Travelling Europe on a Tightass’ Budget

So a lot of people have asked us how we can afford to travel so much given that we are actually unemployed during our travels. Are we secret millionaires? Do we run an online scam business? No. Quite simply, we are tightasses who save like crazy when we are working and skimp on as much as we can when we are travelling so we can enjoy as much as we can in each city. So here are some tips for travelling around Europe.

First things first – everybody should sign up to Cash Rewards;. Its an absolutely fantastic site which gives you cashback if your purchase through any of their affiliated website (not just travel ones but stores like Asos, Appliances Online etc.). So for example each time I book accommodation from booking.com, I get a $3 refund which I can have sent straight to my bank account.

MONEY
– The 28 degrees card used to be the most popular way to go but since it’s recent introduction of approx a 4% fee on cash withdrawals people have to turned the Citibank Plus card which offers people free cash withdrawals. Only thing to keep in mind us that you are loading up Aussie dollars so you will be stung with conversion fees.
– Other options include loading up cash onto your Qantas Frequent a Flyer Card (bet you didn’t even know you could do that) or OzForex Travel Card, both these cards are very easy to get and have excellent exchange rates, best thing about them is that you can load up the currency you want so you won’t be stung with extra currency exchange fees when you use the card overseas. These cards can also offer free withdrawals
– Never exchange/withdraw foreign currency at an airport or major train station as the rates are the worst you can get. If you are looking to exchange a significant amount you can pre-order your money on websites such as Moneygram and pick it up at the airport then, that way you decide in advance if you’re happy with the rate and lock it in, if the rate improves then they will then offer you the better rate
– Use up all foreign coins before moving on to the next country as you often can’t exchange them

PLANE TRAVEL
– If you are planning to fly, booking in advanced (at least 6 months if its a long haul flight or 3 months for shorter flights)
– I always use the following two sites when booking flights Skyscanner. and Kayak. or I Want That Flight – they offer very competitive fares, makes sure you compare both sites as there is usually a difference of $10-$20
– When booking flights only make sure you use a different browser to do your searching and another browser for your purchasing (eg. Google Chrome for searching and Mozilla Firefox for booking), if you don’t you will notice that the price of your flight steadily increases each time you search for it as the companies are aware that you are desperate for the flight so they will increase the price. Another way is to Turn off cookies on your browser.
– If using budget airlines such as Ryanair or Easyjet make sure you complete online checkin and print out your boarding pass otherwise you may be slapped with a ridiculous fee at the airport
– Always check luggage restrictions for your individual airline, Easyjet for example can be very strict with only allowing you 1 carry on luggage, so you are not allowed to carry a small purse and your small luggage. Again if you stuff up on this it may result in a hefty fine

TRAIN TRAVEL
– DO NOT BUY A EURAIL PASS! That is my major tip. They are bloody expensive and a massive tourist trap. You can use the local country train companies which go on exactly the same route but will cost you only a fraction of the price!
– Here are a few sites you can use:
Ireland:Irish Rail.
Scotland: ScottishRail.
Spain: Renfe.
France:TGV

Portugal:CP

Italy: Trenitalia

Austria: OBB

Poland:PKP Intercity

Hungary:MAV

Germany:Bahn

Czech Republic: CD

There’s obviously a LOT more countries I haven’t covered here but just do a quick google search and you should be able to find something

GETTING AROUND THE CITY
– As much as you can, avoid cabs, they are often overpriced and many European cities are notorious for having fake unregistered cabs
– Purchase a public transport ticket (24hour/48hour/72hour) and this should get you around most European Cities
– Prior to arriving in the cities, download some free apps for the cities, especially public transport maps, this will be super useful when you’re trying to navigate your way around
– Also if you are arrive in a city by plane check beforehand the public transport options online as there can be places where English is quite limited, so best to check beforehand

TOURIST ATTRACTIONS
– Before you visit any city, make sure you have a bit of an idea of what Attractions are a ‘must’ for you and which are a ‘if we have time we’ll go’, this will allow you to create a rough map of your day and avoid a lot of umming and arring when you’re there. Use Tripadvisor to give you an idea of places to visit.
– Make sure you do a Free walking tour when you arrive in each city, it’s a tip-based tour which gives you a fantastic overview of the city and can often give you handy recommendations on restaurants and where to hang out. Much better than doing a paid walking tour as the free guides work extra hard to keep you entertained in order to earn their keep
– Many cities offer things known as City passes (eg. Budapest Card, Vienna Card, Rome Card), these are usually quite worthwhile as they often include public transport and either free or discounted entry into many tourist attractions, most of them have websites so see whether they are worthwhile for what you want to do in each city
– Avoid visiting major tourist attractions at midday, this is their busiest time
– Check to make sure the attractions are open, as there is usually one day during the week where everything is closed (eg. All museums are closed in Budapest on Mondays)
– If you are under 26, you can can huge discounts at all major tourist attractions, so make sure you bring ID

ACCOMMODATION
Main thing to look out for is accomodation, as long as its close to a train station then I’m usually happy. I don’t mind it being slightly outside the main city centre as this is the most expensive location, and because most major European cities are quite well linked in terms of transport, it doesn’t matter too much
– Now if you’ve only travelled in Asia, you will get a bit of a shock when you start booking accommodation in Europe. A lot of the Eastern European countries can be quite cheap whilst the Western European countries can be very price
– Here are few webstes that I use, make sure you check out reviews, and sort according to price:

Hotels
Booking

Agoda

Hotels

Hostels
Hostels

Hostelbookers

FOOD
– So one way we save on food is we go to the supermarket and buy foods needed for breakfast (usually cereal) and lunch (sandwiches), that way the only food we have to buy is dinner
– Avoid eating anywhere near a major tourist attraction, food is usually more expensive and bad quality
– Some hostels/hotels offer free breakfast so keep an eye out for that

So thats pretty much it for now, if I think of any more I will update the blog, but in the meantime feel free to ask me any questions 🙂

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s