Save money while backpacking Europe – six invaluable tips
Planning a trip around Europe this summer and looking for ways to save money? Chris Richardson of The Aussie Nomad, has six sure-fire ways to keep your wallet happy while you’re country-hopping through the Continent. Chris picked up these tips during his last backpacking trip through Europe, the inspiration for his series How much does it cost to travel to Europe.
For most backpackers, travelling Europe for the summer is the dream. Whether you’re flying solo, in a couple or part of a jet-setting group, you’re bound to have an amazing experience that will leave a lasting impression.
While the dream is great, navigating the costs, transport and accommodation can send a lot of people running for the hills. The good news is that your Eurotrip doesn’t have to be as expensive as you think it might be. With sites like Hostelworld that make accommodation cheap and easy to find, find your ideal place to crash doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Eurail passes are also cheap and flexible, especially if you’re under 26.
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.
During my last trip, I covered 13 different countries across Europe – some of them cheap, some not so cheap. To help you on your travels I’ve listed 6 of the most useful tips I picked up along the way. On your next trip to Europe, these will definitely come in handy…
1. Balance your trip
France, Germany and the Netherlands are great but you’ll pay the price for staying there. You could 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 the more touristy parts of 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. Avoid the tourist crowds
My French was terrible but by finding small bakeries away from tourist attractions I paid half the price for some delicious baguettes.
4. Visit cities that offer tourist discount cards
These entitle you to entry into the main museums and attractions saving you a bundle, while the travel cards give you unlimited travel for a period of time. If you nab one of these you can dodge 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 (gulp). Seek out tourist information centres 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 travellers. While the weather can be a little fickle, the lack of major crowds and shoulder season costs were well worth it.
6. Take your student card (if you have one)
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 his facebook page.
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