You’ve probably looked for plane tickets at least once and thought it would still be there when I’m 65 and retiring. Don’t be discouraged! I will explain to you how you can travel to your dream European country for less than you ever imagined possible.
Step 1. Forget about your exact travel plans
The fastest way to make your trip as expensive as possible is to narrow your search down to something incredibly specific.
For example, just because you have a four-day Easter weekend doesn’t mean it’s a good time to travel. Be open to being flexible with the dates you travel, the places you travel, and the places you stay. The more flexible you are, the cheaper the trip will be.
Step 2. Determine where you really want to visit.
I know I just said be flexible, but that doesn’t mean you can’t choose where you want to visit, it means you have to be open to getting there in ways you didn’t expect. If you want to visit Dublin more than anything, don’t just search for flights from USA to Dublin. Chances are that you can find a plane ticket from the US to another European city for much, much less. You can then book another short flight to Dublin for less than $ 80. This is a great way to see and bonus country!
Step 3. Determine from which city you will take off
Prices for flights to Europe vary considerably depending on which airport you fly to, where you depart from and the dates of travel. So a good first step may be to determine which airport you will take off from. If you live in a big city like New York, Boston or Los Angeles, good luck! You will find the cheapest flights to Europe from these cities. If you do not live in these cities, there is a chance that you will eventually fly through them to reach Europe. So if you can drive to one of these cities, this may be a cheap option. Otherwise, consider booking a flight to one of these cities in your hometown. Although it seems strange, you can get cheaper flights by booking each leg separately than booking a ticket from home to your destination.
Step 4. Determine the cheapest European city to fly to
The easiest way to do this is to check websites that bring together all the cheapest airline tickets so you don’t have to search hundreds of flights alone. Some sites allow you to enter the United States or the city from which you know you will be leaving in the “from” field. In the “to” field, try selecting “everywhere.” Then scroll down the resulting list, looking for the first / cheapest country in Europe to fly to. If, for example, Norway climbs to $ 340 and France to $ 380, then it’s probably worth just choosing France if that’s your preferred destination; however, if the difference is more than $ 100, I would choose the cheapest airport first. The annoying thing about Skyscanner is that deals are often no longer active and sometimes you have to search through many dates, looking for the cheapest one to travel to. But patience is key, and that’s how you find the cheapest flights. Another tip is that sometimes the flights are through travel agencies and it is probably worth looking for reviews at the agency before booking your ticket, given that satisfied customers rarely write reviews. But if the agency has one of five stars, that may be a clue.
Step 5. Find an inter-European flight to reach your dream destination in Europe
One thing most people don’t realize is that flying from one country in Europe to another is cheap.
I flew around Europe for $ 14 one way. It is not a joke. I have never paid more than $ 60 for a flight to Europe. Use Kayak.com to find a flight to your actual destination from any country you are in when booking the cheapest flight to Europe.
Step 6. Once you arrive, find a cheap or free place to stay
Everyone has their own idea of a dream vacation. If your staying at the Ritz, then I’m surprised you’ve read so far through this article. For most of us, we just want to stay somewhere decent while enjoying everything Europe has to offer. I have never been to a landfill in Europe. I don’t want to and I’m just not that desperate. Accommodation is reduced to four options: hotel, rent, hostel or Couchsurf.
- Hotel. Staying in a hotel is a safe way and if you are in Europe for the first time or you are not very risky, then this is probably the way you want to go. Hotels range from $ 20 to $ 200 per night, depending on where you visit, so you may want to keep this in mind when choosing a destination. I would not advise you to stay in Monaco unless your oil company records record profits for the first quarter, but a stay in nearby Nice may be an option. In other words, leave your options open.
- Rental. Booking a room, apartment, villa or rental house is also a sure bet, but can be a little more complicated than just staying in a hotel. Sites like Homeaway and Airbnb offer some really unique locations, and I have to say that some of my favorite places to stay in Europe have been rentals. From a villa in a Tuscan winery to a secluded mother-in-law in a quiet neighborhood outside London, I really enjoyed staying for rent and the price is often much lower than staying in a hotel if there is a group of you who can share the cost.
- Dormitory. The word hostel evokes thoughts of scary movies, but the reality is that the difference between a hostel and a hotel is sometimes indistinguishable in Europe. Of course, there are hostels where you get a bunk bed in a room with five other passengers and for some people this is exciting and interesting! But just because bunk beds aren’t your thing doesn’t mean you have to exclude everything that has the word hostel in the title. I stayed in some “hostels” that were as nice as a hotel.
- Couchsurfing. If you really have a limited budget or if meeting local people is really important to you, there is no better way than Couchsurf. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, visit the Couchsurfing website. In essence, the site allows you to ask to stay with someone who wants to receive free passengers in their home and back. People leave feedback on travelers and hosts so you can be sure they are reputable. This of course comes with a risk and safety precautions must be taken. In addition, you should always have a contingency plan in case the situation does not work out.
Step 7. Eat cheap.
I focus on the need to visit Europe: travel, accommodation and food. Of course, there are many other ways to spend money, but these are the things you need to spend money on, such as food.
The food is amazing. I love food and the first few times I went to Europe, I was disappointed because I randomly walked around restaurants and most of them were lower. That all changed when I started checking TripAdvisor for restaurant reviews, it was all about making every meal amazing. This was not so much saving advice as general advice. However, TripAdvisor allows you to search for the total price of restaurants, so $ is cheap $$ is moderate $$$ becomes expensive, etc.
Here’s a money-saving tip: buying groceries in Europe is usually very cheap. So, if you have booked an apartment with a kitchen, take advantage of it! Go shopping at a local market and buy some new weird foods to cook! If you’re traveling, get a sandwich to save a few bucks.
Step 8. Realize that there are still more costs
Although travel, accommodation and food are your main expenses, of course there will be others. Things to consider include transportation upon arrival, attraction fees and souvenirs.
Transportation options include taking public transportation. Most European cities have fantastic and cheap public transport that can be purchased using local currency or a debit card at a pavilion. Keep in mind that US credit cards often do not work with them because you need a chip and a PIN.
Renting a car is a great option if you plan to travel outside the cities, it is usually quite affordable and gives you extreme freedom in mobility. Trains, while fascinating, are usually not a cheap way to travel across Europe. Flights are much cheaper and faster. But if you are in love with the idea of seeing the country by train, then it is worth a try. Tickets can be purchased in advance on the Eurorail website for a fee. Or if you’re more flexible and think it’s worth the risk, you can buy them in person at the train station for a lot less.
Step 9. Travel light
Although you may not think that traveling light will save you money, believe me, it will. First, each airline will charge a baggage fee. So each leg of your flight will cost you $ 25 to $ 100 for each bag. This is added quickly. Second, if you have two suitcases, you will fill two suitcases full of things you probably don’t need. Third, taking cheap transportation like the subway becomes frustrating and impractical when carrying around two bulky bags. Fourth, your bags should always be with you or at a hotel, so if you plan to leave in the morning and go to another city, you won’t be able to do anything until you get to your hotel and check your luggage. All in all, it’s just a pain to carry a lot of things around Europe with you. My advice and I can not emphasize this is enough to put everything in one backpack. I have a 50 liter backpack and it had everything I needed for a month and a half in Europe. Yes, there are places to wash in Europe as well. If you say, well, you don’t understand because you’re a boy. I was traveling with two young women and they both packed everything in a backpack. If you say you don’t understand because you’re young, I traveled with my mother to Europe and she packed everything in a standard-sized school backpack! You can do it too!
Step 10. Always plan for the worst and hope for the best
Whenever I travel to Europe, I plan my expected expenses and round everything off. I’m also planning at least $ 200 in unexpected expenses. In the end, my expenses are always well below that number, but I don’t want to end up in a cost-laden situation at all.
In 2000 words, I have given you the abbreviated budget guide for Europe. Of course, there are many other things to consider when booking your trip to Europe, but the most important thing is just to do it! Find these cheap flights to Europe and book them. You can fill in all the blanks later, don’t try to plan everything before you get your tickets, and don’t try to plan every second of every day. Allow time to be spontaneous and immerse yourself in European life.