It’s easy to get nervous when adding up the costs of living abroad and traveling. By making choices about my priorities, I was able to afford to live a life I loved and explore Europe’s beauty during the six months I spent there. Along the way, I gathered passport stamps from eight different countries, and discovered some helpful tips for making the most of your travels in Europe while staying on budget.
Opt for undiscovered destinations
Cities like Paris and London are on top of every traveler’s list. But tourist favorites, especially cities in Western Europe, will drive up the price of your travels.
I booked a trip to Split in Croatia because the flight was cheap. I knew nothing about the city before getting there. It is, to date, one of my favorite destinations. I visited the waterfalls in Krka National Park and the old town where Game of Thrones was filmed. In five days in Split, I spent less than $240.
Often, the hidden and relatively undiscovered destinations can make for much more rewarding travels. I was hesitant to go to Eastern Europe because it is less developed, but what I experienced was nothing less than endearing hospitality. If you are able to muster up the courage to travel to more undiscovered places, cost savings and a sense of adventure will be your reward.
Add events to your list of things to do
Every city in Europe has its list of “Top 10 Things to Do.” If you’d like more authentic and local activities while visiting, I would recommend a quick search online for events or concerts.
Through a few Google searches and looking around the Cambridge University website, I was able to find their University Public Lectures, and attended a lecture there while I was in the U.K. The lecture was from a Cambridge Professor and completely free. Because I was attending the lecture, I got to visit a college in Cambridge that isn’t normally open to visitors.
In Amsterdam, I found a concert at Paradiso and discovered an amazing gospel singer. Paradiso is a concert venue famous throughout Europe, housed in a former church from the 19th century, but I never would’ve known about it if I hadn’t taken the time to research.
Go beyond the city limits
As you travel, you’ll get a sense of your own pace. The hustle of Europe’s cities can be exhausting for your health and budget, so looking beyond the city limits for accommodation and things to do can certainly pay off.
In Milan, tired from traveling overnight, I opted for a day trip to nearby Lake Como instead of spending a day exploring the sights of the city. The train to Lake Como, plus the food there, cost less than visiting the Cathedral in Milan.
In Rome, I spent just $42 on accommodation near the airport with direct access to Rome’s main attractions through public transport. Despite not being in the city center, I was just a couple blocks away from a beach, grocery store, and a pizzeria.
Travel is not always easy, it can be stressful and nerve racking. Looking beyond the obvious tourist experiences not only helps you to save money, it can also allow you to find surprising and memorable adventures.
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