Budget Travel in Europe: 3 Ultimate Rules

Budget Travel in Europe

Is it possible to travel anywhere I want without spending all of my savings and keep my full time job? Of course it is! 

I, personally, never thought I would be able to visit Paris, Istanbul, London and many other places in one year with my embarassing income unless I discovered that you can go anywhere you want but you have to follow a few simple rules.

I found out these 3 ultimate rules for budget travel in Europe work the best for me and my situation – student with full time job and low income. I hope you find them useful too as they can be used not only in Europe!

1. Research the destination you visit and find free places and discounts

There are so many free things you can do in certain places. Most of the time you go unprepared and you’re unpleasantly surprised that you have to pay for everything. What you need to do:

  • Buy entrance tickets online – it is more likely you’ll be paying less if you buy entrance tickets for the places you want to visit in the city online.
  • Search for EU citizens discounts – Note that for most EU students or citizens under certain age many sights are free to visit, you just have to find them.
  • Search for travel bloggers discounts – some travel bloggers make deals with some hotels or restaurants and they provide a discount for readers in exchange of ad space or something else.
  • Read articles about free things to do or free places to visit in the destination you choose.

For example, when I thought about going to Paris the only thing that stopped me doing it earlier was the money issue. I thought everything was so expensive there. Then I started planning Paris and made an extensive research – I found out that most of the places are free for me (under 26 from EU) – like the Louvre,  or at least I have a big discount. Many of the iconic sights you don’t even have to pay to see – Sacre Coeur, Notre Dame, Concorde, etc. 

The Louvre, Paris

The Louvre, Paris

2. Be flexible

There are a lot of low cost airlines in Europe. When I search cheap plane tickets I do it every day, because the prices change all the time depending on the dates. Don’t plan your trip dates before buying a ticket and wait for the best deal to come.

  • Spend 20 minutes every day to check airlines websites for cheap tickets even though you didn’t choose a destination you may find that flying to Rome for just 20 euros is whorth it!
  • Plan the month but not the dates.
  • Use your national holidays to extend your time off from work – most of the time the holiday is only in your home country and airlines can give you really good deals for these dates.

That’s how I bought my ticket for London – I knew the month when I’m going to be there but I never  planned specific dates. I knew I want to go to London in October and I checked airlines websites every day and then I found super cheap tickets for 18th to 21 Oct. Then I planned my days off from work.

Luxemburg Gardens

Luxemburg Gardens

3. Bring your own food while exploring the city

Budget travel is all about saving money but not giving up on everything you want to try. You probably know that but buying food from supermarkets instead of eating out is going to save you a fortune. In addition to that rule I would suggest you to bring your own food when walking out in the new city, i.e. make sandwiches for later in the day.

This rule saved me in Disneyland where I spent 0 euros for food as I brought sandwiches made with products from the supermarket I found near my hotel. For instance a friend of mine was at Disneyland the same day I was and not only she spent 20+ euros for food but she wasted precious time eating on a restaurant instead of going on rides. I just needed 10-15 minutes for lunch. 

Do you do an extensive research before going to a new destination? What are your top budget rules while travelling? Share your thoughts in the comments.


Written by

Travel blogger and tourism graduate from Bulgaria, working in the field of Digital Marketing and PR for travel brands.

Latest comments
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    You are so right! Saving money and taking off on long weekends, you can see so much. That’s why I work in Europe. Great article.

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    Great tips for students and younger travellers. I would also suggest look out for train routes instead of planes. In Europe plane tickets are still quite expensive especially if you want to visit cities outside the capitals, this is where trains can save you a bunch. And i totally agree with the packed lunch tip, eating out is both expensive and a waste of time when you’re out to discover a city.

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    These are indeed three very good rules! I bet so many people have no idea as to how much you can experience in a city for free. Are you going to London this October or have you already been?

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    Good tips! I totally agree with being flexible! Sometimes I end up in destinations because the ticket is so cheap, it would be a crime NOT to go 🙂

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    Great article, I love reading about how others save while travelling. I love researching and finding alternatives to get value for dollar out of travel. After all no point going to a dream destination and having to scrimp the whole time. Being flexible certainly does pay!

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    A very informative article. i am living on a budget for the first time in my life and this is all new to me. Thanks so much for the hints.

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    Good tips..! And with the accommodation it’s also easy – couchsurfing or hostels’ dorms will do.
    Europe doesn’t have to be that expensive if you’re actively paying attention to discounts and stay far from eating out.

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    I’ve found indirect hopping rather affordable. It’s essentially a series of one-way tickets like this: from A to B, then to C and to D, and then either back to an earlier location or straight back home. In a weird way, it’s often cheaper than if you’d buy multiple round-trip tickets.