Yes! Europe can be cheap!How we Eurotrip on 3 Euros / day.
There are different tricks budget travelers use to travel around Europe as cheap as possible. Here’s our list of cheap Eurotravel hacks, something we are 100% sure of. These tips may crucially ease your next Eurotrip and save you some (or a lot of) money.
1. Hitchhiking. It is not extremely convenient (since you can spend several days on one gas station waiting for a nice guy to pick you up), but is absolutely FREE.
Where to find kindhearted drivers: highways (on cities’ outskirts), parking, gas stations.
How to attract attention: you should have a cardboard with your destination (preferably, the nearest big city), good mood, tidy look, your national flag on the shoulders (optional, but works very well). Don’t forget to move your body – dancing hitchhikers are lucky hitchhikers!
AdviceWhen the temperature outside is lower than +10 C, do not hitchhike (unless you are super healthy / lucky).
2. Covoiturage. Our favorite one, it helped us travel around 3 countries for less than 100 EUR / person!
How it works: when someone goes from point A to point B and wants a company, they publish an offer online, then people like you search for a necessary destination, pay your share of gas expenses (either online with credit card or in cash) and join a nice company in a convenient car. Just like taxi, but cheaper then a bus.
Where to find offers: Bla Bla Car (highly recommended, we always use this website); Easy Covoiturage; Covoiturage.com; Carpooling; Covoiturage-libre. How to book a ride: just register online and look for offers!
Cost: approximately 25% cheaper than a bus. In our case it was: 1 km = 5 Eurocents.
AdviceTry to learn just a bit of the language of the country you are going to (at least “Hello” and “Thank you”).
3. Buses. Bus is the cheapest traditional transport option in Europe.
What companies: for all destinations we recommend Eurolines. They are the most affordable one and cover all countries.
How to book a trip: it’s always better to book online, in such a way you can avoid additional charges.
Cost: Eurolines’ tariffs are approximately the following: 1 km = 7 Eurocents.
AdviceLook for special offers and discounted prices for children (under 18 years old, in Norway – under 20 years old), youth (under 25 years old), and seniors (more than 60 years old).
4. Planes. If you are going to cover really long distances, planes are more convenient and sometimes cheaper than anything else.
What companies: Aer Lingus (Dublin, Shannon, Cork, Belfast), airBaltic (Riga (Latvia)), airberlin (German cities), Air One (Milan, Venice, Pisa), Blue Air (Bucharest, Bacău (Romania)), Brussels Airlines (Brussels), CityJet (London), Condor (German cities), Darwin Airline (Geneva, Lugano), easyJet (all Europe), Estonian Air (Tallinn), Flybe (Manchester, Newquay, Exeter, Southampton, London (southern England); Jersey, Guernsey (Channel Islands)), Germanwings (German cities), Helvetic Airways (Zürich, Bern), Icelandair (Reykjavik), Jet2 (British cities),Jetairfly (Brussels, Liège, Ostend (Belgium)), Meridiana (Olbia, Cagliari (Sardinia); Rome and other Italian cities), Monarch Airlines (British cities), Niki (Vienna, Salzburg), Norwegian (Oslo, Bergen, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Alicante, and London), Pegasus Airlines (Istanbul, Antalya (Turkey)), Ryanair (almost all Europe), SmartWings (Prague, Ostrava (Czech Republic)), Transavia (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Eindhoven), TUIfly (German cities), Vueling (Spanish cities, Amsterdam, Florence, Rome), Widerøe (Oslo), Wizz Air (Budapest and many other Eastern European cities). We prefer Ryanair, because they have extremely cheap prices and Norwegian, because they have free Internet onboard.
Cost: Prices differ, but we usually travel for 1km =16 Eurocents (you can find cheaper deals).
AdviceSign up for airline’s newsletter and wait for good deals: sometimes Ryanair delivers FREE tickets!
0. Friends. Are you going, let’s say, to Paris? Remember that nice girl you studied with at school? Good news! She’s a Parisian now! Why don’t you let her know you’re coming? You might be lucky to meet with her or even stay at her place.
Where to search: Memory -> Facebook
1. Couchsurfing. Couchsurfing, known mostly for this website, is the online service which allows you to find a couch in someone’s apartment absolutely for free.
Where to search: www.couchsurfing.org
How to search: send a couchsurfing request, accompanied with a nice letter, explaining why you travel and why you want to stay at this very host’s place.
AdviceRead host's profile carefully in order to avoid surprises (for example, some hosts are nudists) and bring some small present with you :)
2. Hostel. We don’t like cheap hostels in Europe, because they are dirty, crowded and smell like weed factories. However, if you prefer them to any other option here are some tips.
Where to search: At first, check good offers at Booking.com, Hostelbookers.com or any other search engine. Btw, Google’s hostel recommendations are also great! How to book: After looking through aggregator results and deciding where you want to stay, just google a chosen hostel in order to make booking on its official web-site, it’s cheaper and allows you to avoid extra booking fees.
Cost: from 8 Euro per night. We usually try to stay within a 10 Euro limit.
AdviceCheck hostel reviews on Tripadvisor before booking, it can save your holiday!
3. Apartment. It is the most expensive option in our list, but if you travel with lots of friends, it might be a great idea to rent a big apartment for y’all.
Where to search: We prefer Airbnb to any other web-site.
How to book: Just choose an apartment, read reviews and pay online.
Cost: Depends on a country, but it should be around 40 Euro per night (again, you share the price with your friends)
AdviceThere are lots of online rental scams, don’t pay in advance if you have any doubts.
1. Bring with you. We usually take food from home. It adds to our baggage weight, but helps save a lot of money. This works for us, because we are from an agricultural 3-world country (Ukraine), where food costs nothing. Then we cook it while traveling and enjoying extra money for museums and drugs. Just joking. We hate museums.
What to take: bread, noodles, cereal, tea, chocolates, canned food. Basically, all food that cannot get rotten. Mind the weight.
Cost: 3 Euro per day for 2 people (Ukrainian prices, ha-ha)
AdviceDon’t take smelly products, like smoked sausages or roasted coffee beans.
2. Buy in supermarkets. If you are from an expensive country and it doesn’t matter for you where to buy food, go to a local supermarket and then cook yourself.
Where to buy: Cheap European supermarket chains are Auchan, Billa, Carrefour (pizza for 2 Euro, om-nom-nom), Lidl, Migros (saved us in Switzerland) and others.
Cost: 5 Euro per day for 2 people.
AdviceDon’t forget to look for special offers and reduced prices!
3. Street food. The most expensive and the least healthy on the list. Throughout Europe you can find food stalls offering sausages, French fries, waffles, pancakes, sandwiches, kebabs and so on. It’s great if you don’t like to cook, but almost all street food is fried and fat.
Where to find food stalls: Central streets of cities, metro stations.
Cost: 5 Euro per meal.
AdviceMcDonald’s does not belong to this group, but it offers hamburgers just for 1 Euro, so good option as well.
1. Free offers. Every major European city has an official website with the list of all free tourist attractions, which include museums, concerts, parks and so on.
Where to find: Just google it. Paris free attractions list looks like this.
AdviceSearch in advance, some free event require pre-booking.
2. Open door days. Even if the museum is super expensive, it might have free-of-charge days.
Where to find: Official web-site of the museum.
AdviceDon’t forget about the museums night, held on the last Saturday of May every year, when all public museums all over the world are free!
3. Discounted prices. European museums, amusement parks and even concert halls offer discounted prices for youth (under 25 years old) and seniors (more than 60 years old). Student, journalist, and teacher cards are also very useful.
Where to find: Visit the official website of the attraction you are going to in order to find its offers.
Cost: 3-5 Euro
AdviceEven if you are not student anymore, take your student card with you. Sometimes it might help (It’s bad to lie though).
These tips can help reduce your Eurotrip costs to just 3 Euro per day (Hitchhiking + Couchsurfing + Food from home + Free sightseeing).
Have you ever backpacked in Europe? How did you save money? Any other expenses / advice we missed?