10 Awesome Tips for Budget Travel In Europe
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.