Three Travel Tips: Ways to Save Money in Europe

Travel Blog  •  Michael Yessis  •  08.09.07 | 11:03 AM ET

imageTravel tips are easy to find on the Internet, but some are better than others. Each week, we’ll bring you World Hum-approved travel tips from around the Web.

1) Eat seasonally. “Germans go crazy for white asparagus. Italians lap up porcini mushrooms. And Spaniards gobble their snails (caracoles)—but only when waiters announce that they’re fresh today. You’ll get more taste for less money throughout Europe by ordering what’s in season.”—Rick Steves.

2) Stay local. “To stay within budget, choose places that are relatively close together. Your trip’s cost will greatly increase if you want to hop around all of Europe in a short time. If you have less than a month, pick a region and hit various places in that area. For your next trip, choose a different area. If you try to do too much, you’ll end up broke and exhausted.”—Kayla Webley, Scripps Howard News Service.

3) Sleep on a train. “Your long-haul transportation and accommodations are taken…care of and you gain one more day for exploration. Bring a meal and snacks with you, since the dining car prices are often outrageous. Water is essential and will help you avoid that hangover effect if you do not sleep well. If you decide against the sleeper-car, an inflatable neck-pillow is important.”—Ray Bangs, at Transitions Abroad.

Got a tip for saving money in Europe? Share it below.

Related on World Hum:
* Three Travel Tips: Clever Uses for Your Digital Camera
* Two Words on Being a Better Traveler: ‘Be Counterintuitive’
* Tips on Using TripAdvisor, or How to Not Get the Room Next to the Jackhammering at 5 a.m.

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Photo of white asparagus by dsearles, via Flickr (Creative Commons).

9 Comments for Three Travel Tips: Ways to Save Money in Europe

Eva 08.09.07 | 2:45 PM ET

It’s totally worth paying a little extra every night to stay in a hostel with a decent kitchen, fridge space, etc. Ditto on paying extra to stay within walking distance of the stuff you want to see, so you don’t have to pay for public transit. (Of course it’s even cheaper to stay at the far-away, cheap place, and just expand the definition of ‘walking distance’ a little…)

We also tried to pick cities with lots of smaller towns or other places within day-tripping distance (which we defined pretty loosely as less than two hours on a train each way), that way we could set up camp for a week or two but still see more than one town - no need to use up groceries, etc, and it also meant fewer stressful times wandering around lost with huge backpacks in search of a hostel. Not a money saver but certainly a sanity/stamina saver.

WindowSeat Jenn 08.09.07 | 2:45 PM ET

Great tips!

To go along with the eat seasonally suggestion, I also recommend stopping at a local farmers market and grabbing fresh munchies for a picnic lunch. It’s fun to explore goodies in the market, and the food is oh-so-good! For just a few Euros, you can also grab a bite at one of the many street vendors you see along the way. (A must-do for hot crepes in Paris!)

Also, do your homework ahead of time and find out if one of your must-see attractions has a free or discount day. Just keep in mind that freebies lure crowds, so go early if you want to take advantage of a discounted attraction!

Scribetrotter 09.02.07 | 2:28 AM ET

For inexpensive food in France, you’re never more than a stone’s throw away from a boulangerie, or bakery - filled with baguettes (French bread), croissants and pain au chocolat (square croissant filled with chocolate). Ubiquitous, and cheap. Add a bit of pate from the local ‘traiteur’ and cheese from the ‘cremerie’ or supermarket and you’re in for a feast.

In Italy, the corner ‘trattoria’ has home-made dishes which you can get to go. You’ll also find ‘pizza all’etto’ - pizza by the square or by weight. Just point to your favoured topping and off you go.

shirley woodlee 09.23.07 | 9:25 PM ET

i would like to order the cds on
europe, any suggestions on how i may
do this?

thank you

Craig of 11.18.07 | 12:01 PM ET

Kitchens are essential for your living environment. Not only do they allow you to prepare food at lower costs (not just pasta and rice, people)—but it’s one of the best places outside a bar to pickup on the opposite sex.

Compound Interest Calculator 02.21.08 | 7:04 PM ET

Good article. Great way to save is let the money sit in the bank.

Nora Dunn 03.13.08 | 11:34 PM ET

Great tips! On the topics of food/cheap/travel (my three favorite topics), I wrote a little something about it here:

Ernesto Licon 05.09.08 | 12:47 PM ET

Another way to save money in Europe is to buy cokes at the supermarket and carry them in your backpack, this will cost you 1 euro instead of 2.5 to 3 euros

Jim Bisnett 05.15.08 | 2:52 PM ET

Nice Stuff.  Also add a daily budget.  It’s easy to go overboard spending without a constraint, especially in Europe.

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