EuroTrip. Travel Tips for Europe.
How To Plan A Cheap Eurotrip – Travel Tips for Europe
I know that a Euro Trip can be a dream for many people, but traveling in Europe is usually not cheap. However, some countries in Central and Eastern Europe are still affordable, or at least you can afford to travel there for longer periods.
You don’t need to browse dozen of forums or web sites in order to find out how to save on your European trip.
I have prepared the ultimate guide with money saving tips to help you find cheap, or the least expensive, travel to all your dream destinations, such as Venice, Paris, Stockholm, London, Rome or Barcelona.
Cheap Flight Tickets to Europe
You can download my FREE Travel Hacking Guide to find out how to find cheap flight tickets and accommodations.
The basic rule is that you should always compare prices for your Europe travel.
You can use flight search engines and websites such as Expedia, Skyscanner or Cheapoair. It is important to be flexible or to book your air tickets in advance (at least 50 days). Always clean your computer cookies and your web history.
A really good way to get an overview of airfares is to find the best flight deals with ITA Software. It requires a little practice, but it’s worth the try. Another good way is to search Google Flights.
Fly Cheap Within Europe/Budget Airlines
You will find great offers from low cost airlines such as Ryanair, Easyjet, Wizzair, Germanwings, Aer Lingus or Air Baltic.
List of Low-Cost Airlines
Try to search budget flight deals with Airixo, where good flight ticket prices come up quite often.
The Most Expensive European Travel Destinations
The most expensive cities are London, Paris, Stockholm, Oslo, Zurich, Helsinki and Copenhagen.
I’m not saying that you should avoid these destinations, but maybe you should consider alternative spots such as Budapest, Vienna, Bratislava, Kosice, Krakow, Ljubljana, Split, Tallinn or Riga.
Promenade in Split
Best Bargain European Cities
The top choices are Lisbon, Prague, Budapest and Krakow. You should also consider wonderful Ljubljana and Croatian cities such as Split and Sibenik. Why not visit Albania.
All offer great historical sites with beautiful historical centers with affordable, fabulously tasty cuisine.
Budapest has wonderful spas; Prague has great beer and farmer markets; Lisbon has the greatest location on the sea and fab pastel de nata; Krakow has the Wavel Royal Castle surrounded by a river.
Book Your Hotel, Hostel or Couch For Free
Couchsurfing is a great way to travel nearby for free. But please bring some nice presents, or at least help your host, or maybe next time you can be the host for someone else on the road.
If you would like to book cheaper accommodations, then do it in advance and try to avoid state celebrations, special events (e.g., world football championships) or tourist hot spots.
Try to find your accommodations outside of the main touristic areas, but be sure you have a good connection with local transportation.
You can also sign up for Booking.com to find secret hotels deals, which means you can sometimes get another 50% discount.
I normally pay between 25 to 50 Euro (35 Euros for Paris near Garre de Lyon) per night for two people.
Another option is Formula One Hotels; these are mostly used on cheap European Round trips, but it’s not the best choice. However, I slept one night in such a hotel on the outskirts of Rome, and that was great.
When you travel through Germany, Austria, UK or Belgium, I highly recommend you look at Motel One. You can book cheap hotels with them in Berlin, Vienna or my favorite, Dresden. I have slept mostly in Germany, so my recommendations are focused mostly there.
If you travel to Slovenia, Croatia or Greece beach destinations, you can find people offering private accommodations. This is the best way to get in touch with the locals and maybe taste the mamma-like, traditional cuisine that is fresh and tasty.
There are also tons of websites offering private accommodations in the Tatras Mountains, or Slovensky raj in Slovakia, or near some famous spa resorts in Hungary (Egerszalok or the cave bath in Miskolctapolca).
Airbnb is also a fun way to find a great accommodation, but please check the references if you try to book an apartment.
Sleeping in hostels can help you also save a lot, but in cities like Paris or Stockholm the prices are higher.
A best thing about hostels is the socializing, which is not that common when you book a standard hotel room.
You can check for great deals on Europeans Hostels here, using London as an example.
Be sure that the hostel price is lower than a hotel. Sometimes you can find a better deal at a hotel.
Food and Eating Out
The most expensive restaurants are in London, Stockholm or Paris. On the other hand, these destinations offer a great range of affordable, international cuisine.
Don’t try to visit tourist-friendly restaurants because it’s always a trap. I usually follow the rule that you can find the best eateries on side streets.
Eat Like Locals Do
You will find really nice Turkish grills, such as Mangal Ocakbasi in East London; or some great Kebab stands on Nashmarkt in Vienna; or nice Vietnamese Pho14; and great sandwiches in Paris. You will also find delicious, affordable eateries in Berlin (there are great sandwiches near Check Point Charlie, with the best Kasekuchen I have ever tried).
Vietnamese or Chinese bistros and restaurants are dirt cheap.
If you want to find the best of each city, head to the city markets like Berwick Street Market, Borough Market or South Bank Center in London, Nashmarkt in Vienna, Hötorgshallen and Östermalms Saluhall in Stockholm, or Marche Des Enfants Rouges in Paris.
Italy, France and Croatia offer daily village markets with a great selection of fresh fruits, vegetables, cheeses or fish.
The “Menu of the Day” in restaurants range from 3 Euros in Slovakia, Czech Republic or Hungary, up to 9 Euros in Vienna, Berlin or Stockholm. Daily menus in Paris start at 12-14 Euros.
A nice lunch with the perfect surrounding: Omis Croatia.
Cook For Yourself
An easy way how to save money on food is to cook yourself.
There are plenty of supermarket brands, such as Carrefour, Tesco, Migros, Auchan, Billa, Coop, Interspar, Despar, Sainsbury’s, M&S, Konzum, Studenac or Globus.
The quality of food in the supermarkets of France is great, with delicious cheeses and jambon. There is also high quality food in the supermarkets of Austria, and great products can be found in England.
I think quality highly depends on the supermarket chain.
You will find the cheapest drinks mostly in Slovakia, Czech Republic (both countries have great beers and also wines, especially rose), Poland and Hungary.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are the most expensive drinks, which I’ve found to be in Sweden, Finland, Switzerland or London (try the Happy Hours).
Most local transportation by tram, bus or subway costs from 0.9 to 2 Euro one way.
Avoid trains and rails because it is the most expensive kind of transportation.
Ok, maybe a short gondola drive in Venice is the most expensive.
However, traveling by train is really convenient, and some train routes are just stunning, like Bernina Express.
I’m a big fan of TGV fast trains, and I have tried some routes in Switzerland and France.
Taking a taxi is also expensive in most countries.
Low cost airlines often have great fares within and also outside of Europe.
I like driving, so I drive a car a lot, and if you have a group of at least of 3 or 4 people, this is the best way to travel.
Prices for renting a car can start from 25 to 60 Euro, and you can get a discount if you plan to rent a car for a longer period. Cars also save your time and allow you to plan your Euro Trip better. Check prices here.
1 liter of gasoline starts from 1.4 Euro.
The distances are not that bad, so if you plan to drive a car from Vienna to Lefkada Island (the best beaches in Greece), it takes 1600 km to drive through Hungary (Slovakia is optional), Serbia, Kosovo, Macedonia (Fyrom) and Greece (drive via Olymp Mountains, which is stunning and you can visit Meteora Temples).
But don’t rent something like this. By the way, this is an Aston Martin Cygnet, spotted in Austria.
The highways to the French Riviera or Croatia can be quite busy during the summer.
International buses are cheaper than trains. From the Czech Republic, you can take a ride with Student Agency that covers about 60 cities.
Eurolines is Europe’s No.1 scheduled coach operator.
Another good coach company is Ecolines, which goes to cities as Munich, Vienna or London.
Museum Entrance Fees
Many museums (some are really great in London) offer free admission on certain days or at certain times of the month. My favorite is the Louvre in Paris, which is free on the first Sunday of every month. Check ahead to find out which other museums offer free admission.
Purchase a City Pass
Big cities offer special discount cards that can help you save money on admission for museums, public transportation or attractions.
Be sure to evaluate whether it’s really worth it to buy a city pass.
Passes can be a great value if you plan to really take advantage of all the opportunities that such a card offers.
Guided Tours and City Tours or a Local Guide
Do you know that is it possible to have guided tours for free, or sometimes just for cost of a tip to the guide?
Try Sandemans on their website, neweuropetours.eu.
If you need more information on local guides and free guided tours, you can download this FREE E-Book:
Coupon websites are popular in Europe, so you can consider this as an option, as well.
Go visit Groupon UK or Vienna, Austria, but so far the best deals I have seen are in Eastern Europe and UK.
For example I found a 5-day trip to the French Riviera roundtrip from Slovakia at a cost of only 159 Euros, or 190 Euro for a 7-day vacation in Croatia from the Czech Republic or Kefalonia; 14-day trip from the UK for 90 pounds.
These money saving websites also allow you to save on activities or food while traveling in big cities:
Phone Calls And Data
Calling abroad with your SIM card will not be cheap, but you can either switch to a domestic cell phone operator, such as Telefonica or Orange, or you can use Skype for your calls.
Turn off Mobile Data first, because it can be really costly. Just grab one prepaid sim card in your travel destination and you are ready to go. Many prepaid sim cards also include mobile data.
If you are traveling inside the European Union, since 1.7.2014, the new Eurotarif for roaming calls is valid with the following prices:
Outgoing calls: 0,288 €/min (30+1)
Incoming calls: 0,084 €/min (1+1)
Sent SMS: 0,096 €
Transfered mobile data: 0,54 €/MB