Europe, How To Guides, Travel Blog

Tips on travelling in Europe on a budget

October 19, 2011
Dining with locals

Travelling to Europe doesn’t come cheap, we know that.  Airfare from Manila is already expensive costing at least 30,000 pesos return. It’s no wonder that trips to Europe are often reserved to those with deep pockets.

But travellers don’t despair, there more ways to travel than doing it high roll. You don’t have to be rich to experience Europe. For those adventurous and open-minded enough, here are a few simple tips you can follow:

1. Research before your trip

Planning on where to go in Bruges, Belgium

Doing good research before a trip helps in managing the budget.  Read travel blogs and forums as they offer tips on what to see and how much is needed to see them. Museum websites, for example, can give you dates to getting in free. Paris’ Louvre (first Sundays / Friday evenings for under 26) and Madrid’s Prado museums (from 6-8pm Tues-Sun)  both offer free entrances on certain dates and times. 

2. Do Couchsurfing

Couch in Brussels

Couchsurfing  is a great way to meet local people and get free accommodation as well.  The website offers over thousands of hosts with “couches” to surf into.  It’s also a good way to experience local living. Giving out a simple gift or helping out with household chores often is enough to pay back for their hospitality.

3. Spend a day on parks

Park Cinquantenaire - Brussels, Belgium

Europe has the best parks in the world– and most don’t cost a Euro to visit. They’re beautiful and usually donned with trees, bike paths and old monuments and statues. It’s a good place to relax and still feel the city’s vibe. During summer, parks also play host to free concerts and street performances. My personal favourites – Parc Cinquantenaire in Brussels, Retiro Park in Madrid, and Vondelpark in Amsterdam.

4. Eat local and stack up at groceries when you can

Dining with the locals in UK

When in a new place they say to “do as the Romans do”. This comes with dining too. Avoid tourist dining establishments if you can. Find places where locals go and try some local flavour instead for an authentic travel experience. They serve good perhaps even better food at a lower price.

For those who want to take shoestring travel to the next level, head  to a supermarket and get ready-made salad or sandwich. Stack up on water as well for your day trips. Another cheap alternative is to cook at your hostel or at your host’s place.

5. Join free city tours

Free city tour in Amsterdam

Keep an eye for organisations like the New Europe tours, that offer guided tours around most big cities. It’s a great source of information about the city and a good way to meet other travellers. It’s completely free yet they do accept tips for those who enjoyed the tour (which is often the case).

 6.  Rent a bike

Bicycles in Amsterdam

Public transport is already a good way to travel cheap around but to those seeking a richer travel experience, best is to hop onto a bicycle. It’s a cheap (and healthy way) to jump from various sites. You can go around at your own pace and can control which route or area you want to see. Smaller cities like Amsterdam & Brussels can easily be navigated with a bicycle. In Brussels, check out Villo which rents out bikes starting at 1,50 euro a day.

What are your tips on travelling on the cheap in Europe? Share your tips on the comment section!

This article has originally been published for Discounts Philippines.  I wrote it together with another article on tips about Backpacking in Bohol. Grab a copy of their anniversary issue on most magazine stands and bookstores today. 🙂

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  • Reply kulengkleng August 8, 2012 at 11:09

    1. Try to look for special discounts. Some cities offer discount coupons for tourists. For example you pay only an amount travelling for the whole zone. Some offer welcome cards with lot of discounts inside. (Free tours, free visit to musea, 1+1 food, etc.)

    2. Some attractions in the cities are walking distance. By foot is also good. Print first some handy city maps via google before you go.

    3. Always bring a bottle of water and bread. Those that are easy to carry, so you can reduce your cost. It helps! 🙂

    • Reply Jerick August 12, 2012 at 21:09

      great tips, thanks for sharing!

  • Reply journeyingjames November 3, 2011 at 09:57

    very helpful post as im doing research now for my europe dream.
    i didnt know about that free tour.

    • Reply Jerick November 5, 2011 at 16:45

      Thanks James! Yep, the free tour’s amazing! check out 🙂

  • Reply Aussie on the Road October 21, 2011 at 13:30

    Some great tips there mate. A lot of them apply no matter where in the world you are, I’ve found.

  • Reply Aline October 19, 2011 at 17:43

    You did not add: hook up with old friends living there. They will be glad to reconnect, get updates from home and show you around the city, plus maybe extend an invite for home-cooked lunch or dinner. Just remember not to wear out the welcome. 🙂

    Many public toilets in some cities actually charge for its use. So know which restos (McDonald’s?) or areas will let you use the toilet for free (or do your thing before you go out).

    Walk. When it’s cool, safe and the scenery is new, it’s the most wonderful thing to do.

    • Reply Jerick October 19, 2011 at 18:23

      Thanks, great tips! I forgot about the part of paying for toilets – never really liked that about Europe. :-S

  • Reply Micamyx|Senyorita October 19, 2011 at 14:26

    Maganda sana yung Rent a Bike option nung nasa UK ako, kaso hindi ako marunong mag-bike hehe 😛
    Micamyx|Senyorita recently posted..MassKara Festival 2011 Barangay Street Dance Competition in Bacolod Photos and VideosMy Profile

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