How to travel Europe on a budget
Have you ever scrolled through Instagram and find yourself completely awestruck at the beauty of the posts you see from Europe? You know the person in the post. They’re just your average joe, not a high visibility influencer, not a celebrity. For all you know, you make just as much money as they do because you work together! Traveling Europe doesn’t have to be expensive. It certainly won’t be the most lavish trip, but it can be the most memorable one, and here’s how you do it.
Map where you want to go
It’s almost overwhelming thinking about all of the places you want to visit in Europe. There’s the Eiffel Tower, the Swiss Alps, Neuschwanstein (aka the Disney Castle), and more… I’ve found that the easiest way to figure out how to travel for cheap is to map where you’re going ahead of time. “Doing things on a whim” doesn’t work well because in Europe, timing is everything. Many people don’t realize that Europeans have a culture where everything is closed on Sunday. You may not know certain holidays or religious observances that may occur in Europe. Plus, if you’re planning ahead, then there is a chance you can purchase tickets online, so when you get to the venue, you can just stroll on in instead of waiting in the lines!
It also helps because if you’re mapping out attractions you really want to visit, then you can see which country you need the most time in, where you book your hotel in a strategic location, and the best method of transportation!
One of the best things that happened to me in Europe was discovering what RyanAir was. RyanAir is basically the cheapest flights you’ll find to travel Europe. When you’re booking your international flight from home, then use your big carriers like Delta or Lufthansa (LOVE LOVE LOVE both!) Once you’re planning your flights from country to country, then use RyanAir. Their flights can cost anywhere from 12 Euro to 100 Euro, and you’ll usually get the cheaper end! You can even plan multiple flights in the same booking!
Backpacking the entire trip
I find that the one downfall to booking RyanAir for all of your flights is that it cost money to have a check in. Ryan Air does allow one carry-on suitcase and a personal item for no charge. So if you can manage to fit your travel into a small suitcase (INSERT DIMENSIONS) and a small backpack, then do that! It adds up when you start trying to have a check in because they run up to 40 Euros each flight! Plus, it’s less of a hassle to find cars big enough to fit a check in luggage. Many of the cars you’ll end up renting are eco-friendly smart cars, and you definitely can’t fit more than one in the trunk of those vehicles.
Hostels, hotels, and Airbnb
If a budget is your biggest concern, then just cross hotels off the list! Hostels are the cheapest places to stay in Europe, unless you’re traveling with a well-sized group where everyone is willing to chip in for Airbnb. Hostels can be a place where you meet a bunch of new friends or even the love of your life. Airbnb apartments in Europe can vary from being cottage homey to downright modern living. With chic comes price, so be mindful if you want a really nice Airbnb with a great location, it’s going to cost you much more. I only resort to hotels when I’m traveling with Sean because that is one of our favorite experiences to review. If you’re looking to find cheap hotels, then try using Hotwire! Just be mindful that Hotwire will only put you in the location, not in a specific hotel.
The best part of being in Europe is knowing that every restaurant most likely has a house wine or beer on tap. For the record, beer is cheaper than water in most restaurants. Water will come to you in bubbly form unless you tell them “flat water” or “no gas”. But try the house wines! They’re much cheaper than the bottled wines, save those for when you want to buy it for your room. Restaurants tailor their wines to fit their menu more than a bottled wine does. Plus, who can say no to a cheaper drink that’s just as good?
Travel for the experience, not for the ‘Gram.
Most of us want to show that we can live a lavish lifestyle, but if it truly isn’t in your budget, then why force yourself to spend more money than you have? Most of the things I’ve done have given me a full stomach, a nice buzz, and great friends. Travel because it fills your heart, not because it empties your wallet!