Money-Saving Tips for Travel to Europe – Part I

3. Save on accommodation

–          Share costs wherever possible: I often travel with friends, which allows us to split the hotel bills. During my latest trip to Europe I met up in Spain with my brother and sister-in-law who had flown in from Austria. The three of us rented an apartment in Conil de la Frontera on the Costa de la Luz for a week for about 400 Euros. Each one of us spent less than $200 for a week of comfortable accommodation. Two years ago I went to Mallorca with my travel buddy Gary, and we shared a one-bedroom apartment west of Palma de Mallorca for $150 for 5 days, this worked out to about $15 a day for each of us. We enjoyed a great view over the ocean and had the convenience of a kitchen to fix our own meals on one of the most expensive islands in Europe.

–          When travelling to Europe, I usually stay in very simple accommodations: single room that have their own bathrooms or sometimes even share a bath with other travellers. Rooms are generally very clean in Europe and I always make sure that I am centrally located. Last year I stayed in a hotel on Madrid’s Gran Via for 29 Euros a night, including a private bathroom. I spent $35 Euros a night for my B&B in Rome. This year I spent about 29 Euros a night again in Seville, Granada and Cordoba while I laid out about 33 Euros for my accommodation in Berlin. Each one of the hotels had a great central location, and most had their own bathrooms (except the one in Berlin that was shared with one other room). Not all of them had exterior windows, but that was also due to the construction style in Spain with its interior courtyards. However, all of them were quite comfortable and even featured high-speed Internet at no extra charge.

–          I often use low-cost booking sites such as www.hostelbookers.com or www.budgetplaces.com to find inexpensive rooms. Lately I came across the website www.airbnb.com where locals are advertising rooms for rent in many of the world’s most popular destinations. I have seen room rentals from about $15 or $20 a night, even in places like New York City. Now some of these rooms at the low end of the price range could be a room with a bunk bed or a folding bed, but the good thing is that these websites have extensive photos and travellers’ reviews, so you can get a feel for the accommodation before you book it.

–          If you have family or friends abroad you can really save money by staying with them. However, whenever I visit my family or friends, I always make sure to return the favour by taking them out for dinners, by paying for a tank of gas when we go on excursions, and by helping around the house. Always make sure that any favours you receive are appreciated and reciprocated.

Delicious food in Austria

Delicious food in Austria

4. Save on food

–          One of the best ways of saving money is to book accommodation where you can cook yourself. As I mentioned before, Mallorca is one of the most expensive islands in Europe, given that it attracts a large number of wealthy individuals who enjoy upscale travel. I realized that a simple salad in a restaurant could cost from 12 Euros and up, and main dishes with meat or seafood were often 30 Euros and up. This was certainly out of my price range, but by staying in a local apartment with a kitchen, I was able to shop in supermarkets and realized that food prices in the store were actually cheaper than those in Canada. In the end,  I was able to fix my own meals cheaper in Mallorca than back home in Toronto. By booking cheap holiday apartments and cooking myself I ended up spending very little money in one of Europe’s most expensive holiday destinations.

–          When I don’t have access to a kitchen I often buy food from the supermarket, for example fruits, baguettes and cheese, or in Austria I often buy a sandwich from the meat counter. A delicious “Wurstsemmel” (a crisp freshly baked bun, filled with cold cuts or smoked meat) will cost you less than 1.50 Euros. You can also often buy pre-packaged salads at very low prices in the local supermarkets to change up your diet.

–          Eat at local markets, not only are they colourful and full of bustling local life, you will also often get inexpensive local delicacies. In Berlin I ate “Kartoffelpuffer”  (potato pancakes), a local delicacy, for less than 2 Euros. Typical Berlin street food also includes “currywurst”, an extremely popular local curried sausage and local staple that can often be purchased for about 1.50 Euros from street vendors across the city.

–          Austrian street food also features many different types of sausages, and Austrian vineyards (“Heuriger” or “Buschenschanken”) offer great wine and excellent home-made food at outstanding prices.

–          Check out the tapas bars in Spain. During my recent trip to Andalusia I often picked up tapas for about 1.50 to 2.00 Euros a piece, and in Granada you even get free tapas if you buy a bottle of beer. You can have a very decent meal for 4 to 6 Euros per person.

–           If you are eating out, eat larger meals for lunch than dinner. The price at dinner time often goes up significantly. And it’s better anyway to eat a lighter meal at night, it’ll help you keep off any unwanted extra pounds.

Tasty tapas in Mallorca

Tasty tapas in Mallorca

Check out our article Money-Saving Tips for Travel to Europe – Part II for more money-saving ideas.

 

Check out our 2010 trip to Rome, Frascati and Orvieto.
Here is our 2010 trip to Madrid, Salamanca and Segovia.
These articles are from our 2010 trip to Asturias.
Here you can find our 2009 trip to Mallorca.
Have a peek at our 2009 trip to Prague.
Here are the articles from our 2009 trip to Austria.
Here is an article about a 2009 day trip to Slovenia.
This link will connect you to our 2008 trip to London.
Here are the articles for our 2007 trip to Austria.
This link will take you to our 2007 trip to Sicily.
Check out our Facebook fan page for photos from our 2011 trip to Andalucia (Seville, Granada, Cordoba, Cadiz, Costa de la Luz), Austria and Berlin.

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