How do you travel through Europe on a budget?

There’s no need to blow your savings on an epic journey.

Hi! My name is Jemima and I am all about traveling on a budget.

Looking for some budget travel inspiration? Here are the best tips and tricks I’ve picked up that will help me travel well without spending all my savings.


Take advantage of free walking tours.

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Every time I arrived in a new city I took a free walking tour. Just do a quick Google search to find one in the city you’re visiting. II’ve found that these free tours are the best way to get your bearings in a new place, learn about its culture and history, and get some local tips on where to eat, drink, and sightsee. Don’t forget to tip your guide at the end!


Consider doing a work swap for free housing.

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If you are traveling alone and have a lot of time, consider working in a permanent place for a month or two. On websites such as Workaway, Hostel Jobs and many others, you can find temporary jobs where you work a few hours a day in exchange for free accommodation. I worked for a month at a bed and breakfast in Florence where I stayed for free in exchange for my work, and it was a great way to really get to know the city.


Keep a running list of places you want to go to make last-minute scheduling easier.


Use buses whenever and wherever you can.

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Trains are convenient, but they can also be pricey. Many people only opt for the Eurail when they travel for a long time in Europe, but for your wallet, consider traveling by bus instead. Personally, I really liked traveling with Flix Bus.

Of course, the bus takes longer and the stations are often less conveniently located, but if you’re on the road for a long time and not in a hurry, the savings will be worth it.


Plan a little, but keep your schedule flexible.


Research which countries are the most affordable to travel.


For even more savings, go off the beaten path.

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Even if you visit these more affordable countries, capital cities can be relatively expensive because most tourists flock there. If you want to save money, it’s worth researching other destinations outside the major cities. I do a lot of Googling, watching YouTube and scrolling through Reddit to find recommendations for hidden gems and destinations that are not so mainstream.


Stay somewhere with free breakfast…or better yet, a kitchen.

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Free breakfast is the backbone of any budget trip. Yes, I am that person who secretly makes a sandwich for breakfast and keeps it in my bag until lunch. There is no shame.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a food lover. And for me, the best part of traveling is trying new foods and cuisines. But eating out every lunch and dinner can get very expensive very quickly. On a two week trip, I waste most of my budget on meals. But when I’m traveling for an extended period of time, I make sure to stay somewhere with a kitchen so I can make my own food a few times a week.


Book directly and avoid third-party booking sites for the best rates.

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In any case, use Agoda or Hostelworld to find the best place to stay, but if possible try to book your accommodation and transport directly with the hostel, hotel or B&B. YesYou avoid arbitrary fees and if something goes wrong with your booking, it’s always a lot easier to fix if there’s no third party involved.


Take advantage of Skyscanner’s everywhere search.


If you’re flexible, you can travel wherever the deals take you. I love Skyscanner’s search everywhere because you can enter dates and find the cheapest flight available without having a specific destination in mind. So I ended up taking a €24 flight from Rome to Bulgaria and had the best time in a place I wouldn’t have visited otherwise.


Buy a local SIM card.

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Don’t get bogged down in paying exorbitant data roaming fees. If your phone is not linked to a network, you can buy a local SIM card for quite cheap. Get a basic data plan – enough to use Google Maps and Messenger when you’re on the go – and do most of your web browsing and social media scrolling when you’re on Wi-Fi. Try to get a SIM card that works in all (or most) European countries.


If you are traveling for a longer period of time, budget per month instead of per day.

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When I tried to stick to a daily budget, things didn’t go well. I found it difficult to combine larger expenses such as bus tickets with smaller expenses such as meals on a daily basis. I found that setting a monthly budget was much more effective. Some days I’d spend $10 and some days $100, but seeing it all averaged over 30 days made a lot more sense.


Use a journal or an app to track your expenses.

During my first month abroad, I didn’t really keep track of how much I was spending, and it got a bit overwhelming. It didn’t help that I was in London, it felt like the most expensive city on earth. But then I started using the TripCoin app, which makes the whole budgeting process easier by helping you plan and record your expenses. I set up one trip with TripCoin for every month I was away, which helped me keep myself on track.


Consider traveling in shoulder season or off-season.


Don’t underestimate hostels – they’re often better than you’d expect.


Make friends if you’re traveling alone and maybe even share some costs.


Use public transport as much as possible.

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Using public transportation in a new place can be daunting, especially if you don’t speak the local language, but Ubers and taxis really add up. Ask your hotel reception for advice on using public transport. Then trust Google Maps, which has a transportation option that shows you the best way to your destination using buses, subways or trains, complete with timetables and route numbers to make it easy.


Prioritize and determine what’s worth spending money on.

Do you have any good tips for saving money while traveling? Tell us in the comments below!

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