Having planned out the destination, where to go and what to see, and when to travel, you can now figure out where you want to stay and for how much. Unless you are like this guy over here who seems to have so much money he’s printing his own, most of us have a budget to ahere to.
The best way to save is to use any airline or credit card rewards points. You’ve already accumulated these, if you have such earning cards, so use them on fun things like travel. If you are like most people, I happen to be one, and don’t have your money making you more money then it takes a bit more effort to achieve your dream trip.
Since you have already decided what you want to see and, more importantly, if you’ll need to get yourself there it’s now time to decide where to lay your head down. Jennifer and I prefer to stay near our favorite location(s) for the trip. We know what we want to see most and probably where most of our time will be spent, so why not stay as close to that location as possible? Time is money.
Getting to know the local cultures and customs can always make a trip more enjoyable. A great way to kill 2 proverbial birds with one stone is to stay at a Bed & Breakfast. Not only will you get local warmth you will get a good rate that is typically half the price of hotels.
If you are not opposed to it, either renting a home, guest house, apartment or villa from a private owner can save some coinage. Jenn & I will look into renting a “gite” in France. Staying in either a 2 or 3 star hotel may also be found suitably comfortable for your stay in Europe. Additionally, European chain hotels are relatively inexpensive.
It works out well since my wife and I are traveling together, but if you are traveling by yourself it may be a tad harder. Hotels in Europe tend to charge supplements for single travellers. The single rooms tend to be quite basic. The cost of a double is almost the same as a single so it’s better if you can travel with a friend or partner. If not you may try choosing a luxury hostel. Check out this site if you are traveling solo.
Another great way to keep a budget is saving on transportation. Obviously public transportation is cheaper than renting a car or cab rides, put it typically gets you to locations you wanted to visit anyhow. Our Paris trip will involve extensive use of The Metro.
If Berlin believes it’s cool enough to make a music video about it, there’s NO way we are not going to ride it. On top of that purchasing a rail pass will save more money.
If you find a discount card that includes public transportation plus tourist attractions, it’s a deal to not pass up. You may care to buy passes, etc. a la carte if you are not going to be in the one location too long or if you are just planning to visit a single place of interest.
Traveling on foot or renting a bicycle is the other best way to travel. Not only is this better for your health, there are good deals. If you must rent a car, the best way to save is by getting a manuel transmission and desiel car.
A highly suggested recommendation is to exchange currency wisely. Obviously it’s best to spend foreign currency in the country of origin, so don’t over do it. When you need cash get it as needed. Get it a local branch of your bank, of if that isn’t possible, then go inside a bank. Europe is a fairly safe place to travel but bad people will be bad wherever. Exchanging currency in banks or even at bank ATMs is suggested over counters at the airport or train station kiosks.
The last of the bargin saving tips is to eat with the season. Get more for less by ordering what’s in season or menu specials. Speaking of food, try packing picnics. If you are planning on spending the day site-seeing for $10 US you can pick up really good food for you and a partner almost anywhere. Check out deli sections or street vendors to get what’s truly fresh. Bonus, you can haggle with vendors and some even give free samples saving you even more. Make sure to bring water bottles with you while out and about, which will save more coin.
If you’ve made it this far in the series
or have even gone back to read previous editions then you’re already on your way to a great trip. Saving some money for other things will make your trip even better. I know I’m excited about Paris, I hope you’re excited about your future outings. Keep on Rome-ing!
Coming Up…Plan Ahead – Part 5: Other Tips