Many dream of grand holidays in Europe, hopping from country to country by train or moving through scenic countryside trails on a backpack. However, very few turn their dream into a reality. People often assume that to make the best of a Europe tour, you’d have to break the bank. This is not entirely true. You can still realise your European dream holiday even on a tight budget. Here’s how.
Planning Your Trip
A rule of thumb in budget travelling in any continent is to plan in advance. Bear in mind that Europe is a large continent, so you must have at least a few countries in mind that you really want to explore. Plan your trip according to your timeframe and budget and, if you can help it, try to avoid setting dates during peak seasons.
Summer is the most expensive season while winter is the least expensive, but it can be limiting, so a good balance is to visit in autumn or spring. Save money and cut unnecessary spending during the months leading up to your epic Europe trip so you won’t have to rely on your credit card.
There are two types of travellers: the slow traveller who prioritises sightseeing and immersion, and the thrill-seeker who enjoys cramming multiple countries into a short period of time. If you are the former, and let’s say you’d like to spend a bulk of your Europe journey visiting museums, cafes and libraries, getting around would be a bit cheaper because you can find most of these places within the cities. If you have a loose itinerary, you can explore cities by walking or taking local transportation, which is relatively cheaper than constantly crossing borders and hopping on trains.
Now, if you’re the latter, you should start booking early months before your trip to land the lowest-priced deals. You must be really sure you can stick to your itinerary and budget because booking flight deals means you can no longer make changes and refunds. Look for the best transport scheme each city offers and choose deals that allow you to hop on trains and buses throughout your trip.
Food and Accommodation
If you have no problem sharing a room with other tourists, hostels are the least expensive option, especially for a multiple-city itinerary. If possible, make advanced bookings as well, but only if you’re completely sure about your schedule. Hostelling and couch surfing are great options if you plan to stay in one city for more than a day.
Finding affordable accommodation is the key to making the most out of expensive European cities, such as London, Paris, Zurich and Bern. Staying in a hostel and couch surfing also let you cook your own meals instead of eating in restaurants. Dining in Europe can be very costly so it’s best to go easy on the food.
The biggest challenge in travelling across Europe is arranging cross-border or inter-city itineraries. Hopping to the next European country would be a totally different experience each time, so make sure you research carefully and make the necessary arrangements early.