Planning an exciting Europe tour on a budget has never been as easy! With economy airlines, youth hostels, special deals, cheap travel insurance, and social networks (both online and offline, mind you!) which span vast distances, all you need to do is find the right time to pack up and embark on an exciting journey across the Old Continent. Here is our essential guide to cheap Euro trips which covers every aspect of your journey and helps you make the most of every opportunity along your way!
Be free as a bird
…and by that we mean flying, of course! No matter how old-fashioned a traveller you are, you cannot beat the cheap prices and the enormous time savings of aerial transport. Europe’s flight map is among the most densely packed ones worldwide, and you should use it to your advantage. Create your most desired travel route and then seek out the best bargains. Many of your European destinations will have more than one airport, or – even better – their dedicated airports will be in a neighbouring town. This gives you two destinations at the price of one!
Use your network
One of the trickiest parts of travelling on a budget is securing shelter in your various stopovers. Luckily, the world has never been better connected, so you should capitalise on that and use your network. Facebook and even LinkedIn are great ways to locate friends and acquaintances along your route. You need not ask to crash on their couch if you are not comfortable with that; simply reconnecting and asking for tips on good and inexpensive lodging will do just the same. Apart from that, there is always Hostelz.com with good deals and, as of recent, no booking fees.
Ride the wave
Even if you are not into water sports, you can still surf – couchsurf, to be more precise. Many are sceptical about the merits and the safety of Couchsurfing.org, but the global traveller network has proven its worth over time. If you do not have a profile there yet, create one ahead of your trip and connect with locals at your destinations. Should you not be entirely comfortable with sleeping on a stranger’s couch, ask only for a meeting and get to know them. Local travelling buffs will have a lot of great tips on avoiding the overly tourist-oriented locations and finding the unique flavour of the place instead. This will save you a lot of unnecessary expense along the way, too.
What is a Euro trip without characteristic hearty meals? This is where your network comes into play once again. Getting in touch with locals will help you avoid the flashy and overpriced restaurants meant to dazzle rich tourists with little appreciation for the true taste of the land. As a rule, eating where the locals eat is always tastier and cheaper, so you cannot go wrong there. For inspiration, you can check out Lisa Leake’s European food blog and try to match her dedication to unprocessed food. For the most part, though, find a trustworthy local and do as you are told. Your stomach and your wallet will both thank you!
Even the greatest memories of a trip will eventually start fading, so it is tempting to pick out a great souvenir which will last. Small handicraft shops abound in Europe, and each of them offers great goods. Search around, do not hesitate to haggle (especially in the South and the East!), and you will bring home a great vacation memento at a bargain!