/11/revealed-how-to-trick-travel-portals-to-get-best-holiday-packages-while-travelling-abroad-5-min-read/

    Hope you find it useful !! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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