10 Awesome Tips for Budget Travel in Europe

10 Awesome Travel Tips for Budget Travel in Europe


10 Awesome Travel Tips for Budget Travel in Europe
Europe is certainly not the cheapest continent to visit in the world. In fact, all things considered it may be one of the most expensive to experience as a tourist. Do not despair however as budget travel in Europe is definitely possible and actually very enjoyable.
When Heather and I set off we did not know if our budget would even last the two of us more than a couple of months. With some careful budgeting however we returned to England 10 months and 17 countries later with funds still in our bank account.
The number one question friends and family ask us is “how did you afford a year of travel?”. Therefore the purpose of this article is to share some tips on how we managed our budget so that more people can go travelling and not let money worries deter them.

10 Awesome Tips for Budget Travel In Europe

1. Think of your adventures as travelling and not a holiday
I think this is the most important thing to bear in mind when you are travelling. There is a difference between travelling and a holiday. A holiday usually involves one or two weeks of leisure and indulgence and often a large amount of money being spent. Travelling normally involves exploring areas that are off the tourist track, spending time getting to know the local culture and living life as the locals do. Simply applying this idea to your travel means you will visit less tourist traps, eat in less overpriced restaurants and more importantly find some hidden gems whilst saving money.
Awesome Tips for Budget Travel in Europe
2. Get to know the country you are in and embrace it
In Europe, as in any other continent, different countries produce different things. England is known for its Cheddar Cheese whilst France is known for Brie. If you insist on buying Cheddar Cheese in the South of France then you will end up paying over the odds. My advice here is simple: find out what the country produces itself, take a look in the supermarkets at what is cheap in that particular country and eat accordingly. Using this rule, we ate fantastic tapas spreads in Spain for hardly any money at all because it was so cheap in the supermarkets.
Tips for Budget Travel in Europe
3. Get to know the currency

One really easy way of wasting money is spending it without knowing the currency conversion rate. If you don’t know the conversion rate, you cannot possibly know how prices affect your budget and which products are reasonably priced. Also knowing the conversion rate helps you take advantage of bargains. For example we were in Ukraine for a short period of time but, as we knew the currency conversion rate, we were able to work out that fuel cost around 0.50 Euro Cents a litre. This was remarkably cheaper than in the surrounding countries and so we took advantage. If we had not known the conversion rate, then a sign saying 19,900 UAH a litre would have been very daunting.

Awesome Tips for Budget Travel in Europe
4. Find work

This is actually easier than you would think. We didn’t put a massive amount of effort into finding work whilst travelling through Europe but we did manage to find some. Even turning down some offers due to them not fitting in with our travel plans. There is potential work teaching English across Europe in almost all major cities. Many of the jobs offer training and do not require a TEFL qualification. Freelance websites are also great and can really boost your budget whilst travelling. There is also the option of volunteering in exchange for food and accommodation using sites like Helpx or Workaway. Whilst you don’t get paid for this work it certainly helps to stretch your budget as well as being a great experience. Read about our time grape picking HERE.

Grape picking in France - Awesome Tips for Budget Travel in Europe
5. Avoid the Euro

Whilst tying in with our currency tip, this deserves its own mention. If you visit countries like the Czech Republic, Poland and Romania (all of which are beautiful!) which do not use the Euro as their main currency, your budget will be slashed. We halved our weekly budget in these countries and even managed to stay in hotel accommodation with out topping 100 Euros a week for two people! This simply wouldn’t be possible in Eurozone countries. Whilst the value difference between the Euros and none euro countries is not what it once was, it can still make a huge difference to your budget.

Ukraine - Budget Travel Tips in Europe
6. Avoid High Season

We arrived in Greece in late November and, although the weather was still pleasant, the prices of some goods were a third of what they would be in summer. Restaurants were not offering full menus but what they did offer was a fraction of the price it would have been in high summer season. Campsites, hotels and hostels will also offer “off-season” rates that are sometimes half the price of high season rates. This tip not only saves money but helps you see countries in a totally different way than you would in the height of the tourist season.

7. Do Free Stuff

This tip seems pretty obvious but I really believe in it. Some of the best things we have done whilst travelling have been free, from amazing walks through canyons in Spain to Tours of Krakow’s Old Town and exploring ruins in Greece. Many things that you will pay for whilst travelling are tourist traps. They cost a lot of money and are packed with other tourists making the experience slightly stressful. I am not saying “never pay to visit tourist attractions whilst travelling” but I am saying that visiting free attractions or exploring non-tourist destinations can be equally (if not more) rewarding and can save you money.

Free Stuff to do in Spain - Awesome Tips for Budget Travel in Europe

8. Consider your Transport Options

One of the wisest tips for budget travel in Europe is to get clued up about the different rail passes available to you. There are some great flexible tickets available that are a very cost effective way to see the continent. It is also worth noting that in some Eastern European countries such as Romania and Ukraine, hitchhiking is very much a way of life and, for travellers, it is a great (free) way to get around. Fuel prices and public transport costs fluctuate vastly from country to country and are also worth researching.

Top Tips for Budget Travel in Europe

9.  Don’t Overpay

Another piece of advice that sounds incredibly obvious but is worth considering nonetheless. Learn about how much different countries tip, some countries don’t expect a tip at all for certain services. Also do your research when visiting different attractions to ensure you are getting a good price and are not paying an inflated “tourist special” rate.

Budget Travel Tips in Europe

10. Get a Decent Guide Book

Having a good guide book, especially one that is focused on budget travel can really help you in the long run. We used the Europe on a Shoestring Guide by Lonely Planet which covers the entire continent, including Russia, with tight budgets in mind. The benefit of having a guide like this is that you can visit quality places with an idea of the price in mind before you get there. You can also look at the prices of tourist sights and plan these into your budget.

In summary, our top tips for budget travel in Europe all involve research and planning. plan your budget carefully and stick to it. Learn about the local culture and what to do where you are visiting. What can be done for free, what should be avoided, how should you get about. If you keep these tips in mind and use your noggin, your travel budget will go a lot further.

If you’re a traveller with your own advice, share it with us in the comments section below.

1 Comment

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