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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. 🙂

Travel Blog

Around Europe through Jumping Photos

August 4, 2011
Stonehenge Jump


For most of  my travels in Europe, I’ve tried to do a bit of a novelty (well, it was sort of a novelty then) by doing jump shot photos. We had loads of fun doing it and often people would stare at us and laugh at our every attempt. It takes a lot of jumps to take a good one, often times it will take several shots before you get a shot where everyone is off the ground.  It’s somewhat of a science with a camera that I’m proud I had mastered. Even my mom has been proud of my jumping shots, telling her friends that I started the jumping photo craze.

I’ve taken jump shots from 13 out of 14 countries I got to see in Europe. I’ve only missed taking one when I was in Slovakia because I lost my camera the day before I went there.

I’ve taken jumping photos seriously that I’ve even won Don’t Ever Look Back’s jumping photo contest.

Here’s a good round-up of some of the photos I’ve amassed during my travels.


Brussels, Belgium - Jumping shot

Brussels, Belgium: Took me and my friend Rasha more than 40 photos to take a perfect jump shot while on a visit at the Atomium in Brussels.

Paris, France - Jumping Shot

Paris, France: Wow, this was one of my big dreams! To jump next to Eiffel Tower – definitely one of my most iconic and my personal favourite.

Amsterdam, Netherlands - Jumping Shot

Amsterdam, the Netherlands; In front of the Iamsterdam sign – this photo won me that jumping photo contest. 🙂

Koln, Germany - Jumping Shot

Köln, Germany:We tried doing a Bruce Lee kung fu shot in front of the famous Köln cathedral, it wasn’t the best one though.

Prague, Czech Republic - Jumping shot

Prague, Czech Republic: We were a big group when we went there for New Year’s Eve back in 2008. And doing a jump shot with a huge group of people is an ordeal. We tried several times across different places to get a good one, and we got stuck on getting the good shot at our hostel the day we were leaving the city.

Vienna, Austria - Jumping Shot

Vienna, Austria: In front of Schonbrunn Castle, Vienna. I heard this place is beautiful during summer, but we went there in February so it wasn’t that good.
Madrid, Spain - Jumping shot

Madrid, Spain: While waiting for the bullfight to start, I decided to do some crazy leaps with my friend’s scarf as bullfighter flag – good thing it wasn’t red.
Stonehenge, UK - Jumping shot

Stonehenge, United Kingdom: Despite the crowds, we manage to steal a few jump shots in front of Stonehenge.

Luxembourg Jumping Shot

Luxembourg, Luxembourg: By this time, we were so used to taking these photos that we were taking some organised jump shot to kick in some novelty. Here we are at a park in Luxembourg city.

Krakow, Poland - Jumping shot

Krakow, Poland: This was taken at the square in Krakow, Poland – one of my favourite places in Europe.

Rome, Italy - Jumping shot

Rome, Italy: I had some of hostel mates take this photo, it’s not one of my best, but a jumping shot to say the least.

Vatican City - Jumping shot

Vatican City, Vatican: Hope the Pope wasn’t looking at me when I was jumping up and down St. Paul’s Cathedral just to get this photo up
Budapest, Hungary - jumping shot
Budapest, Hungary: This one is taken at Fisherman’s Bastion in Budapest, Hungary.


What crazy photos have you taken on your trips? Have you taken some great jump shots? share the links below!

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