Travel in Europe can be a costly undertaking but it can also be a very cheap destination depending on your travel choices. With the weakening of the Euro, it is now even more affordable to travel across Europe. There is affordable and easy transportation as well as thousands of exciting destinations that you can explore on your European travels. Here are some top travel hacks in Europe that will save you lots of cash.
#1 Travel During the Off Seasons
The worst time to travel across Europe is generally during the summers for obvious reasons. During these times, most of the European hotels are fully booked and the prices tend to be higher. Most of the parks, museums and other touristy areas will also have longer lines. In the winters, most Europeans escape their colder cities and towns to warmer locations across the world and even in Southern Europe. So avoid the months from June to August and also around Christmas time and New Year.
#2 Choose smaller family-run businesses
Of course it is all glamorous to book yourself into any of the international hotel chains and get pampered with luxury and quality customer service but if you want to save money on tours in Europe, try to stick to the smaller family-run businesses. These can include anything from small boutique family-run hotels to family-run restaurants, tour services and many others. Not only will you get excellent value for money and affordable travel, but you are also assured of a highly personalized service like no other.
#3 Shop for Ticket Sales Every Time
If you are obsessed with saving as much money as possible and scoring the best travel deals, you have to begin deal-stalking and be very proactive about it. With the tens of thousands of hotels and hundreds of airlines competing for your business, there will always be some deals out there you can take advantage of and save money on your travels in Europe. Follow your favorite airlines that are flying to Europe and see if they have some great sales you can grab. Most of these will be announced via their social media accounts although you can also subscribe for the airline e-newsletters to catch the latest deals and offers. You can also check out some of the early bird specials offered by airlines and hotels which are generally heavily discounted. The main obstacle is that these sales and promotional offers can be unpredictable although the probability of finding one tends to be higher during the holidays or festive seasons.
#4 Avoid being too ambitious
It is tempting to take all of Europe in one holiday and explore all the beautiful cities and historic towns and villages but that is going to stretch your budget quite a bit. If you are too ambitious on your European travels, you are likely to face plenty of frustrations, fatigue, and you will be in a rat race to see all that is there to see which can somewhat water down the quality of your experience. Take in a few destinations at a time and come next time.
When planning your trips, it is important that you set out your travel priorities. Have must-see and can-do-without places for your leg of the trip. Allocate more time for the places where you plan on spending a lot of time. When travelling, it is advisable to allow yourself some breathing space for some peace and quiet. You can’t be hopping from one hectic airport routine to another and be happy that you are enjoying your holiday.
#5 Book Your Holidays With AirBnB
It might also be tempting to book a five star hotel or a luxurious fine boutique hotel when you are visiting Europe but for the best savings, choose an affordable accommodation option such as AirBnB apartments and villas. No matter your budget or preference, you will always find an apartment that suits your budget and style. AirBnB makes Europe travel hacking uber-cheaper.
In fact, a lot of apartments that you will find through the portal are way better than many hotels in Europe which tend to be smaller and more cramped. You barely get space to walk around your hotel room! With an apartment, you are assured of plenty of space and often, wonderful hosts that leave nothing to chance. They make for an incredible value for money for your European travel hacking.
AirBnB apartments also give you a more local touch. You will be living in an ordinary neighborhood with the locals, eat at local restaurants and attend local events and entertainment spots. That is a more authentic travel experience than whiling your time away by the swimming pool or in the lobby of a five star hotel. One of the reasons many travelers to Europe love the AirBnB experience is that it is more charming and brings you closer to the region or community that you plan to visit.
#6 Buy Transport Passes
Across Europe, you can travel cheaply using the unlimited travel passes. If you are planning to travel across many cities, these passes can give you very good value for money. They will be important if you are planning to travel a lot during your stays. However, if you will be centrally situated and not planning to hop from one city to another, then there will be no need for a pass.
In order to optimize on your travel passes and get the best value, try to carefully plan out your travel itinerary and do a rough estimate of the number of trips that you are planning to undertake.
Many European cities have discounted cards that can help you save money considerably. So you can buy a city card for a particular European city which you can use to save money on the many attractions and transportation. Some of the popular city cards include Roma Pass, the Oslo Welcome Card, the Paris Combo Pass, the I Amsterdam Card and the Berlin Welcome Card.
#7 Saving on Museum Passes
There are hundreds of museums across Europe and you will want to visit many of the significant ones or the ones that pique your interest. The best way to save money on your museum visits if you are planning to visit many of them is by buying museum passes. They do not come cheap so just like with your travels, plan out your itinerary well so as to optimize on your costs.
#8 Saving Money on Connectivity
In the age of Facebook and Instagram, you can’t afford not to have an internet connection as you travel across Europe’s most beautiful and Instagrammable scenery. So you need to work on your connectivity as you travel. You can check for availability of Wi-Fi dongles or even go for a pre-paid data card to save money.
#9 Buying Food in Supermarkets
With a vast array of cuisines to choose from, eating out in Europe is often quite a treat. However, if you are planning to explore the Continent on a budget, you should consider buying your food in the supermarkets and cook them in your AirBnB apartment. There are no shortage of markets that sell everything at very affordable pricing. You can also try the local discounted meals offered at many of the smaller restaurants. These will help you save a bit.
#10 Early Bookings
Booking your travel early is a hack that almost all travelers try to apply universally to save money. However, it requires a more disciplined traveler. Early bookings will, especially, work well on those extended journeys. You can buy train tickets, flight tickets or even hotel bookings that are heavily discounted. The best way to find great deals on early bookings is by using many of the travel aggregators such as Skyscanner.com. You can also save money by travelling with the overnight trains.
#11 Check Out the Free Entry Days
There are various attractions in Europe that have free access days. Where it is not free, it could be heavily discounted on particular days. For example, a particular museum in Berlin might offer free access on the first Saturday of the month. It is not just the museums. There are various other attractions across many European cities that will offer you the same deals. You need to know where to look so as not to miss out on these incredible money saving opportunities.
#12 Go to New European Destinations
Countries such as Germany, France, Switzerland and Italy are generally on almost everybody’s to-do list and that means costs are also likely to climb, especially during the high seasons. If you are after savings and plenty of new and exciting experiences, try outer newer countries and cities, especially in Northern Europe and Eastern Europe. Many of these are incredible travel destinations in their own right with rich historical, cultural and natural attractions. Additionally, these far off destinations are generally quite cheap compared to the well trodden destinations.
#13 Use Cash for Your Shopping
While credit cards will prove advantageous if you are shopping in Canada and the US, that may not be the case with Europe. While most visitors to Europe are now having it cheaper because of the dollar-Euro parity, that has not always been the case in the past where travelers had to grapple with unfavorable currency exchange rates. You could use your credit cards for those small purchases but if you are planning to do some luxury shopping, it is advisable to carry some cash with you. Here is a case where you will save more money by shopping with cash.
#14 Harness the local knowledge
While the internet has lots of tips and guides on travel hacking in Europe, the best resource for you will be local knowledge. Talk to locals and ask them where you can get the best deals on travel and everyday items. You will be surprised by how much they know that is not available online. They can direct you on where to get the most affordable car rentals, accommodation, dining and cheap transportation among many others. Another place where you can glean some useful tips and advise are the tourist information desks in the city you are visiting.
#15 Travel hacking flights and hotels across Europe
Ever fancied spending $500 for travel across Europe? With airline rewards or miles, you can actually achieve that. That is assuming you have been spending a good amount of time racking up your air miles at every opportunity. Apart from redeeming rewards, you can also enjoy cheap flights across Europe by flying the many low cost carriers servicing the continent such as Ryanair and airberlin. For hotel stays, you can redeem hotel loyalty points that you have been collecting in the months leading to your travel. You can also find cheap car rental options on websites such as Expedia.
Using your miles and points is one of the most cost effective ways to save money while enjoying a comfortable travel at the same time. Make sure you choose the right travel cards and reward or bonus programs that will help you accrue a lot of miles faster for your travels. You can find various hands on and actionable tips on this website on how you can transform every expenditure that you make on a daily basis into rewards and points that you can redeem for your travels.