As we get ready for our next trip to Europe, I found myself wanting to add more and more to our itinerary. This can only mean one thing: more expenses. In an effort to see more of Europe without going completely broke, I wrote out all the tricks I’ve used in the past to save money in Europe as a reminder for this summer. Since I know you love to save money while travelling too, here’s my list of 12 ways to save money in Europe:
#1 – Travel in Off-Season
If you can avoid visiting Europe in July & August you’ll be able to take advantage of cheaper hotel rates and flights. The summer is Europe’s busiest season, so the prices skyrocket during this time. May and September are two months where the prices are lower, but the weather is still good!
#2 – Visit Eastern Europe
In countries like Hungary, Slovakia and Poland your money goes a lot further! If you want to save money in Europe, avoid going to the most expensive countries (such as Spain, Italy and France). What makes Eastern Europe so much cheaper? The biggest reason is that most of these countries are not on the Euro.
#3 – Use Airbnb
This trick is especially good if you’re travelling in a group or as a family. Instead of paying for overpriced hotel rooms in Europe, considering renting an apartment or home off of Airbnb. Not only will you save money, but you’ll have a kitchen where you can cook some of your own meals and you will have more “local” experience.
#4 – Stick to One Region
Flying from London to Barcelona to Rome within one trip can get pricey! Instead, focus your travels to a few neighbouring countries. When doing this, you have much cheaper transportation options. Whether it’s by train, flight or bus – travelling to cities or counties that are close to each other is always going to be much cheaper than flying around the entire continent!
#5 – Bring a Carry-On Only
This tip might not be for everyone, but if you can travel to Europe with just a carry-on you will save a TON of money on flight. European airlines sell tickets for fairly cheap, but the amount they charge you for checked baggage is often more than the ticket itself. For example, I was able to fly from Barcelona to Madrid for only $20 – but adding checked luggage was an additional $40.
#6 – Consider New Airlines
New airlines are constantly popping up in Europe, and they often offer great prices. Right now, WOW Airlines (a new airline from Iceland) is offering incredibly cheap prices on flight – not only within Europe, but also from North America to Europe.
#7 – Get Your Food To-Go
It’s not uncommon for restaurants in Europe to charge you a “table fee” – which is essentially a small charge for sitting at one of their tables. Skip the fee by getting your food to-go and eating in a nearby park. This also ends up being cheaper because you can buy your drink (including wine or beer) from a local grocery store instead of buying an expensive glass of wine at a restaurant.
#8 – Skip the Bars
Speaking of wine, in Europe you can buy bottles of wine at grocery stores for as cheap as $2! Buy a bottle, grab some plastic cups (often available at grocery stores) and enjoy wine with your friends in a park, beside a river or on your hotel room balcony. This is way cheaper than getting pre-dinner drinks at a local restaurant or bar.
#9 – Don’t Assume Trains are Cheaper
It’s a misconception that trains will be the cheapest mode of transportation in Europe. With so many budget airlines available, it’s often cheaper to fly versus take a train – especially in Spain and France. I have found that trains are usually cheaper in Eastern Europe, where there are less popular flight routes. Always check both options before booking!
#10 – Forget Taxis, Take Uber
If you find yourself in a situation where you need to take a taxi (such as on your way from he airport to the city, or late at night when subways aren’t running) consider using Uber instead! In our experience, Uber is almost 50% cheaper than a taxi.
BONUS: Use the code uberKEM25 to get your first ride FREE!
#11 – Visit Museums on Free Days
Most popular museums in Europe have free entry on a certain day of the month. Before you arrive in be sure to check out the websites of any museums you want to visit to see if their free day overlaps with your time in that city. This can be huge savings!
#12 – Travel Like the Locals
Don’t take taxis (or Uber) everywhere! Instead, travel around the city like the locals do! Whether it’s by bus or subway, travelling by local transportation is a great way to get around a city at a lower cost.