There are big, thick books on this subject, full of precise advice with lots of destination information. But the truth is, there are just 5 very simple things you can do to drastically cut your travel costs. When you’re on the road, you start figuring these things out, as your euros start dwindling and you wonder what happened to your well laid plains. Here’s what you do:
1. Don’t move around a lot. When most people budget they account for flight, food and accommodations. But hopping from city to city, even on low cost public transportation, can eat into your budget quick. Instead of doing 20 cities in 3 months, do 6. You’ll see more, spend less and come back feeling like you really “experienced” Europe– not just the inside of buses and trains.
2. Focus on time of year. June, July and August are the highest priced times of year, across Europe. Prices can nearly double (and sometimes triple, if it’s a popular European vacation spot) and you’ll be fighting the crowds. Instead, travel close to peak season but not in it. May and September are great times to visit– for cost, lack of crowds and weather.
3. Watch the market before you buy flights. Signing up for Orbitz deal detectors (with weekly emails) can give you a sense of the ebb and flow of how flights are priced. What’s the best deal this week, might be the worst the next.
4. Be thrifty on accommodation. For most people, the point of going to Europe, is going to Europe… not sitting inside a hotel room all day. Since you’ll be exhausted from your full days, this is one area you can go low budget and not miss it.
5. Learning how to use public transportation. 1 euro metro pass or 30 euro taxi fare? Figuring out how to read metro maps, find the correct bus or book your own train ticket, is huge when considering the alternative. It’s the way the locals travel too, so you’ll get a little peek into how Europeans live.
That’s it! Easy, right?