For the international student studying in Europe, the expression “the world is your oyster” is especially true. A flight from London to Paris takes only an hour; a drive from Milan to Zurich takes only three. With so many cities offering equal doses of history, culture, food, architecture, and nightlife, you’ll never find yourself lacking for excitement while studying – and traveling – in Europe.
Traveling across Europe is fast and easy – but keeping your travel costs reasonable requires a bit of planning. Read on to discover expert tips on taking in the sights across Europe without draining your pocketbook.
Travel Off-Peak, Book Early, and be Vigilant
If you don’t want to pay peak fares, avoid traveling on Fridays and Sundays. Leisure travel peaks on Fridays and Sundays, resulting in flight, train, and hotel rates that can be 2-3 times higher than other days of the week.
Whether you’re traveling by train or plane, buying your ticket early can save hundreds of dollars. Prices can fluctuate daily, but almost always spike as your departure date approaches.
If you want to be spontaneous, frequently check the travel rates to destinations you hope to visit to get a sense for the fares. Fares and hotel rates sometimes drop at the last minute if bookings are slow. As a result, booking at the last minute can save you lots of money, but it requires you to be flexible with your plans. It may also mean that you have to finish a key assignment while on the road!
Find the Right Hostel
Hostels are a great option when traveling on a budget, and most are clean and reliable. Keep in mind, however, that the location of a hostel can make or break your travel experience. When researching your hostel, consider its distance from the city center and key attractions. Hostels farther out will be cheaper, but the transportation costs and hassle of getting into the city may outweigh or eliminate the cost benefit. Spending a few extra dollars per night on a hostel located downtown may be the smart decision, especially if your time in a particular city is limited. Again, be sure to book early if you’re looking for the lowest nightly rate.
If you have the stamina and the interest, walking is often your best option for seeing the sights. Walking is free, of course, but more importantly walking gives you the opportunity to experience the diversity of neighborhoods that together make each city so unique. Walking also enables you to interact with the locals, sample the many sub-cuisines, and encounter some of the better restaurants, shops, plazas and parks that may be off-the-beaten-path.
Eat Like a Local
Chatting with local residents during your travels can be incredibly rewarding, especially when it comes to food. Locals can clue you in to the best eateries for your price point and recommend regional specialties to try. Taxi drivers can also be helpful, especially in suggesting places that are fast, inexpensive, and close by.
Studying in Europe offers an incredible opportunity for you to sample the sights, cuisines, and cultures of an incredibly diverse continent. Planning your travels in advance, while watching for last-minute bargains in case they surface, is the perfect way to ensure you take full advantage of all that Europe has to offer. Plan ahead, eat well, stay frugal, and have fun!
Author Bio: Jack Wheeler is a junior at Suffolk University double majoring in Print Journalism and English. He is currently interning at peerTranfer and in his free time enjoys surfing, writing short stories, and exploring new places.