You’ve probably searched for plane tickets on at least one occasion and thought they’d still be around when I turned 65 and retired. Don’t be disappointed! I’ll explain how you can travel to the country of your European dreams that you never imagined.
Step 1. Forget About Your Exact Travel Plans:
The quickest step to make your trip as costly as possible is to narrow your search down to something especially specific.
For example, just because you have a four-day weekend on Easter doesn’t mean it’s a good time to travel. Open yourself up to be flexible about your travel dates, the places you travel to, and the places you live. The more flexible you are, the cheaper it will be to travel.
Step 2. Decide where truly you want to go:
I know I just said be flexible but that doesn’t mean you can’t choose where you want to go, it just means you have to be prepared to get there in ways you don’t expect to be doing. If you want to travel to Dublin more than anything else, look no further than just flights to Dublin from the US. You are likely to find a plane ticket from the United States to another European city at a very low cost. You can then book another short flight to Dublin for as little as $80 round trip. This bonus is a great way to see the country too!
Step Third. Choose the city you will travel from:
Prices for flights to Europe vary greatly depending on the airport you are flying from and departing from and your travel dates. So a good first step might be to decide which airport you will be departing from. If you live in a big city like New York, Boston, or Los Angeles, you’re in luck! You will find the cheapest flights to Europe from these cities. If you don’t live in these cities, you’ll probably be flying through them to get to Europe. So if you can drive to one of those cities, it may be a cheaper option. Otherwise, consider booking a flight from your hometown to one of those cities. As strange as it may sound, you can get cheap flights by booking each stage separately instead of booking tickets from your home to your destination.
Step Four: Determine the Cheapest European City to Fly to:
The easiest way to do this is to check websites that collect all the cheapest airfares so you don’t have to search for hundreds of flights yourself. Some sites allow you to type the United States or the city you know you’re going to in the From field. In the “To” field, try selecting “Everywhere”. Then scroll down the resulting list searching for the first/cheapest country in Europe to fly to. If for example Norway is $340 and France is $380, it is probably worth choosing France if that is your desired destination; however, if the difference is more than $100, I would choose the cheapest airport first. The annoying thing about Skyscanner is that often the deals are no longer active and sometimes you even have to search multiple dates to find the cheapest fares for travel. But patience is key and how find the cheapest flights. Another tip is that sometimes flights are through travel agencies and it may be worth reviewing at the agency before you book your tickets, bearing in mind that happy customers rarely write reviews. But if the agency has a star out of five, it could be a sign of success.
Step 5. Find an inter-European flight to reach the European destination of your dreams:
One thing that most people do not know is that traveling from one country to another in Europe is very cheap.
I traveled across Europe for $14 one way. No joke. I have never paid more than $60 for a trip to Europe. Use the flight company’s Website to find flights to your actual destination, the country you booked the cheapest flight to Europe from.
Step 6. Now that you’re in, find a cheap or free place to stay:
Everyone has their own idea about a dream vacation. If you’ve been living at the Ritz, I’m surprised you’ve read this article by now. For most of us, we just want to be in a decent place while enjoying everything Europe has to offer. I’ve never been in a landfill in Europe. I don’t want to and I’m not desperate. Accommodations come in four options: hotel, rental, hostel, or Couchsurf.
• Hotel– Staying in a hotel is a safe way to go, and if you’re visiting Europe for the first time or you’re not so adventurous, it’s probably the way to go. Depending on where you’re going, hotels range from $20 to $200 per night, so you’ll want to keep that in mind when choosing a destination. I wouldn’t recommend living in Monaco until your oil company sees records in the first quarter, but living in nearby Nice might be an option. In other words, keep your options open.
• Rent– Reserving a room, apartment, villa, or rental home is also a safe bet, but it can be a little more complicated than checking in at a hotel. Sites like Homeaway and Airbnb offer some really unique places and I have to say some of my favorite places in Europe were rentals. From a villa in a winery in Tuscany to a secluded mother-in-law in a quiet neighborhood outside of London, I’ve really enjoyed staying at rentals and often at a much lower price than staying in a hotel if you have a bunch of expenses. Share.
• download– The word hostel comes to mind when one thinks of horror movies but the truth is that in Europe sometimes the difference between a hostel and a hotel is not understood. There is definitely a hostel where you get a bunk bed in a room with five other travelers and that’s exciting and fun for some people! But just because bunk beds aren’t your thing, that doesn’t mean you should rule out everything that has the word sleep in the title. I’ve stayed in a few “hostels” which were as nice as a hotel.
• Corrugated sofa– If your budget is really tight or meeting the locals is really important to you, there is no better way than Couchsurf. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, head over to the Couchsurfing site. Basically, the site allows you to request an accommodation with someone who wants to host travelers in their home for free and vice versa. People leave comments on travelers and hosts to give you some assurance that they have a good reputation. It certainly comes with risks and safety precautions must be taken. Also, you should always have a backup plan in case things don’t go well.
Step 7. Eat cheap food.
I focus on the essentials for traveling to Europe: travel, accommodation, and food. Of course, there are many other ways to spend money but these are the things you have to spend money on, and food is one of them.
The food is wonderful. I love the food and the first time I went to Europe I was disappointed because I randomly wandered around the restaurants and most of them were below par. That all changed when I started checking TripAdvisor for restaurant reviews, pretty much everything it takes to make every meal great. As a word of general advice, this was not money-saving advice. However, TripAdvisor allows you to search by normal restaurant price, so $$ cheap, $$ moderate, $$ gets expensive, etc.
Here’s a money-saving tip: Grocery shopping in Europe is usually much cheaper. So if you have booked an apartment with a kitchen, make the most of it! Go shopping at the local market and buy some new exotic foods to cook! If you’re on a road trip, grab some sandwiches to save a few bucks.
Step 8. Realize that there is still more expensive to be had:
Although travel, accommodation, and food are your main expenses, there will certainly be others. Things to consider include transportation fees, attractions, and souvenirs after your arrival.
Transportation options include the use of public transportation. Most European cities have great and cheap public transport that can be purchased with local currency or a debit card at the kiosk. Note that US credit cards often do not work on these because you need a chip and a pin.
Car rental is a great option if you plan to travel outside of cities, as they are usually reasonably priced and give you absolute freedom of movement. Although trains are tempting, they are generally not a cheap way to travel across Europe. Flights are less expensive and much faster. But if you like the idea of seeing the country by train, it’s worth a try. Tickets can be purchased in advance on the EuroRail website for a fee. Or if you are more flexible and feel it is worth the risk, you can buy them in person at the train station for a much lower price.
Step 9. Travel light:
Although you may not think that travel lighting will save you money, believe me, it will. First of all, each airline will charge a baggage fee. So it will cost you $25 to $100 per bag at each stage of your trip. Calls quickly. Second, if you have two bags, you will fill two bags full of things you probably don’t need. Third, it becomes frustrating and impractical to take a cheap mode of transportation like the metro when you are carrying two heavy bags. Fourth, your bag must be with you or at a hotel at all times, so if you plan to check out in the morning and move to another city, you won’t be able to do anything until you find your hotel. And check your bags. In general, carrying a bunch of stuff with you around Europe is a big pain. My advice and I can’t stress this enough, is to put everything in one bag. I have a 50-liter backpack that had everything I needed for a month and a half in Europe. Yes, there are laundry places in Europe too. If you’re saying, well, you don’t understand because you’re a boy.
Step 10: Always Plan for the Worst and Hope for the Best
When I travel to Europe, I plan my expected expenses and put everything together. I also plan to have at least $200 in unexpected expenses. In the end, my expenses are always well below this number, but I don’t want to end up in a situation where I’m overwhelmed with costs.
In 2000 words, let me give you a short guide to Europe by budget. There are of course a lot of other things to consider when booking your trip to Europe, but the most important thing is to do it! Find and book cheap flights to Europe. You can fill in all the blanks later, don’t try to plan everything before you get your tickets, and don’t try to plan every second of every day. Take the time to get comfortable and immerse yourself in European life.
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In addition to helping travelers find the best deals on international flights, I decided to put my money there, so I’m visiting these exclusive travel deals and bringing my experience to you on InternationalEscape.com’s “Inspiration” pages. I am, I hope these cheap travel deals inspire others to pack their bags and achieve the international getaway they have always dreamed of!