On the Road Again; European Travel on a Tight Budget

Enjoying international travel without breaking the bank is possible with a bit of research and a few minor sacrifices here and there. If you’re like most Americans, luxury travel is a bit out of reach, while cheap hostel stays are no longer appealing outside of your early 20s. Below are some helpful tips when looking to plan a budget-friendly vacation overseas.

Avoid the High Season

It’s no secret that airline and accommodation prices in Europe skyrocket in the warmer months compared to months with less favorable weather such as November or January. Additionally, steer clear of booking your trip for December in countries such as Germany, Switzerland, Austria and the Czech Republic, which draw in hoards of Christmas market crowds after Thanksgiving. In general, the drearier the weather, the more affordable the travel. However, be sure to keep tabs on major winter events such as Fashion Week in Milan or Paris, or the iconic Venice Carnival celebration, in order to avoid an influx of crowds and to prevent yourself from overpaying for your stay.

Choose Countries Wisely

A week in Athens, Greece will cost a fraction of a week spent in Zurich, Switzerland. If you’re itching for a European adventure and don’t have your heart set on any particular country, skip Scandinavia, Switzerland and the Netherlands, and head south to Spain, Italy or Greece instead. Prague and Budapest are also excellent destinations for younger travelers looking for affordable cities with great architecture and nightlife. Additionally, Berlin is relatively affordable and packed with great history, while popular cities such as London, Paris and Amsterdam will stretch your wallet. If you insist on visiting a pricier country, keep costs down by electing a shorter stay. Slash costs even further by booking rooms or rentals a little further away from the heart of the action and using public transportation to get to the city center in these locations.

Book Direct and Book Early

Although some trips are more spontaneous, whenever possible, book airline, ferry and train tickets months in advance to get the best price. Last minute tickets are typically more expensive and leave travelers with fewer seat reservation options and schedule flexibility. While train travel around Europe allows tourists to skip pesky airport security and enjoy stunning scenery, using budget airlines between cities in Europe is sometimes more cost effective. If price is your priority, compare the cost of taking a train and flying between countries to get the best deal.

Using search engines can be the most convenient way to shop for hotel rooms, but be sure to visit the direct website of the hotel in question before locking in your rate through Expedia. Many times, official hotel websites offer special discounts or offer codes for direct bookers, making rates surprisingly lower than those displayed through search engines. Direct bookers can also benefit from perks such as complimentary breakfast, upgrades when available or even something as simple as a free bottle of wine waiting for you in the room.

Skip the Souvenirs

Let’s just face it – snow globes and refrigerator magnets are overrated. Take photos of your trip as memorabilia rather than spending hard-earned cash on unnecessary items that will collect dust on a shelf. To keep the shopping bug at bay, opt to pack carry-on only in order to restrict yourself from having enough room in your suitcase to bring home newly purchased goods. In fact, packing light also gets you off the hook with nosey friends and family members who may question you about not showering them with gifts from your travels.


Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Stay up to date with our events and get exclusive article content right to your inbox!

Latest Stories

Other Featured Articles


All Article in Current Issue

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay up to date with our events and get exclusive article content right to your inbox!