To kick-off our Europe issue, Online Travel Editor Ellie Caulfield offers her top-tips on how to travel Europe on a budget – and yes, it can be done!
Being a student with an ever-increasing over-draft is hard when you want to make the most of your free time and explore everything the world has to offer. As someone who has been reluctant to break the bank whilst travelling, but has still ensured I made the most of my travels, I thought I’d share the top tips I swear by every time I travel.
1. Make sure you do your research
This can be in regards to the country you go to, the accommodation you have or how you get there, but if you do your research beforehand to get the best deal, it can save you a lot of money.
2. Travel at less popular times
Different counties are cheaper at different times of the year, and this often revolves around weather and school holidays. Make sure you compare to other months to see if you’re getting the best deal. Early and late flights are often significantly cheaper, so if you don’t mind where you sleep, you should consider this.
3. Consider going somewhere less ‘popular’
Europe has a lot to offer, and the usual Paris, Barcelona, and Rome are all lovely places to go, but they are more expensive. Consider Vilnius, Riga or Warsaw, as these all promise just as much fun, but with less impact on that overdraft!
Make sure you consider all accommodation options and see what suits best with your group size. If there’s a lot of you, Airbnb’s are often the most cost effective.
Eating out for 2 to 3 meals a day can get very pricey. Where you can, prepare your own food in the morning, or buy sandwiches from a supermarket rather than a bistro café. Also, always remember to pack a bottle of water in the morning!
Don’t be afraid to not buy the first gift you see! Often the markets that attract a lot of tourists hike up their prices, and you’d kick yourself if you found that necklace around the corner for half the price.
Even Paris can be explored on a budget!
(Epigram / Ellie Caulfield)
If you’re flying, really consider whether you need hold luggage, it is often a lot more expensive and can be an inconvenience if you’re travelling around.
Airlines are always having sales, meaning, if you’re prepared, you can bag a cheap flight. If you really are on a budget, then getting a coach is an extremely cheap option (I just don’t recommend it for the long legged amongst us).
9. Travel insurance
If you’re a regular traveller, it is definitely worth investing in annual travel insurance. It saves time, money, and hassle (just remember to renew it).
10. Days/Nights out
It is always good to plan both day and night activities before you go. Excursions and sightseeing can often be organised and booked beforehand, and this can save you money and queuing. In terms of night activities, this can range from making sure you buy a bottle of wine from the supermarket beforehand to have for pre’s or just asking the locals/ looking at Facebook pages to see if there are any deals. It should all help the budget!
Make sure you don’t wait until when you’re there or at the airport to convert your money, this often means you get a far worse deal than if you’d just popped down into Broadmead.
Making little changes can make a big difference to your wallet, and all of these tips can ensure cheaper travels in Europe!
Featured image: Epigram / Ellie Caulfield