Budget travel tips for Europe
FlixBus in Europe
Over the years, a new company has entered the market and completely replaced the bus system in Europe! German-based Flixbus acquired Megabus Europe and has routes throughout the continent. Prices start at 5 EUR and their buses include Wi-Fi, power outlets, free luggage and comfortable seats. They are comparable to Megabus in every sense (Megabus still operates in the UK).
FlixBus quickly became my favorite non-train route to travel across Europe cheaply. It is not fancy in any way, but it is the best and cheapest way to move around continental Europe.
Travel to Europe by Busabout
Hop On and Off with Busabout, an Inexpensive Way to Travel Europe
Busabout is a hop-on / hop-off bus service. You can climb and descend on any of their designated routes whenever you want.
You can buy tickets that allow you to travel through their entire network with a specified number of stops. They have short passes for trips of 5–12 days, as well as passes for the past 6 months.
When you consider the soft benefits of a guide, you have day trips included, and ease of meeting people, becoming a comparable price for busabout trains and flights (though still a regular public one More expensive than the bus). The only downside to Busabout is that if you want to visit a city that isn't on one of their routes, you'll have to make your way there at an additional cost.
Travel to Europe by budget airline
Budget airlines like Ryanair are the cheapest option for getting around Europe
One of the cheapest ways to travel long distances in Europe is a budget airline. These airlines are highly prolific on the continent, and the competition has led to incredibly cheap fares, often as cheap as 10 EUR.
I use Skyscanner and Momondo to find the best deals. They do all the legwork for you! Just remember that budget airlines make most of their money through fees.
They are very strict about the extent of the luggage or if you forget to print your boarding pass, many will bother you. Do not expect any complimentary drinks or food. But if you follow the rules and know what to expect, you can save a ton of money!
For more information, here is a complete guide to finding cheap flights!
Travel to Europe with Eurail Pass
Travel vast distances using the European rail system
I love traveling by train: sitting on a big seat, relaxing with a book, and looking at the stunning landscape. It is more comfortable than a bus and much less stressful than air travel. And the European rail system is one of the best and most comprehensive in the world.
If you're going to travel by train, it's hard to beat them on price and convenience for a short city-to-city trip. For long trips (overnight travel, between countries, or rides that require a high speed line, such as Paris to Bordeaux or Berlin to Munich), trains are very expensive. If you are planning to travel to Europe and do not want to fly, then getting a rail pass is the best money-saving travel option for you. If you buy these tickets separately then your cost per trip will be very less.
Not sure if a Eurail pass is for you? Eurail passes have a full stop here and when they should be used to save money.
Save money by sharing rides across Europe.
The rise of the shared economy has allowed people to ride with the locals, and BlaBlaCar is the reigning monarch of this service. It is extremely popular and widespread in Europe, and I have used this service many times. This lets you ride rideshare with people who have extra space in their car. You find a ride, they agree to take you, and you leave. You just have to pay a small fee, which essentially covers the gas. You can get rides for at least 5 EUR.
This is the best paid way to get around in Europe because you get a chance to meet the locals, have a friendly chat, save money and get to the place where you are going fast.
While BlaBlaCar may not always be cheaper than the bus (FlixBus can be super cheap!) It is usually faster and more interesting!
Tour of Europe by car rental / campervan
A car parked near the mountains in Iceland
If you are traveling in a single country or small region of Europe, renting a car or campervan can be worth the price - especially if you can split the cost with someone. Car rentals can be found for as little as $20 per day, making it a very affordable way to find out. While gas can be expensive, the border-free Schengen area makes multi-country travel easier.
Campervans are particularly popular in countries such as Iceland, Scotland and Norway because they offer destination hiking and camping opportunities. You can get a campervan for as little as $50 a day.