I promise, you really CAN travel for cheap. I have now been to ten countries and always traveled the cheapest way possible. Traveling expands your mind. It is something you NEED to do in your life. Meet new people, create new memories, and grow as a person.
So, in hopes to save you some money, here goes my 8 Tips For Cheap Travel in Europe:
1. Budget Airlines
There are airlines, like Ryan Air and Easy Jet, who provide super cheap flights in Europe. One time, I bought a round-trip flight to Madrid from London for $25. It’s like, do I want to go out to eat or do I want to buy a flight? Since these are budget airlines, they only allow you to take ONE carry on bag with you. If you want a second one, you have to pay extra, but it is only around $10 so it might be worth it if you can’t live without that second bag!
The site, SkyScanner, shows you the cheapest flights around Europe. If you don’t know where you want to go, there is the option “Everywhere,” and it will pull up flights by country with the cheapest price at the top.
A quick tip when searching for flights – use an incognito tab! Airlines track your cookies; so they know how many times you have looked up the same flight, and they will increase the price each time. Using an incognito tab reduces the chance of this happening!
I am from America, and hostels aren’t that popular there. But once I came to Europe, there were hostels everywhere, and a lot of people were actually staying in them. So I decided to check them out. I’ve stayed in eight different hostels, and only had a negative experience in one. Compared to hotels, hostels are definitely much cheaper.
The layout of hostels is usually a room full of 4 – 8 bunk beds, which is about 8-16 people per room. Yes, they are random people, and yes, it is co-ed, but I have found everyone to be super friendly. Everyone is in the same boat. They are traveling and want a cheap place to stay, just like you. I usually stay in hostels with a bar, which makes it fun and you can meet more people this way.
If you are weirded out about sharing with random people or the opposite sex, there are female only dorms to choose from in hostels and also private rooms in hostels. If you want a private room though, I would recommend just going to a hotel.
The website I use for booking hostels is Hostel World. The website is super easy to use. They also have an app. Select the city you are traveling to, the dates you will be there, and filter the price “lowest to highest.” The website will show you all the possible hostels for those days. There are reviews, pictures, and transparent prices to ensure you select the perfect hostel for you. I have paid an average of $20 per night at hostels, which is super cheap. The cheapest I ever paid was $9/night in Budapest!! Talk about saving money!!
There are many bus services in Europe. My favorite one is Flix Bus. I have used Flixbus from London to Paris (8 hours), London to Amsterdam (10 hours), Budapest to Prague (7 hours), Budapest to Vienna (3.5 hours), and many more. They have a website and an app as well, where you can book your trip. You can buy the ticket right up until the bus leaves, which is great if you are like me and don’t have set plans all the time! The buses are comfortable, reliable, and best of all, cheap.
4. Couch Surfing
I have not actually stayed with someone via couch surfing before, but I know people who have, and they absolutely loved it! Couch Surfing allows you to stay at someone’s home for free. They usually ask for a small gift from the place you are coming from. Or, it is nice to make them dinner one night. Just some sort of small gesture to say thank you for their hospitality. This option will definitely save you a lot of money and is a great way to meet a local person in a new city! I can’t wait to couch surf soon!
5. Off-Peak Travel
If you really want to save money, travel during off-peak times. You can find some deals on flights and accommodation in the summer if you plan in advance, but you will find amazing deals from October – April! My boyfriend and I are going to Budapest, Vienna, and Milan in January! Although it isn’t summer and won’t be the warmest, we will have a blast, and I only spent $200 for three flights, a bus, and seven nights stay!
We can’t leave out AirBnB. For those of you that don’t know, Air BnB is a website where you can find cheaper places to stay as compared to a hotel. It can be someone’s extra bedroom, an entire apartment, or even an entire home. The prices per night are usually cheaper than hotels, which is why Air BnB is so popular. I wouldn’t recommend an Air BnB to a solo traveler, because a hostel or couch surfing would be the cheapest option for accommodation. I personally love Air BnB when I am traveling with 2-3 people or more because you can pay $50/night and split between three people is super cheap.
Another option is to walk. Of course, you can’t walk to different countries or across the ocean, but once you get to the city, you can save money by walking. Walking around a new city is my favorite thing to do. You see the people, the stores, the restaurants, and the history of the city. If you are really tired and can’t be asked to walk, the metro or local bus are cheaper options than a cab!
8. Student Universe
If you are a student studying abroad or just want to travel, you can find amazing deals at student universe. Just use your email address associated with your university, and you have access to super cheap flights, domestic and abroad!
I really hope you have learned something from this article and it has sparked the wanderlust inside of you! Have any questions or need help planning your next adventure? Don’t hesitate to contact me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with me on instagram: @sarahsplanet_
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