How to Travel for Cheap in Europe
Many people love to travel to Europe, but from the exchange rate to the cost of airfare making things affordable while away can be a bit daunting. Fear not! After returning from her study abroad in Greece, Calli Jansen, our Michigan State University Student Ambassador, has compiled a list of a some quick tips on saving money and making the most of your European adventure.
1. Travel off season
Yes you’ve just finished finals and you have the whole summer off from school, so you might be thinking now is the perfect time to go to Europe. Let me remind you that everyone else has this idea too. Therefore it’ll be not only crowded, but expensive too! I know it’s not always possible, but flights and hotels give AMAZING discounts on off of peak times. These can vary based on location, but traveling most of Europe in September or October can be one of the most cost effective options.
2. Do your research on attractions
Along with traveling in non-peak season, look into places you want to visit and see if they offer deals during certain days or times of the day. Also many places offer savings for booking ahead or offer coupons.
Throughout the world, many attractions give out discounts for train tickets, meals, museums and so much for students. Research the place before you go or ask while buying the tickets and you might be able to save a few euros.
4. Pack Snacks in Your Suitcase
One way to really rack up the bills is to eat out every meal which is sometimes unavoidable due to lack of kitchen equipment and constantly moving locations. But packing a few microwavable snacks, peanut butter and crackers or granola bars can give you some quick relief. Also you can hit up the local market for a couple pieces of fresh fruit for a healthier option.
5. Do not be afraid of public transportation
Again, this will include some research before leaving and extra time in your daily plans but it can help you save lots of money because many taxis will have hefty fares and apps such as Uber if they are available may charge an international fee.
6. Look into apps for communicating with friends back home
International phone plans can run quite steep but there are multiple apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and iMessage / FaceTime on iPhones which let you text and call your loved ones for free, time change permitting.
7. Ask locals about usual prices
In super touristy places, merchants tend to mark up their products. By asking a local it typically leads to one of two options- go a couple blocks away from the attraction for lower prices or barter. Depending where you are in Europe, it’s not always respectful to counter offer so local insight is key.
8. Utilize an ATM instead of exchange booths
All airports, train stations or ports will have those exchange booths with what look like enticing offers but really many of them include fees for their services and international fees. Check with your bank before you go to look into travel card options which will allow you to withdraw money from ATMs to avoid excessive fees.