I have quite a few Europe travel tips that I use to always stay on top of everything – saving money, staying safe and getting the most of every trip! Now I am sharing them with you – for your next European adventure!
How to Book Cheap Flights to Europe
Let’s start with the most costly and tricky part of the trip – finding a cheap flight to Europe. There are so many secrets, tips and resources that comes with booking cheaper flights that most people aren’t using! Here are my top three:
Fly at the Right Time
The day you are booking your flight for makes a big difference. If you are flexible with your travel dates, like days of the week and the travel season, you’re in luck: this tip can save you a lot of money.
Try Booking Flights Separate
Booking each flight separately has helped me save a lot of money many times. For example, if you want to fly from the United States to Europe, you may find a round-trip ticket for over $600, depending on where you are flying from. But, if you book 2 round trip flights separate (to New York City and another round trip flight from NYC to Europe), you can save more than 50%. This can be a little risky, since the company will not be refunding your ticket for the delay or a missed flight. Just get flights with 5 or 6 hour layovers to avoid any problems!
Compare, compare, compare…
I always check a few websites and airports before I book my flights.
- I start with Google flights, it compares flights from all companies.
- I check flights to nearby airports, too. For example, Oakland is really close to San Francisco and it serves Spirit Airlines which tend to be a lot cheaper than others.
- Then I always check Studentuniverse, it has saved me hundreds of dollars on flights.
- If I see anything I like, I go to the website of the airline and compare the prices and deals on the airline directly.
Bonus tip: Plan in Advance
If you plan your trip 6 months in advance, you will be able to find a much cheaper fare than if you are planning to travel within a month. That’s why doing a lot of research, planning several months in advance and being flexible will save you a lot of money on flights.
Find more tips for booking a cheap flight in my post How to Travel on a Budget!
Europe Travel Tips – Finding the Perfect Hotel
Here are a few resources I use to find the best deals on hotels in Europe:
- Booking.com – I book with booking.com, it seems to always offer the best prices on hotels. Even when I compare hotels with other booking sites, same hotel seems to always come out cheaper with Booking. And, if you use this link and register, you will get $20 off your first booking!
- Airbnb – you have to be lucky, but if you are, you can score a really cheap place on Airbnb. The only thing I have a problem with is advertising wrong prices since they add on cleaning fees and taxes at the end. Either way, it comes out cheaper in the end.
- Bonus tip: I look for small apart hotels with a kitchen in the room. They seem to be cheaper and you can cook food yourself and save money instead of eating out!
Europe Travel Tips and Hacks
The best thing about traveling in Europe is how easy it is to travel from one country to another, going from one unique culture to the next. Once you get there, you can go by plane, train, bus or car and within a few hours you can reach your destination. Here are a few tips for your upcoming trip to save money while enjoying your stay!
Money-saving Tips for Travelling to Europe on a Budget:
Use Buses and Trains Between Destinations
Each European country has a very easy-to-use and fast bus and train systems. They are usually pretty cheap and you can use them to go on day trips from one place to another without spending your entire day in the airport.
On my latest trip to Europe, I took Flixbus from Prague to Vienna to Budapest. It’s very affordable and easy to hop on and hop off in a new destination.
Do Not Take a Taxi
Don’t even take a taxi from the airport. Most airports have a cheap way to get from the airport to the city center. You can get from the airport to your hotel anywhere Barcelona for just 1 Euro! If you take a taxi, you would end up paying over 30 euros! Do some research about the city you are going and buy public travel passes. It will save you money while you are using public transport!
One other pro to using public transport in a new country is a new adventure and seeing the way locals commute there. I love comparing public transport in different countries and no one can compete with Europe on that.
Europe Travel Tips – Be Picky About the Places You Eat
Millions of tourists visit Europe every year and the restaurants have found the best ways to make money on it. There are high chances of falling into a tourist trap if you don’t do research on places to eat in each destination. Use platforms like Likealocalguide.com or just check google reviews before you decide to eat somewhere. This tip will save you a lot of money and add great food experiences to your trip! See more Common Travel Mistakes to Avoid here!
Don’t Plan on Using Credit Cards Everywhere
Bring a couple hundred euros on hand for tips, public transport and purchases at local markets.
Order foreign currency at your bank, don’t use the currency exchange at the airport when you arrive. Airport ATMs don’t have the best exchange rates, so plan ahead if you would like to save.
Packing Europe Travel Tips and Tricks
Bring all the Travel Essentials for Europe
Some things you can do without, others, not so much. If you are going to Europe, pack the five items below in your suitcase! After you have those packed, use my Smart, Editable and Printable Europe Packing list for free to stay on top of your packing!
- Good Headphones: I always use them on long layovers and flights, they cancel out the noise and great for watching movies and listening to podcasts in a busy airport.
- Daypack or purse: You’ll need something to carry your phone, camera and water while you’re out exploring.
- Travel Adapter: If you are travelling to Europe, you need a reliable travel adapter, the one that won’t burn your expensive electronics at first use. This travel adapter can be used in the USA, Europe, United Kingdom and Australia, so you won’t have to buy a different one for each adventure.
- SPF Cream: If you forget everything, don’t forget an SPF moisturizer – you will spend a lot of time outside, so you won’t even notice how you get sunburnt even on a cloudy day!
- Water Bottle: Airports, trains, hotels – I always take a water bottle with me. It’s good for the environment and it reminds you to drink more. Water actually costs money in European restaurants, so when you are in Europe, refill your water bottle at hotels and water fountains.
To make packing even easier for you, use this European Travel Packing List. It’s super handy and you will be able to edit it and adjust depending on the length of your stay.
Check Visa Regulations and Documents You Need
Are you going on a study abroad student trip to Europe or on a vacation? How long are you planning to stay? This will determine whether or not you will need to apply for a visa. If you are an American citizen and you are planning a short vacation to Europe, you should be in the clear – all you will need is your passport. But, if you have any questions or doubts, better check with the consulate website of the country you are going to – better be safe than sorry.
Leave Some Space in Your Suitcase for Souvenirs
Pack the things you will absolutely need, you will want to buy some things on your trip. I try to buy something unusual and special in each country I go. But don’t buy magnets and key-chains. That’s one of the main travel mistakes I mention in my Travel Mistakes guide. Look for something you or your friends will actually use.
Know What You Can and Can’t Pack
Planning ahead will help you go through security faster. Know what you can pack in your carry-on and checked bags by reviewing this TSA page. A good rule to go by is to pack all of your liquids in your checked bag and all of your valuables in the carry-on. And don’t bring any flammables or sharp objects in your carry-on.
How To Get the Most Out of Your Trip to Europe
Travel in the Off Season
Crowds of tourists, long lines and high prices. That’s the only way to describe popular tourist destinations during the peak season. Most destinations operate year-round, but they are usually booked in the summer. If possible, go a couple of months before everyone arrives and you will enjoy it so much more! You will save on flight tickets, hotel accommodation and get rid of overcrowded places.
Bring Comfortable Shoes to Walk Everywhere
You don’t want to sprain your ankle on cobblestone streets. Bring your favorite pair of comfortable walking shoes – you won’t regret it. Also, don’t buy a new pair right before your trip, take a pair you trust. A pair you can walk 20 miles in. If you are in Europe, you probably will.
Visit the Smaller Towns, too
Smaller towns are so charming. They are untouched by millions of tourists. The food is better, people are friendlier, hotels are cheaper. If you truly want to feel the culture of the country you’re going to, don’t go to Paris or London. Instead, try French wine in Beaune, Burgundy or relax in the hot springs of the Roman-Era Bath.
Take It Slow
You’re going to Europe, of course, you want to see everything! You want to visit as many countries as you can in those 2 weeks and try everything they have to offer. I am sorry to disappoint, it doesn’t work that way. I’ve read and heard so many stories about people staying 2 days in each city and I’ve done it myself. If you plan to travel every third day of the trip, you are losing third of the trip on bus rides and checking in at the hotels.
I would recommend spending at least 5 days in each city. For example, if you are visiting cities like Prague or Vienna, you will never be able to see it all in 3 days. There are so many amazing museums that you can spend a month there and not see them all. Take your time to actually enjoy your stay.
Staying Safe – Europe Travel Tips
Be Aware of Pickpockets
In most European countries, especially bigger cities like Rome, Barcelona or London you will be a target of pickpockets. It doesn’t mean it’s dangerous, you just have to be smart. Always be aware of your belongings and don’t show your expensive camera, phone or wallet unless you absolutely need to. Keep your money in several places in case something does end up stolen.
Stay Away from the Crowds
You can’t predict everything, but stay aware of your surroundings wherever you are. Stay alert anytime there is commotion nearby, it’s so easy to stay distracted when there is so much going on!
You don’t have to be paranoid while traveling, but it’s important to be aware and be prepared while in Europe. And with the right gear and sensibilities (and my Europe travel tips, of course), you can relax and have the trip of a lifetime. Do you have any other tips for traveling safely? Share them in the comments!