First of all, travelling in Europe is a somewhat terrifying prospect. Depending on your experience, it can be a daunting journey to plan a trip through Europe – even though it’s one of the more romantically appealing trips people want to take. Wherever you might be in this process of planning a trip across the pond– maybe you haven’t even given it any thought at all – this guide can help make your travels a little bit easier!
My number one rule: always use public transit. It is such a hassle to try and drive in Europe. Unless you have previous experience driving on the left side of the road, save yourself the trouble -take the bus or taxi, it’s cheaper, safer, and faster. My last foray into Europe would have been so much more relaxing if it hadn’t relied upon my dad’s ability to swerve through the highways of Ireland.
Another great way to reduce the cost of traveling is to avoid tourist traps. That’s definitely easier said than done, simply because tourist traps pop up around some of the most iconic landmarks and destinations. There are a number of ways to get around this. Something I found to work really well, was to explore universities and their surroundings. Disregarding their occasionally overpriced food, universities offer wonderful architecture and natural scenery for free. They are hubs of learning with opportunities for museums, libraries, and tours. Coupled with this, it’s always a good idea to check the free exhibits nearby and look for hiking trails in parks. All of these offer great chances to see Europe in a more wholesome way – separated from cheesy tours and cheap souvenirs.
In terms of housing, I prefer commuting to big cities or tourist destinations rather than staying close to them. Spending the nights at smaller hotel chains or, if you’re comfortable, B&B’s, helps cut down on the cost of living, and it typically gives you a more genuine experience. Sure it would be nice to have a luxury hotel with a grand view, but aren’t you really visiting to view Europe? In any case, the choice is yours to make. Sometimes it’s worth it to splurge on certain parts of the trip.
Honestly, the most important aspect of traveling is up to you, but it’s always handy to consider ways to cut costs, especially when you’re just dying to take one more pass through Europe!