How to Survive Europe on a Budget

We all know just how incredibly expensive Europe can be. As a backpacker traveling for a year, I looked at Europe with fear for just how much I could possibly spend. It was because of my desire to keep traveling for an entire year that I did tons of research, finding ways to make Europe affordable. So far, I’ve broken them up in to categories of how I have found ways to make Europe less treacherous.


Skyscanner is how I book my flights. This platform searches every airline and travel agency to find the cheapest flight possible for you. It even comes equipped with a tool that allows you to find what days would be cheapest to fly to your destination.

GoEuro is a bus line that offers travelers a way to get between cities or even countries at a much lower cost than trains.

Blablacar: You can travel for a low cost by catching a ride with people driving to your next destination. You have to make an account and once you do, you are able to search your low-cost options.

Metro Cards: Lots of major cities have metro cards that you can buy that will save you a lot. London has the Oyster Card, Paris a weekly pass for about 27 euro and even Spain has a v10 pass that gives you ten trips for 10 euro.


Hostelworld is the way to go. You get to stay in the desired location at a budget price and also meet fellow travelers who know the scoop on what to see in the city you are in. I always make a point to book a place in the city center so as to cut the cost of transportation. Also look into places that provide free breakfast in the cost to cut the expense of food.

AirBnb: Hostel prices increase over weekends to meet the demand for Europeans traveling mostly during that time period. I have found that it is actually cheaper to switch to an Air Bnb for weekend stays. Be wary to book these in advance because the good bookings are usually booked up if you wait until last minute.

Couchsurf: They have an app where you can actually sleep at someone’s house for free. You can even view reviews from other couchsurfers who have spent the night at their house to see if the person is a decent host. I have typically made friends throughout my travels who have offered me free stay when I came to their country which helped me a lot.


Cook In: Food can definitely add up when you are traveling. When I look for hostels, I find ones equipped with kitchens so that I can head to the supermarket and cook food for myself at the hostel. Even if your hostel doesn’t have a kitchen, supermarkets have premade dishes that you can buy for half the price of street food and restaurants.

Street Food: When you are out and about and don’t want another meal cooked at the hostel, find street food rather than eating at a restaurant.

Tap Water: Research if the country you are in has safe tap water to drink. That way you can head about town with a water bottle, taking pit stops at a Starbucks or a place you are eating at to refill your water bottle.


Pregame: Partying will usually be the BIGGEST expense while traveling. Drinks at bars and clubs can add up quite quickly. Head to the supermarket and grab a bottle or beers to drink before heading out for a night in town.

Guest list: Some places have online guest lists where you can add your name to avoid entrance fees. I would always check before heading to a place if this option is available.


Often times, students are given a discount to enter sights and museums. There are also free museum days as well that you can look into. Some places offer cheaper prices for the times you go to the place such as the Guinness Factory in Dublin, which offered lower prices if you booked a morning tour.

Free Walking Tours: Every major city has free walking tours. It’s a great way to get to know the city and its highlights. All that is asked is a donation in the end seeing how that is how the tour guides make their money.

So there you have it! All the tricks I have been using to get by in Europe. Good luck on your travels!

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