With the holidays in full swing, you may be in the midst of planning a vacation abroad – whether it’s your long-awaited graduation trip or a spontaneous getaway to satisfy your wanderlust. Amongst the many top tourist destinations, Europe tends to fall under the misconception that it’s an expensive country to travel to. With these money-saving tips, you can easily embark on your dream European holiday without breaking the bank!
Despite Europe’s vast geographical size, getting around on a budget is definitely possible. Here are three recommendations:
By far, the most cost-effective option when travelling around Europe is by bus – other than walking, of course. Check out Interflix by Flix Bus that allows you to discover five cities all across Europe for only €99! Not only is it super affordable, it’s also fuss-free to adjust your bookings in case of itinerary changes. Their fleet of buses always arrive on time so it saves you from unnecessary waiting.
Another alternative is to travel by Eurail. Though slightly more expensive than travelling by bus, it allows nine flexible days of travel and access to board multiple trains each day! This is a great option for those who are looking to pack in multiple tourist spots in a day. Prices range from €53 to €169 depending on the routes selected.
Grabbing a cab in Europe can be rather hefty, but thanks to BlaBlaCar, travelling by car is now cost-efficient for the everyday student. Similar to the GrabHitch service we have in Singapore, BlaBlaCar functions as a carpool service that fetches passengers who are heading towards the same direction – at a wallet-friendly fare. For instance, a ride from London to Manchester starts from €14. Now you can enjoy a comfortable ride and even make a couple of new friends along the way!
Tip: Check out Changi Recommends’ handy Trip Planner that allows you to see at a glance the best mode of transport to reach your desired destination!
The best thing about ending a day of exploring is being able to crash in a cosy abode. Hotels can be expensive, so we found some budget-friendly options that don’t compromise on comfort.
Hostels have long been a well-loved form of accomodation for students on a budget or backpackers, so this one’s a no brainer. Hostel World is a handy platform that helps you to find hostels at your desired destinations at your fingertips.
Alternatively, check out a few of these stylish yet affordable hostels in Europe:
Franceso’s in Los, Greece
Kabul in Barcelona, Spain
Hostel Mostel in Bulgaria
Credit: Hostel Mostel
Tallinn Backpackers in Tallinn, Estonia
Credit: Tallinn Backpackers
Hostel stays always spell fun because you will get to meet not only locals but people from all countries and walks of life. Expect late-night gatherings with your newfound friends – that’s where the most interesting and memorable conversations are made.
AirBnB offers millions of listings across more than 191 countries, which means you have a wide variety of lodging options to choose from. Booking rates vary depending on accommodation facilities and location – prices can go as low as $26 per night like the ￼Göreme Valley Cave House in Turkey, or even at $22 per night at the Frankovič Bed&Breakfast Apartment in Slovenia.
For those on a shoestring, a good way to manage dining expenses would be to include a mix of cheaper dining options to the typical fine dining restaurants – think local markets, street food and even home-cooked fare!
1. Local markets
Find local markets like the widely-known Farmers’ Market, where you can get top-quality eats at cheap prices. The perk is that almost every city has at least one Farmers’ Market, but most markets only open once or twice a week till early afternoon so plan ahead before making your trip down.
Pro-tip: Wait till the market’s closing to get even more discounts off the street snacks!
2. Street food
What better way to get bustling with the crowd and taste authentic local fare than with street food? Each country has their own speciality – visit France for crepes, Berlin for currywurst, Belgium for fries with a large diversity of sauces, Italy for pizzas, UK for fish and chips, just to name a few!
3. Budget-friendly restaurants
Being on a budget doesn’t mean restaurants are completely cancelled out of your list of food places! Here are some tips for you to get the best cheap eats:
- Keep a lookout for lunch or dinner specials
- Ask locals for the best cheap eats in town
- Avoid eating in central areas and head to residential neighbourhoods for the best deals
- Skip restaurants that have multi-language menus
Tip: When asking for water, request for tap water instead. Else, they will serve you bottled water which is way more expensive.
4. Cook your own meals
Choose from an array of local produce either from the Farmers’ Market or any grocery store you can find nearby and whip up your own meals! By far, this is the cheapest option. You can also get creative with what you cook and control your portion size despite being on a budget. Plus, it makes for a great bonding activity for students travelling in groups!
The best places to shop at are markets where you can find hidden gems at extremely low prices. Avoid going to tourist hotspots because prices usually get spiked up in those areas. Check out these 10 cities that offer cheap shopping, or bring out the Singaporean in you by trying your luck at haggling.
A few places you can get good bargains are Amsterdam’s Waterlooplein, London’s Portobello Market, Paris’ Puces de St-Ouen, Madrid’s El Rastro and the market of Tangier in Morocco.
Tip: Beware of pickpockets especially at crowded areas such as markets.
Europe is a land filled with thousands of historic sites, from contemporary art museums to old historic sites. Expect tons of sightseeing and long walks! For all the museum lovers, you’re in for a treat. Just in London alone, there are countless free museums for you the visit, such as The British Museum, Natural History Museum, Tate Modern and more.
Credit: Tate Modern
Other than London, there are also plenty of spectacular museums across Europe waiting for you to discover. One example is the National Museum and Zacheta National Gallery of Art in Warsaw, Poland for 1 PLW (S$0.36) and 8 ZT (S$5.46) respectively.
For other historic sites or attractions, here’s a tip: check if the country has free walking tours that give you a comprehensive tour of the cities (Belgrade, Serbia and Budapest offer free walking tours).
Tip: Get your attraction tickets here for discounted prices up to 40% cheaper as compared to over-the-counter prices.
Having access to social media is essential for millennials – gotta do it for the ‘gram! Opting for wifi routers is a good option for students travelling in groups. ChangiWifi allows up to six mobile devices to be connected, which makes it perfect for sharing and provides additional cost savings.
It’s now available in 13 new destinations (including Europe) so hop over to their website for more information on router rental services. Be sure to book yours at least two weeks in advance as these babies get snapped up pretty quickly.
Now, who says you can’t explore Europe on a budget? Bon voyage!
More related stories: This Local Travel Startup Sends You On A Surprise Trip Across The Globe, 6 Unconventional Internships That Will Allow You To Travel Abroad, Taking A Gap Year? Here Are 8 Ideas To Make The Most Of Your Year Off