You probably searched for airline tickets on one occasion and I thought there would be more when I was 65 and retired. Do not be discouraged! I will explain to you how you can travel to your European dream state less than you imagined possible.
Step 1. Forget about your exact travel plans
The fastest way to make your trip as expensive as possible is to narrow your search to something incredibly specific.
For example, just having a four-day Easter weekend doesn't mean it's a good time to travel. Open yourself to be flexible in travel dates, locations you travel to and where you are staying. The more flexible you are, the cheaper your trips will be.
Step 2. Determine where you really want to visit.
I know I just said it's flexible, but that doesn't mean you can't choose the place you want to visit, it means you have to be open to a path where you didn't anticipate. If you want to visit Dublin more than anything, look for flights from the US to Dublin. Chances are you can find a plane ticket from the US to another European city for much less. You can then book another short flight to Dublin for less than $ 80. It's a great way to see the land with bonuses too!
Step 3. Determine which city you will fly from
Flights to Europe vary greatly depending on the airport you are flying to, departure times and travel dates. So, a good first step can be determining which airports to fly from. If you live in a big city like New York, Boston or Los Angeles, good luck! From these cities they will find the cheapest flights to Europe. If you do not live in these cities, it is likely that you will fly past them to reach Europe. So if you can drive to one of these cities, it can be a cheap option. Otherwise, consider booking a flight to one of these hometowns. While it may seem weird, you can get cheaper flights if you book each leg individually instead of booking a ticket from your home to your destination.
Step 4. Identify the cheapest European city to fly to
The easiest way to do this is to check websites that compile all the cheapest airline tickets, so you don't have to search hundreds of flights yourself. Some websites allow you to enter the United States or a city you know you are leaving in the "from" field. In the "to" box, try to select "everywhere". Then scroll down the resulting list looking for the first / cheapest country in Europe to get to. If, for example, Norway costs $ 340 and France $ 380, then it is probably worthwhile to choose France if it is your desired destination; however, if the difference is greater than $ 100, I would first choose the cheapest airport. The annoying thing about Skyscanner is that offers are often no longer active, and sometimes you have to search through a lot of dates to find the cheapest one to travel. But patience is key and this is how you find the cheapest flights. Another word of advice is that sometimes flights go through travel agencies and it is probably worth it to look for reviews on the agency before booking a ticket, keeping in mind that happy customers rarely write reviews. But if the agency has one in five stars, it can be a gateway.
Step 5. Find an international flight that will bring you to your European dream destination
One thing most people do not realize is that it is cheap to fly from one country to another in Europe.
I flew around Europe for $ 14 one way. No joke. I never paid more than $ 60 for a flight within Europe. Use Kayak.com to find a flight to your actual destination from any country where you ended up and book the cheapest flight to Europe.
Step 6. Now that you have arrived, find a cheap or free place to stay
Everyone has their own idea of a dream vacation. If yours stays in the Ritz, then I’m surprised you read this far through this article. For most of us, we just want to stay polite somewhere while enjoying everything Europe has to offer. I have never stayed in landfill in Europe. I don't want to and I'm just not that desperate. Accommodation is reduced to four options: hotel, rental, hostel or Couchsurf.
Hotel. Staying at a hotel is a safe way, and if you are in Europe for the first time or are not very risky, then this is probably the way to go. Hotels, depending on where you visit, range from $ 20 to $ 200 per night, so you might want to keep that in mind when choosing a destination. I would not advise you to stay in Monaco unless your oil company makes record profit in the first quarter, but staying in nearby Nice might be an option. In other words, keep your options open.
Rental. Booking a room for rent, an apartment, villa or house is also a safe bet, but it can be a little more complicated than just checking into a hotel. Sites like Homeaway and Airbnb offer some really unique sites and I must say, some of my favorite places I stayed in Europe were rentals. From a villa in a Tuscany winery to a secluded mother-in-law in a quiet neighborhood outside of London, I really enjoyed staying at the rental and the cost is often much less than staying at a hotel if there is a group of you who can share the cost.
Hostel. The word hostel sparks the thoughts of scary movies, but the reality is that the difference between a hostel and a hotel is sometimes noticeable in Europe. There are certainly hostels where you can get a bunk bed in a room with five other travelers and for some people this is exciting and interesting! But just because bunk beds are not your thing does not mean that you should exclude anything that has the word hostel in its name. I stayed at some "hostels" which were as nice as a hotel.
Couchsurf. If you are really tight on budget or really important to meeting local people, there is no better way than for Couchsurf. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, visit the Couchsurfing website. Basically, the site allows you to stay for free with someone who wants to host travelers to their home for free and vice versa. People leave reviews to travelers and hosts alike, so you can be sure they are reputable. This, of course, comes with risk and precautions should be taken. In addition, you should always have a backup plan in case the situation fails.
Step 7. Eat cheap.
I focus on the needs of visiting Europe: travel, accommodation and food. Of course, there are many other ways to spend money, but these are things you have to spend money on, and food is one.
The food is amazing. I love food and the first time I went to Europe I was disappointed because I randomly wandered around restaurants and most were subpar. That all changed when I started checking TripAdvisor for restaurant reviews, that's all it takes to make every meal amazing. This was not so much money-saving advice as the general word of advice. However, TripAdvisor allows you to search at general restaurant prices, so $ is cheap and $ moderate $$$ becomes more expensive, etc.
Here are some money-saving tips: Buying groceries in Europe is usually very cheap. If you have booked an apartment with a kitchen, take advantage of it! Go shopping at your local market and buy some new weird cooking food! If you are traveling on the road, get some sandwich items to save a few bucks.
Step 8. Understand that there are even higher costs
Although your main travel expenses are accommodation and food, there will be others. Things to consider include, transportation upon arrival, fees for attractions and souvenirs.
Transportation Options Include Public Transportation. Most European cities have fantastic and cheap public transport that can be purchased with local currency or a debit card at the kiosk. Keep in mind that US credit cards often don't work because you need a chip and pin number.
Renting a car is a great option if you are planning to travel outside the cities, it is usually quite affordable and gives you ultimate freedom in mobility. Trains, while charming, are not usually a cheap way to travel across Europe. Flights are much cheaper and faster. But if you're in love with the idea of getting to know the country by train, then it's worth a try. Tickets can be purchased in advance on the Eurorail website for a fee. Or if you're more flexible and feel like it's worth the risk, you can buy them in person at the train station for usually a little less.
Step 9. Travel light
While you may not think traveling light will save you money, trust me, it will. First of all, each airline charges a baggage fee. So each leg of your flight will cost you $ 25 to $ 100 for each bag. It gathers quickly. Second, if you have two suitcases, you'll fill two suitcases full of things you probably don't need. Third, taking cheap transportation like the subway becomes frustrating and impractical when you are hauling around two naughty bags. Fourth of all, your bags must be with you at all times or at the hotel, so if you plan to check out in the morning and go to another city, you won't be able to do anything until you get to the hotel and check your bags. All in all, it's just a great pain to carry a bunch of stuff around Europe with you. My advice, and I can't stress enough, is to fit everything in one backpack. I have a 50L backpack and had everything I needed a month and a half in Europe. Yes, there are laundry facilities in Europe as well. If you say, you don't understand well because you're a guy. I traveled with two young women and they both put everything in their backpack. If you say you don't understand because you are young, I traveled with my mother to Europe and she fit everything into a standard-sized backpack! So can you!
Step 10. Always plan for the worst and hope for the best
Whenever I travel to Europe I plan my expected expenses and round up everything. I also plan for at least $ 200 in unexpected expenses. In the end, my costs are always well below this number, but I don't want to ever end up in a cost overload situation.
With 2,000 words, I gave you a short guide to Europe-on-a-budget. There are of course many other things to think about when booking a trip to Europe, but the most important thing is to just do it! Find those cheap plane tickets to Europe and book them. You can fill in all the gaps later, do not try to plan everything before you get your tickets and do not try to plan every second of every day. Leave time to spontaneously and immerse yourself in European life.