How to Plan a Trip to Europe on a Budget?

A close up of a man's hand holding a passport and a plane ticket, he is about to go on his vacation to Europe

Do you remember the famous saying, “Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you reacher”? There is no arguing the veracity of the statement. However, we all know that the pleasure of exploring the world isn’t cheap. Hotels, flights, transfers, excursions, food – nothing is free, and the trip of your dreams can end up costing you a pretty penny. But if you plan smart and are patient, there are a few tricks you can use to reduce the cost of your Europe vacation. How to plan a trip to Europe read in our new article.

Consider Off-The-Beaten-Path Destinations

Tours to Europe
Romania, a fantastic offbeat destination you will love

We all know that the public has voted and picked their favorites among the European travel destinations a long time ago. Italy, Spain, Portugal, and quite a few other countries confidently hold the top places in the rank of the most popular travel destinations year after year. They are spoiled with tourists’ attention, which means they can afford to be pricey. 

But Europe has 44 countries, and not even half of them are the top picks, while each part of the beautiful continent has something incredible to offer. If you look into the subject of underrated European destinations, you will find plenty of excellent options that might have never crossed your mind. For example Bulgaria, Montenegro, Romania, and Slovenia. And, as a rule, being adventurous pays off in more than unique experiences – these countries boast much gentler pricing policies as well! 

Choose the Right Time

best time to travel to Europe
Autumn is a great time for planning a trip, epsecially if you are traveling on a budget

All of this is great, but what if your heart calls for something less exotic than a Georgia tour? After all, all the classic European travel destinations are so popular for a reason. They have way too much to offer to bypass them every single time. Luckily, you can cut some corners by choosing the perfect time for the trip. 

As you know, Summer is travelers’ favorite season. Thousands of people worldwide take trips in June, July, and August, which means these three months are usually the most expensive. Usually, accommodation, sightseeing tours, and transportation are double in price. So if you are a budget-minding traveler, staying away from Summer is a step in the right direction. As a rule, the cheapest times for traveling to Europe are late Autumn, and early Spring. Not all tourists are ready to put up with the weather typical for the season. Well, it’s their loss. There is a unique charm in Autumn and a blessed absence of tourists crowds.

However, there are some exceptions to the rule. For example, Winter Switzerland trips are trendy due to the country’s fantastic skiing resorts. Scandinavia can be pretty busy with all the Northern Lights hunters. And the marvelous city of Venice is all booked at the beginning of March due to their annual carnival. Just make it a rule to do some additional research on the subject beforehand. The time investment will pay back!

Plan the Most Logical Connections

How to avoid layovers
Planes aren’t always the smartest way to travel Europe

It might seem like a strange piece of advice because hardly anyone strives to do otherwise. But many people don’t even suspect that they overspent in this regard. 

Let’s take trains, for example. There is a perception that they are the smartest way to travel in Europe no matter the circumstances. This opinion is so widespread that not everyone even bothers to check the other available options. Sometimes, taking a plane is much cheaper than traveling by train! And taking a bus doesn’t necessarily mean longer travel time, while almost always mean much more affordable tickets. Plus, modern buses offer really great onboard amenities, including Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, and power sockets, so you can count on a comfortable trip.

Walk More

European tours
Let yourself get a little lost exploring a new city

The advantages of walking are rather hard to overestimate. This seemingly mundane activity improves fitness and endurance, cardiac health, circulation, helps with back and joint problems, not to mention the invaluable mental health benefits! What is more, walking is very good for the wallet. 

If your destination is within walking distance, always opt for getting there on foot. Of course, taking a taxi or traveling by public transport is faster, but less affordable and much less exciting. There is something special in walking along the streets of a new city and taking time to absorb all the glorious details, especially if your route takes you a bit away from the popular tourist spots. What is more, choosing to walk allows the possibility of discovering some of the city’s hidden gems!

Eat Like a Local

Don’t miss your chance to experience the country in the most authentic way possible

Food is one of the most significant expenses during any trip. Deciding to live on sandwiches alone definitely allows you to economize, but the horrible price you pay can never justify the means. Let’s concentrate on less radical solutions. 

Cooking is a great option. Unfortunately, it doesn’t allow you to fully immerse yourself in the world of local cuisine. However, you can visit the local markets and get some authentic seasonal ingredients to enhance your favorite recipes. Of course, this option is not for everyone, and some people may find living off sandwiches more preferable, but it is still a great way to save money. 

If cooking is not your thing or if your accommodations don’t feature anything even remotely resembling a kitchen, consider eating out in authentic local restaurants. As a rule, it’s the big touristy restaurants that are the ones in the public eye. They are featured in all travel guides, easy to find, typically overbooked, and the chances of running into a local there are close to none. 

But the best venues are not the ones with huge shining signs out front. To try the traditional local cuisine, you need to head to the smaller places favored by locals. The food there is usually less generic, higher quality, and much more affordable. Finding such gems is a much trickier task, and the surest way to do that is by asking the locals about their favorite place. 

As you can see, the best answer to how to plan a trip to Europe has nothing to do with divination or hoping for good luck. The main secret is quite simple – do your research. If you just cut your trip budget without putting time and effort into knowing where the cuts are appropriate, you can easily end up with a mediocre tour program and cockroaches as your roommates in the hotel. Careful planning allows to reduce the costs of the Europe tour significantly. Doing it right takes hours of research, a ton of patience, and quite a drive to see it through. Or, you can entrust organizing your trip to an experienced travel specialist who knows the lay of the land and is happy to do all the tedious scrutiny for you. 

by Ksenia Zaiceva