Do you want to travel like royalty through Europe, but on a pauper’s budget? It’s easier than you think with a little research and planning.
First, make sure you have all the technology essentials you need if you plan on renting a car, from converters to your go-to must-haves for road trips.
For Americans, the dollar is relatively weak in most European countries, so everything is going to feel like it costs more. One of the most significant money sucks in Europe is buying items you forgot at home.
When shopping for tech, remember to check out the voltage requirements for each country you’ll visit. There are some fantastic voltage converters that work in most European countries.
These cost a little more than a converter for just one country, but if you’ll be travelling across Europe it’s worth it—and helps save room in your suitcase.
Technically, there’s some wiggle room in voltage conversion. As long as the conversion is within ten volts, you and your equipment will be safe.
Don’t forget that there are often two kinds of converters: Those that simply convert the technology so that it can plug into a foreign outlet, and those that actually convert the voltage. You need the latter if you want to keep your tech safe.
Here are a few ways on how to travel Europe on a budget.
Take the train
At first blush, taking a train certainly doesn’t seem more lavish than flying. However, the trains are the best way to really immerse yourself in an authentic culture.
You’ll get to take in sweeping views of rural parts of the country as well as get a front row seat in the heart of metros.
Trains also whisk you from the city centre to city centre, often with no need of a costly cab ride to get to your accommodations once you arrive. You can avoid the time spent at airports, the stress, and the ghost taxis at airports when you travel by train.
Sometimes travelling by train is even a little more expensive, but the costs quickly even out when you consider the money saved with taxis. By design, airports simply can’t be in a city centre.
Eat like a local
Research how what, and when locals eat to maximize your food budget. Many Europeans pick up fresh ingredients every day to whip up delectable meals.
In many countries, you can grab a quick bite in the morning from a local bakery for less than two dollars. Locals know how to actually live where you’ll be travelling, and this means avoiding overspending on the food budget.
For example, a croissant from a local patisserie in Paris and a black coffee is mouthwatering and cheap. However, if you spring for a full English breakfast in England, you’ll be out quite a few pounds (and be the only one doing it).
Rent a room or apartment with a kitchen and avoid hotels
Hotels ultimately all feel the same around the world, and few in Europe are going to have kitchens.
If you really want to experience the culture, check out room and house shares. This gives you access to a kitchen for cooking and often better locations for a fraction of the price.
Depending on how you’d like to travel, you could opt for a homestay with the resident and get insider tips on how to really experience the neighbourhood.
Walk as much as you can
How is walking luxurious? In Europe, it is because this is how you’re going to discover all those little gems that aren’t mentioned in guidebooks.
From a bookstore you’ll fall in love with to the best little shops tucked away down alleys, walking in European cities is an absolute must. It will feel like a simple coincidence that you’re also saving oodles on taxis and Ubers.
Rent a bike
If you want to cover a little more distance while getting around Europe on a budget, you’ll feel right at home renting a bike.
Many shops in Europe offer these services, and many hotels do as well (while renting someone’s home can often come with the use of a bike).
Understand the tipping culture
Tipping is sometimes expected in most European countries, but the average is often much less than the American standard.
Research who to tip and how much in each country to make sure you’re sticking with regional tradition. After all, nobody is going to refuse a whopper of a tip.
Travel in the offseason
The offseason in Western Europe is what you’d imagine it is in the US. Cold weather months mean cheaper airplane tickets, excepting major holidays and festivals.
Yes, you’ll need to bundle up but you’ll also experience certain events, festivals, and experiences that you’d miss in warmer months. It’s a trade-off, but you’ll save quite a bit doing it.
Keep your luggage to a minimum
One of the easiest ways to inconvenience yourself and pay more for flights and taxis is by overpacking. Try to ditch at least one suitcase you plan to take and know exactly what the fees are for your particular airline.
A European getaway is a wish list item for many. Of course, there’s also always backpacking Europe and staying in hostels, but that’s a romantic endeavour that’s often more challenging than you think.
You can start exploring Europe on a budget and feel like a prince or princess without committing yourself to solely hoofing it everywhere.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this travel guide to Europe on a budget. Do leave a comment below if you did.