How to to Save Money While Traveling in Europe
Money-Saving Tips for Travel
Planning your trip on a budget isn’t too difficult if you know what to look for in flights and accommodations. (Check out the flight courses here!) Saving money while you’re actually on the trip can be a bit trickier since there are so many exciting things to see and do! However, once you’re armed with the knowledge, international travel can be much more affordable than you think. Here are some of the best ways to save money while traveling in Europe, so you can save some cash and still have a great time.
Go to the Grocery Store
I LOVE food! Almost as much as I love to travel. The two go hand in hand for me. I definitely will spend a fair amount of my travel budget on eating out, but I still have to keep myself in check. One of the best ways to save money while traveling is to hit up the grocery store for at least one meal a day, two if you’re in an especially expensive location, like most places in Scandinavia.
I love grocery shopping in a foreign country because it’s fun seeing the different options we don’t have at home. My favorite thing to try is the different potato chip flavors! The best to date were Rotisserie Chicken flavored chips from a random gas station somewhere south of Paris. I’ve never seen them since, but I always look when I’m in Europe.
In most places, groceries cost about the same as they do at home. For this reason, staying in hostels or vacation homes provides access to a refrigerator, though this isn’t a requirement. When my husband and I travel together, many times we’ll buy just enough for our one meal and find a park to have a picnic.
Eat Street Food
For my fellow foodies, who can’t stomach the idea of only eating from the grocery store, street food is where it’s at! Some cities have big markets full of food vendors, a few of my favorites are Reffen in Copenhagen, the Borough Market in London, and the upper floor of the Market Hall in Budapest.
Every city has some version of food that’s easy to access and really cheap. These places are usually small with very little space for seating, it’s all meant to be taken away and eaten elsewhere. This is usually my choice when I want a good meal on the cheap!
Use Public Transportation
In Europe, every major city I’ve visited has excellent public transportation for getting around the main areas you’ll want to see. Between metros, trams, buses, and walking, you rarely need a taxi or shuttle. Full day transportation tickets are usually less than $15 in even the most expensive cities.
Many times you can also save money by choosing an accommodation that’s a little bit outside the main city center, but with easy access to public transportation. If you’re going to a city known for its partying this can also mean you’ll have more quiet, if you like sleeping! A number of cities also have apps for their public transportation where you can see maps, buy your tickets, etc. This makes getting around a foreign city much easier!
Many major European cities now offer city passes. You buy a pass for a certain number of days, and it includes a ton of the major sites you’ll probably want to see, especially if it’s your first time visiting. Some, like the London Pass, even let you skip the line at certain attractions and have the option of adding access to the public transportation systems.
These are a great value if you plan on visiting the iconic spots! I’ve personally used them in London, Paris, and Amsterdam, all of which saved me a fair amount over what I would have spent paying for each attraction on its own. The sites will list the attractions that are included and the ticket price so you can easily decide if it’s worth it for you.
Take a Free Walking Tour
Free walking tours can be found in nearly every major city! The tour itself is free, however, tips are much appreciated and helps them continue offering the experience for other travelers. It’s a great way to get your bearings in a new place and learn about history from a local’s perspective.
My favorite walking tour, so far, was in Sarajevo. I gained a completely different level of understanding for the history of the city and its people by listening to our amazing tour guide put it all into perspective! It was all the depth you’d never get from reading a guidebook.
Visit the Tourism Office
Most places have free events, markets, concerts, etc., especially if you’re visiting during high season. The tourism office is a great resource for finding out what’s happening in the area and they’ll be able to tell you about low-cost or free events. You can typically find them in major tourist areas, but a quick search on Google Maps should get you to the right place. Some museums and attractions have discount days as well, do a little research!
There are so many ways to keep your travels from draining your bank account! If you haven’t checked out the courses for saving on flights, now’s the time! The premium course is live, and the mini-course will let you check out the first two modules for free. 🙂
I’d love to hear from you! What keeps you from traveling as often as you’d like? What kind of information would help you check a few more places off that bucket list?