Traveling in Europe can be expensive, but there are ways to cut costs without sacrificing your vacation. For example, a quick Hotwire hotel promo code can save you (potentially) thousands off of your hotel stays. These five tips to save money while traveling in Europe will help you keep your expenses in check while ensuring that you have the best time on your vacation.
1) Travel With Friends
If you’re lucky enough to be going with a friend or two, then this tip is the best way to save money. When you travel with a friend, you’re able to split the bill on accommodations, food and sometimes even travel. But when you travel solo, all the expenses land on your shoulders. Save some cash and bring a friend or, if you’re extroverted, make some new friends to travel with when you arrive. Seek out places where fellow travelers congregate–hostels, tourist sites, tour groups–and start chatting.
2) Rent An Apartment With A Kitchen–And Get Cooking!
Renting an apartment and living like the locals is a great way to save money. Hotels can be quite pricey, and sometimes hostels aren’t the best option either, but renting an apartment allows you the freedom to keep a “home away from home” that can serve as your launch pad. Often cheaper than other accommodations, especially for extended stays, renting an apartment sticks you right in the thick of local life. Be sure your apartment has an equipped kitchen and then seek out a grocery store and bring back some fresh, local foods to cook. Be adventurous and prepare with what is locally available and you’ll experience Europe in an intimate and exciting new way.
3) Do Not Travel In The Summer
Summer is high time for travel no matter where you live and Europe is no exception. If you can travel outside of the summer, then do it. Not only will you be competing with other travelers in the summer, but you’ll also be elbow to elbow with local tourists as well. Many Europeans get extensive time off during the year and take vacations to correspond with when their kids are out of school. Add in scorching temperatures, long lines, and you’ll be suffering instead of enjoying your trip. If you can, then travel in the late spring or early fall. You’ll find that the weather is gorgeous and the throngs of people disappear, and the locals aren’t worn out from too many tourists and will likely be nicer as well.
4) Keep An Eye Out For Happy Hour
This tip requires you to think like a local and keep an eye open for bars and cafes that offer happy hour specials. In many major cities throughout Europe, taverns and cafes offer a special where if you purchase a drink during the evening, you get to eat snacks for free. You’ll be competing with locals for this kind of dining, but you’ll be saving money on food and will have the bonus of being able to mingle with people who are living their day-to-day lives. Keep your eyes open for sandwich boards that advertise this special, or read local menus (often placed on the outside of restaurants and bars) and see if they have happy hour specials available.
5) Take Local Transit
Traveling like a local is the best way to save money–and keep your waistline from expanding too much. Europe is very well connected, and with buses, metros, and trains, you don’t need to rent a car unless you’re going somewhere especially off the track. Plan out your trips and see how far it is between destinations–can you walk to that tourist site? One of the best ways to experience Europe (and save money) is to walk to where you need to be. Not only will you get to see offbeat sites, but you’ll discover places that locals frequent. These include restaurants that are mostly free of tourist food menus, which are typically overpriced and not very tasty.
Though European travel takes a little more planning than local vacations, you don’t have to spend an obscene amount of money to enjoy your time in Europe. With these five tips to save money while traveling in Europe, you’ll be well on your way to experiencing the vacation of a lifetime.