A “Euro Trip” might actually take the crown for being the most ‘bucket listed’ item in the world. From our 65 year old parents to our college-going cousins, everyone harbours the dream of a trip to the planet’s most visited continent. We’ve met so many people who keep waiting for their bank balance to go over the roof before they are willing to take one. Here’s the simple truth: You can travel Europe on a budget if you follow a few basic money-saving tricks. In fact, barring flights, most other things can even be done on a Thailand budget, if you’re willing to research a bit.
Here, we give you 10 essential tips to travel Europe on a budget. Maybe, it is time to just hop on a flight and head to your countries of choice in Europe.
1. Hostels are as good or even better than hotels!
Given a choice, Divya and I would stay in a hostel even if we can afford a plush double room in a hotel or an AirBnB apartment. As a couple, even though we don’t save a significant amount by living in hostels, we just love the vibe. It is a fantastic place to meet like-minded people, you get access to activities that only hostels do, and you get to live it up.
If you’re a solo traveler, it is a no-brainer to be living in hostels as dorm prices are usually between 12-15$ a night. Every hostel also has private double rooms if you’re a couple which are usually much cheaper than hotel rooms. In fact, European hostels are among some of the coolest accommodations in the world. Use HostelWorld for all your hostel bookings in Europe – trustworthy and spot-on reviews.When 500-year old castles are among your hostel options, why stay anywhere else? @Nuremberg, Germany
2. Couch surfing / House Sitting
You may have heard of CouchSurfing before but have you tried it? It’s quite straightforward – you create a profile on CouchSurfing and send a request to people in cities you’re traveling to. If they like you, they accept it and you get to stay for free with them. We host many CouchSurfers at our home in Bangalore and almost all of them have been traveling all across the globe without spending a penny on accommodation. Interestingly, a lot of listings actually offer more than just a ‘couch’. Some hosts even offer private rooms with a private bath.
Another service that you could potentially think of if you plan to stay for a long period in one place is house sitting. When people have to leave their houses behind while traveling for lengthy periods, they look for house sitters who will take care of their houses in return for a free stay. Yes, you may have to walk their dogs or fix their plumbing issues but isn’t it a lovely trade off when you get to live in palatial villas for free halfway across the globe?Both CouchSurfing & HouseSitting let you have a ‘home’, no matter where you go, for ‘free’!
3. Use car-sharing services
Both BlaBlaCar and carpooling.com work well throughout most European countries. They’re both services wherein travelers driving between destinations with extra seats in their car open it up for you to bid. While these services are available across the globe, Europe is where it works best.
The prices are extremely competent and we’ve always heard of positive things about this from fellow travellers. While we travelled between Granada to Sevilla in a high-speed train, our roomies in Sevilla had car pooled. Not only did they reach in the same time but also traveled with a local who was kind enough to stop at important points on the route. Most importantly, they paid 75% less than what we did for our train!
. Use FlixBus instead of Eurail
While Eurail is definitely worth all the hype, there are other ways to travel around Europe on a budget. FlixBus is a low-cost bus travel service that runs throughout the continent. It covers an expansive network of 1000 destinations across 20 countries.Though the costs are low, there is absolutely no compromise on the quality. The seats are excellent, buses are volvo-class, there’s free WiFi on board, and you are allowed to carry as many as 3 pieces of luggage on board.Flixbus’ incredible network allows you to travel across Europe at dirt cheap prices
5. Free Walking Tours
Every single major city in the world has a free walking tour service offered by one or the other operator. A free walking tour is a group walking tour around some of the important places in the city that convenes at a particular time in a part of the city. Anyone is free to turn up at that time and you’ll go walking around with the guide who’ll tell you things about the city you’d probably not know otherwise.
The reason it is free is multi-fold. One, it gives them a good opportunity to market some of their higher-value paid tours to you and two, it gives the guides an opportunity to make extra bucks as tips. At the end of the tour, tip your guide if you did enjoy the tour or choose not to if you did not. No one is going to judge you for it. Just do a quick online search of ‘free walking tour in ____’ and you’ll get plenty of results!