We’re pretty sure we don’t have to tell you how amazing it is to travel through Europe. You can get from one country to the next in very little time, and the continent has the perfect combination of nightlife, culture, history, and diverse landscape. How do you see all this without spending an incredible amount of money? We’ll tell you! Read on to learn how to survive Europe on a budget.
1. Act like local
One of the best things to do when travelling on a budget is to go to the places the locals go. Not only does this give you the most authentic experience but also saves you money. Find out where locals eat, drink, and party. Ask hostel staff for ideas or check our blogs for insider tips for specific destinations, like Non-Touristy Things to Do in Stockholm.
2. Use public transportation
Europe has excellent public transportation networks. Busses, trains, trams and metros run in almost every city and are much cheaper than taxis or airport transfers. Use Google Maps to find out how to get around. Many countries and cities also have dedicated transit apps. Just ask hostel staff!
3. Get a rail pass
If you’re planning to see more than one or two cities in Europe, consider purchasing an Interrail/Eurail Pass. It allows you to use almost every train (and some ferries) within Europe or a specific region. It’s a very popular way to travel around, especially because purchasing individual train rides can be expensive. Also, having an Interrail/Eurail Pass gives you a lot of discounts, such 10% discount on our hostels! This is probably the BEST tip for how to survive Europe on a budget.
4. Avoid expensive tourist attractions
Sometimes you feel like you have to get to the top of the Eiffel Tower, but wouldn’t the view of Paris be better with the Eiffel Tower IN it? With enough planning and research, you can decide where to spend your budget and still get a fantastic experience!
5. Explore cities with Free Walking Tours
The best (and cheapest) way to explore a city is with a Free Walking Tour. Guides take you to the most famous and beautiful places in the city you’re in. They tell you about the history, give insider tips, and how to avoid tourist traps. Also, Free Walking Tours often leave from hostels. Ask reception for the best tour to join! While the tours are free, it’s expected you tip your guide.
6. Bring your student card
If you have a student card (preferably an ISIC card) make sure to bring it on your trip. Students often get discounts/free admission to museums and attractions- For example, the Acropolis in Athens is free for students holding this card! If you’re not sure if a discount is available, just ask before you pay.
7. Check which museums are free
Various cities (i.e. Barcelona, Rome, Vienna) offer free entrance to museums on the first Sunday of the month. Check the websites of the museums you want to visit to see which days are free, or discounted. Also, most museums are free in the UK.
8. Use City Passes
If you’re planning to visit a lot of museums and attractions in a single city, consider purchasing a City Pass. Almost every city/region offers one. City passes often allow you to visit an unlimited amount of sights within a certain time frame, and sometimes include public transport or a ride on a sightseeing bus! Purchase them online for the best deal.
9. Make lunch your main meal
European restaurants and cafes often offer great lunch deals. Most of the time you’ll get about the same food portion as you would at dinner, but it’s much cheaper. Filling up on lunch means you only need a small dinner!
For dinner, go to local markets and cook something at your hostel. You’ll notice a lot of other travellers will do the same and cooking together is an amazing way to make new friends! This tip will definitely help you survive Europe on a budget.
10. Stay in hostels
Hostels are the place to meet people, participate in free activities, or hang out with a coffee and have a chat. All hostels in the Famous Hostels network are clean, highly rated, and always offer something special. Rooftop bars, hot tubs, pub crawls, and genuine connections can all be found in our hostels! See our Destinations page for a full list of Famous Hostel locations.
If you use these tips while planning and travelling, you’ll be able to survive Europe on a budget! You deserve this experience and we want to help you achieve it. For more information on how to survive Europe on a budget, we have tons! Here’s our full list:
- Backpacking East London: 6 Things to Do on a Budget
- 10 Money Saving Tips for Backpacking Europe
- Romantic European Weekend on a Budget
- 10 Ways Students Can Travel for Free
- Scandinavia on a Backpacker Budget
- Get a 10% Discount at Famous Hostels with Interrail/Eurail