Europe is a continent filled with plenty of things to experience, no matter what your tastes and interests are. Even though it is often considered an expensive place to visit, don’t scratch it off your bucket list. It is definitely possible to fill your trip with amazing experiences without breaking the bank.
So if you’re dreaming of visiting Paris, London or Rome, but you’re worried about your finances, use these tips to make you trip more budget friendly:
Travel out of season
Tourist will always flock to Europe during the summer months when the weather is best. In the larger cities, this can result in inflated prices, crowds and limited accommodation. If you can be flexible with your booking, travel out of season. Hotels and hostels will offer discounted rooms and tourist attraction prices will drop dramatically. You will also avoid the long lines, meaning you get to spend longer appreciating the sights and culture of the country you are in, without feeling uncomfortable. Flights and travel costs will also fall, so keep an eye out for out of season last minute deals to get the best offer possible.
Use the internet to find discounts
You can use sites such as Groupon to search for discounts in the cities you want to visit during your vacation. The search results should include a combination of deals, from cheap lodging to discounted dining. Always read the small print on these deals as there may be restrictions as to how and when you use these offers. Print out all of the offers you want to utilize and keep them somewhere safe.
You can also go straight to the source and visit the tourist attractions you want to try out directly. For instance, you can check out the offers on www.blackpoolpleasurebeach.com to get theme park tickets in the UK. Or buy a Paris museum pass directly from www.parismuseumpass.com. This will gain you free access to over 60 museums and monuments around France’s capital. Also, use the internet to source any free tourist sites and attractions that you could visit. But always remember to read the small print and stick the rules and regulations of the establishment offering the deal.
Use public transportation
While walking is an ideal option in a centralized location, it may not be ideal if there is bad weather or if your destination is far away. Using taxis every day will take an enormous chunk out of your budget and you may be overcharged because you are tourists. So stick to public transport instead. Your accommodation should be able to supply you with up to date bus and train timetables. They will also have the contact information of local taxi companies should you decide to use one. You should also source a map of the area from a tourist information center or online. Mark your hotel’s location on the map and use this as your base. This will make it much easier to find your way back should you get lost and can be useful to show if you don’t speak the local dialect.
Check online to see if you can get a Welcome card. Most major cities, such as Berlin have started to offer this service to make it easier and cheaper for tourists to get around. The card includes free transportation and exclusive discounts into a variety of popular attractions. So it is definitely worth finding out if you can get hold of your for the duration of your stay.
Talk to the locals
It can be tempting just to stick to the tourist hot spots, but this is a guaranteed way of being overcharged on everything from dining to gifts. These hot-spot locations will raise their prices to take advantage of the influx of tourists. As this money will cover them during the off-peak season. So during your stay speak to some friendly locals and ask them for advice on places to eat and drink or lesser known attractions. The restaurants and cafe’s they recommend will undoubtedly be cheaper and provide authentic dishes for you to enjoy.
Also, don’t be afraid to join the locals at sporting events or festivals they might be holding while you are there. These will often be free or cost very little and you’ll get an up-close and personal look at how they live. This useful insight will not only save you some money but you’ll find the experiences rewarding and uplifting.
Consider a train pass
If you want to see as much of Europe as you possibly can in a short period of time, a train pass could be for you. You can choose your own route and travel throughout one country or multiple destinations throughout Europe. This experience is often substantially cheaper than flying or driving. Plus it offers a relaxing atmosphere where you can sight see and visit any destination to your liking. Again, you can get great deals online so plan ahead and shop around for the best promotions.
So if you’re traveling on the cheap, but still desperate to see as much of the world as you can, use these tips to stretch your money a bit further.
*This article was contributed.