Full of history, great culture and beautiful architecture and natural landscapes, Europe is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world, but it is also one of the most expensive. Finding a cheap flight is a good way to start saving money on your European trip, however once you are there, accommodation, food and transport costs can quickly chew through your budget.
Although Europe can be expensive, there are many ways to save money and travel this great continent even if you are a budget traveller. Here are some tips on how to travel Europe on a budget.
One of the best ways to save money in Europe is to stay in hostels. You may think that hostels are only for 20 something backpackers looking to party, but in truth there are hostel options for all types of travellers. The cheapest hostel rooms are known as dorms, where you get your own bed in a shared room that usually house from 4-10 people, as well as a shared bathroom. Most hostels also offer private rooms, some just as nice as a hotel room but at a much cheaper price.
Even cheaper than hostels, camping can be a great option. In Europe there is an excellent amount of convenient camp grounds, often even within major cities. And these camp grounds have excellent facilities such as bathrooms, cooking areas and shuttle buses to take you to the nearest town or city.
Last minute deals, multiple night stays and advanced bookings:
If you want to stay in hotels, there are still plenty of ways to save money. Often hotels will offer last minute deals if they have plenty of rooms available, and give a great discount. Many hotels also offer discounts for booking more than a certain amount of nights, while others offer discounts if you book well in advance. It's a good idea to look around on hotel sites and see what is available.
If you're staying in a certain city for a few weeks or more, renting an apartment can be a very affordable option. The longer you stay, the more options there are to save money. For example some apartments can be rented on a weekly basis, while others are monthly. This is also a great option if you are travelling with a few people to share the cost.
Cook your own:
If you are staying in a hostel, camping or renting an apartment, it is likely that you will have kitchen facilities available. Buying your food at a supermarket and cooking it your self will save you a lot of money. This doesn't mean that you have to eat every meal like this, but even one meal a day will save you a lot of money in the long run.
Eating where the locals eat can be a lot cheaper than eating where the tourists eat, and usually the food will be a lot better too. Often restaurants that are located close to tourist attractions will leave you with a hefty bill, while you may be able to walk a couple of blocks away and find a nice restaurant for half the price! Usually the locals know best.
Street food/take away:
It's not unusual to find different food carts or eateries located around a city, and they are a great option for saving money on food. For example: For only a couple of dollars you could buy a nice slice of Pizza in Rome, a Crepe in Paris, or a Bratwurst in Berlin.
One of the best ways to travel in Europe is on the train, and a great way to save money on train fares is to buy a rail pass. There are many different passes available from single country passes to complete passes that allow you to travel all over the continent. It entirely depends on your trip, but a rail pass can literally save you hundreds of dollars.
Many cities in Europe have special tourist passes that you can buy, and they usually give you free use of their public transport systems, and also offer free or discounted entry to attractions and museums in the city.
Walking and cycling:
One of the best ways to see a city is on foot. You will always see more and have a great experience, it gives you lots of exercise and costs you absolutely nothing. Many European cities are also very bicycle friendly, and renting a bike for the day can be a great way to explore a city.
There are two great budget airlines in Europe, EasyJet and RyanAir, and together they fly all over Europe to most major destinations, and at excellent prices. This is a great option if you are short on time and want to travel faster or over larger distances.
Lease a car: If you are going to be travelling in Europe for an extended amount of time and want to hire a car, it can often be cheaper to lease a car instead. Many companies such as Peugeot lease cars for a certain amount of months.
Travel in Europe doesn't have to be as expensive as you might think, and if you use these tips, you are sure to save plenty of money on your trip through Europe.
Dean Wickham is the author of The Road to Anywhere World Travel Blog, and Go World Travel Guide. Find great practical travel information, travel stories, destination tips, guides and travel photos.