With its rich history and stunning romanticism, it’s no wonder that a trip to Europe is always at the top of most people’s travel wish list. However, it’s not always easy finding ways to pinch a few pennies in order to make a European dream a reality. But no fear, we’re here to help. We’ve got you covered with a few tips on how to travel around Europe on a budget, whether you’re traveling during the peak summer season or the winter lull.
While getting to Europe can often burn a hole in wallets, travelers tend to forget about the cost of travel once they step foot on the continent. For those that are wanting to hop from one country to the next, there are easier (and less painful) ways than selling a kidney. Europe is home to some of the best budget no-frills airlines around, offering discount airfare and specials year-round. The best ways to score the cheapest tickets are to book a few weeks in advance, fly in the early morning or late at night, and travel midweek. Bear in mind that these budget airlines often make their money by charging for baggage, so if you’re traveling light, it’s one of the cheapest ways to fly. If not, you might accrue some unwanted fees that can sometimes double your ticket price. Also, don’t expect any in-flight entertainment or meals. You’re expected to supply those yourself.
Airfare across Europe doesn’t have to break the bank
For travelers that want to get a lay of the land and like to enjoy the European countryside, there’s always bus travel to Europe. Depending on how casual you are about arriving to your final destination, bus lines like Megabus and Eurolines offer a relaxed-paced, inexpensive means of international European travel. Megabus travels to major cities throughout the UK (England, Scotland, Wales) and to Belgium, Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Ireland (and all for a fraction of what air travel might cost you). Eurolines will take you to 33 European countries and has an included baggage allowance of two mid-size suitcases for those traveling with extra weight. Eurolines also offers 15- and 30-day passes that allow visitors to enjoy unlimited travel between 51 European cities (perfect for the budget traveler that wants to see it all).
Viewfinder Tip: To save even more money on train travel, pack yourself snacks and water so that you won’t have to buy any onboard.
To travel at a faster speed with more comfort, hop on any of Europe’s high-speed trains. Our favorite way to explore the continent is not only fast and cheap, but also extremely fun. Eurail boasts a variety of passes to suit every itinerary. Our go-to is the $420 Global Pass that allows ambitious train travelers to visit up to 24 countries for trips that are two weeks or longer. Rail Europe offers a plethora of passes that can be catered to specific countries or spontaneous international European travel. Pass holders are also eligible for reduced or free fares on hotels, museums, private trains, ferries, and even cruises.
Saving money on European travel can also have you sailing the high seas on a cruise. The best part about taking to the water is that room, board, and travel from port to port is included. Cruise deals for a seven-night Mediterranean cruise start as low as $399 per person. That’s seven days of travel where you don’t have to worry about paying for a hotel or where you’ll find your meals. Cruises are perfect for the travelers that don’t want the added stress of figuring out the logistics of how to travel to and from their intended destinations. Not to mention that it can save hundreds of dollars!