Is traveling to Europe expensive? This is a common question I get asked now and people are surprised when I throw out lower than expected numbers. For years I used to think traveling to Europe is extremely expensive and never attempted it. Now that I took the plunge, it can be just as expensive as going to the Caribbean from the US or cheaper. So here are some tips to saving money when traveling to Europe from the US:
1. Avoid flying to Europe around Summer time. This is usually the months of late June to the beginning of September. Ticket prices can literally double in price but if you just wait till the fall time or go in the spring time. I’ve been to Europe in both seasons and it’s just as nice. If you really want to go in the summertime and don’t mind the extra cost, go for it.
2. Don’t be a typical American by staying in a big commercial hotel. Now, I wouldn’t recommend Hostels for everyone because it is not for everyone. If you’re younger, Hostels can be a great option especially when it comes to meeting people and saving money at the same time (Avg cost is around $30-40 USD a night). There are plenty of corporate type Hostels that feel like Hotel rooms except you’re sleeping in bunk-beds. I’ve stayed in many hostels in different cities and had great experiences with people that I still keep in contact with. If you really don’t want to share a room or sleep in a bunk-bed, then I highly recommend utilizing AirBNB. I’ve used AirBNB in Europe as well and they are extremely cost effective, comfortable and they can keep you in neighborhoods where the locals stay and food is cheaper than the typical tourist areas.
For hostels, read reviews and purchase your bed at www.hostelworld.com
3. Flying in Western Europe and parts of Central Europe is extremely cheap. You can literally get 1 way tickets for $30-50 USD which is unheard of in America. Airport security is much easier in Europe and depending on the country you fly to, customs is very relaxed. So showing up 2 hours before your flight could leave you waiting an 1 1/2 hours for your flight. Keep in mind that some of the cheaper flights travel into smaller airports that are outside of the city you’re looking to visit, so please research how far the airport is from your final destination and how you’re able to get there from the airport (Taxi, Train or Bus).
4. Use public transportation! Unlike in America, public transportation works very efficiently and it’s very cost effective. There are day, week and monthly passes you can purchase in most of the popular cities. Yes, taxi’s are typically everywhere and you can use them. They are safe and usually in very comfortable vehicles but they are pricey and it adds up every time you decide to go that route. Don’t be afraid of getting lost, there are typically signs everywhere, the ticket kiosks have English options and most people in cities speak English so you can ask for help. Remember also, Google Maps is your friend and will tell you which trains to use.
Do you need to learn the native language of the country that you’re visiting? The major advantage of being American is that our native language is English and it’s just about a world wide second language, especially in Europe. Can or should you learn the basics of the native languages…sure you can if you want to but it’s not likely that you will need it. I personally started learning German so I’m comfortable speaking it when I’m in Germany but I’m personally looking to initiate conversations in German. The rule is if they say they don’t speak English, they know a little English. If they say they speak a little English, they speak English. If they say they speak English, they are fully fluent.
Is Europe safe? Can I travel there alone? In General, Western and Central Europe is extremely safe. Every country and city has their own local problems but as a tourist, you’re very safe moving about not only in tourist spots but in everyday neighborhoods. Is it safe to travel alone? Most certainly. I travel alone to Europe all the time and I’ve never felt unsafe. I mostly get asked this question by women who are interested in going but don’t want to go alone for concern of their safety. I can not speak from the perspective of a woman of course but I’ve met plenty of solo traveling women and they have no issues and enjoy it. Now being that it is general safe, it doesn’t mean you should not use common sense when moving about. Don’t tell everyone that you’re alone, watch your personal space and trust your instincts. I also like to ask Taxi drivers and locals what I should look out for or what areas I should avoid, they will definitely let you know.
Do you have any additional articles about traveling in Europe? Yes.