Travelling cheap to Europe as a student was a requisite for me when I first began my quest for exploring the continent. Back in the day, I was 17 years old.
I had realised well in time that the only way to explore Europe cheap as a student was to be a budget traveller and a backpacker. This was my key finding.
This one learning helped me in my odyssey not just around Europe but the world at large. As a passionate student once, I’d like to share my list of secrets that I uncovered in my student years.
19 Secret Tricks for Travelling Cheap to Europe as a Student
|1. Give Couchsurfing a try|
|2. Say no to summer trips|
|3. Avoid travelling solo|
|4. Bunk in hostels|
|5. Hop onto Busabout|
|6. Be smart about locales|
|7. Learn to ride a bike|
|8. Be a decent cook|
|9. Avail frequent flyer miles|
|10. Enjoy happy hours|
|11. Purchase the Eurail pass|
|12. Make use of the Blah Blah Car|
|13. Buy inclusive passes|
|14. Eat on the street|
|15. Be trippy off season|
|16. Hitchhike every once in a while|
|17. Take free walking tours|
|18. Shop small souvenirs|
|19. Clubs countries together|
1. Give Couchsurfing a try
Ever wished you could save money on accommodation in Europe? Ever wished that the accommodation was completely free ? Well, somebody thought of this is 2004 and introduced travellers around the world to the concept of free and friendly stays. That somebody was Mr. Casey Fenton – the Founder of couchsurfing.com.
This is how Couchsurfing works – Travellers open to this idea and part of the global community avail the friendly hospitality of a host or a host family who open their homes for free. So you stay at somebody’s place and don’t pay the money. You pay in kindness and perhaps taking small heartwarming souvenirs from your native country.
Don’t worry! Couchsurfing is Safe
If you want to experience travelling cheap to Europe as a student, you have got to give couchsurfing a try. In case you are worried about your safety as a traveller availing couchsurfing, give this study by Rosen, D. , Lafontaine, P.R and Hendrickson, B. a good read.
Personally, I’ve availed couchsurfing thrice in Europe and am addicted to the idea for life. It’s a brilliant concept, not just to save money but actually forge travel bonds. By the way, more than 14 million travellers are a part of the couchsurfing community.
2. Say no to summer trips
I know most students plan trips to Europe around summers but it’s too bad a season to travel from a budget point of view. Summers see an influx of travellers to most European countries and so the prices are fly high, both for accommodation and flights. Also, sightseeing.
Hence, avoid travelling during the peak summer season. Else, you won’t be able to experience travelling cheap to Europe as a student.
3. Avoid travelling solo
No, I am not against solo travel. In fact, I’ve travelled half the world alone. And this is exactly why I realize now that it costed me a lot more than group travel would. Not to forget, longing for some cheerful company while travelling for a longer time.
Travelling solo has its own advantages and students must try solo travel every once a while. That being said, Europe isn’t an ideal place for taking solo trips for travelling students, given the high cost of travel overall.
So club along a friend, a loved one or a trusted stranger from an online travel community, but travel together and save big time.
4. Bunk in hostels
As a student traveller, you will spend most of your time outdoors exploring a new place. Hence, it is not at all recommended that you spend huge chunks of your currency on staying indoors.
As long as you can find budget stays that are affordable, hygienic and safe, please go for hostels.
You can avail a dorm, a bed, or even an entire room in good hostels across Europe. These will help you travel cheap and spend more money on sightseeing – Your core intent of the trip.
5. Hop on to Busabout
If you’re a hard core backpacker but flexible with routes or itineraries, you should be availing services of Busabout across Europe. These guys link up to 47 cities throughout Europe.
Busabout allows for lots of flexibility when it comes to travelling around places in Europe. There might be a last minute event you’d like to attend as a student or a dance show or perhaps just left over sightseeing.
In cases like these Busabout will come to your rescue. By the way, Busabout has some fantastic crew mates that will serve as local knowledgeable guides.
6. Be smart about locales to cover
As long as you choose places in Europe where budget travel is a reality, you have nothing to worry about. So one of the first tricks to keep in mind as a student wanting to explore Europe on a budget is a list of pocket friendly places.
I’ve compiled a list of 11 countries in Europe that won’t hurt your pocket as a student. Therefore, if you feel like, give it a read and make your pick as a budget traveller.
Some countries are most certainly cheaper than others and therefore, visiting them will prove a lot more resourceful. Travelling cheap to Europe as a student will be a reality in all of these 11 nations.
7. Learn to ride a bike
If there is one thing I would love to shout out loud to all the student travellers out there, that would be to please learn cycling. Not only will it help keep you fit on your trips but more importantly, help you end up saving so much money.
Riding a bike will allow you to explore most parts of the cities on your own without having to rely on cabs. Cycling will allow you stay at places slightly distant from city centre because you won’t have to worry about conveyance.
Cycling will help you explore places that can’t ever be visited by main stream transport options.
8. Be a decent cook
I know this might sound like a nightmare for most student travellers but I’m telling you cooking yourself is a great way to save money on your European trip.
A lot of hostels offer common kitchens and so if you are a food enthusiast, buy groceries from the street and cook yourself.
Some how if your itinerary doesn’t allow for you to stay at one place for long, then you shouldn’t be cooking. However, if you are in Europe for weeks or even months together, then cooking will surely prove so beneficial.
9. Avail frequent flyer miles
Frequent Flyer Miles should surely be availed by students who travel a lot more than usual.
Basically, by accumulating points in air travel, you can earn great discounts on tickets. In fact, some times your points can add up to so much that an entire travel ticket abroad (return included) wouldn’t cost you anything.
If you feel like learning more about the effectiveness of the Frequent Flyer Program, give this study by Clyde Kenneth Waltery and Yoshinori Suzuki a good read. You’ll understand how to use the program effectively.
10. Enjoy happy hours
Please avail happy hours at eateries, dining places, coffee shops and pubs. You’ll be able to enjoy your favourite beverages and even food items for such reasonable prices.
Most places have slate boards highlighting the exact time of the day, featured under happy hours.
During your research as a student traveller, make a good note of budget eating and drinking places. Then, finally get to know their happy hours.
11. Purchase the Eurail pass
If you want to experience travelling cheap to Europe as a student, you have got to avail the Eurail Pass. It covers more than 30 nations of Europe and helps you travel externally in the most economical way possible.
Try travelling overnight as well availing this pass. By doing this, you will be able to save hugely on accommodation costs as well.
Take advantage of the discounts and the price reductions. Club more than 3 rides together and you’ll justify the cost of the Eurail Pass.
12. Make use of the Blah Blah Car
Bla Bla Car is a very underestimated service availed by student travellers in Europe. These guys basically work on the concept of trustworthy carpooling.
It’s cheaper than cabs and private taxis. Also, a great way to connect with fellow travellers.
I was quite sceptical of using a Bla Bla car at first but now that I’ve tried it a couple of times, I highly recommend it. Give it a shot and end up making travel stories more fun and affordable.
13. Buy inclusive passes
A lot of places across Europe, provide the option of witnessing places, events, concerts, shows, amusement parks, museums and what not under a single pass. This will serve like a one time investment for your trip but benefit you hugely.
For students staying more than a week in a single country or a place, these passes are a boon. In fact, staying more at one place will justify the cost of the pass completely.
14. Eat at the street
By eating at the street, I don’t apply roadside. I imply street food and savouring food at smaller eateries. Munching a hot dog, a croissant, a pizza slice won’t hurt on the street. Right ?
Plus you get to taste the local flavour of the food across European cities. Street food is both fancy as well as savoury in Europe. So please give it a try.
Sometimes, the most local eateries and mini cafes offer the most delectable experience for travellers. And so, why miss out on the experience.
15. Be trippy off season
Travelling off season is always a good idea for taking a budget trip to Europe. The accommodation prices are less, flights are cheaper and the overall expenses are less.
So before exploring the cheapest European countries, invest some quality time in doing good research to understand the travel seasons of particular countries.
16. Hitchhike every once in a while
Hitchhiking in Europe is actually a good idea. It isn’t as scary as most people assume it to be. Some travellers love hitchhiking so much that they almost always go for it in Europe. By the way, hitchhiking is completely legal in Europe.
As a passionate student traveller I request all of you to start taking hitchhiking seriously. Every once in a while, do things that are outside your comfort zone. They will help you connect as a traveller more and surely make your trips to Europe more affordable.
17. Take free walking tours
Free walking tours don’t cost you a thing and so you must avail them.
Almost every travel locale in Europe can be mapped under the free walking tour concept.
All you need to do is understand the place, take help of Google Maps or even a local travel map and venture out as a happy traveller, strolling the streets.
18. Shop small souvenirs
The one thing you should absolutely abstain from in Europe as a student traveller is shopping. The only thing that you must take back with you are pretty souvenirs. Other than that, nothing should hurt your pocket.
Departmental stores across Europe offer pretty little souvenirs at quite nominal prices. So buy a few for yourself, friends and family. But that should be all.
19. Club countries together
Since flights are usually expensive to any part of the European continent, I would highly recommend to club countries together. Clubbing countries will increase the duration of your travel time but you won’t have to spend on flights again and again. That would be a one time expense and then between countries, you can travel in Europe via trains.
There is no dearth of countries that can be clubbed together. For example, Moldova and Ukraine can be clubbed together. Croatia, Slovakia and Hungary can be clubbed together. Hungary and Romania can be clubbed together, so on and so forth.
Countries Encouraging Travelling Cheap to Europe as a Student
As surprising as it may sound but truth is, that there exists a lot of European nations where student travellers can go tripping resourcefully.
In the last few years of my travel odyssey, I’ve come across at least 11 nations in Europe that won’t hurt your pocket as much as you assume them to be.
I found this the hard way. I hope my blog helps you to get it easy.
If you’re a passionate student traveller, feel free to leave your questions in the comments section below. I’ll be sure to revert at the earliest.