So you’ve spent the whole year or so saving up for your destined trip to Europe, but you’re still constantly worrying about not having saved enough or coming back with a huge debt. Here’s a few tips on how to save during your trip without missing out on any of the wonders of Europe.
Planning for Europe
Before you venture out for your dream holiday, make sure you have a good idea about when, where and how you’ll be travelling to and from. By having an idea of when the cheapest time to visit, you’ll set the budget for the rest of your trip. The overall idea, is to never go during Summer. Prices for accommodation, flights, food, basically everything, is highest during Summer. Everything’s booked out and crowds are the streets bumping into each other with every turn of the street. By travelling off-season (around October to April) in winter offers a much more local experience. During the summer seasons (mainly June to August), most locals are out of town off to their own holidays away to avoid the crowds and heat. Plan to travel to countries that don’t use the Euro to take advantage of better exchange rates, countries like Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland and Romania are great picks.
To save on airfares, you can book 2 one way tickets to begin and end your Europe trip. You’ll most likely be visiting more than one country, so by buying one way trips, you won’t have to worry about travelling in a long loop back to your starting point, which costs you a lot more. Before booking your tickets, know your airlines well and compare and research prices on reliable online travel agencies like ZUJI or Kayak for the most convenient way to purchase flights and book accommodation. Remember to stay on the look out for travel deals throughout the year too, and check if your frequently used online travel agencies, like Webjet.com.au, have local versions (eg. Webjet NZ), as you'll often find more specials, tailored specifically for New Zealand travellers, that can save you on your international flights.
Travelling in Europe
When it comes to travelling in Europe, there’s many ways to avoid costly and unnecessary transport fees. To begin, take note to visit Tourist Information the moment you land in Europe to get free maps and guidebooks that would otherwise cost you back at home. Tourist Information also provides free information and advice on travel destinations and planning if you decided to courageously take on the adventure with as little planning as possible.
In terms of travelling around the country, it’s best to stay Central to the city you’re staying at to avoid costly and time consuming commuting each day. You’re bound to come back to Europe again, no need to space out your travels so much. You can also save a lot more and still enjoy the city to its fullest by walking or taking public transport rather than taxis. You can buy 24 hour, 3 day or weekly travel passes that work out to be cheaper than single tickets for public transport.
Money in Europe
Have a plan and a back up plan for handling your money in Europe. Exchanging cash in foreign countries can be costly and risky so it may be worth it withdrawing money from ATMs that work with your credit card. Be sure to do up to date research on credit cards that are available to you and where it is accessible in the countries you’ll be visiting. Although ATMs do offer the best possible rates, transaction fees can be quite costly. You can minimise these fees by withdrawing fewer times with larger amounts. With many local pickpockets and thieves eyeing on tourists, it’s definitely worth investing in a money belt. By keeping your money close you, you can avoid attracting as much attention as flashy handbags and wallets would. Either way, make sure to stay alert and handle your money with extra care.
Entertainment and Eating in Europe
Eating out everyday when travelling can be tempting but very costly. You can still enjoy the culture and food in Europe with simple picnics. Grab some snacks and eats at the local supermarket and have a picnic under the Eiffel Tower or local park. You don’t have to be sitting in a famous restaurant or cafe to truly enjoy the food culture of Europe.
Museums are a must visit for most if not all Europe trekkers, so it’s no question you’ll be visiting some yourself too. Although worth the visit, museums can be quite costly, especially if you plan on visiting quite a few, you can avoid these museum fees by visiting during free entry days. The Louvre for example offers free entry on the first Saturday of the month, so be sure to do some research before you plan your schedules.
There’s plenty of ways to save even during your trip so don’t be afraid to start planning and booking your bucket list Europe trip!