Travel Europe for Less: 5 Tips for Affordable Holidays
Published April 30, 2023.
We've all been there: wanting to plan a trip to see new places, but stopping short because of the high costs involved, like transport and accommodation. While traveling can be expensive, especially to first-world places like Europe, you can pull it off and save some cash while you're at it with these five tips for affordable holidays.
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1. Plan Your Holiday Around Cheaper Locations
Europe is known for its rich cultural history and modern advancements, and the lifestyle perks it offers make the cost of living high in many European places. However, while many travelers can find this off-putting, there are still some European countries with much cheaper costs, especially if you live in a wealthy region like the US.
Best European Budget Vacation Spots
While there are many cheaper destinations in Europe, here are some great tourist spots that are generally more budget-friendly than the rest and offer great value for money:
- Czech Republic Those looking for quaint scenes are bound to be wowed by this country's Romanesque, gothic, renaissance, baroque, and classicist architecture styles enduring side by side. The nation also boasts many UNESCO world heritage sites and welcoming locals, in addition to inexpensive food and drink options.
- Estonia If you're looking for something more Baltic, Estonia may be the ideal spot with affordable accommodation choices. The country has been rising to prominence in the past few decades with its technologically advanced economy (a haven for digital nomads) and breathtaking national parks among its 15th-century towns.
- Croatia For the warm-blooded Mediterranean types, Croatia won't disappoint. A popular stop-off for cruise ships, the country can be expensive unless you avoid the crowds and stick to exploring the magnificent coastal towns on foot.
2. Search for Hotel Deals
Once you've chosen your location, the next step is to book a place to stay. Mainstream hotels may offer luxury with a price tag to match, but you can still get by on a budget by looking for hotel deals.
A great place to start is by comparing booking websites like Hotels.com and Booking.com. Both offer price-beat policies and will let you sign up for their newsletters to stay on top of great deals for your destination. If you want to get the cheapest hotel prices possible, consider going off-season or staying a little outside of the city and relying on public transport, which is generally safe and cheap around Europe.
» Here's how to get the best online hotel deals
3. Pick Cheaper Travel Options
Flights can easily become the biggest cost of your trip, but you can pay less if you fly with budget European airlines like Wizz Air, Ryanair, and Eurowings.
Once you've got your feet firmly on the ground, opt for public transport like buses and trains. These options may be less fast and convenient than flying, but they're often significantly cheaper, usually offer season passes with heavy discounts, and are great for taking in the scenery while traveling. To save on transport around a city or town, use online cab services like Uber or Bolt instead of renting a car.
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4. Avoid Tourist Traps
To avoid falling into traps designed to profit off of unsuspecting tourists, research the location you want to visit first before booking the trip. Many government-run heritage locations such as cathedrals and castles offer free tours, so don't fork out money for the first "tour guide" who approaches you.
You'll also always find hawkers outside popular places trying to sell you souvenirs, which you can purchase for much cheaper in legitimate stores in town. What's more, remember that touristy restaurants are often overpriced with lower quality, so try searching for the places locals go to instead to get local food at the best prices.
5. Stay Longer or Centrally
If you have the time, plan for a longer stay. This way, you can find many hidden gems since you won't be in a rush, and you'll pay cheaper per day for accommodation during longer stays.
If you can't stay longer, try to stay at least stay at a central location and do day trips to other places you want to visit instead of booking accommodation in each place.
Travel Europe Without Breaking the Bank
You can enjoy the perks of travel without spending too much money by putting in some effort to make your holiday more affordable. While traveling Europe can come with a hefty price, you can still plan an enjoyable European journey at a reduced price by using our top tips and getting great deals online.
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