40 Travel Tips for Europe

By on 30/06/2014

Save Money While Traveling Across Europe


Vacationing in Europe can be exciting but expensive. Uptown Towns travel experts bring you the lowdown on how to plan an affordable trip to Europe that stays within your finances. Follow our tips and we ensure you’ll find the most bang of your dollar. We’ve put together a list of 40  travel tips Europe and hacks for discovering Europe on a budget.

ColiseumBefore Arrival in Europe (of course!!!)

  1. Avoid traveling in the summers as it’s probably the worst time to visit. Prices are at its peak and everything seems to be booked up. The cities are uncomfortable crowded as locals are busy holidaying too. For a better deal, travel off – season and you can save up to 40 per cent on just hotel prices.
  2. Take a virtual trip around Europe through photographs, documentaries and movies. For example, rent yourself ‘Room with a View’ or ‘The Girl on the Bridge’ or ‘Sound of Music’ and many more. These flicks are sure to inspire you to travel across Europe.
  3. Load your phone or tablet with some free, user-friendly mobile apps like Journey Pro, National Rail, Kabbee, etc. to help you make decisions on-the-go.

Arrival in Europedominican-cathedral-top-view-nighttime1

  1. Visit the tourist information center and look out for free maps, guides, cost-free events and even discounts. Many tourist attractions offer discounts for groups or for those who are planning to visit more than one site (bundle ticketing). Also, look out for bars, cafes, restaurants and pubs that are advertising happy hours or discounts on their menus.
  2. Some cities in Europe offer all-inclusive passes that includes access to some attractions as well as public transport. For example, there is the Oslo Welcome Card or the Berlin Welcome Card, which offer free public transportation and lots of discounts to tours, attractions, museums and restaurants.
  3. Walk as much as you can. Not only is it healthy and a money saver, it is also fun. Enjoy the beauty of Europe walking. Alternatively, invest in a day, 3-day or weekly public transport pass which should work out cheaper than single tickets.
  4. Live in your own cities as tourists and travel the globe as if you were locals. Join the locals at pubs for happy hours, cheer local sports matches (free or cheap), see a local fair or a festival and join in it. All these are ways that provide an insight into how people from another culture live their life and major tourist attraction. This should be your goal in life.
  5. Accessing the Internet and roaming phone charges can be ridiculously expensive (and depressing). To avoid costly bills at the end of the trip, buy yourself a local sim and local internet data card. Use this on your phone tablet or any mobile device. Try making most of apps like Face Time, Viber, Skype, etc. to make international calls to friends and family.

grand-canal-venice-italy1Traveling Across Europe

  1. Try trains (especially local and regional trains) for some very scenic and cost-effective journeys. Be flexible with your itinerary and look out for low cost train services like Ouigo in France. If you plan to break your long journey into multiple stops, consider using the left luggage facility, which is available on all train stations across Europe. If you can plan your trip in advance, you will be able avail of many savings by booking in advance. For longer distances, it’s best to try the overnight trains. While this way you save on some time, you don’t pay an extra night at the hotel and also save some money as these tend to be much cheaper than day rides. Moreover, the sleeper trains are comfortable and extremely convenient.
  2. If you can, why not travel by bike. This saves you money, is excellent for your health as well as saves you money. If you like the idea, sign onto the Warmshowers website that is like Couchsurfing but for cycle tourists. The website matches shelter-less cyclists with locals who are willing to accommodate them for an exchange of experiences and culture rather than exchange of money.
  3. Solo or double? We say double it up with your partner or friend. Traveling in Europe alone can be expensive. This is because many hotels charge supplements for solo travelers plus single rooms tend to be very basic. The cost of accommodating the second person is more or less the same as a single traveler.
  4. When traveling solo and on a budget, you might want to check Busabout which is an alternative to Interrail and offers hop-on-hop-off bus passes across Europe. Moreover, it’s a great way to connect with other solo travelers.
  5. You might hate traveling by bus, but for the budget – friendly, there may be many low-cost luxury bus operators all across Europe.
  6. Thanks to low-cost airlines like Ryanair and easyJet (that have been an inspiration for many more); travelling by air across Europe is a lot cheaper. Even with the hidden extras, the fares are pretty decent and well worth it especially when travelling over long distances.


  1. Do not withdraw money from an ATM abroad unless you really really really need it as you are bound to get a very poor exchange rate from the bank. Moreover, you will also be paying a service or transaction fee for the withdrawal. Make sure you check this out with your bank at home as there are some who say just the opposite.
  2. Do not buy travel currency at the airport as you are sure to get ripped off. This is a universal truth.


  1. Book yourself in a luxury hostel. Search for them on the Internet and book yourself in one in advance. If traveling with families, there are some family friendly hostels popping up across Europe.
  2. Book a family room or a quad as you pay little more and get better value.
  3. Rent an apartment and shop at the local outdoor market for meal ingredients to save money on the meals bills. Try websites like HomeAway or HouseTrip to book an apartment.
  4. Book yourself in a budget hotel chain like Ibis or Travelodge if you are looking for low-priced and some comfortable sleep hotels.
  5. A new breed of budget boutique hotels like Tune Hotels, London, Yotel, Gatwick or Bazar, Rotterdam seems to be emerging all across the world.
  6. In most major cities, you will get cheaper room nights if you willing to stay away from the city centre.
  7. Housesitting is a cool way to find some free accommodation in Europe. Moreover, couchsurfing.org is a good way to meet new friends and explore a country.
  8. Sleep cheap but spend your money on something cool like a drink at a posh club or a meal at a grand restaurant. Don’t forget to take lots of pictures!

Eat1229290-eiffel_tower_day (This is fun because you will be living as the locals)

  1. Limit eating at restaurants but enjoy the other ways the locals eat. However, if you are a foodie, visit restaurants for lunch rather than dinner as many restaurants offer the menu of the day.
  2. Apartments and some hostels give you the facility of a fully equipped kitchen where you can cook and limit restaurant bills. It is fun to shop the markets and then have to cook different foods.
  3. Shop locally at local markets and farmer markets for some good deals. Ask your accommodation receptionist where they shop to know where bargains are.
  4. In Spain, the cheapest way to eat out is by ordering the Menu del Dia-a, which is a fixed menu offered at lunchtime and consists of a first and second course, dessert and coffee.
  5. In Northern Italy, the cheapest way to eat out is during evenings when you can go out for an apertivo (generally between 7 and 9 pm). You order an apertif (a glass or wine or martini or cocktail) and get access to a buffet or some tasty appetizers on the table.
  6. Visit local bakeries to get a taste of their region as well as enjoy some fresh hot pasties, which make up a light and cheap lunch. Especially, in Italy do visit the bakeries for some economical and fresh food unlike the supermarkets. In France, the bakeries are sumptuous. There are often cafés were you can eat your croissants.
  7. In Rome (and some other Italian cities), the tavola caida or cafeteria offers some great lunchtime options for locals on a budget.
  8. In Italy, if you are planning a quick coffee, buy yourself one at the bar. You are sure to get a cheaper deal.
  9. Save money and keep cool in Italy and Switzerland by refilling your water bottle with fresh spring water that runs freely from their fountains.

denmark_frederiksborg_castle_i_by_pingallery-d60o85rMusic and Museum

  1. Go for a free concert. Many cities host music events for free. Google them for exact rates before embarking on your journey.
  2. At least, there is something for free in Europe. Yes, many museums in Europe are for free or are open one day a week for everyone.  And trust us; there are some good and popular ones too. Find out about them from travel websites or the tourist office.
  3. Always remember, entry to all state run museums in the UK is free of charge for people of all ages.
  4. In Italy, children under the age of 18 are allowed free entry to all state run museums.
  5. In Paris, plan your trip around the first Sunday of the month when most museums have free entry.
  6. In Berlin, the Museum of Contemporary Art is free from 4 to 8 pm on Thursdays.
  7. At museums and other tourist attractions, enquire about special rates for children, students, seniors, disabled or small groups.

We hope you enjoyed reading our list of tips. However, if we’ve missed out anything, we’d welcome your tips, comments and feedback in the section below. Remember, it is a misconception that Europe is expensive. You just have to be creative.


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