Planning a Europe trip can be expensive, but smart planning can save you loads! For starters, did you know it’s possible to:
- fly from the U.S. to Europe for under $200?
- find friendly locals renting out lovely homes at well less than half the price of a hotel?
- book comfortable transportation between European cities for as low as $5?
Bottom line: an awesome Euro Trip doesn’t have to be so pricey — something I discovered while planning our two-month Europe trip to 12 countries in 2016. Want to know my secrets? Follow these easy trip-planning guidelines to travel farther, experience more, and save money on your upcoming Euro Trip.
1. Plan your trip to Europe for a time of low-demand.
One of the easiest ways to make your trip more affordable is to schedule your travels around the best airfare prices. Generally, the further in advance you can book, the cheaper your tickets will be. But certain airlines are known to offer extremely low prices for the first reservations on flights, even when flying as far as LA to London or Paris! Just think: if you can get one of those super cheap flights, you’ll have more money to splurge on your trip. Read How to Fly to from the U.S. to Europe for <$200 for my tips on the best seasons to travel and the best cheap airlines to travel on.
P.S. If you can commit to those tickets six months beforehand, book ’em! The prices won’t stay low for long (though sometimes two or three months of lead time can still get you a pretty sweet deal).
2. Book unconventional stays for a genuinely local (and affordable) experience.
Staying at traditional hotels is a surefire way to make your trip more expensive. Even “budget” hotels and hostels can be pricey. I recommend finding accommodations on Airbnb, which is what we’re using right now for almost all of our stays on our current two-month Europe trip. We’ve stayed at some awesome Airbnbs (entire apartments and private rooms in a welcoming home) for awesome prices like $35/night. And that’s for 2 people. If you’re splitting the cost with a travel companion, the price is even sweeter!
Read How to Find a Safe, Comfortable and AFFORDABLE Place to Stay on Airbnb for our booking tips, and sign up here to get $20 off your first stay on Airbnb.
3. Plan a smart itinerary to save BIG!
Route planning and scheduling are probably the most complex part of travel planning, but they can have a big impact on how much you spend on your trip.
For example, we were able to travel by bus from Budapest to Ljubljana on a Wednesday, Friday or Sunday for just $25 per person, but any other day of the week our cheapest option was a $55 ticket with a different bus company. Thirty dollars may not seem like much, but small price differences can add up fast when you’re visiting multiple European destinations.
In addition to schedule considerations, we closely analyzed our route as well, determining that direct travel from Amsterdam to Prague was (basically impossible and) much pricier than making a stop in Berlin on the way. Read How to Book Affordable Transportation in Europe for our route-planning strategies and the prices we paid for all of our city hops around Europe.
I hope these tips help you get started on planning your affordable trip to Europe! I know it’s tough, so if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments. Good luck with planning!
About the Author
- In March 2014, Diana called it quits on her traditional American working life and set out to explore the world with her partner in crime (and love of her life) Ian Norman. They now live a sustainable life of full time travel, working for themselves and seeking adventure at the same time. Here on North to South, Diana documents their journey in achieving and maintaining this "road less traveled" way of life.
- Books and Reading2019.01.2119 Books to Inspire You to Follow Your Dreams, Be Yourself, and Get Sh*t Done in the New Year
- Travel Life2019.01.14Our Year in Review: New Heights, New Wheels, and a Refreshed Photography Focus 
- Travel Life2019.01.11We Bought a Van! And this is our plan…
- Travel Gear2018.11.20North to South’s Gear of the Year 2018