Travel in Europe is notoriously expensive. Everything from accommodation to entrance fees are more than you really want to pay, and this is only compounded when you have to deal with the exchange rate when coming from North America.
Travelling in Europe is never going to be as inexpensive as Asia or South America, but there are things you can do to save a little here and there. As my grandparents would remind us, a penny saved is a penny earned. Wise advice that is!
So what are some of these magical tips and tricks you can use to save some moola? Here are my top five money-saving tips, things that I have learned while on the road that can help you have a great holiday and not worry so much about your wallet.
- Get out of the city – London is great and all but it is astronomically expensive – it has some of the highest living costs in the world. Big cities are just expensive no matter where you are. I’m not saying you shouldn’t visit cities like London, it’s one of the greatest cities in the world, but maybe consider only spending a couple of days there rather than weeks. Not only will this save you money but you travel experience will be more unique.
- Don’t get fleeced - no one likes to pay over the odds for things, but that’s exactly what you’re doing if you shop or eat in the main tourist areas of a city. Restaurants and shops are always going to try to get as much out of you as possible, but don’t let them. Not only will things be more expensive in these areas, they are also likely to be of lesser quality. A restaurant that has a menu outside written in 5 different languages is a pretty good tip-off. Head elsewhere.
- Beware of waiters bearing gifts – In many European countries restaurants have a sneaky trick to get more money out of you, and it comes in the form of a bread basket. They walk by and drop it at your table nonchalantly but fail to point out that every stale bun you munch is costing you €1 or more. Ask before you dig in and just tell them you aren’t interested if you don’t want to pay for it. Similarly with water, if you don’t ask specifically for tap water you are likely to be charged for bottled water.
- Look online – I am not generally a proponent of over planning a trip but if there are some things that you know you want to do then do some research in advance. Lots of attractions offer discounted tickets if you buy them online a few days or weeks before hand. Theme parks are especially good for this, but places like the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin also offer discounts online. Another perk of this is that you often get to skip the lineup. Saving money and time – seems like a deal to me!
- Free! – There’s nothing cheaper than free and there are more free things to do in Europe than you might think. The National Museums in the UK are all free to everyone, everyday. This includes places like the V&A and the British Museum in London, the National Museum in Cardiff, and the TATE Galleries in London and Liverpool to many only a few. Check out a full list here. In Paris all EU citizens who are under 26 years-old can visit the permanent collections of the national museums and monuments for free. This includes the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Musée d’Orsay to again name only a few. Other great free experiences include parks, markets, graveyards and churches.
What is your favourite money-saving travel tip?