Have you always dreamed of exploring the European continent? With so many vastly different countries in a relatively small geographic area, Europe calls to the explorer in each of our hearts. But as you’re daydreaming about sipping your latte from a balcony in Positano, you get a notification from your bank and quickly snap back to reality. Traveling across Europe can be expensive. How can you save money while you travel in Europe?
If you try living like celebrities, or even like typical tourists, traveling within Europe can cost you a pretty penny. By using some smart strategies, you can see more and do more on the same budget or just save money, the choice is yours.
Here’s how to travel across Europe the cheap way.
Get your own vehicle
You could spend a fortune on public transportation, especially if you’re at the mercy of unscrupulous taxi drivers (we know they’re everywhere). Instead, consider getting your own transportation. If you’re in Europe for a short time, consider renting a car. If you’re visiting for a month or more, you may want to buy a car and sell it when you leave. You’d be surprised at how this could make good financial sense when you start crunching the numbers.
A ride share like BlaBla Car is another option if you want the flexibility of having a car without having to worry about routine car maintenance. This is the most popular rideshare service in Europe, and it lets you ride with people who are going your way and have space in their car. Of course, you’ll have to exercise caution with this option, but all profiles, ratings, and IDs are verified, so you know who you’re traveling with. This is also a great way to supplement your transportation costs if you buy or rent your vehicle while in Europe. If you offer enough rides, you may even make money in the end!
Know when to take public transportation
Controlling your own transportation with a vehicle is a great way to save money, especially when you’re traveling from country to country. As you probably already know, there are times and places where it doesn’t make sense to drive.
When you’re traveling to an urban city center with affordable public transportation, you may want to leave the car at your hotel, rental villa or B&B. This may also depend on where you’re going within the city. If traffic is going to be high and parking is expensive or hard to find, leave the car at home and take the Metro. You’ll probably find opportunities for this in Barcelona, Prague, Zurich, and London. Look at your schedule and weigh your options when traveling in these cities. And if you’re planning to rent a car in Europe, see if you can schedule these cities on the front or back end of your trip. This way, you don’t have to waste money on a rental while you’re taking the bus or train.
Getting Around Europe
- Train – If you are wanting to explore Europe via train, Click here for Europe Rail deals.
- Bus – There are many options for comfort levels and bus options, you may click here to Discover Europe by Bus
Using public transportation in Europe
It is ver easy to make your way around Europe using trains, planes and buses. There are several different options for each mode of transportation. The best way to view all options is to check with Go Euro. They will seek out the best way for you to get from one place to another and then you may filter, but fastest, cheapest, shortest, and so on. You can look between the different modes of transportation and see which works best for your schedule. Click the image to begin your search.
Fly with small airlines
Whenever you’re planning to travel long distances within Europe, budget airlines are a great option. If you have all the time in the world and want to see it all then you might drive. If you only have a two-week vacation from work and want to see it all, you’re definitely going to want to use at least one airplane.
There are actually quite a few airlines that compete for Europe, so you can find great rates if you keep your schedule flexible. Sites like Skyscanner and Momondo can help you find the best deals. Just be sure to read the fine print. Although the airlines are highly motivated to sell seats, they make their money on fees.
You can save money by keeping a flexible schedule and finding the cheapest days to fly, but be sure to get in those seats when you’re supposed to or you may be hit with expensive fees.
Also, look into baggage limits and whether you need printed tickets. A small misstep here can cost you big. This is also a good time to mention that this may not be the cheapest option, if you have lots of baggage. If that’s the case, consider driving or flying with a larger airline.
And now, we’re at a good segue point for our final tip.
Regardless of which transportation method you use, you can save money and mental energy by traveling light. In many cities across Europe, space is a luxury. Traveling with a lot of bags can be a major source of stress and it can cost you a lot of money in the long run.
Just imagine what it’s like to be at a train station in Barcelona where everything is written in Spanish and you have about 10 minutes to figure out where to go. A kind stranger misdirects you to the other end of the station, so that’s where you lug all your bags. Then you find out you were in the right place to start. Back to the drawing board. Only this time, you arrive just in time for the train doors to shut in your face. Lost time can mean lost money and extra baggage can cost you dearly in baggage fees.
If you want to save money and your sanity while traveling through Europe, always travel as light as possible. It is highly recommended to try and just use carry-on luggage for your trip.
You’ll need some cash to travel through Europe and it is best to get the local currency from the ATM when you arrive. It may seem expensive, but just remember that you have options and are in control of where you spend your money. Explore all transportation methods to find out which is appropriate for your trip.
Feel free to comment and share your money saving tips for travel in Europe!