When you find yourselves on a budget, vacations seem like one of those luxuries you’ll just never be able to afford.
Vacations to far-off places like Tahiti, Thailand, and Europe just seem out of price range for a savvy person on a budget.
Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s simply not true. You can travel even when you’re on a budget.
The trick is saving up for it first, and paying for your trip in cash. This past year, my husband and I decided to jump on the opportunity to go on a week-long trip to Europe when my parents offered to babysit our toddler for free.
Of course, we had our reservations. Is it wise to pay for a vacation to Europe when we were working on getting ourselves out of debt?
In the end, we felt we had to take the opportunity but we vowed to keep the vacation as cheap as possible. Here are our tips for planning a Europe vacation on the cheap.
Travel in Off-Season
Because we don’t have kids in school, it’s very easy for us to travel at any point during the year. This is a huge advantage in booking trips because we can go during the low season instead of peak season, when prices tend to be on the higher scale. Traveling in April to Europe instead of summer months is saving us a fortune on airfare and hotel costs, which tend to be the most expensive part of the trip.
Score Free Breakfast
Staying at hotels that include breakfast in their price tag, helps save money by only having to purchase two meals a day (lunch and dinner) instead of three. We tend to fill up on carbs and coffee enough that we can have a late lunch and sometimes skip dinner altogether!
Use Public Transportation
The best part of traveling in European countries is that you don’t need to rent a car! Almost every city offers great public transportation. With a little bit of leg work in advance to figure out the best routes to your hotels, you can usually take the bus, subway, or even better– walk!
My husband and I knew we wanted to take a big trip somewhere since it will most likely be our last trip for a very, very long time. But we had no idea where we wanted to go. We were extremely flexible with our destination and that made it very easy to wait around for the best deal. When we found a trip on Travelzoo for a week’s vacation to Paris and Barcelona from LAX, we pounced!
Flexibility completely paid off. We had about a three-week window where we could travel, and we were flexible on where to go. This made searching for the best deal a cinch!
Sign Up for Deal Emails
In the end, we scored a great deal because we had signed up for TravelZoo’s Top 20 weekly email, which lists the best travel deals for that week. They essentially do the research for me. Signing up for a variety of these emails, especially when you know you’re ready to take a trip to Europe, will help you pounce on a deal when the opportunity arises.