EuroCheapo’s Ultimate Budget Travel Guide to Europe
Welcome, budget traveler!
If you’re looking for ways to make your upcoming trip to Europe more affordable, you’ve come to the right place. Since 2001, EuroCheapo has been helping travelers save in Europe. It’s what we do.
On the following pages we’ve compiled our top budget travel advice. It’s organized into 10 quick chapters about ways to save on the big items in your travel budget: the flights, hotels, train tickets, rental cars, sightseeing, using your smartphone and more.
But let’s be clear: These travel tips aren’t only about spending less on your trip. They’re also about having a better experience when traveling in Europe.
We believe that the best budget travel is also about slowing down and traveling in step with the locals. If you can do that, and if you’ve learned a couple tricks of the cheapo trade, the savings will follow. And, in the end, you’ll have a richer experience. We’ll get into all of that below.
A quick note about us — and why we can help you save in Europe
My name is Tom Meyers and I started EuroCheapo back in 2001. I quit my job in New York and moved to Berlin and hand-coded the first version of this site that launched that June. Honestly, I had a blast — I spent the year hunting down the best small, budget hotels in the center of Europe’s most expensive cities. I felt like every day was a treasure hunt.
Since then, I’ve been joined by a team of writers and editors who have kept up our hotel picks (like these in Paris and Rome), but who’ve also written nearly 3,000 articles about simple ways to save on every aspect of your trip, from booking flights and train tickets to cheap eats and saving on sightseeing.
In the following pages, I’ll be sharing these tips with you in the first person, although many of these tips have been plucked from the thousands of posts published on our blog. I’m thankful to the dozens of fabulous writers who have shared their expertise with us on the site over the years and continue to write for us. You can read more about them if you click their names on any of the blog posts we link to.
I hope that you’ll find these budget travel tips helpful and that together, we can help you spend less while improving your travels in Europe. If you have questions or feedback on these tips, send me an email or leave a comment below. And please join us on Facebook.
Thanks — and bon voyage, Cheapos!
Our guide to saving in Europe
If you have the flexibility to choose the timing of your next trip, you’re in a good spot. Which season makes the most sense for your schedule and for your budget? Is there a better time to go?
Cheapo Tip: If possible, travel during low season or “shoulder season” for the best deals.
Travelers, especially those from North America, tend to overbook their trips to Europe. We can’t help it. Resist the urge to “see it all”, and you’ll save time and money — and probably have a much better travel experience.
Cheapo Tip: We like to spend at least two nights in each spot. It helps our budget… and our sanity.
Flying to Europe is expensive — in fact, it’s probably the largest expense facing many American travelers. How can you actually find great deals on airfare to Europe? Here are some tips to help you fly the cheapo skies.
Cheapo Tip: Airfare alerts are your friend. So are “open jaw” flights.
Whether you’re planning to travel for two days or 20 days, where you stay can have a major impact on both your budget and your trip experience. Here are some tips for booking the right hotels for your trip — and at the best possible price.
Cheapo Tip: Small, family-run hotels can make all the difference on your trip. But you have to find them.
Americans are rightfully awestruck by Europe’s high-speed rail network, from the TGV in France to Germany’s Bahn and Italy’s Trenitalia. But what’s the best way to book those tickets in advance? And should you buy a rail pass?
Cheapo Tip: Book your train tickets like the locals, and you’ll save (just like the locals).
What’s the best way to rent a car in Europe? Should you go through a European website or an American site? Do you need an international driver’s license? What should you be aware of before you sit down behind the wheel?
Cheapo Tip: Book early, and then re-book if you find a better deal. And double check the fuel type.
Hooray, you’ve got the big stuff booked. Now what? How much of your time should you schedule in advance? Should you pre-book attractions? Wing it when you’re there? Let’s discuss.
Cheapo Tip: Too much pre-booking can actually stress you (and your travel companions) out later.
With a little planning, it’s possible to use your phone while traveling abroad for a variety of purposes (calling, texting, emailing) without getting stuck with a huge bill when you return. Here’s a quick guide to setting it up.
Cheapo Tip: Our advice for using a phone in Europe? Keep it SIM-ple.
What’s the best way to get cash when you’re heading to Europe? Should you buy euros before you go? Are Travelers Checks totally passé? Will your credit card work? And which countries take the euro? We’ll break it all down.
Cheapo Tip: Get your money like the locals do… from a faceless machine.
You want to pack it all, but remember: You’ll be hauling those bags through airports, train stations, down cobblestone alleys, and stowing them in rental cars, high-speed trains, and small hotel rooms.
Cheapo Tip: The time to lighten your load is now. Seriously. I’m talking to you. Yes, you.
Chapters 5-8: Coming soon!
Stay tuned — we’ll be publishing our guides to saving on train tickets, rental cars, sightseeing and more in the coming week!
Now… where are you going?
Once you’ve read through these quick chapters, you’ll have a great grasp on many of the top budget travel strategies that work today. But wait — there’s more!
Now comes the fun part: It’s time to start researching ways to save in the countries and cities that you’ll be visiting. It’ll probably come as no surprise that we have a lot to say about that, too.
See our top budget travel advice for:
Source: Euro Cheapo