#travel to europe
Hacks to Save Money on Europe Travel
1. Book x2 one-way tickets
If you re travelling to Europe you re likely to be visiting more than one country. Who are we kidding, you re likely to be visiting a handful! Traditionally it has always been cheaper to book a return ticket from your point of origin but times are changing. A great way to save a tonne of cash is to book a one-way flight to your starting point, journey from there to your final destination (i.e. Land in Paris, travel throughout Western Europe and fly out of Prague in Central Europe), and not have to worry about travelling in a loop back to your starting point. This is particularly helpful if you intend to visit the East and West. i.e. flying into Moscow and flying out of Paris.
2. Travel Off Season (for two reasons)
It should come at no surprise that summer is in fact the worst time of the year to visit Europe. Firstly, the prices are hiked, the hotels are booked, and the lines for museums are out-of-control long. Secondly, this is the least authentic Europe experience you can allow yourself to encounter. Why? None of the locals will be in town during the summer they mostly escape the summer madness and flee on holidays of their own. This is particularly try in the likes of Paris and Rome, but also through to smaller towns and countries in Central/Eastern Europe. Typically summer season in Europe is the least authentic experience you can have, its expensive, it is often far too hot, and it is certainly going to be filled with elbow nudging and toe-tapping as you test your patience.
So, when should you travel to Europe? Literally any of the months (and seasons) outside of summer. Rule out June, July and August. If you are going to visit Europe in summer, know where to go to avoid the crowds . Take any of the other months and you will be fine. Typically prices also hike over Christmas/New Years, which is of course true for anywhere in the world.
3. Try stick to Family Run Businesses
So you want to save money but you don t want it to mean sleeping in dorm rooms or living off greasy carbs for your designated allotment of weeks? The best value for money you will find is almost always going to be through family run businesses. If you want the best deal that combines both price with comfort. family-run hotels, restaurants, tour operators, etc. are one of your best bets.
Its easy to look at a map of Europe and let your eyes boggle over the endless possibilities Rome; Paris; London; Prague; Vienna; Moscow; Kiev . the list is sure to be endless. But it is also important to give your trip a focus and stick to your instincts. If its your first time in Europe, a great idea is to stick to the hotspots . If you re more interested in Modern World History, Central/Eastern Europe is likely to be more your style. If you want to get off the beaten path, there are some unbelievable hidden gems lying further to the East and along the coast of the Baltic states. But one thing is for certain: you can t do it all at once. And even if you can (assuming you ve just won the lottery), you shouldn t. Europe should be explored on multiple trips at various times in your life depending on what takes your interest at that given time. Here s a few sample itineraries to get you started:
LONDON AMSTERDAM PARIS FRENCH RIVIERA FLORENCE ROME VENICE MUNICH
London is always a great place to start, particularly if you are travelling from New York and looking to save money on flights. If you re travelling from further abroad, consider airports with lower taxes such as Dublin, Ireland. From London, you have the choice to either travel by train or air to Amsterdam and make your way through Paris, the French Riviera, through to the hotspots of Italy, and finally to Bavaria in Germany.
MUNICH PRAGUE VIENNA BRATISLAVA BUDAPEST KRAKOW
If you d prefer to venture beyond the hotspots and uncover authentic and awe-inspiring Central Europe, Munich is a great place to start with many airlines flying into here or Frankfurt also a great starting point in Germany. From there, make your way to the capital of Czech Republic, followed by train travel through Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, and onward to Krakow, Poland.
Discovering the East
MOSCOW ST PETERSBURG TALLIN RIGA
There s so much to discover in the East and no matter how many times you ve heard it, you can t hear it enough Eastern Europe is SO UNDERRATED and cheap. Starting in the Russian capital, be sure to spend a few days discovering the city that has suffered turbulence and turmoil over the years, but manages to WOW visitors with its Orthodox churches and stunning underground metro stations. From there, take the high-speed train to St Petersburg and discover Russia s history beyond the modern world back to the days of Peter the Great and Russian regality. From there its just a short ferry ride to Tallin in Estonia. Onwards to Riga, you will be baffled by the beauty of this Baltic state that doesn t earn nearly enough credit for its charm.
Visiting the North
Slow-paced travel in NORWAY SWEDEN DENMARK FINLAND
The Northern countries are undeniably the most expensive countries to visit in Europe, so if you re going to go, it is absolutely necessary to travel at a slower pace in order to make it viable and rewarding.
Most museums offer free entry on particular days. The Louvre offers free entry on the first Sunday of the month for example, which can be a nice saving if you re on a tight budget. If you can swing your schedule to allow for it, avoiding museum entrance fees is a great chance to save money.
Before you leave, its important to have a definitive plan for handling your finances whilst abroad. ATM fees are increasingly expensive and exchanging cash is not only costly but equally risky. Be sure to do your own up-to-date research on the credit cards available to you, but do know that the best deal I have personally found is the 28 Degrees Mastercard. There are no fees when using it as a credit card, however be wary of ATM fees which once weren t a problem but have recently been implemented (given the popularity of the card, I assume)!
A huge money saver comes when you choose to travel to countries not yet on the Euro. Take advantage of the exchange rates and consider countries like: Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, or Romania. But beware of expensive countries not on the Euro because their economies are doing so well they d lose out by doing so! These include: The UK, Denmark and Sweden.
Travelling in general gets ridiculously expensive when you have to pay a higher price for everything from accommodation to food to transportation, the costs soon add up. One of the biggest money savers for me over the years has been eating from supermarkets and snacking on-the-go. If you re with others, take this one step further and make it a fun activity by grabbing some eats in the supermarket and having a picnic underneath the Eiffel Tower (champagne optional).
Saving money buying your own food for picnics is one thing, but eating with the season takes it up one more notch to serious budgeting skills .
There are certain shows around the world worth the investment (Moulin Rouge, Cirque du Soleil shows and Broadway shows for example), but don t forget many of the best entertainment around the world is completely free! Whether its a free event or just people watching from a public park or sidewalk, there s always something intriguing waiting to be discovered without a price tag.