Travelling can be expensive and staying in some European cities can cost a lot but with a little planning you can visit Europe on a budget and still have the best time. Check out our guide on How to Travel through Europe on a Budget but Feel like a Celeb next…
It is often said and many people wrongly believe that it is necessary to be filthy rich in order to be able to travel the world and enjoy quality entertainment. While it is true that some of the things cost a lot, nowadays it is entirely possible to enjoy some high brow entertainment for the wealthy and travel across Europe like a celeb, without actually wasting your annual income in a couple of days. Travelling can cost a lot of money, but it is possible to save a lot of money if you obey few simple rules.
Book Your Flight in Advance
The first and most important thing that you should take care of when you want to travel on a budget is booking. Take vacation days off and as soon as you know when you’re free to travel, start looking for a flight to Europe. The earlier you book the cheaper your flight will be. It is amazing how much you can save by booking in advance. You could save up to 4,000 – 6,000 Rand on a single flight even if you’re not flying economy. And if you’re willing to make a stop and travel longer, than you may save even more.
If you’re planning on visiting more than one place in Europe, you should also plan your schedule in advance. Be flexible and ready to change your original plans, because that might save you a lot of money. For example, if you want to visit the UK, Belgium and Germany and spend 7 days in each of these countries, but you notice that the flight prices will allow you to save money if you spend 8 days in the UK, then fly to Belgium and spend 8 days there and then stay 5 days in Germany and head back, then why not?! Sometimes it might even be cheaper to stay one or two days longer. There are more than few airlines in Europe that offer ridiculously cheap flights. Booking in advance may take you from London to Madrid for less than 500 ZAR.
Explore Different Modes of Transport
When you’re travelling within a country or shorter distances, always be willing to explore different modes of transport. Cheap weekly or monthly tickets may be available in some countries, and if you’re a student or a senior citizens you might be eligible for further discounts. If you’re visiting the UK, the Megabus is one ultra-cheap travel option and you could get from London up to some of the cities in the North of England or Scotland for about 100 ZAR.
Look for Alternative Places to Stay
Next, you will need to find a place to stay. It doesn’t have to be a 5-star hotel. You probably won’t be spending a lot of time inside anyways, so as long as there’s a bed and a bath/shower you’re good to go. Browse through some of the popular websites that offer cheap hotels, or look for alternative accommodation like hostels or studio flats, or even flat shares. Some services offer cheap options even in some of the most expensive cities. Again, be creative. You don’t have to stay in the part of town that is very touristy. Instead look for a cheaper area and then check the transport links. If the city in question is one that has good transport links throughout, then it doesn’t matter where you stay.
Always Plan Your Schedule in Advance
When it comes to sightseeing, many popular tourist attractions in Europe are very cheap or even free. The British Museum is completely free, for example. Planning is the key here. Check the working hours of each location you want to visit and then make a schedule so that you take most of your time. Browse the web for promotions and tickets at discount prices. Many cities offer passes that allow you to visit many tourist attractions at lower prices. Pick which of the attractions offered you would definitely like to see and then purchase a pass for the amount of days that will take you to visit them. Visit the free attractions in the remaining days. Look for alternative locations that might not be as popular but are of great interest to you. You don’t have to waste your time visiting the places that are most talked about. The true gems often remain hidden.
Eat Where the Locals Do
Last but not least is where to eat when you’re in Europe. Again, the most important tip here is not to visit restaurants that are located in areas where there are lots of tourists. They tend to be a lot more expensive and often not even as good as you’d expect. Instead, eat where the locals do. If you rent a place with a kitchen, you can buy fresh ingredients from a local market or a supermarket and have your breakfast and lunch at home. Although it is often said that the food in Europe is very expensive, that is not necessarily the case. You can have a very decent meal in London which is considered to be one of the most expensive European cities, for less than 200 or even 100 ZAR.