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  1. Save money while backpacking Europe – six invaluable tips

    posted by Guest blogger - Chris Richardson | 2 Comments

    Save money while backpacking Europe – six invaluable tips

    Mar162011

    Planning a trip around Europe this summer and looking for ways to save money? In this post from our latest guest blogger Chris Richardson, editor-in-chief of travel blog The Aussie Nomad, you can find out six different ways to save money while travelling around this extremely popular continent. Chris picked up these tips while backpacking around Europe recently, after which he published a series of posts called 'How much does it cost to travel to Europe'.

    Travelling Europe for the summer is a dream for many a would-be backpacker. Whether solo, a couple or in a group, you are bound to have an amazing experience that will leave a lasting impression.

    While the dream is great, navigating the costs, transport and accommodation can be enough to put many off in fear. The good news is that’s it not that hard at all. You have sites like Hostelworld.com that make accommodation cheap and easy to find, while Eurail passes come in a variety of options and are priced amazing well for the under 26 age group.

    The hardest part is deciding just how much money you need for your day-to-day expenses. Before leaving Australia I did all the research I could online and from guide books, but nothing comes close to actually being there and living it for yourself.

    Last summer I covered 13 different countries all around Europe - some of them cheap; some not so cheap. To help you on your travels I’ve listed 6 the most useful tips I picked up along the way. Perhaps you can put them to use and go see Europe for yourself this year.

    1. Balance your trip out
    France, Germany and the Netherlands are great but you will pay the price for staying there. You’ll also spend a lot of your time dodging large tour groups. Go further east to countries like Estonia, Lithuania and Poland where your money lasts longer and you’ll find a completely different feel to Europe.

    2. Book your hostels on the road as you go
    So many people I met had planned every destination out before they left their home country. This left them paying a higher price for a bed each night and without any flexibility. Say you want to stay an extra few nights in one place? You can, but you’ll blow all that money on the next hostel you’ve already paid for and probably every other one down the line. Be flexible it - makes travelling that much more fun.

    3. Practice your language skills and eat in the local restaurants away from the higher priced tourist spots
    My French was terrible but by finding small bakeries away from tourist attractions I paid half the price for some delicious baguettes.

    4. Some major cities have tourist travel and attraction cards
    These entitle you to entry to a range of museums and attractions saving you a bundle, while the travel cards give unlimited travel for a period of time. This can save you the trouble of working out the ticket systems and help avoid a nasty on the spot fine from a stern looking police officer who doesn’t speak English. Seek out tourist information centers for these cards.

    5. Don’t wait for summer to arrive before you land in Europe
    I arrived in Paris at the end of April last year, which put me a good month or two ahead of the peak season travelers. While the weather can be a little fickle, the lack of major crowds and shoulder season costs were well worth it.

    6. If you have a student card make sure you bring it with you
    It’s the golden key to entering museums and other attractions for free or, at worst, half price - saving you a small fortune.

    I’ll leave you with the question that you all really want to know... ‘How much does it cost to travel Europe?’ I left Australia budgeting for €70 a day for food, accommodation, attractions and partying. While it depends on how much you plan to party, I can guarantee you won’t go without if that’s in your pocket.

    Good tips from Chris. To read more from him check out his website The Aussie Nomad. You can also keep up to date with everything he does by following him on twitter and ‘liking’ his facebook page.

  2. 2 Comments so far.

    Dennis Matthews said on 06/04/2011 at 12:07am

    Great tips – Defiantly don’t miss out or be afraid of Eastern Europe. The hostels in Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria are a lot cheaper. You'll also feel more like adventurer when you arrive at an old train station and no longer use the simple Euros. In the less traveled countries some will even be willing to pick you up from the train station or airport. You may also get other freebees like laundry or a complementary beer and even the third or fourth night free.

    Elizabeth said on 05/04/2011 at 4:12pm

    I know its lame, but make use of the tourist information office in each city for advice, directions and free maps. Ask a local what they recommend you see and where they recommend you eat. Do your research online either before you leave or at your hostel - most cities usually have a calendar of often free or cheap events for locals. Find out what's free where you're going and head there - sometimes its art galleries, sometimes museums, sometimes churches, sometimes parks - figure out whats free and make the most of it :)

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