How to plan a budget friendly trip
Congratulations, you are one of the lucky people who got a DiscoverEU travel pass! With this travel pass in the pocket, you’ve already saved a lot of money.
However, you still need to pay for accommodation, food, visits and other expenses. To make your journey as affordable as possible, we are happy to share our tips and tricks.
Accommodation is one of the biggest costs travellers have. Reducing that cost can lead to huge savings.
- Stay at a friend’s or family member’s place! This is also an opportunity for you to discover the country through the eyes of a local. Your friend or family member already lives there, and knows the do’s and don’ts. What are the best and cheapest restaurants? What is worth visiting? And what should be avoided? Ask them!
Tip! The hospitality of your host should be appreciated, so be grateful and respectful! To thank them, you could give them something typical from your own country for example (who doesn’t like Belgian chocolate or Dutch “stroopwafels”?)
- Stay in hostels! The rooms in there are dormitory-style with all the facilities shared (shower and toilets for example). However, it is often also possible to book a smaller dormitory room, singles and doubles, depending on your preferences. Many hostels also have facilities like free Wi-Fi, a bar, lockers, towels and more.
Tip! Staying at a hostel is a great opportunity to connect with other travellers from all over the European Union and beyond. Feel free to start a conversation with someone you don’t know. You’ll probably learn something from each other; and maybe this is even the beginning of a new (international) friendship.
Hostelworld is for example a useful site that can help you to find the hostel that suits you the most.
- Are you more a nature lover? Do you literally want to get off the beaten path?
Go camping! A camping will probably be a bit harder to reach than a hostel, but it’s definitely worth it!
- Book an Airbnb! Another option is to rent short-time lodging. On the Airbnb site you find a huge community of people who rent out their apartments, rooms, homestays, cottages et cetera. Explore their website and find a great accommodation for a good price.
- Book a hotel! Hotels are normally most expensive. But know the exceptions!
Fancy “business hotels” are desperate for customers in summer, when their business customers stay away. Some offer some amazing deals through the local tourist information offices. The later you arrive, the better the discount.
And if you have the opportunity to travel in September or October, you will notice that the prices of many tourist hotels are more affordable.
Maybe you find a good hotel on Booking.com.
Sightseeing and activities
- Get a European Youth Card! This is packed with discounts on culture, accommodation, travel, shopping and more.
Everyone under the age of 30 (or 26, depending on the country or region) can become a cardholder – you don’t have to be a student or a resident of a European country. You can find a quick overview of countries and their age limits here.
The card costs between EUR 5 and EUR 19, depending on where you purchase it, but you will always be able to use it wherever you see the European Youth Card logo. The card is usually issued for one year.
Check out the site to find out which possibilities the European Youth Card has to offer.
- Do a free walking tour! In many European cities, it is possible to do a free guided tour through the centre. This is a nice and cheap way to learn about the history of the city; and the guide usually also gives you some useful “insider” information.
Afterwards, you’re expected to give a tip, but you can decide how much money you want to give. Normally the tour guides put effort to make the tour as fun and interesting as possible, because the money they earn (the tips!) depend on their performance.
- Share your point of view! Try to find a point where you have a great view over the city/country side. Gather with your (new) friends, get something to drink and eat, and share your (point of) view! Normally this is a cheap way of spending a nice evening.
- Walk! Take the bike!
- Even though you get the travel pass for free, you still need to pay for the seat reservations, accommodation, food and other expenses. We estimated that you will need about €50 until €100 per day, also depending on the country you travel.
- Keep track of your daily expenses. Like this, you’ll have an overview of your expenses and won’t have any surprises by the time you come back from your trip.
- Consider creating a common pot with your travel group. This will make it easier to pay a common bill (for example in a restaurant or when you book a group excursion).