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How Can I Travel Around Europe on a Budget?

How Can I Travel Around Europe on a Budget?

So you want to explore Europe but you’re on a serious budget? We get it. Europe has long been a favourite for backpackers, especially those wanting to travel cheaply without sacrificing on the quality of their trip. 

The benefit of having a block of countries that share a lot of visa rules as well as (in the most part) a common currency means that it’s a great option to explore a lot of different destinations on one longer trip. 

If you’re flying all the way from the US, you can actually stay in Europe without a visa for a maximum of 90 days within a 180 day period, giving you plenty of time to explore. 

The only problem is, three months is a long time to be travelling and spending money for. Don’t worry though – we’ve got you covered! Many have had an amazing time travelling Europe cheaply and had an amazing time, so what budget travel tips are going to help you travel around Europe on a budget? Let’s find out.

Train Passes

travel around Europe

A huge cost while travelling, especially if travelling solo, can be transport costs. You don’t want to be taking taxis everywhere but you also don’t want to be wasting your holiday on long, uncomfortable bus journeys or waiting around in airports for low-cost flight connections. 

One of the main reasons that Europe is so popular with backpackers from all across the world and from multiple age ranges is due to the interrailing network. For many young people, going interrailing is almost a rite of passage before going away to university and with good reason – there’s a special rate for travellers under 25 – but even over that age the passes are still the most cost-effective way to travel around Europe on a budget. 

You can choose different passes depending on if you’re planning to travel around one country or many, and how long you’re planning to travel for. The links between major cities and airports all across Europe are pretty solid and reliable, making it easy to change your route or dates as you need.

Hostels

Selina Porto, Portugal. Get 15% off all room types with our Hostel Card.

Another easy way to keep your European budget nice and low is to stay in hostels during your trip. They’re a staple of the European backpacking circuit for a reason; they’re super affordable, they’re central and they’re a good way of meeting like minded travellers. 

There are thousands of hostels all across Europe, each with their own vibe. If you need to narrow down your search and save even more money in the process, then check out the Hostel Card. For just £19.99 (€25) a year you can save up to 20% off hostels all over Europe, including all of the super cool Selina and Generator hostels! It is definitely worth grabbing a Hostel Card before you start planning your European trip.

Pro tip: If you’re travelling with a friend or other half and want to keep things cheap as you travel around Europe, you might find that splitting a private room in a hostel might actually be cheaper than two singles in dorm rooms. It also has the added benefit of more privacy – and don’t worry, our Hostel Card gives discounts on both dorm rooms and privates!

Get Cookin’

travel around Europe
Hostel Mondpalast Dresden, Germany. Get 10% off all room types with our Hostel Card.

Look, I know that Europe is home to some truly outstanding, amazing, mouthwatering cafes, restaurants and bars, but honestly, they’re not always cheap, especially in the bigger cities like Paris, London or Berlin. If you’re already staying in a hostel, take advantage of the giant kitchen and fridges that are available to you. 

You don’t have to cook every meal, but you can buy some non-perishable breakfast foods from the local supermarket if it’s not included with your hostel stay and keep them (labelled!) in the fridge. For main meals, you can visit the city markets for delicious fresh, local produce to cook up a storm with. Honestly, visiting food markets is a fun excursion in itself – you can practice the language and see how locals really live and get tasty food in the process.

If you do want to eat out cheaply in Europe, make sure you take advantage of the lunch menus. In Europe, lunch is a sacred meal with many countries giving people 2 hours for lunch so they can have a full meal, for a lower price. You might not have as much choice, with the lunch menu normally being a short version of the main dinner menu, but it will be cheaper. If you can, swap your biggest meal of the day to lunchtime rather than dinner, and you’ll save yourself a ton of money.

Free Tours

This is sort of a knock-on perk of staying in hostels but it’s something that a lot of backpackers travelling around Europe for cheap overlook. Most hostels in Europe will have designated tour desks either run by locals or by travellers who have been there for a while. 

These tours can be more convenient thanks to bulk deals, and some hostels also run free walking tours or bar crawls where they let you in on the best secret spots or cheap city hacks – something every traveller on a budget should want to know. Some of these tours and experiences are even included with your Hostel Card as an extra perk! 

Also keep an eye out for free museums and galleries, especially if you’re a student or under 25 – most major institutions and cities have special prices, if not completely free entry available!

So, Europe might have a reputation for being super backpacker friendly, but it’s not always the cheapest place to spend your days, however, if you follow these tips you’ll have plenty of budget left over to explore the beautiful destinations and have the time of your life. 

FAQ’s 

How long can I stay in Europe without a visa? 

If you are a US citizen, you can stay in Europe without a visa for a maximum of 90 days, within a 180 day period.

How to plan a trip to Europe on a budget? 

You can find all the answers in this article, where we break down the best ways in which you can travel around Europe on a budget.

How much does it cost to travel around Europe?

It really depends per country, but the most budget friendly way to travel around Europe is to visit the cheaper countries in Eastern Europe and to travel in the off-peak season (November – March).

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