Almost every traveler’s dream is to travel to Europe but it can be fairly expensive. Being the most popular travel destination, traveling around Europe is not cheap if you don’t know the “travel hack”. Yes, we can call it a travel hack because you can travel around Europe with the cost of a good meal!
Recently, the travel price has gone down due to weak economy, currency exchange rate, sharing economy, availability of budget airlines & bus options, etc. In this article, we will discuss the cheapest ways to travel around Europe. I will also show you when it’s the best time to use these cheapest ways.
Generally, the offseason in Europe is from November to March. It can vary slightly from country to country but overall the timeframe is quite fixed. Due to fewer tourists, most of the hotels and airlines drop their price to grab the off-season’s tourists. Christmas holidays are the exception in this timeframe so you have to be careful.
Suppose you are planning to visit Italy, take the trip at the offseason and you will be able to complete your whole trip within the ticket budget of on season. It’s also noteworthy that offseason is the best time to travel around Europe. You can not only be able to save money but also will be able to enjoy those amazing areas hustle free. Off season means less tourist and less crowd.
You can also grab tickets on discounts if you are a student, senior or teacher. Many museums offer tickets to art teachers & students on a special day per month. For example, you can grab the entrance ticket of the famous Louvre museum for free on the first Sunday of every month if you are a teacher. There are lots of free & lunchtime concerts around Europe. To get them, you need to read newspapers and read online articles regularly. Most European countries also provide discounts for students, teachers, and seniors.
Budget Airlines Should be Your First Priority
Europe is a small continent and distance from one country to another is not that big. But the competition there is pretty heavy. To attract customers, airlines often lower their price. They also need to sell their seats which lowers the price. There is also a hidden truth which I have discovered. Every airport has a slot for an individual airline. To keep the slot, they have to depart and arrive flight regularly. This also lowers the cost. Don’t expect world-class experience but your need will be solved and you will be arriving at your destination on time by a plane. Sometimes budget airline departs their flight from small airports which is also needed to note. There is a very popular search engine to find these budget airlines and discounts. The name is Skyscanner. Some popular budget airlines are RyanAir, EasyJet, WizzAir, WOW Air, EuroWings, Air Berlin, etc.
Taking a Bus will Always be Cheap
If you prefer affordability over comfort then I will recommend the bus to travel around Europe cheaply. You can travel for as little as $2! Yes, it’s true. It may take more time than an airline, not comfortable or convenient, but it’s affordable. Lots of bus companies have lowered the bus fare to ground. That’s why the story of $2 I have mentioned above is true.
One of the rising stars and the only “big boss” in the bus industries is the Flixbus. Flixbus is dominating the bus industry with great and amazing deals. It also acquired Megabus, another popular bus company. Their fare starts from 5 Euros (one way) which is unbeatable. This isn’t the only great offer you can get from Flixbus. There is also a wild one which is, 5 European Cities for only 99 Euros! Meaning, you can practically travel 1 European city for just 20 Euro, unbelievable offer. Flixbus also has an app & better cancellation policy.
If you want to visit the UK, Megabus should be your best choice. Tickets start from 1 GBP (England Pound) & all fares are within 20 GBP. You can also get great deals in advance booking. It’s the only cheap means to travel around England, Scotland & Wales.
Another popular bus service is Busabout which offers a different kind of service. It’s all about traveling to cities and enjoying new destinations. You can book from any available travel networks. Suppose you have booked a 9-day-flex-pass. You will be able to enjoy 9 cities in 9 days. The average cost will be around $50 per city with a guide for each group.
Eurolines offers a lot of options than Flixbus if you consider routes. It also regularly provides but it has a lot worse cancellation policy. Another popular bus option is the Student Agency Bus. If you are traveling to the Czech Republic area then it’s the best option. It has a reputation for providing quality service, great discounts, onboard movies, and attendants. If budget is your number 1 priority then the bus is the best option. If you want to travel around a specific country then always find for the national bus companies. You will always get the best deals from them.
Pros of Bus:
- Very low cost
- Easy cancellation policy
- All-time seat availability
- No airport security to deal with
- View of the countryside (not great as train though)
Enjoy the View from the Train
Train journey seating in between the air journey and the bus journey. It’s faster than the bus, comfortable, great views but costly than the bus. There is a catch, if you book a ticket for a smaller distance, the train journey is cheaper than the bus. For a large distance, train tickets are very expensive. But you can also make it cheap by buying a Eurail pass. For great distance & month-long trip, the Eurail pass is the best option. You can bring a book, seat comfortably, enjoy the view and reach to your destination. You can always get a great discount on advance booking.
The Beauty of Ride Sharing
Nowadays, it’s quite impossible to find a person without hearing the name Uber or Lyft. We are not here to discuss about Uber or Lyft but another great startup named BlaBlaCar. It’s the face of the sharing economy where you can allow people to ride with you around. Drivers of BlaBlaCar is not very commercial like Uber, so you will be able to find people with extra seats or space on their vehicle. Jump on it and take a ride together with random people. To stay in the competition, BlaBlaCar also provides regular deals on the cost.
Hitchhiking, Cheap but not Safe
It’s like jumping on random people’s vehicle to go to a destination. It’s always risky nowadays. It’s also very unpredictable considering the time and cost. This could be your last resort if you are running very low in cash.
Rent your Own Vehicle
For any traveler, I would never suggest renting a vehicle for your trip across Europe. Because renting a vehicle will always come with hidden costs, unpredicted repairs, boring driving for a long time, etc. Plus, if you are not used to driving on the left side of the road, you may be in trouble. The only good side is you can earn from it by sharing your ride with someone else (see the beauty of ride sharing above) and have more freedom to go anywhere you want!
Use your Reward Points of Air Miles like a Boss
With every new subscribed credit card, lots of amazing deals can be availed. Among them, the most lucrative one is the air miles or travel reward points. Every card comes with a fixed amount of air miles with additional ones per flight. Rewards points are like you can eat your lunch in a specific restaurant and get a reward point. You can pile them aka save them to travel around Europe. People do travel around Europe for free using Air Miles collected in one year. Yes, I am not making it up.
The best traveler does research before going on a trip. There are different means to get the best deals. The only thing matters is you are in Europe to travel and budget is your concern. Do some research and you will find the ultimate travel hack. Always talk to the locals to get the best deals because they know better than anyone else. Or, if you are still hesitant, hire a travel agent to plan your trip. A good travel agent has more knowledge and available resources about these places than you do! Have a safe budget-friendly trip in Europe!