Chances are that you have searched for airline tickets at least once and thought it will still be there when I am 65 and retired. Don’t be discouraged! I will explain how you can travel to your European dream country for less than you thought possible.
Step 1. Forget your exact travel plans
The fastest way to make your trip as expensive as possible is to refine your search into something incredible.
Just because you have a four-day weekend on Easter does not mean that it is a good time to travel. Open yourself up to flexibility on the dates you travel, the locations you travel to and the type of places you stay. The more flexible you are, the cheaper the travel will be.
Step 2. Decide where you really want to go.
I know I just said to be flexible, but that doesn’t mean you can’t choose where you want to go, it means you have to be open to get there in ways you didn’t expect. If you want to visit Dublin above all, don’t just search for flights from the US to Dublin. Chances are that you can find a plane ticket from the US to another European city for much less money. Then you can book a short flight to Dublin for less than $ 80 return. It’s a great way to see a bonus country too!
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Step 3. Determine from which city you are leaving
Flights to Europe vary enormously in price, depending on to which airport you fly, depart and the travel dates. A good first step can therefore be to determine from which airport you depart. If you live in a big city like New York, Boston or Los Angeles, you are lucky! From these cities you can find the cheapest flights to Europe.
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If you do not live in these cities, chances are that you will fly through it to come to Europe. So if you can drive to one of those cities, that can be a cheap option. Otherwise, consider booking a flight to one of those cities from your home town. Although it seems strange, you can get cheaper flights by booking each stage separately instead of booking a ticket from your home to your destination.
Step 4. Determine the cheapest European city to fly to
The easiest way to do this is to view websites that collect all the cheapest airline tickets, so you don’t have to search hundreds of flights yourself. On some sites you can type United States or the city that you know you will deviate from in the “from” field. Try & # 39; to & # 39; in the field & # 39; everywhere & # 39; to choose. Then browse the resulting list to find the first / cheapest country in Europe to fly to. For example, if Norway comes to $ 340 and France to $ 380, then it’s probably worth choosing France if it’s your preferred destination; however, if the difference is more than $ 100, I would first choose the cheapest airport. The annoying thing about Skyscanner is that the deals are often no longer active and sometimes you have to search through many dates to find the cheapest to travel on. But patience is the key and it’s how you find the cheapest flights. Another advice is that the flights sometimes take place through travel agencies and that it is probably worth looking for reviews at the agency before booking your ticket, bearing in mind that lucky customers rarely write reviews. But if the agency has one of the five stars, that might be a clue.
Step 5. Find an inter-European flight to take you to your European dream destination
Most people do not realize that it is cheap to fly from one country in Europe to another.
I flew through Europe for a one-time $ 14. No joke. I have never paid more than $ 60 for a flight within Europe. Use Kayak.com to find a flight to your actual destination, from whichever country you booked the cheapest flight to Europe.
Step 6. Find a cheap or free place to stay now
Everyone has their own idea of a dream vacation. If yours is staying at the Ritz, I am surprised that you have read this article so far. For most of us, we just want to stay decent somewhere while enjoying all that Europe has to offer. I have never stayed in a landfill in Europe. I don’t want it and I’m just not that desperate. Accommodations come down to four options: hotel, rental, hostel or Couchsurf.
Hotel. Staying in a hotel is a safe way to go and if it’s your first time to Europe or you’re not a risk taker, then this is probably the route you want to take. Hotels, depending on where you visit, range from $ 20- $ 200 per night, so you can take that into account when choosing a destination. I would not recommend staying in Monaco unless your oil company sees record profit for the first quarter, but a stay at nearby Nice may be an option. In other words, keep your options open.
rent. Booking a rental room, apartment, villa or house is also a safe bet but can be a bit more complicated than just checking in at a hotel. Sites such as HomeAway and Airbnb offer truly unique locations and I have to say that some of my favorite places I have stayed in Europe were rental properties. From a villa on a winery in Tuscany to a remote mother-in-law in a quiet area outside London, I really enjoyed staying in rental properties and the price is often much less than staying in a hotel if there is a group of you who can share the costs.
Inn. The word hostel evokes thoughts of scary movies, but the reality is that the difference between a hostel and a hotel is sometimes not perceptible in Europe. Of course there are hostels where you get a bunk bed in a room with five other travelers and for some people this is exciting and interesting! But just because bunk beds are not your thing does not mean that you must exclude everything that the word hostel has in the title. I have stayed in some “hostels” that were just as nice as a hotel.
CouchSurf. If you really have a tight budget or if it is very important to meet local people, there is no better way than to Couchsurf. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, go to the Couchsurfing website. Essentially you can submit a request on the site to stay with someone who wants to receive travelers at home for free and vice versa. People give reviews about the travelers and the hosts so that you can be sure that they are reliable. This is of course accompanied by risks and safety measures must be taken. In addition, you must always have a backup plan in case the situation fails.
Step 7. Eat cheaply.
I focus on the needs of a visit to Europe: travel, shelter and food. There are of course many other ways to spend money, but these are the things you have to spend money on, food is one.
Food is great. I love food and the first few times I went to Europe, I was disappointed because I randomly walked into restaurants and most were inadequate. This all changed when I started checking TripAdvisor on restaurant reviews, which was all it took to make every meal great. This was not so much a money-saving tip as a general word of advice. However, TripAdvisor lets you search for the general price of restaurants, so $ is cheap $$ is moderate $$$ becomes expensive etc.
Here is a money-saving tip: shopping in Europe is usually very cheap. So if you have booked an apartment with a kitchen, take advantage of it! Go shopping at a local market and buy some new strange dishes for cooking! If you are on a road trip, buy some sandwich stuff to save a few dollars.
Step 8. Realize that there are even more costs
Even though traveling, shelter and food are your most important costs, there will of course be others. Things to think about, transportation as soon as you arrive, costs for attractions and souvenirs.
Options for transportation are public transportation. Most European cities have fantastic and cheap public transportation that can be purchased with the local currency or a bank card at a kiosk. Note that American credit cards often do not work with this because you need a chip and pin code.
Renting a car is a great option if you plan to travel outside the cities, it is usually quite affordable and gives you ultimate freedom in mobility. Trains, although charming, are usually not a cheap way to travel through Europe. Flights are much cheaper and faster. But if you are in love with the idea of seeing the countryside by train, then it is worth giving it a try. Tickets can be purchased on the Eurorail website against payment. Or if you are more flexible and feel that it is worth the risk, you can usually buy them at the station for much less.
Step 9. Travel light
Although you may not think that traveling light will save you money, believe me, it will. First of all, each airline will charge baggage costs. So each leg of your flight costs you $ 25 to $ 100 for each bag. That comes up quickly. Second, if you have two suitcases, you are going to fill two suitcases full of stuff that you probably don’t need. Third, taking cheap transportation such as the metro becomes frustrating and impractical when you drag around two clumsy bags. Fourth, your bags must always be with you or at a hotel, so if you plan to check out & go to a different city in the morning, there is nothing you can do until you arrive at your hotel and check in your bags. All in all it is just a huge pain to take a lot of things with you throughout Europe. My advice, and I cannot emphasize this enough, is to fit everything in one backpack. I have a 50L backpack and it had everything I needed for a month and a half in Europe. Yes, there are also places to wash in Europe. If you say, well you don’t understand because you’re a man. I traveled with two young women and both fit everything in a backpack. If you say that you do not understand because you are young, I have traveled to Europe with my mother and she fits everything in a standard school backpack! You can do it too!
Step 10. Always plan the worst and hope for the best
When I travel to Europe, I plan my expected expenses and complete everything. I also plan for at least $ 200 unexpected expenses. In the end, my expenses are always far below this number, but I never want to end up in the situation where I am overwhelmed by the costs.
In 2000 words I have given you the concise Europe-on-a-budget guide. There are of course many other things to keep in mind when you book your Europe trip, but the most important thing is to do it! Find and book those cheap airline tickets to Europe. You can fill in all the blank spots later, don’t try to plan everything before you get your tickets and don’t try to plan every second of every day. Allow time to be spontaneous and immerse yourself in European life.