Many experienced travelers will tell us that the best way to budget travel around the world is to avoid the popular and more expensive cities and travel to cheaper cities, where you can really get a bang for your buck. But what if all you want is to party on the beaches of Barcelona? Or if you want to eat a baguette under the Eiffel Tower in Paris? Do you really have to put off your wanderlust because of how expensive these cities are? You don’t necessarily have to.
If your travel dreams are Euro-centered, you are in luck. When it comes to travel, the EU has a setup that makes it easy to travel from city to city for less money. Ryanair and Easyjet are well known for cheap airfare, and Eurail or Rail Europe offers many packages and student discounts. Student discounts are extremely popular across Europe, and taking the time to get a student ID card can end up saving you big bucks. London, one of the world’s most expensive cities, offers a 30 percent discount to students for public transportation, which is fairly expensive when you do the pound to dollar conversion. By looking into companies that sacrifice comfort for cheap prices and discounts offered specifically for your age group, you can save a lot of money on transportation costs.
The most obvious method when searching for cheap accommodation is staying in a hostel, however most people don’t know that there are many ways to find not just cheap accommodation, but free accommodation. A popular way to live for free while traveling is “Work- Trade Accommodations,” where you exchange labor for a place to live. If you would rather enjoy your experience wandering around the city than working, then consider websites such as Couch Surfing and Hospitality Club. These help connect travelers with people who are offering a free place to stay. If you don’t mind spending a few dollars when it comes to housing, websites like Airbnb connect travelers with house owners who are renting out a room in their apartment or house for a fairly cheap price. Regardless of what method you choose, make sure to look into customer reviews of wherever you are staying and ensure that you have chosen an area and person who is safe.
Alongside shelter, another necessary element of surviving your travel experience will be eating. Even though you are on the road, don’t use it as an excuse to eat at a restaurant for every meal. While it is important to enjoy the local cuisine, enjoy some meals on your own. A beautiful thing about countries across the globe is that many of them have local markets, where you can pick up snacks and food for a fraction of the price. When you do go out to lunch or dinner, remember that not all countries have a tipping culture the way America does. Do your research!
Avoid Tourist Traps
All big cities offer the typical tourist traps: T-shirts, hats, postcards, and other souvenirs. Avoid purchasing these at all costs. Not only do they unnecessarily drain you of money, they will make traveling more difficult as you pack on the items you carry around with you. Remember that you will be a lot happier if you travel light, and so will your wallet.
Instead of racking up a $100 tab at the bar, be conscious of how much money you are spending partying. Save money by drinking a bottle of vino before you head out (which is generally cheaper across the globe than in America), or by splitting a pitcher of Sangria at dinner. Beers and shots can get expensive, so pregame harder, attend happy hours, and look at nights out as a social and cultural event rather than a reason to become belligerent.
Visiting popular and expensive cities like Paris, Barcelona, and London may be costly, but there are many ways to make it work. With research, planning, and efficient budgeting, you can visit the cities of your dreams and still have a great time while doing so. Remember that all it takes is proper preparation for you to have the trip of a lifetime.