How to travel on a small budget (in Europe)

Being a student for the past five years and wanting to discover the world has learned me a lot about traveling on a budget. Although I don’t have a large budget, I did manage to travel quite a lot. I do have to admit: traveling for cheap might take some research. So, in order to make it easier for you, I’ve tried to list my tips on how to travel on a small budget!

First of all: do not travel in July and August. In the Summer months, prices for flight might double, costing you a lot of money. Try to find other moments to travel, such as June or September (if you still want to enjoy warm weather). For example, in my week off after my January exams, I flew to Porto for only €25 a person. What a bargain!

How to travel on a small budget

Tip number two: try to look at other ways of traveling. In Europe, the train and bus network is very extensive and quite cheap. The nice thing about traveling with public transport, is that the price difference between the high and low season isn’t as huge as with flight tickets! Another advantage is the fact that you don’t have to present a few hours before boarding, as would be the case when you take a plane. On top of that, you’re often allowed to take a lot of luggage with you!

If you want to visit Paris (from Brussels), for example, I’d definitely recommend looking at the Izy train. This train will take you to Paris in only two hours. On top of that, Izy often has some interesting promotions. For example, I travelled to Paris in the Summer for only €19(!). If you want to travel by bus, I’d recommend Ouibus or Flixbus, which will get you anywhere in Europe for cheap.

How to travel on a small budget

Avoid pricey luggage costs

If you prefer flying, try to travel as much as possible with hand luggage only. Invest in a good pair of shoes, on which you can walk the whole trip. Try to be creative with your dressing combinations and don’t take things with you which you’ll only wear once. I often travel with Ryanair, where I pick the “Priority” option. For only €10 extra, this option allows you to board the airplane first. On top of that, you’re able to bring along one small suitcase of maximum 10 kilos. This is definitely enough for a (long) weekend away, so you don’t need to pay for a big suitcase!

How to save money during your trip

I almost never book a hotel. Instead, I’m a big fan of Airbnb. You’ll stay at a local’s place, and often you’ll have the place to yourself. If you’re new to Airbnb, this link will give you a €30 discount! If you rent an apartment, you could even consider cooking yourself from time to time. This will save you a lot of money on food, especially in a more expensive city. In most European cities, tap water will be drinkable, so take a refillable bottle with you!

How to travel on a small budget

Instead of buying a guidebook, I often dive into the library, looking for nice travel books. My favorite series is the Time to Momo series (which was previously called the “100%” series). These books are focussed on one city at the time and will provide you with a couple of self guided walking tours. If you do want to take a tour, then try to search for a free walking tour. In almost every (bigger) city, you’ll find free walking tours. These tours are hosted by volunteers and are tip-based. Often, the guides are locals, giving you a much better impression of the city than professional tour guides would do. After the tour, you’ll give a tip, which can be as high (or low) as you want!

These were my tips for how traveling for cheap(er) in Europe. Definitely leave your tips on how to travel on a small budget in the comments!

Love, Eva

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16 thoughts on “How to travel on a small budget (in Europe)

  1. Ga eens op ontdekkingstocht door je nabije omgeving, ontdek eens een provincie waar je zelden komt.
    Stap af van het idee dat een vakantie in een ander land bij voorbaat leuker is. En ga in het buitenland eens niet naar de steden uit top 10 lijstjes waar je op Instagram etc mee wordt doodgegooid,, maar ga eens zelf op op ontdekkingstocht door een stad die daar niet in staat. Prijzen zijn er vaak stuk lager.

    1. Hele goede tips! Ik probeer de laatste tijd ook steeds op zoek te gaan naar leuke plekjes dichtbij huis, er zijn er inderdaad een heleboel te vinden 🙂

  2. Net als Henk al aangeeft, weet ik inmiddels dat de prijzen in de toeristische steden een stuk hoger liggen dan in de kleinere steden terwijl juist die kleinere steden net zo leuk of misschien zelfs wel leuker zijn. Wij hebben het voordeel dat we buiten het seizoen kunnen en dus vaak voor relatief weinig weg kunnen, dat scheelt echt een hoop geld.

    1. Kan ik me helemaal in vinden! 🙂 als student zijnde ben ik ook al enkele keren buiten het seizoen op reis gegaan en het scheelt inderdaad heel veel (en het is overal ook veel rustiger)!

  3. Helaas zit ik vast aan schoolvakanties dus reizen we vaak in het dure hoogseizoen. We reizen wel altijd met de trein. In Frankrijk is nu het Ouigo netwerk enorm uitgebreid en dat is veel goedkoper dan de gewone tgv’s. De Izy hebben we nog niet uitgeprobeerd.

  4. Oh wauw! Wat een mooie foto’s en hele goede tips. Ik ga zelf altijd eind augustus/ begin september op vakantie en dan is het ook meestal al een stuk goedkoper!

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