Europe on a Shoestring Budget

If you’ve ever thought of visiting Europe, you might have been put off by the lofty price tag. It’s no secret that the cost of a trip to Europe can quickly escalate to astronomic proportions; however, it doesn’t have to.

Europe offers so many possibilities for travel – and an incredible array of options for travelers. There are great deals abounding – if you know where to look. This article will cover some of the best ways to save money while experiencing all Europe has to offer. Take the tips in this article to heart, and you’ll be able to experience the dream European vacation you’ve always wanted to take – without the hefty price tag.

Airfare

Almost without exception, airfare will be the largest single item on your European vacation budget – so it makes sense to tackle this cost first. It’s true that flights can be expensive, but there’s a lot you can do to slash your travel costs.

First, consider booking your flight through a less expensive carrier like Ryanair. These carriers often offer cheap tickets with all of the amenities of larger providers.

Next, try to be flexible about your destination. Remember that in continental Europe, it’s easy to get around by train. If you can find a less expensive flight to a city near your ultimate destination, it can be well worth your extra travel time – and you’ll get to visit another great destination in the process!

Hotels

After airfare, hotel costs and lodging are likely to monopolize a large portion of your budget; however, there are savings to be had here too.

Unlike hotels in North America, many hotels in Europe offer lots of flexibility in terms of accommodation. If you’re not squeamish, consider booking a room with a communal bathroom. The bathrooms are kept clean, there are usually plenty of them to go around, and you’ll save quite a bit on your room in the process.

If you’re willing to go one step further, staying in a hostel is an option familiar to many travellers. Although this has traditionally been the purview of cash-strapped college students, hostels can be just as accommodating for adults.

Wherever you choose to stay, pay attention to what amenities are offered with your stay, as these can help cut down on your overall cost. Many hotels offer complimentary breakfast. Others provide free or reduced tickets to local shows and events. Before you book, find out what each hotel you’re considering has to offer.

Attractions
Throughout Europe, you’ll find more sights and events than you could possibly see in a lifetime. Critical to the thrifty traveller, many of these are completely free to the public.

When it comes to historical monuments like churches, forts, castles, and tombs, most are free or collect a very modest fee. Also remember that classical entertainment – symphony concerts, ballets, and operas – is far less expensive in Europe than what you might be used to. You can often find excellent seats for world-class performances for under €5.

Travel

When it comes to getting around Europe once you’re on the continent, you’ll find no cheaper option than the trains.

Train travel in Europe is fast, efficient, relatively inexpensive, and quite comfortable – the seats are cushioned, most cars are air-conditioned, and you’re allowed to bring snacks on board.

To get the most bang-for-your buck, avoid buying single tickets. Instead, explore rail pass which give travelers discounts across multiple days of travel across the continent. If you’re traveling long-distance, try to book through one of the new discount carriers like Thalys, rather than through the more conventional – and expensive – I.C.E. trains.

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