Despite more and more travellers discovering their own ways to travel Europe on a budget, and sharing Europe budget travel tips among themselves, Europe still remains a fairly expensive destination to explore.
A few things, however, have worked in budget travellers’ favour. For example, the dawn of hospitality networks, the rise of sharing economies, and the introduction of budget public transport. And all this has contributed to making Europe more affordable than ever.
During my 2 months of travel in Europe, and especially while travelling across countries like Germany, Austria and Italy, I often get sick to my stomach seeing how expensive travelling in Europe can be. From a segway tour in Rome to something as ordinary as a Vienna budget walking tours, everything can feel expensive.
But thankfully, I did a lot of research before starting my great Europe Odyssey, and in the end, travelled to Europe on a budget for less than 30 Euros a day.
From volunteering to self-cooking to staying in hostels, I used a mix of things to keep my budget under control. So speaking out of my experiences, here are some tips on how to Budget travel in Europe.
Also Read: How To Best Plan A Europe Trip From India
Top Budget Travel Tips For Europe
I know Europe is expensive to travel to, but if you will use the following budget travel tips, you can travel pretty much anywhere in Europe for less than 30 Euros a day.
Some of the tips will even help you travel without spending any money. So let’s get started perhaps with the first tip. And that is…
Fly With Budget Airlines
Budget airlines across Europe are so prolific that competition keeps the fares low. For most of the prominent destinations like Rome-Paris or Paris-Barcelona or Barcelona-Amsterdam, you can find tickets where the fare is just the taxes.
For example, in May (before returning to India) I was planning a few days in Paris, from Rome. Where a train and a bus would have cost approx 80 EUR and 60 EUR, respectively, Ryanair was offering an unbelievably cheaper 25 EUR flight ticket.
Companies like Transavia, EasyJet, and Ryanair offer mind-blowingly cheap flights, so keep an eye on them for travelling between big and popular destinations.
Moreover, book at least a month early to scoop up great deals. There are also regular sales, particularly during the off-season to take advantage of.
Rent A Car
If you are two or more people, it is possible that renting a car in Europe turns out to be a better deal than travelling on a bus or a train.
During my recent Romantic Road Germany trip, we hired a car for two people and it turned out to be just as expensive as travelling by public transport.
Since we were visiting very offbeat destinations with very limited bus and train connectivity, hiring a car made more sense. It moreover saved up heaps of time.
So yeah, before you decide whether you want to travel in a bus or a train or fly, think of where you’re going, read these tips for renting a car in Europe, and see if renting a car is a better deal.
Stay In Hostels
Unless you’re planning on buying a whole rack of ribs and having a barbecue in the hostel, you will probably find no problem in buying well-rounded cheap meals at the grocery stores and cooking them in a hostel. Among all budget travel tips for Europe mentioned in this blog, this tip is going to save you a lot of money.
It is by cooking for myself, I saved heaps of money while traveling in Europe since there’s a big price difference between home-cooked pasta and hand-made pasta at the nearby Italian restaurant. Of course, cooking your meal lacks the entire experience of dining out, but if you want to budget travel in Europe, there can’t be a better way.
So where hostel dormitories are always cheaper and allow solo backpackers, like me to make friends, the best thing about them is they come with a shared kitchen, allowing guests to cook their food.
Workaway, WWOOF, and other work-exchange platforms are also a great way to travel, not only Europe but the world, for almost no money. They moreover give you great travel experiences.
During my 2 months in Europe, I volunteered twice — once in Germany (while learning horse riding in Germany) and once in Italy. Not only did they save me money, the kind of cultural exposure I got in return, was unparalleled.
You can read more about my volunteer experience and how to travel using such networks in this blog: How To Travel World Without Money.
Use City Cards
If you are one of those people who like to see a lot of museums and use a lot of public transport, buy a city card. This is going to be the best Europe-budget travel tip for you.
For example, I used a 72-hour City Card while travelling in Stuttgart, Germany.
Other than free public transport in and around Stuttgart, the Stuttgart Plus city card gave me free access to most of the tourist sites. For example, I used my Stuttcard Plus city card to access the Mercedez Benz Museum and Television Tower for free and saved more than 12 Euros straight away, in addition to free transport throughout its valid period.
Take Buses. Avoid Trains
Buses in Europe are a lot cheaper than trains. And most budget backpackers rely on buses to keep their travel costs low.
Speaking of my personal experience, during a recent backpacking trip across 8 countries in Europe, I did 18 bus rides in total, and only two train rides, over 2 months. By doing so (and roughly speaking) I saved around 200 EUR. Where a train ride would have cost 50 EUR, the bus took 35, sometimes even less.
Though of course buses take comparatively more travel time, for me, time was never a problem. And speaking of comfort, I found buses just as comfortable as trains.
Megabus is a cheap way to get around the United Kingdom and sometimes tickets can cost as little as 1 GBP. To travel inside Paris, go for Ouibus. For most other destinations in Central Europe try Flixbus and Eurolines.
If you are travelling long distances and are doing at least 5 journeys, throughout your trip, I would strongly recommend investing in an Interflix bus pass for 99 EUR.
Now, for comparison, a 5-day Eurail pass can cost you as much as 374 EUR — so calculate the difference. (Note: the prices mentioned are as of 2019, please check their website for revised prices).
Other Useful Europe Budget Tips
- Use reusable water bottles. This is not just one of Europe’s budget travel tips but being eco-friendly too.
- Buy a European SIM card from this company called TravelSim and save up to 85% on roaming services and data usage. I have personally used them during my few trips to Europe. What’s better is, that where the rest of the sim cards offer you a validity of 3 or 6 months, TravelSim remains valid for over one year.
- When first arriving in a new city make sure to stop by the Tourism Information Center for discounts, free maps, and cost-free events.
- Take free walking tours. Though you’ll be expected to tip the guide, it will still be a very cheap deal.
- Swing by open markets and food courts near closing time and get heavily discounted products.
Do you know of more Budget travel tips in Europe? Would you like to add them in the comments below? Sharing is caring 🙂