Whether you’re traveling to London, Barcelona, Florence, or Amsterdam, it never hurts to save a couple dollars during your trip. Backpacking through Europe can be expensive, and the more money you save traveling, the more money you’ll have to spend on things like souvenirs and postcards.
To help you save money during your European adventures, we’ve compiled a list of budget-friendly tips to keep in mind while you travel. Let’s take a look at them below!
Book Your Trip In the Off-Season
If you try and book a European getaway in August or July, you’re going to run into expensive airfare and accommodations no matter where you travel. Rather than planning your trip during the busy summer season, consider booking your trip anytime from October through April to get affordable plane tickets. Another reason to book during the off-season is the fact that most locals will be out of town during the summer, so you won’t have many opportunities to meet authentic locals.
Look Into Budget Airlines For A Good Deal
While it may sound luxurious taking a major airline to Europe, you can save yourself a significant amount of money by booking your flight with a budget airline. Just make sure you keep an eye out for additional fees and fine print, which are often not included in advertised rates you find online.
Take Advantage Of The Rail
During your European travels, take advantage of The Rail for comfortable and inexpensive travel. One of the best things about Europe is the fact that most major cities are all connected by a network of trains, making it easy for visitors and tourists to go from one site to another.
Fuel Yourself With Street Food
Instead of dining out at expensive restaurants each night, look around for local food stalls or food trucks that offer authentic European cuisine. If you’re visiting Rome, you shouldn’t have a problem finding a local pizza vendor. If you’re spending the day in Paris, you’re sure to find crepe stands on every corner!
Stay In Hostels Instead Of Hotels
If you’ve started looking at hotels in Paris, Amsterdam, or Rome, you already have an idea of how expensive these lodging options can be. Rather than shelling out your hard-earned money on five-star hotels, consider staying in a local hostel. Most hostels offer rooms that will suit any budget, and you can choose to stay in a private room or a shared room with other travelers. There are many other benefits to staying in a hostel (aside from saving money). Let’s take a look at some of them below.
- Most hostels offer their guests wireless internet.
- You’ll find knowledgeable locals at hostels who can give you travel advice.
- You’ll have an opportunity to meet other travelers.
- Most hostels are in amazing locations like city centers.
- Some hostels have a kitchen you can use to prepare meals.
Look Into A City Pass
Did you know that most major European cities offer a city pass to travelers and guests? The city pass can grant you free admission, along with a variety of discounts, to some of the biggest attractions in Europe. You may even get a discount on dining facilities and transportation as well.
If You’re A Student, Bring Your Student ID
Whether you’re currently enrolled in school or you’re taking a break for a semester to travel abroad, bringing your student ID with you during your trip can save you a good amount of money. Most major attractions offer student discounts for regular admission, so be sure to pack your student ID.
Avoid Using Your Credit Card Abroad
There are many restaurants, gift shops, and facilities in Europe that do not take credit cards. This is why it’s important to always have euros on hand. When you leave the plastic at home, you won’t have to worry about credit card fees accruing each time you pull money out of your bank account. Be sure to keep some cash on hand to pay for things like souvenirs and taxi rides.
Pass On Taking A Cab From Point A To Point B
While hailing a cab may be the most convenient option for travel, cab fares can add up. Even a cab ride from the airport in Madrid to your local hotel can cost you upwards of 80 dollars. To help avoid these costly travel fees, always opt for public transportation when you have a chance. Most major European cities have detailed railways and bus routes that will take you virtually anywhere you’d like to go.
Double Check Your Cell Phone Plan
Before you catch the next flight to Amsterdam, double check your cell phone plan so you’re not caught off guard by a large bill when you get home. Some mobile carriers offer international roaming options with their plans, but you’ll want to check with your individual carrier to be sure. You may be able to upgrade your plan to one with more data, so you can use your cell phone for things like looking up directions to the nearest restaurant or researching museum operation times.
Research Museum Entrance Fees & Free Days
Did you know that most museums across Europe offer free admission on certain days or nights of the week? Some museums even offer free admission during certain parts of the month. A good example of this is the infamous Louvre in Paris. On the first Sunday of each month, between October and March, you can visit the Louvre for free. On a similar note, if you’re looking for daily or nightly entertainment, you’ll likely have some luck finding free concerts in local parks or public venues. Check the local newspaper or online entertainment listings to learn more about entertainment choices in your area.
Travel To Eastern Europe
Places like Germany, France, and the UK tend to be expensive places to visit in Europe. These destinations are incredibly popular among backpackers, however there are more affordable areas of Europe to explore if you don’t want to spend an arm and a leg. Consider heading to Eastern Europe that are more budget-friendly for travelers, like Hungary or the Czech Republic.
Avoid Over-Tipping At Restaurants
As Americans, we’re used to paying up to a 20 percent tip at a restaurant. In European nations, however, tipping is a little different because service staff are paid an adequate hourly wage. In Europe, the average tip is around 10 percent, unless you believed the service to be outstanding. Some restaurants and bars may automatically add a service charge to your bill, so if this is the case while you’re dining out, you won’t need to leave an additional tip.
Eat Breakfast At Your Hotel
If you choose to stay at a hotel during your travels, you can save a significant amount of money by taking advantage of the hotel breakfast options. If your nightly rate includes breakfast, avoid eating out in the mornings so you can indulge in cute cafes and restaurants in the afternoon or evening.
Don’t Exchange Money At The Airport
When you land at your European destination, the first thing you may want to do is find a currency exchange booth to exchange your money. It’s important to note that airports are known for offering tourists inflated exchange rates, so this is something you’ll either want to do before you board your flight, or after you arrive at your hostel or hotel.
We hope that this list of budget-friendly tips comes in handy as you venture off to Europe. If you’re flying out of the Denver International Airport and you’re looking for convenient and affordable airport parking, book your parking space with ParkDIA today. When you download our easy-to-use mobile app on your iOS or Android smartphone, you can book your airport parking space ahead of time, check on shuttles, and more.