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Jumping from one iconic European city to the next is a rite of passage for school leavers and a dream holiday for avid historians.
However, despite the evident diversity of Europe’s 44 nations, it is still a notably expensive continent in which to travel.
You may not be able to save on entrance fees to the Louvre of the Eiffel Tower, but there are other simple travel tips that add up to significant savings. Check out our ideas for experiencing Europe on a budget.
You might be amazed at the extent that some people blow their travel budget long before they even have a boarding pass in their hand. With the anticipation of an upcoming trip, it can be challenging to hold back from buying the latest gear. However, we recommend that you pack as simply and efficiently as possible. Second-hand luggage can be found at bargain prices at charity shops.
The first consideration needs to be your choice of luggage: will you be using a wheeled suitcase, a backpack or limiting yourself to hand luggage only? There are benefits to each, with the deciding factor likely depending on your typical mode of travel since there are secure luggage storage options in cities across Europe. We would recommend splurging on an efficient day bag that has the capacity for your valuables and daily essentials.
Remember that you can buy almost everything along the way if needed, so limit your packing but be sure to include:
- Unlocked smartphone
- Universal power adaptor
- Power cables
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Wrinkle-free clothing that can mix and match
- One nicer outfit for going out
- Portable clothesline
- Ziplock bags
- Laundry detergent
- Hand sanitiser
It is doubtful that your travel itinerary will take in every European capital. If you stick to travelling in the cheaper European countries, you can save a great deal of money. According to Interrail, the top 10 most affordable European cities and average daily cost on a budget are:
- Warsaw, Poland – €30.45
- Krakow, Poland – €24.03
- Český Krumlov, Czech Republic – €28.61
- Bratislava, Slovakia – €31.40
- Budapest, Hungary – €25.69
- Zagreb, Croatia – €31.07
- Belgrade, Serbia – €24.60
- Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina – €26.79
- Sofia, Bulgaria – €22.35
- Bucharest, Romania – €24.03
Taking overnight train trips might sound like a fantastic way to save on accommodation; however, Interrail requires that overnight trips and high-speed train journeys have a seat reservation which is an added cost. Nevertheless, there are other options for finding free or inexpensive places to lay your head which we have included below:
Sharing a room with someone is often much cheaper than the price of a single room. Don’t worry about travelling solo either, as it is often much easier to strike up a conversation and meet like-minded travellers when you are on your own.
European hostels are amongst the best in the world. In fact, budget accommodation options in Lisbon often win multiple awards at the annual Hoscars hosted by Hostelworld, the leading online travel agency for hostels and backpackers. You can search for accommodation in your city and whether you would prefer an eco-friendly backpacker or a party place, as well as read up-to-date reviews.
If you would rather interact with locals and get a genuine feel for a city, couch surfing is a fantastic resource. You can sign up through their website and find hosts in cities all over Europe, whether you are looking for rural, out-of-the-way locations or in the city centre. If you prefer to have a chat first, sign up for one of their regular evening events and ask others about their experiences.
Prioritising travel is an investment in lifelong memories. We are confident that when you use some of our budget travel tips, you’ll be able to experience even more of what Europe has on offer.
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