10 Hidden Ways to Save Money Travelling in Europe
Travel can be hard on a tight budget. When your bank balance is looking low, and your next holiday is right around the corner, it can be difficult to decide where to go and how to stretch your resources. Here’s 10 things you’ll want to keep in mind to save money before, and while, travelling in Europe.
1. Compare different flights
This one is an easy choice. A flight that’s earlier or later, or on a different day of the week, may be cheaper. But did you know that different sites can offer better flight deals than you might get booking directly? Services like Kayak can let you check many different sites at once,
2. Check your hotel’s secondary fees
Hotel rates can look very affordable at first glance, but in some situations, one hotel may be more expensive than it looks. If you travel with pets, check to find out what the pet fee is; a flat rate is generally much better than a fee per night. Similarly, if you’ll be eating at the hotel restaurant frequently, look at the menu and check the prices there.
3. Check your hotel’s amenities
Related to the above, a microwave and a refrigerator can allow you to save money by buying produce, bulk drinks, and other groceries you might find at home. In many cases this is the most affordable option of all. Many hotels provide this, but depending on the area of Europe you’re travelling to, this can vary!
4. Carry snacks and water
As with the above, this is good advice for many regions. You’ll save time and money by having things to eat or drink on hand, rather than picking them up from wherever is convenient. Note that in some parts of Europe eating on the street may be considered rude! As a rule of thumb, try to avoid eating or drinking on public transit.
5. Shop around for your cash of choice
Travel agencies and other businesses offer currency conversion, but not all currency conversions are created equal. With a large amount of money, small differences in a currency provider’s rate can add up. It’s best to check currency exchange comparison websites like Comparecurrency.com, that provide comparison services for the likes of Marks & Spencer, Barclays, HSBC etc, before you do it.
6. Spend more time at each destination
If you’re buying a ticket to the Louvre, make it count. Spend the entire day there if you think you can entertain yourself that way. Rather than ride the high when you arrive at a destination, make the most of it, and leave no stone unturned. Going to fewer places means that you spend money less often, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be boring.
7. Find local coupons
Coupons aren’t as popular overall in Europe as they are in some parts of the United States, but that doesn’t make them any less useful in some situations. Before going to your destination, check to see if there are any coupons you can find online. Generally, you’ll need to print these out, but some businesses offer apps and other methods of applying coupons, particularly larger ones.
8. Do research on the area
You’ve likely done this already to get an idea of what the major attractions there are, and how the area is laid out, but it’s worth checking websites like Yelp, for example to get a price range for restaurants you might be interested in. Knowing what’s in the area is one thing: knowing how much it costs is another.
9. Create a budget
This one is more useful if you have an amount of money that seems comfortable. Odds are that if you’re travelling without much money, you’ve already done this. Still, hashing out how much you have to spend day-by-day and how you’ll be spending it (on food, tourist attractions, …) can make sure you don’t overspend on one day and have a boring end of trip.
10. Find free things to do
This is a big one. Some of the best things in life are free. Parks, some public museums, and wandering the streets are all activities that won’t, on their own, do anything to hurt your bottom line. Note that some destinations which appear to be free also aren’t, completely: Notre Dame in Paris is free, but the tower and crypt both have small associated fees, for example.
However, above all else, remember to enjoy your trip and have fun whilst travelling in Europe. The more parts of your trip that you examine for potential savings, the better off you’ll be.