A European holiday is a big dream for many. I just got lucky because I work in Germany and moving around Europe is cheaper this way. However, does it pain to save a few bucks. Sure not 🙂 So what are you waiting for, start planning your trip to Europe right away !!
Airbnb is a good option to save on lodging. I have stayed in numerous airbnb accommodations around Europe and it has 65% been good. Always read the reviews about the stay. Look for a place which is near the public transport station, trains being the best way to look around a city in Europe. (P.S : Generally females receive better response on airbnb because the hosts, mostly single women or young couple are reluctant to host unknown men. So make the female member of the group give the request.)
Student ID cards give you a great discount. Works MOST OF THE TIME !! Student discounts are available on public transport, museums, monuments, attractions and even on guided tours.
Most Europen cities have ”Day pass” which gives you unlimited access to all public transport. This is cheaper in most places except Paris, Spain (I will add more as I come to know), where Ticket strips tend to be cheaper.
Spending a huge saving, we have a tendency to make the best of the trip and cover every possible place. Suppose you are at Paris for 3 days, the minimum cost per person per day will be around Rs.5,000. You need to enjoy the trip, you need to be relaxed – after all it’s a vacation. But, but, but.. you do not want to stand for hours together in the queues and drain your time and energy do you?
I know many people who went to Paris and DID NOT GO UP THE EIFFEL TOWER – because the queue was very long and they did not have time. I am sure no one wants that to happen.
When you want to visit a city, note down the main attractions. Make plans for each day. A good plan can be – one main museum or monument for half day and other half of the day for general attractions. BOOK THE TICKET FOR THE MUSEUM OR MONUMENT ONLINE. This helps you so much – saves TIME and avoids tiring queues especially in summer. Most of the places have a time slot. Its better not to compress too many monuments or museums on one day. If there is a delay in one place – you may miss the slot in the other monument. Its better to keep one monument a day and spend the rest of the time for other attractions.
Free entry days
On the first Sunday of the month generally, or on specific days, free entry in given to many attractions. Do not fail to check it. Free entry to people under 26 years is also given(even in the Louvre and Colosseum). Check this information in the website or write a mail to them – they mostly reply.
I have always been a great fan of walk tours. All top tourist cities have FREE WALK TOURS – yes you heard it right. Its FREE !! Of course, you have to tip the guide at the end of the tour. But that means the cheapest way of getting an overview of the city. Plus, you have an insider to clear your doubts about the places to visit later on. The stroll along the European medieval style roads, stopping by to watch interesting monuments, hearing the history of the place and fascinating stories as you walk – worth it !
You can manage by eating at McD and Burger King. But can you live on it through your entire vacation??Here again, taste and money matters.
Buy bread and basics from stores in the local destinations. Saves money on breakfast. Airbnb hosts may serve breakfast at times. You can buy milk and store it in their fridge. Ready made pasta and noodles can also be cooked in a jiffy – saving money on dinner. I have seen foreign tourists struggling with the European brands(no English at all – too many types of milk and curd – staff at the stores speak very less English) I will soon post an article with pics of these items.
If you are visiting a big city, they have cuisines from around the world. Indian restaurants are costlier. Turkish shops sell Donar kebabs and Falafel, which generally suits to the Indian taste.
Thing to carry
Flight rules are strict these days. You can carry only minimum quantity of liquids, even on local flights. So make sure your bottles and tubes are small. Most medical shops are closed in the evenings and 95% shops are closed on Sundays. That means, carry all the basics that you need.
- Sun screen and moisturizer
- Caps, footwear, warm clothes and scarves as needed
- Passport and visa xerox – keep a copy in your luggage
- Sun glasses
- Small bag for day tours – back packs work the best
- Small water bottle – water from most taps are drinkable in Europe. So carry a bottle and fill as you go.
- Medicines, band-aid etc
- Universal adapter
I also like to carry a small pouch with the stuff I need during the flight. It generally contains eye mask, ear phones(I never use the ones they give on board, mobile charger and some toffees). I stuff this bag in the seat pocket. Saves the trouble of handling things on and off the handbag, especially during long flights.
Carry a decent camera and never a tripod. Touristy places have so many pickpockets. Don’t ever think you can set up your camera for a good shot of the Leaning tower or Eiffel tower. Someone will flick it before you turn around. Selfie stick will do the job. There are also other tourists. You can request them to take a pic for you and return the favor. Not 1000 pics a day please. You are never going to find time to see all of them them 🙂
However if you are going on a photography tour, carry all the stuff you need. We generally carry the GoPro on adventure tours. Extra batteries are a must in such cases.
For all those, including me, who dream that the western world is a beautiful, safe heaven – welcome to reality !! Not all places are safe in Europe and most of the tourist spots are infested with pickpockets and illegal immigrants who makes a living out of the tourists’ pockets. Do not befriend locals unnecessarily. Do not get directions or discuss travel plans with random people. The internet or your host or hotel receptionist can guide you better.
Street games are played all around and these are definitely NOT GENUINE. They will trick you or harass you or pick your pocket. Stay away from these spots. Do not trust middle aged women – the pick-pocketing networks operate through them. Its better to walk in a group with the male members walking right behind the ladies. They know Indian women wear Mangalsutra – so cover it with a scarf- do not expose it for chain snatchers. Never leave your bags unattended in trains(even high class trains)
Carry minimum cash. Credit cards and Forex cards work good. The conversion rates are also better this way.
I hope I have covered most of the points. I have articles about other cities that I have visited in my blog. Hope they will give you an overview about each city. Feel free to add suggestions and ask questions. Happy travelling 🙂