How to Travel in Europe Cheaply

How to Travel in Europe Cheaply
Most avid walkers and hikers are motivated by the desire to explore and discover. However, travel can be expensive, and the price of an overseas vacation often keeps travelers from crossing the pond and exploring the trails of Europe. Fortunately, there are many ways to mitigate the costs of travel to Europe.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Plane tickets Hostel reservations A frequent flyer account Comfortable travel clothes Walking shoes
  • Plane tickets
  • Hostel reservations
  • A frequent flyer account
  • Comfortable travel clothes
  • Walking shoes
Step 1
Register for a frequent flyer program. Choose a program by determining where you want to go in Europe, and which airlines fly to that destination. Choose a program that has frequent flights from an airport closest to your home. Most domestic carriers have partnerships with international airlines that fly to Europe. Additionally, choose a carrier that has frequent flights to other destinations that you are likely to visit; that is the only way to earn enough points for a ticket to Europe.
Step 2
Enroll in shopping, restaurant, hotel and gas programs affiliated with your credit card. Even if you don't get enough points for a free ticket, some programs allow you to combine miles with a discount fare.
Step 3
Plan an off-season trip. Outdoor enthusiasts have an advantage. In general, they are less sensitive to heat or cold. Depending on the destination, airfares and hotels will be cheaper at certain times of the year. For example, non-holiday winter fares to Europe are cheaper than the summer season fares. This is good news for anyone interested in a European ski or snowshoe trip.
Step 4
Book your ticket for a weekday. Air travel is cheaper Monday through Thursday.
Step 5
Book a hostel. See the resource section for a list of European hostels. This type of lodging is no longer the exclusive domain of teenagers. Some even have community kitchens, so you can save money on eating out.
Step 6
Book train travel. Traveling by train is far less expensive than flying or renting a car. Use overnight trains to get to far-away destinations. You'll save money on lodging, and you'll get more time at your destination.
Step 7
Pack light. Airlines are now charging checked bag fees, so try to minimize the amount of luggage you bring.
Step 8
Eat at universities. European Universities have government-sponsored cafeterias, known as "mensas." They are often open to the general public, and offer considerable savings over traditional restaurants.

Tips & Warnings

Try to get bumped from a domestic flight. Often, airlines will overbook a flight and ask for volunteers to take a later flight. If you agree, you will be given travel dollars worth anywhere between $200 and $600. These can be applied to a European trip.
Certain cheap fares are non-refundable.

Article Written By Lisa Mercer

In 1999, Lisa Mercer’s fitness, travel and skiing expertise inspired a writing career. Her books include "Open Your Heart with Winter Fitness" and "101 Women's Fitness Tips." Her articles have appeared in "Aspen Magazine," "HerSports," "32 Degrees," "Pregnancy Magazine" and "Wired." Mercer has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the City College of New York.

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