How to Travel Europe on a Budget

Maybe you’re planning ahead for your grad trip next summer to Europe, or you’ve already done the backpacking thing in your early twenties and are itching to revisit (but aren’t as stoked to max out your visa this time around), looking into more affordable ways of doing things while traveling is always a smart bet no matter where you are in life.

Researching and getting recommendations and advice from family and friends who have been there, done that, is a smart move so you can avoid falling blindly into the tourist traps that are so prevalent in Europe.

Here are some tips for making the most out of your time in Europe while saving your hard earned cash:

Stay in a hostel. They aren’t nearly as scary as the movie made them look (well, some might be), but hostels are cheap and a great way to meet other young people (especially if you are traveling alone). The employees are usually really helpful and will guide you in the right direction for things to check out, transportation to and from other cities, cheap places to dine, etc.

Fly into London. There are always flights to London and they tend to be a lot cheaper than flying into other capital cities (I once got a flight to London for $200 Canadian!) Once you arrive in London you can take the train to your next destination or a budget airline flight. Ryanair always has super cheap flights “ I got a flight from Barcelona to Berlin for 23 euros once! Check periodically on websites like or, and if you book early enough (or super last minute) you are sure to find a flight that won’t break your budget.

Consider buying a rail pass

If you are planning on backpacking through Europe for a few weeks or months and hopping from country to country it may be a good bet to consider buying a Eurail Pass that will give you the freedom to travel to an unlimited number of different countries in a certain time frame, with various dates to choose from. This may save you a lot of time, hassle from baggage check and connecting flights. In Paris, Amsterdam, Rome and many other European cities, the train station is located right in the city center, so you can avoid paying for pricey cab rides from the airport to your hostel or hotel.

Cook some meals in your hostel or hotel.

You will save a ton of money (not to mention avoid sub par meals in tourist trap dives) and you will get to shop with the locals and choose from a ton of different products that are not carried in North America (like gourmet cheeses that are normally too pricey for everyday meals). Plus, they carry liquor, beer and wine in grocery and convenience stores, which will also save you money if you enjoy a nice glass of pinot with your dinner.

Visit museums on the last Sunday of the month.

Many of the major European museums and galleries are free on the last Sunday of every month. However, if you’re under the age of 26, good news – the Louvre is free for you to enter any day! You just need to show your passport. Simply search for the websites of the galleries in the cities you wish to visit and you should be able to find out if they offer any discounts for students (or free entry) and people under 25.  If you plan on looking at art for a full day, plan ahead and pack a lunch to enjoy in the courtyard.

If you budget right, you never know you may just find yourself with a few hundred euros left for a Louboutin souvenir in Paris.

We’d love to hear about your money-saving tips for Europe on a budget.

Tags: cheap travel tips, staying in europe, travel budget, travel tips, travel to europe, where to stay in europe

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