Europe is a beautiful continent, offering a rich tapestry of history, culture, and breathtaking landscapes. While it’s often perceived as an expensive destination, the truth is that with some insider knowledge and careful planning, you can explore Europe without breaking the bank.
This comprehensive guide shares invaluable tips and tricks to help you experience the best of Europe on a budget. From cost-effective transportation options and wallet-friendly accommodations to hidden gems and budget-friendly activities, we’ve curated the ultimate resource for exploring Europe on a budget.
Whether you’re a savvy backpacker, a student traveler, or simply looking to make the most of your travel funds, our guide will empower you to embark on an unforgettable journey through Europe without compromising your budget. So, get ready to discover the secrets of affordable travel and unlock the treasures Europe offers, all while keeping your wallet happy.
Let’s dive into our guide and start planning your budget-friendly adventure through Europe!
Traveling in Europe on a budget
- Cheap Europe Travel: Take the Flixbus
FlixBus is one of the most affordable methods to travel around Europe. The coach service travels across Europe for a fraction of the cost of flying. Tickets as little as €5 are available! As a result, this mode of transportation may be better suited to individuals who have more time than money. FlixBus is a beautiful way to travel around Europe on the cheap if you like traveling. The seats are rather comfy, and Wi-Fi, power outlets, and a restroom are on board.
- Fly with a Budget Airline
Skyscanner is the simplest and most successful way to locate inexpensive flights. It frequently means flying on a budget airline, undoubtedly more cramped than a premium aircraft. Still, if you’re only in the air for a few hours, you should reserve the pampering when you arrive.
The trick to finding cheap airfare to Europe is to be strategic. Generally, if you want to save money, skip the summer months (June – August)—everything, from lodging to activities, skyrockets in price. If you want a decent deal, go during the low and shoulder seasons (September to May). The weather may not be as pleasant, but you save money and avoid the crowds.
- Road Trip with a Rideshare
If you can drive, renting a campervan and hitting the road is a beautiful way to travel – but renting cars may be pricey. Participating in a ridesharing program is a cost-effective road trip option. Apps like BlaBlaCar have surged in popularity across Europe. Like the Uber taxi service, you must select a car heading your way and pay for it using the app. Drivers and passengers may participate, which is helpful if you’re going on a road trip and have a spare seat or two in your car.
Ridesharing is a terrific opportunity to meet new people and make friends with tourists and locals on shorter travels. It’s similar to hitchhiking but without the fear of personal safety because each member must be authenticated. Female travelers can choose a women’s only ridesharing for added peace of mind. BlaBlaCar is a good alternative for cheap transportation to travel throughout Europe.
- Use the Local Railway System
Trains are one of the most convenient and peaceful modes of transportation in Europe. Nothing like sitting up in a chair with an excellent book and a picnic and watching the world go by. Trains are less stressful than flights and more pleasant than coaches. Trains can take you to practically any place in Europe, and if you’re on a budget, the best way to get a decent deal on your tickets is to book them well in advance.
If you’re backpacking around Europe, you may also get a Eurail pass, which permits you to travel through and around up to 28 different European nations. Sleeper trains are even less expensive. You save money on overnight accommodations and have the entire day to explore your location when you arrive. What could be better?
- Mix & Match Your Transport
Ultimately, there is no wrong or right approach to saving money when traveling. It all boils down to studying your destination. Going to inexpensive European destinations and taking the less traveled path pays dividends. Consider what you hope to gain from your vacation. If you’re heading away for a short weekend, there may be better ways to spend your money than a 24-hour FlixBus. Consider combining and contrasting your transportation options to maximize your time and money. Planning may take some time, but it will be worthwhile if you are traveling around Europe on a budget.
- Cook your Food
Eating out might consume much of your cash when traveling, which is fine if you’re on a gastronomic vacation. If you want to explore Europe on a budget, choose accommodations that include a kitchen to prepare your meals. Most backpacker hostels feature a kitchen, so it doesn’t have to be spectacular. If you feel like cooking only sometimes, make enough leftovers for the next day. To keep your pieces, purchase some Tupperware or a stainless steel lunchbox. You are saving not only money but also the environment.
- Bring Your Water Bottle
Because the water in Europe is typically safe to drink, carry your reusable bottle and refill it instead of buying disposable water bottles every time you go out. Many nations are installing public drinking fountains to reduce their environmental effect. If you can’t find one, you may always request that a restaurant or café fill your bottle. Using a reusable water bottle when traveling may not save you a lot of money, but every cent matters if you search for the cheapest way to travel around Europe.
- Budget Via a Banking App
Sticking to a budget when traveling around Europe might be challenging. You don’t want to spend your entire trip worrying about your finances since it’s easy to lose sight of how much you’re spending. Banking applications are available to assist you. I recommend Monzo and use it regularly when traveling. All you need to do is set up a specified amount to enter your Monzo account each week, and then you can track what you spend it on in real time. It’s also free to use when traveling overseas and withdrawing cash within the European Economic Area (EEA). In non-EEA locations, you can start £200 free of charge every 30 days, after which you will be charged 3%.
The Cheapest Countries in Europe
The first place on our Europe on a budget saga is Bulgaria. Bulgaria is one of Europe’s most affordable tourist destinations. In this Balkan country in Southeast Europe, you can always find cheap lodging, food, and entertainment. Sofia, the capital, is a fantastic affordable city break, but Sunny Beach is the place to go if you’re searching for a beach vacation. Sunny Beach, named the most excellent value location in Europe for the sixth straight year in 2019, is a budget backpacker’s dream.
Hungary is an excellent alternative if you’re searching for an inexpensive European getaway. Accommodation, transportation, and food are all reasonably priced, and plenty of free things can be enjoyed. Visit Budapest for a low-cost city break. Budapest, one of Europe’s most undervalued cities, should go on everyone’s bucket list if they’re in Europe on a budget.
The Czech Republic is well-known as a low-cost country and one of Europe’s most popular. Prague, the capital, receives around 8 million tourists every year. Eat and drink locally to make your trip even more cost-effective. Beer is cheaper here than anywhere else, and if you avoid the tourist traps, you can wine and dine like royalty for a fraction of the cost.
Romania is a good option if you’re searching for a budget-friendly European vacation. A more natural holiday than a city break is a terrific way to experience the country. Staying in towns and on farms is less expensive than staying in cities, and you can tour Romania’s most fabulous wineries, castles, and fortifications while also getting to meet some of the people.
Although it is not one of the most inexpensive countries on the list, your money will go a long way in Serbia. There are many free things to do in Belgrade, and hostels are your best chance for inexpensive lodging. Serbia was embroiled in the Yugoslav Wars between 1991 and 1999, so keep that in mind if you decide to visit. Serbia is more or less back on its feet, but the bombs that fell during the war have left physical and psychic wounds on Belgrade.
Poland is a fantastic European budget destination. The nation, often ignored, offers everything from history to UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Poland boasts a wide range of vacation possibilities to suit any budget. Visit Warsaw and Krakow for city getaways and the Baltic Coast for a relaxing, although slightly chilly, beach vacation. Camping is another beautiful alternative if you want to keep costs down.
Malta is one of the most affordable countries in the Eurozone. The simplest way is to fly, but if you want to be more environmentally conscious or are up for an adventure, you may take the boat from Sicily. A few hostels and Airbnbs on the island, but rates quadruple in the summer. Malta is one of the greatest nations in Europe to visit on a budget if you want to experience island life.
Traveling through Europe on a budget doesn’t mean sacrificing quality or missing out on incredible experiences. By implementing the tips and strategies in this guide, you can embark on a memorable and enjoyable trip without straining your finances.
From choosing affordable accommodations and utilizing budget-friendly transportation options to exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations and taking advantage of free activities and attractions, there are numerous ways to make your European adventure both affordable and fulfilling.
Remember to plan, research the best deals, and embrace the local culture and cuisine to truly immerse yourself in the European experience. Whether wandering through historic cities, indulging in delicious street food, or marveling at breathtaking natural landscapes, your journey through Europe on a budget will be filled with unforgettable moments.
So, pack your bags, grab your travel budget, and get ready to create lifelong memories as you explore Europe’s enchanting and diverse wonders without breaking the bank.