Tips for travellers on a budget
Europe can be an expensive place to get around.
Those of us who are looking to experience local culture and customs while sticking to a tight budget can get a bit of a shock when organising their ‘Eurotrip’. Perhaps us Western travellers have been spoilt with the comparatively cheap lifestyles to be found in much of Asia and South America, where you can have the time of your life on $20 a day.
But it can be done! Here’s some tips on how to travel Europe on a shoestring.
Plan in advance
Many European Railways and Flight companies have VERY good deals if you book in advance. No need to start looking now for next year, but booking your tickets even a few weeks in advance can save you up to 50% on your travel.
Booking websites like the amazing one offered by GoEuro.com allow you to search how to get from one city to another in the quickest and cheapest way using whatever combination of transport is best! GoEuro is optimised for the UK and Germany, and will show you the best flights, the fastest train or the cheapest bus and will tell you exactly how long it will take you from place to place.
Book your accommodation
Like the railways, accommodation in Europe tends to get more expensive as you get closer to your arrival date, especially during High Season. If possible, budget travellers should aim to travel in the Low Season, which is between October and March in Europe, but if not check out where you want to stay and try to book as far in advance as possible. Although many people still see hostels as ‘backpacker-only’ venues, the concept of Hostels is changing; no longer are they full of teenagers drinking beer over breakfast, but Hostels have come up to the standard of Hotels while offering a ‘personal touch’. This can be great for anyone saving money; the staff at the Hostel will know better than anybody where you can get lunch for a fiver or dinner for a tenner.
An excellent group of budget hostels in Europe is Europe’s Famous Hostels :). They have a guaranteed customer rating of around 90% and are the best hostel each city has to offer.
Take Public Transport
There is almost never any need to take Taxis in Europe. Public transport works well in almost every major city and in many of the smaller ones too. Once you’ve booked your accommodation, print out the directions or save them on your phone so you know exactly where you’re going and don’t fall into the taxi-driver trap of circling you three times around the city to bring you back to where you’re staying right next to the main station (we’ve all been there…..)
Multi-day museum passes
If you’re planning on visiting museums and sights in the city, make sure you enquire about local museum passes. These often run for three days and can also include public transport in those days, eventually saving you a lot of money. (which you can use towards dinner!).
If even that stretches your budget, ask locals and hostel staff about free entry museums about any special events coming up in the days you’re in town.