Visiting Europe on a Budget

If you were to ask U.S. travelers where they would most want to go on a big trip, they would most likely say that Europe is their number one choice. However, many travelers think that anywhere outside of the country is too expensive and unattainable.

That’s not true, but travelers aren’t sure how to reach their vacation goals sooner. By knowing when to travel, you can save almost half off a traditional vacation to a European destination. Here are just a few ways to enjoy a trip overseas for much less.

Travel in the off-season.
The busiest time of year for tourism in Europe is summer. All the kids are out of school and attractions are packed with travelers of all sorts. Any time of year outside of summer is a good time to go to beat the crowds, but if you also want decent weather, try visiting in late August, September or early October.

Book airfare mid- to late-summer.
If you choose to travel in fall, fare sales for Europe will appear near the end of summer or even midway through. You’ll notice how much fares can drop between the seasons – sometimes as much as 50 percent!

Choose low-cost airlines.
When traveling to Europe, not all airlines are created equal! Certain carriers, such as Ryanair and EasyJet, cater to budget-conscious travelers and have expanded their networks in Europe. Keep an eye out for discount carriers when you’re comparing airline prices, and plan to travel light so you don’t get stuck paying for extra baggage fees.

Shop at local grocery stores.
Eating out at restaurants forevery meal takes its toll on your wallet, and often your diet as well. Seek out local grocery stores and shop like you normally would at home. To save money in Europe, plan to eat at least one meal this way per day. For example, you could stash breakfast food in your room.

Stay in hostels.
There’s still a huge hostel culture in Europe that’s social, safe, and fun. Contrary to popular belief, not all hostel stays are characterized by sleeping in a noisy 12-person dorm room with one overcrowded bathroom. Many hostels actually offer private rooms at a fraction of the cost of your average hotel.

Take buses and trains.
Public transportation is the ultimate way to get around in Europe, so take advantage of the excellent bus and train systems here. Buses are generally cheaper than trains but take longer to reach your destinations. Save car rentals for days when you want to explore remote parts of the countryside, not city days where you’ll be faced with traffic and parking nightmares.