Looking to travel abroad? Maybe you already have, but your wallet isn’t happy with you. The best vacations, study abroad experiences and service trips aren’t always the ones with the highest price tag. It’s all about how you use the time you have in this new and foreign place. By being smart with your money, you can get the most experiences out of your trip across the pond. Follow these four steps to become a better spender and make the most out of your time in Europe on a budget.
Step One: Book In Advance
This one may seem like common sense, but taking the initiative to look at flights and booking your trip 3 to 6 months in advance can save you hundreds or even thousands on your trip. Housing and airfare are going to be the biggest chunk of your expenses, so this is a great place to save the biggest chunk of your cash. Book airfare in advance, and book your flights on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in the middle of the week. This will save you money in the long run, especially if you have flexible dates.
Instead of booking hotels in every city, try a hostel. Hostels are cheaper and usually just as nice and just as close to the city center. Many hostels are made just for students. Some are catered toward families or solo travelers. Look into what your destination offers. This will make planning your trip to Europe on a budget much easier!
Step Two: CASH IT OUT
In Europe, everyone uses cash. This can be a foreign concept to Americans, who are heavily dependent on their credit and debit cards. Unfortunately, when using a card in a foreign place, there are generally fees associated every time you swipe.
A tactic that may work better is withdrawing the cash (in euros or another type of currency) that you will need for the trip up front. Many international airports and malls do this exchange. Come up with your budget and withdraw a little more than you think you’ll need. Ideally, you will only have to pay exchange fees once rather than every time you buy something. Having a set amount of cash will keep you loyal to your budget. Do keep a card or extra cash on hand in case of emergencies.
NOTE: From a safety standpoint, if you are planning on needing thousands of dollars worth of currency, it’s best not to withdraw all at once. Just for reference, I brought 400 euros on my trip for two weeks and spend about 200 of them, just for food and experiences.
Step Three: Divide and Conquer
Time to put your budget into action and divide out what exactly you will be spending your money on. Allow yourself some time to adapt to a new location. Take one hour prior to shopping so you can formulate the perfect budget for that city.
Be sure you conquer that budget. By sticking to it, you can set yourself up for a much more relaxing and stress-free trip. This involves planning your budget according to your habits. For example, if you like to drink more on vacations, allot more money to food and drink. However, if you love museums more, set aside some money to visit some. It’s all about prioritizing your interests, and how that translates into how you can travel Europe on a budget.
Step Four: Save Money by Shopping Local
Cut corners in your budget and end up saving more than you expected by buying food from local markets, shopping for souvenirs at flea markets and going to restaurants owned by locals, rather than chains.
Not only does this step save you money, but it also gives you a better flavor of the city you are visiting and will give you the opportunity to become closer with the locals, which can be essential for solo traveling.
So, what are you waiting for? Your next trip to Europe awaits.
Where is your next trip planned? What are your tips for traveling Europe on a budget? Comment down below!
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