Many of us have a Euro trip on our bucket list. However, because of the prohibitive expenses involved, we put the trip off for the next year. Sadly however, the next year seldom comes. Worry not!
We have illustrated here 20 tips on how you can make your dream Euro trip affordable while realising all your expectations out of the tour. What’s more, we are also giving 18 directives on ensuring that your trip is smooth while avoiding some common mistakes. What’s with the numbers 20 and 18, you might ask? Well, these are strategic because we really want the year 2018 to be the one when you finally embark on your Euro trip!
20 tips to save money
- Low-cost accommodation
The biggest secret in travel today is luxury hostels. These are hostels where the focus is on creating guest experiences and they are definitely cheaper than star hotels.
- Co-shared living spaces
You must check Airbnb when visiting Europe. It has a fantastic range of places to stay and offers great value. What’s more, if you’re new to Airbnb, on first-time sign up, you may get discounts too.
- Rail travel
If you’re travelling from London to Paris, Eurolines offers rates as little as £15 one-way. You can hop over to Eurostar to checkout their brand new SNAP fares where you can get cheap fares for advance bookings.
4. Hop-on hop-off bus services
Flixbus’ Interflix Euro bus pass is probably the best deal in bus travel. Besides having good frequency on all key routes, the buses also offer free Wi-Fi and generous luggage allowances.
- Book in advance
Save queuing time for major European attractions by booking your activities in advance. Doing so also opens up the chance for you to get an instant online discount, which can be substantial savings if you are travelling in a group.
- Free walking tours
Several European destinations offer free walking tours. These are comprehensive, entertaining and relaxing and a good way to explore offbeat places.
- Time your trip
Don’t travel to Europe in the summers if you can avoid it. It is best to look at off-season instead. For instance, during winters, hotels can be discounted by upto 40 per cent so you can get a great deal.
- First things first
When first arriving in a new city in Europe, ensure that you stop by the tourism bureau for discounts, free maps and cost-free events. Plus, their information/advice will be trustworthy.
- All-exclusive pass
Quite a few European destinations offer an all-inclusive pass that gets you access to museums and also public transportation. If you are planning to pack in a number of visitor attractions, this pass can save you a lot of money.
- Feet on street
Walk as much as you can. This way, you’ll be able to remain fit, stand a chance to be greeted by something most unexpected and also spend quality time with your loved ones. Walking is free too!
11. Do as the locals do
Join locals in restaurants and eateries during happy hours. You can also check out local sports matches which are often free or cheap.
- Save on roaming bills
Roaming charges and accessing the internet abroad is still prohibitively expensive and hence it is best to get yourself a local internet data-only SIM. Or you can buy a mobile Wi-Fi device that is relatively cheap too.
- Chug along
For pocket-friendly travel, you can try trains, especially the regional and local ones, that can be very cheap, especially in countries like Poland and Hungary. You can especially consider making longer connections by overnight train that can save you accommodation costs too.
- Pedal power
If you can, you must travel by a cycle. Travelling thus not only saves you money, it’s great for your health too. Plus, cyclists can match with gracious locals who are willing to accommodate them. The emphasis is on the exchange of experiences and cultures rather than of money.
- Fly with a low-cost airline
Thanks to the low-cost airline revolution, travelling across Europe is a lot cheaper. Even with hidden extras like paying for checking-in your luggage, prices are reasonable, especially over longer distances.
- Be money-wise
It is expensive to withdraw money abroad from an ATM. Not only will you get a poor exchange rate, you will also be charged a withdrawal fee. Hence, travellers’ cheque/card is the most optimum and secure way of carrying money.
- Avoid buying currency at the airport
If you can, you should avoid buying currency at the airport. It will be needlessly expensive. Hence, it is best to not put off your forex till the last minute.
- Stay off-centre
In almost every major European city you can get significantly cheaper prices if you are willing to stay off the city’s centre. In addition to the peace and quiet, you can also get a chance to explore offbeat areas.
- Restrict restaurant meals
Limit eating-out to once a day even as you should visit a gourmet restaurant for lunch when many restaurants offer great value in set menus and business lunches. In addition, food stalls around European cities are common and they are a great way to save money too.
- Shop locally
If you are shopping for articles/souvenirs to take back home, you should try the local supermarket or visit farmer’s markets and watch what the locals are buying to get the best deals.
18 ways to avoid common pitfalls
- Ensure passport validity
A valid passport is a prerequisite for travel to Europe. Moreover, travellers who have a valid passport should check the expiry date before they purchase any flight tickets as some countries can deny entry if your passport expires within 6-months of when you arrive.
- Organise your travel documents
Assemble all your travel documents properly, including bank statements that will need to be authenticated by your bank. You might be denied visas if you do not submit all the documents as required or if your documentation is incomplete.
- Apply for visas well in advance
It is important that you apply for your Schengen visa (for travel through Europe) well in time. While the application procedure takes 4-6 weeks, there is an element of unpredictability and hence proper planning is vital.
- Be certain of your trip dates
It is important to decide what time of the year you want to travel to Europe. You can start by planning your itinerary around dates and events. Weather is a major aspect that you should consider while planning.
- Start refining your list
Once you’ve done your research, it is crucial that you narrow down your ideal Europe trip list. Countries like Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Ukraine and the Czech Republic feature some of the best experiences while being considerably cheaper than most countries in Western Europe.
- Carry valid licences
This would be especially relevant for those planning on renting a car while in Europe as a valid driver’s license is mandatory.
- Pack right
Temperatures in Europe can vary drastically and hence it is important to pack accordingly. It is also a good idea to carry an umbrella in your backpack at all times.
- Slow down
Remember that by trying to see everything, a lot of travellers fail to enjoy anything. Hence, ensure that you give yourself enough time to relax and avoid burnout.
- Be aware of travel time
Remember to account for travel time between European cities. Think about how much you’re actually going to want to see or do in a new city after travelling all day/night between destinations on your trip itinerary.
- Research flights to Europe
Plan for your flight and decide whether you want standard round-trip flights or one-way flights, which are usually more expensive.
- Map your route
Once you’ve decided on the destinations, you can determine the best route for your itinerary. Look at a map of Europe to avoid backtracking – it wastes both time and money.
- Always keep time in hand
If you plan everything down to the minute, even a slight delay could wreak havoc on your schedule. So it’s best to keep some time in hand.
- Use translation services
Rely on technology for translation services as you really do not want to face the challenge of getting lost in a region where they don’t speak your language.
- Pack light
If you pack heavy, you could end up paying the airline for oversized carriage. You also run the risk of having to lug your bag/s during the journey, which can be tiresome.
- Stay pocket-light
Never carry too much cash that runs the risk of getting lost/stolen. A preloaded multi-cash currency cardis by far one of the cheapest and easiest ways to handle money when travelling in Europe.
- Travel with some cash
Though staying pocket-light is good, do carry a reasonable amount of cash. A lot of cafes, restaurants, local markets, etc. do not accept plastic cards.
- Check the calendar
If you travel around certain dates to certain cities, you might find everything closed, which could be quite a damper to your plans. Hence, reconfirm the dates, especially if you have limited time per destination.
- Carry solid footwear
Though most European cities are pedestrian-friendly, it is always a great idea to wrap your feet around good footwear, especially if you are planning to walk a lot.
Europe is full of amazing places and experiences that you could travel for years and still feel like you’ve missed something essential. GD Assist, an experienced travel and tourism player, can meet all your Euro tour needs to provide you with curated experiences that you’re sure to cherish for a lifetime!
Let 2018 be the year when you ticked Euro off your visit list and at GD Assist, we’ll help you to do just that!
So, call GD Assist today.
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