You probably searched for airline tickets on one occasion and I thought there would be more when I was 65 and retired. Do not be discouraged! I will explain to you how you can travel to your European dream state less than you imagined possible.
Step 1. Forget about your exact travel plans
The fastest way to make your trip as expensive as possible is to narrow your search to something incredibly specific.
For example, just because you have Easter in four days does not mean that it is time to travel. Open flexibly in travel dates, travel locations, and places you stay. The more flexible you are, the cheaper your trips will be.
Step 2. Determine where you really want to visit.
I know I just said it's flexible, but that doesn't mean you can't choose the place you want to visit, it means you have to be open to getting where you didn't anticipate. If you want to visit Dublin more than anything, look for flights from the US to Dublin. Chances are you can find a plane ticket from the US to another European city for much less. You can then book another short flight to Dublin for less than $ 80. It's a great way to see the land with bonuses as well!
Step 3. Determine which city you will fly from
Flights to Europe vary greatly in price depending on the airport you are flying to, departure times and travel dates. So, a good first step can be determining which airport to fly to. If you live in a big city like New York, Boston or Los Angeles, good luck! From these cities they will find the cheapest flights to Europe. If you do not live in these cities, you will probably go through them to get to Europe. So if you can drive to one of these cities, it can be a cheap option. Otherwise, consider booking a flight to one of these hometowns. While it may seem weird, you can get cheaper flights if you book each leg individually instead of booking a ticket from your home to your destination.
Step 4. Identify the cheapest European city to fly to
The easiest way to do this is to check websites that compile all the cheapest airfares so you don't have to search hundreds of flights on your own. Some websites allow you to enter the United States or a city you know you are leaving in the "from" field. In the "to" box, try to select "everywhere". Then scroll down the resulting list and look for the first / cheapest country in Europe to fly to. If, for example, Norway costs $ 340 and France $ 380, then it is probably worth just choosing France, if that is your desired destination; however, if the difference is greater than $ 100, I would first choose the cheapest airport. The annoying thing about Skyscanner is that offers are often no longer active, and sometimes you also have to search through many dates to find the cheapest one to travel. But patience is key and this is how you find the cheapest flights. Another word of advice is that sometimes flights go through travel agencies and it is probably worth it to look for agency reviews before booking a ticket, keeping in mind that happy customers rarely write reviews. But if the agency has one out of five stars, it could be a gateway.
Step 5. Find an inter-european flight to reach your European dream destination
One thing most people don't realize is that it is cheap to fly from one country to another in Europe.
I flew across Europe for $ 14 one way. Seriously. I never paid more than $ 60 for a flight within Europe. Use Kayak.com to find a flight to your actual destination from any country where you ended up and book the cheapest flight to Europe.
Step 6. When you arrive, find a cheap or free place to stay
Everyone has their own idea of a dream vacation. If your staying at the Ritz, I am amazed you read this far through this article. For most of us, we simply want to stay decent while enjoying everything Europe has to offer. I have never stayed in a landfill in Europe. I don't want to and I'm just not that desperate. Accommodation is reduced to four options: hotel, rental, hostel or Couchsurf.
Hotel, Staying at a hotel is a safe way, and if you are in Europe for the first time or you are not much risky, then this is probably the way to go. Hotels, depending on location, range from $ 20 to $ 200 per night, so you might want to keep that in mind when choosing a destination. I would not advise you to stay in Monaco unless your oil company makes record profit in the first quarter, but staying in nearby Nice might be an option. In other words, keep your options open.
RentalBooking a room for rent, an apartment, villa or house is also a safe bet, but it can be a little more complicated than moving to a hotel. Sites like Homeaway and Airbnb offer some really unique locations and I must say, some of my favorite places I stayed 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 really enjoyed renting and the price is often a lot less than going to a hotel if there is a group of you who can share the cost.
Hostel, The word hostel stirs the thought of scary movies, but the reality is that the difference between a hostel and a hotel is sometimes noticeable in Europe. There are certainly hostels where you can get a bunk bed in a room with five other travelers, and for some people this is exciting and interesting! But just because bunk beds are not your thing does not mean that you should exclude anything that has the word hostel in its name. I stayed at some "hostels" which were as nice as the hotel.
CouchsurfIf you're really tight on budget or really important to meeting local people, there's no better way than with Couchsurf. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, visit the Couchsurfing website. Basically, the site allows you to stay for free with someone who wants to host travelers to their home for free and vice versa. People leave reviews to travelers and hosts alike, so you can be sure they are reputable. This, of course, comes with risk and precautions should be taken. In addition, you should always have a backup plan in case the situation does not resolve.
Step 7. Eat cheap.
I focus on the needs of visiting Europe: travel, accommodation and food. There are of course many other ways to spend money, but these are things you have to spend money on, and food is one.
The food is amazing. I love food and the first couple of times I went to Europe I was disappointed because I randomly wandered around restaurants and most were subpar. That all changed when I started checking TripAdvisor for restaurant reviews, that's all it takes to make every meal amazing. This was not so much a money-saving tip as a general word of advice. However, TripAdvisor lets you search for general restaurant prices, so $ is cheap and $ moderate $$$ becomes more expensive, etc.
Here are some money-saving tips: grocery shopping in Europe is usually very cheap. So if you have booked an apartment with a kitchen, take advantage of it! Go shopping at your local market and buy some new unusual cooking food! If you are traveling on the road, grab some sandwiches and save a few bucks.
Step 8. Understand that there are still higher costs involved
Although travel, accommodation and food are your main expenses, there will be others. Things to consider include, transportation upon arrival, fees for attractions and souvenirs.
Transportation Options Include Public Transportation. Most European cities have fantastic and cheap public transport that can be purchased with local currency or a debit card at the kiosk. Keep in mind that US credit cards often don't work because you need a chip and pin number.
Renting a car is a great option if you plan to travel outside the cities, it is usually quite affordable and gives you ultimate freedom in mobility. Trains, though charming, are not usually a cheap way to travel across Europe. Flights are much cheaper and faster. But if you're in love with the idea of seeing the country by train, then it's worth a try. Tickets can be purchased in advance on the Eurorail website for a fee. Or if you're more flexible and feel like it's worth the risk, you can buy them in person at the train station, usually a little less.
Step 9. Travel light
While you may not think traveling light will save you money, trust me, it will. First of all, each airline charges a baggage fee. So each leg of your flight will cost you $ 25 to $ 100 for each bag. That adds up quickly. Second, if you have two suitcases, you'll pack two suitcases full of things you probably don't need. Third, taking cheap transportation like the subway becomes frustrating and impractical when you are hauling around two awful bags. Fourth of all, your bags must be with you at all times or at the hotel, so if you plan to check out in the morning and go to another city, you won't be able to do anything until you get to the hotel and check your bags. All in all, it's just a great pain to carry a bunch of stuff around Europe with you. My advice, and I can't stress enough, is to fit everything in one backpack. I have a 50L backpack and had everything I needed for a month and a half in Europe. Yes, there are laundry facilities in Europe as well. If you say, you don't understand it because you're a guy. I traveled with two young women and they both put everything in their backpack. If you say you don't understand because you are young, I traveled with my mother to Europe and she fit everything into a standard-sized backpack! So can you!
Step 10. Always plan for the worst and hope for the best
Whenever I travel to Europe I plan the expected costs and round up everything. I also plan at least $ 200 in unexpected expenses. In the end, my costs are always well below this number, but I never want to end up in a situation where I'm inundated with costs.
With 2,000 words, I gave you a short guide to Europe-on-a-budget. There are, of course, many other things to think about when booking a trip to Europe, but the most important thing is to just do it! Find those cheap plane tickets to Europe and book them. You can fill in all the gaps later, don't try to plan everything before you get your tickets, and don't try to plan every second of every day. Leave time to be spontaneous and immerse yourself in European life.