Europe is an amazing place full of varied countries; each one offers an individual and unique experience. You can have a life-changing experience if you know how to plan wisely so you can stretch even the smallest budget across an entire trip.
Here are some tips on how to get the European experience, without the usual European price tag:
Take the Train. See a few countries or see them all: trains are the best value and most convenient way to do it! Eurail passes cover 18 countries across Europe and start at $16 per day. Take an overnight train and you’ll sleep your way to your next destination, saving money you would have spent on a hotel or hostel. This also saves time, leaving you more daylight hours for sightseeing.
Pay In Advance. When booking travel to Europe, paying ahead is a smart money-saving strategy. By paying for your accommodations, rail passes and any other necessities ahead of time, you won’t be subject to fluctuating exchange rates. This will help you when making a budget for your trip.
Go on Spring Break. Traveling to Europe during the traditional American Spring Break period can represent a significant value. March is not the busy season in Europe so you’ll find cheaper rates—on everything from plane tickets to hostels and hotels—than you would find during the summer. Book through a specialized student travel agency, like STA Travel, and save even more because of specially arranged student discount rates.
Discount Cards. Get an International Student ID Card (ISIC) discount card and you will save money on everything from STA Travel plane tickets to sightseeing, restaurants, and shopping here at home and abroad. The card costs just $22 and will save you $100s on thousands of discounts around the world. Save at Target.com and the Apple Store, as well as places like the Montecristo Café in Paris, London Zoo and Prague Castle. The ISIC card is also a great way to get a discount rate at hotels and hostels and scores perks like free drinks and complimentary Internet access.
Find the Local Market. Local markets are prevalent across Europe in big cities like Krakow and Florence and are an excellent place to get great value for your dollar. Markets offer fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and breads, all of which can make for a tasty and really cheap meal or snack. Markets are also a fantastic place to load up on souvenirs that are cheaper than what you’ll find at tourist shops.
Patrick Evans is the marketing communications coordinator for STA Travel, the largest student and youth travel organization in the world.