For all the culture and history of Europe, the one thing that it doesn’t always offer is affordability. In fact, compared to the likes of South East Asia and South America, it can be downright expensive.
Clever backpackers therefore venture to the continent with one eye kept firmly on their wallets. Should you be heading towards Europe in the near future, here are seven tips for keeping your spending in check.
If you want to spend less during your time in Europe, the first step is to go East. You can spend a week in Poland for the same price as a weekend in France. Though there’s certainly a lot to be said for both the cities and the sights of Western Europe, affordability is not something frequently found.
Scandinavia is a beautiful region with some of the most awe inspiring scenery in Europe. Unfortunately, it’s also by far the most expensive. It’s not uncommon to pay ten euros for a pint in Norway. You can also expect to pay at least thirty euro for a hostel bed in just about any Scandinavian city.
Go Off Season
The prices of accommodation and flights tend to plummet each Autumn, only rising again the following Spring. The other benefit of heading to Europe during the Winter months is that capital cities tend to be significantly less crowed. If you’re worried about the temperature, simply head South.
Fly With Budget Airlines
Budget airlines such as Ryanair and Wizzair can make getting from A to B incredibly affordable. The key is to book in advance. Time your bookings correctly and you’re likely to find that flying is often cheaper than taking the bus. A word of warning however, neither airline is exactly pro luggage. Travel light or take a train.
Consider Investing in a Rail Pass
The likes of Interrail and Eurail make travelling around Europe by train surprisingly affordable. Both passes offer unlimited train travel for fixed periods of time. Provided you’re willing to put in the hours, you might be surprised to learn how cheap it is to get from one side of the continent to the other in this fashion.
Hostels are Not Your Only Option
When most backpackers think budget accommodation, the first thing that comes to mind is a hostel. Though hostels are cheap, they are not always the cheapest.
- In Western Europe, you can save quite a bit of money by going camping. The standards on offer are usually surprisingly high too.
- In Eastern Europe, particularly in capital cities, the cost of hotels on Booking.com occasionally compares favourably.
- As Airbnb.com continues to grow in popularity across the continent, you can find low cost private rooms in more and more major cities.
Learn Where to Eat
Finally, if you want to spend a fortune on food in Europe, you can easily do so. Unlike the likes of South East Asia and South America, street food is neither plentiful or cheap. Here are a few tips for eating for cheap while on the road in Europe.
- Stay in hostels that offer free breakfast.
- Choose hostels with kitchens, not kitchenettes i.e. just a microwave.
- Avoid small supermarkets, they tend to be terrible value. Search for Tesco, Lidl and Aldi.
- Take advantage of the budget menus in McDonalds and KFC.
- Eat out a lot in Eastern Europe, restaurant meals tend to be both cheap and delicious.
- Eat where the locals eat. Avoid English menus.
Sarah McPherson is travel blogger and works for http://www.onemilebeach.com.au/. Through her posts she shares her experiences she has had during vacations.