5 Tips for Experiencing Europe on a Budget

  1. Take a bus or train if you can

It’s definitely not the most luxurious option, but it can save you come serious cash. While abroad, I never paid more than $20 for bus fare, and they almost always had wifi and provided some sort of food and drink. If the city you’re traveling to is somewhat close, you should definitely look into busses and trains as they are abundant throughout Europe.

Photo courtesy of Student Agency.

  1. Skyscanner

When the country is too far for trains and busses, Skyscanner is the site you’ll want to visit in order to find the cheapest flights. This site compares prices from dozens of different travel sites, and is really simple to use. One great feature of this site is the ability to put in the city you’re leaving and leave the destination blank. This search will find you the cheapest flights available to all destinations. This is great if you know you want to go somewhere for the weekend, but are not sure where to travel. Leave the destination blank, and Skyscanner will tell you where you can go from the least to most expensive option.

  1. Hostelworld & Airbnb

Every city I went visited, I used one of these two sites to find where I was going to stay. Hostelworld will show you inexpensive hostels to stay in, and how people rated them. Airbnb gives you the opportunity to stay at someone’s apartment or home, and is usually around half the price of a hotel. If you’re traveling alone or with just one or two other people, hostels are great as they are cheap and you will likely meet some fellow travelers. Airbnb is a fantastic option because you get your own nice space, and you can almost feel ‘at home’ while you’re away.

Photo courtesy of Life Hack.

  1. Public Transportation

One of the biggest advantages European cities have over American metropolises is ease of public transportation. You can get anywhere by tram, metra, or bus, and it usually doesn’t take much longer than getting a cab. Find out where to buy passes and use a mapping application (such as google maps) on your cell phone to find out the best route to take to get to your destination. Not only will you save yourself a lot of money, but you’ll also get a feel for the culture from the locals as you navigate.

  1. Research the country

When traveling from one country in Europe to another, you can expect to find a great variance in, not only culture, but also cost of living. The cost of buying one meal in Copenhagen might be enough to pay for a weekend of meals in Budapest. Before going embarking on your weekend excursion, make sure to research the cost of living in your destination so you won’t experience “sticker shock”, and you’ll have enough money to not have to borrow from friends or call your parents when you run out.

Train - Brian McCarthy

Photo courtesy of Brian McCarthy.


Brian McCarthy is a senior at the University of Kentucky studying Business Economics and International Business. During his time abroad, Brian participated in the University of Economics program in Prague during the 2015 spring semester.