Traveling to Europe is something that most people do at least once, and it should definitely be considered. There’s a really big misconception that a trip to Europe is incredibly expensive, and yes, it is expensive, but it doesn’t have to be something that completely cripples your finances. There are a couple of things you can do that can ease the cost, and there’s plenty of ways to budget for a trip like this. Keep reading to pick up some tips that can keep you on track.
#1 – Plan in advance
It’s no secret that flights are more expensive the later you book them. However, there is something else that’s worth considering and that is multi-leg flights. These are generally slower, but they can save you quite a bit of money in the long run. The best thing to do is find a central point and book a flight to that point. You can book flights up to a year in advance, so definitely do this and look for budget airlines, too. There are often deals at certain times of the year that you can avail of, so jump on these if you can. Before you book anything, make sure what requirements or visas you need to travel to Europe. If you think you need to get a visa of any kind, book an expedited consulate appointment before you buy your airline tickets. Airline tickets are often either expensive to change or they’re non-refundable and cannot be exchanged. It pays to be prepared!
#2 – Book one thing at a time
The most daunting aspect of a big trip is the idea that everything must be paid for at the same time but this is not true at all. Whenever there’s a big event coming up, the easiest thing to do is to space out large purchases so that there’s not one month where you have to pay all of your airline fares and accommodation costs at once. If you’re going to a couple of places in Europe, it’s definitely worth looking at a Eurail Global Pass for trains. Depending on the number of locations you want to visit, there are different pass options. These trains often also have sleeper carriages, so you can travel overnight and save the cost of one night’s accommodation while maximising your time in each place. Similarly, if you’re aged 27 or under, there are discounts available.
#3 – Stay in self-catering accommodation
It’s always cheaper to stay in a backpackers’ hostel or apartment, rather than a hotel. If you stay in a hostel, there’s probably going to be a fully-functioning kitchen available for you to use. This means you can visit a supermarket and get your supplies for the day/meal and save a lot of money on meals. Buying your own food gives you a huge amount of freedom to buy what you want, and eat exactly how you’d prefer to. This is a huge benefit if you have any food allergies or dietary requirements, in particular, because you are in control of your own food consumption. Another added benefit of staying in a hostel with a kitchen is that it is often a great place to meet people from all over the world, have some great food and a good time.
#4 – Check out free attractions
Many attractions are often free or affordable, and oftentimes by booking in advance, you can get cheaper admission tickets. If you have a student ID or are under a certain age, there are commonly discounts throughout Europe for youths. Most cities also offer donation-based walking tours, where you can get a 2-3 hour walking tour for a cost that you can afford. National parks, museums and art galleries in Ireland and the United Kingdom have free admission, and smaller museums in France, Germany, and Spain often allow for free entry or only charge a small fee. There’s plenty of stuff to do without visiting expensive tourist attractions so don’t worry about feeling like you’re missing out. There are lovely outside spaces to enjoy in European cities, so you can do plenty for little or no money.
#5 – Go further afield
The most popular cities and countries in Europe are more expensive than smaller, lesser-known places. For instance, Berlin is more expensive than Hamburg in Germany – and Paris is one of the most expensive cities in all of Europe. If you’re going to Europe, there’s so much more to see and do than just the common cities. If you’re feeling adventurous and looking to experience something different, then head to the east of Europe. Estonia, Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic are all popular places with fantastic things to see and do, and they’re much more affordable than Western European cities. The cost of getting to these destinations is generally the same, but once you’re there, everything else is much cheaper. Eastern Europe is totally different from Western Europe, so you’ll definitely get a different EuroTrip experience.
If you plan carefully, limit your ‘impulse’ spending while you’re on your trip, there’s no reason that finance should be the reason that you’re not able to go on a EuroTrip. With commission-free bank accounts available, you’ll also cut costs on this end as well. Before these existed, there were often quite high fees involved in buying currency and converting currencies. Nowadays, there should be little to no surprise fees or costs in terms of banking, and you don’t need to panic about bringing loads of cash with you. So, go and enjoy the trip of a lifetime!