For many who seek to book their annual holiday escape, the European continent is one of the most preferred choices. Let’s have a look at nine tips for planning a cheap holiday to Europe.
If you reside outside the E.U., you’ll need a Schengen visa to enter Europe. That can be taken care of through embassies.
Remember, the United Kingdom does not belong to Schengen, so you must apply separately at the United Kingdom Embassy. So with a single visa, you can visit countries in Europe.
Cheap holiday to Europe #1: Research in advance
Plan your trip properly. Buy a good guidebook or ask friends, colleagues or forum users who’ve been there. Make a detailed travel itinerary to book transportation and lodging in advance. Check both online booking apps and the hotels’ websites, as you may find special offers from time to time. Don’t be too ambitious to visit many cities or countries in a short time because it will be more expensive. Eastern Europe is generally cheaper than Western Europe. The budget per day would be around 40€ in Western Europe, except in Switzerland, which is very expensive. So for wandering Eastern Europe, estimate roughly 30€/day, except for Russia and Ukraine. This pricing is sufficient for accommodation, meals and local transportation.
Cheap holiday to Europe #2: Choose the right time
I advise planning for a minimum of 1 week, ideally 2. Otherwise, it is not worth it with the cost of airfare. Moreover, don’t go to Europe during the peak season, ie. June-August; so many locals are on their summertime vacation. Also, avoid weeks approaching Christmas and New Year’s eve since these are generally highly-priced periods.
Cheap holiday to Europe #3: Stay somewhere cheap
If you have relatives or friends at the place you’re travelling to, ask them to stay over. Another cheap option is to try Couchsurfing. Book a hostel instead of a luxury hotel if you have some money to spend. Hostels are popular among younger travellers; it’s a great way to meet other people from around the world and hang out with them with no strings attached. If you opt for a shared room, be aware that your roommates might not be as easygoing as you wish.
Cheap holiday to Europe #4: Hunting for the cheapest flight
The most significant expenditure on your travel abroad is the plane ticket. Make sure you hunt for tickets online before your journey and during your trip if you suddenly want to hop to another city. The rise of low-cost airlines, such as Easy Jet and Ryan Air, will save you more time and expense than riding the train.
Cheap holiday in Europe #5: Opt for a night train
Crossing European countries on a train might be the most efficient travelling method. To save money, opt for night trains and take advantage of the night trip to get some sleep. That way, you can skip paying for lodging.
If you are planning on visiting several countries in Western Europe, I recommend that you buy a Eurail Pass. Unfortunately, this ticket does not apply to European citizens. If you reside in Europe, you can purchase the Interrail Pass instead. If you plan to visit up to 3 countries, getting the Eurail Pass won’t make much sense; better buy tickets directly at the train station. In my opinion, you will save money though if you plan to visit at least 6 different countries.
Cheap holiday to Europe #6: Dining offers or cook
Eating in restaurants can be expensive. An affordable solution is to buy street food. If you want to eat rather heavy, take advantage of your hotel’s services; they might offer breakfast or dinner at a bargain price. Want even cheaper? If the hostel has a kitchen, buy groceries at the local supermarket and cook, such as frozen food, sandwiches, and eggs.
Cheap holiday to Europe #7: Save on sightseeing admission fees
Fancy monuments and museums? The entrance fee is not cheap. Choose to go to the places that you really want to go. If you just want to take photographs to make your friends jealous, don’t go up the Eiffel Tower – simply stand in front of it and take a selfie without paying the ticket.
Many activities are free of charge, for instance, exploring the cities on foot, hanging out at the plaza, enjoying a street musician, or having a picnic in a park. There are also free walking tours in some European cities and bike rentals at affordable prices.
Look for info from the hostel or a fellow traveller regarding what museums are free. Moreover, purchasing daily or weekly public transport tickets like metro and buses is wise.
Cheap holiday to Europe #8: Travel light
Beware of the airline luggage weight limits. Usually, it’s up to 15kg plus one or two handbags you may take with you to your seat. If possible, pack lightweight apparel and footwear and adjust with the season. Don’t overstuff your baggage. Instead of bringing too many outfits, consider washing your clothes where you stay.
When planning a day trip, put stuff in the locker provided at the train stations. Take only the essentials, such as wallet, camera, documents, mobile phone and your bag.
Cheap holiday to Europe #9: The younger, the cheaper
You can often find special offers for those under 25 or older adults over 65 years old. For example, younger travellers under 25 years old can get a discount of 35% on Eurail Pass. If you are still in school, take advantage of the student card. That card can provide up to 50% discount on museum entrance fees and public transport, depending on the country you visit. Students can be youth still in high school but also university students.