Have you recently been eyeing the incredible euro vacation? Sailing around in Greek Isles, canal tour in Amsterdam, relaxing on the uncrowded beaches of Montego or perhaps sipping tea in front of the Eiffel Tower. Well, the list certainly does not end there. Schengen countries are one of the most happening places with vacation mode floating in the air.
Does thinking about time-travelling in Athens or taking a carriage ride in the old towns of Krakow make you leave work right away and daydream of that elusive, perfect vacation with your loved ones. Yet the vacation plan is not realized. Mostly because of Europe’s notorious reputation for being expensive, costing you an arm and a leg. Fret not we at nomadgirl.co are here to help you. I’m here to share all the knick-knacks of travelling through the splendid Schengen countries without straining your budget much.
Commuting through bus services
Even after the falling of the Euro, a European trip can still be pretty expensive, especially if you are not using the dollar. Suppose you have gotten a cheap flight to Europe, but pricey commuting around Europe in different countries is putting you off? Megabus to the rescue. Megabus service lets you commute through England, Wales, Scotland for as cheap as £1. Shocking deal, right? But you have to book these tickets one month earlier in demanding routes as tickets run out very fast. Megabus recently launched bus services to Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam with fares of £10, which is much lower than the national bus service system.
Another Megabus competitor is Flixbus. This German-based bus commuting service has routes through 20 countries with extremely cheap fares starting at 5 euro. This can be a great budget option if you are planning some long inter euro hauls, but Flixbus offers short hauls at similar competitive rates too. If these two options are not available for certain reasons, you can opt for Busabout (hop on/hop-off service for budget travellers), Eurolines, Eurorail pass, BlaBlaCar and budget airlines if you slightly more cash to spare.
Cheap accommodation in hostels
If you are a hardcore backpacker like me, you’d enjoy staying in hostels so much because they cost such meagre amount. Say goodbye to those costly hotel accommodations that had chewed off a significant portion of your entire budget. Hostels are available in every European city, so no issue with availability there. These places are also bustling with other young minds; bunk beds, beers and cozy environment can even get you a friend or two if you are on a solo trip to Schengen countries. The best thing is every hostel cost less than £15!
Of course, the only downside to this otherwise great accommodation facility is the privacy issue as most hostels are shared by 4-20 people in dorm rooms with bunk beds. If you pry towards a more private hostel room with a single bed facility, you’d have to sacrifice your hard-earned money. Because private dorm rooms can cost on average $120, so you might as well settle for a hotel or Airbnb room at that price.
But hey hostels will let you intermingle with people from various different culture and make connections with other young people. I met a really cool 70-year-old Australian who has been travelling for over 9 months. Meeting Australians, South Africans, relatively less Americans is pretty common in the hostel life in European cities. You can check out some of these great hostels with cheapest rates: Euro Youth Hotel (Austria), Mosaic House (Prague, Czech Republic), Balmer’s Herberg (Interlaken, Switzerland), The village (London, United Kingdom), St Christopher’s hostel (Newquay, United Kingdom), Yoho International Hostel (Salzburg, Austria), Oasis Backpacker’s Mansion (Lisbon, Portugal), Cat’s hostel (Madrid, Spain), The pink Palace (Corfu, Greece) etc.
Sightseeing the backpackers’ way
After commuting and accommodation, the next budget crunching element is sightseeing. You can save a lot if you follow certain tips and hacks when sightseeing through Europe.
When you arrive in Europe or while doing your pre-vacation research on the mighty internet, try to look for all-inclusive city deals that get you around most of the must-see places in the places economically. For example, I saved a lot of money using the Berlin welcome card, and Oslo welcome card when visiting a number of tourist attractions. The reason why these all inclusive offers are great is that they come with other perks such as free public transportation, lots of discounts to sights, tours, restaurants, museums, art galleries etc. it not only saves your budget but saves you from the hassle of buying tickets to each tourist place. With logistics out of the way, you can truly enjoy the mesmerizing beauty Europe has to offer.
Cut your communication cost
Even though mobile and internet bills might not seem like much, but trust me, if you are not careful enough, they might be slowly crawling high under your nose. Particularly if you are planning on staying for a longer time. Roaming charges can be ridiculously expensive. Rather get yourself a local sim card and local internet plan to save a lot of bucks. A Budget internet data plan is all you need to get your communication with family or friends back home out of the way with utilizing usual freebies like Facebook, Viber, WhatsApp, Skype, Facetime and so on.
Get your currency exchanging hack right
DO NOT buy your travel currency at the airport. I repeat, never make this mistake if you plan to give yourself the title of a savvy backpacker. You’ll certainly get ripped off buying travel currency at the airport. Another mentionable attribute is to avoid withdrawing money abroad from an ATM. Listen to me unless you want to pay high withdrawal charges every time you withdraw or want to get very poor exchange rate.
Eating without selling kidneys!
You heard that right. Eating every meal at a restaurant can prick right at the heart since restaurant meals can be quite expensive. Rather shop locally, you may cook your own food which would be the cheapest means of getting by. However, cooking your own food on vacation is not everyone’s cup of tea.
So, Schengen countries has some great value food options available to tourists:
- Menu Del Dia: Fixed price menu consisting of first course, second course, dessert and coffee in Spain.
- Aperitivo: you can order an “aperitif” which is a glass of wine or martini at 6-8 euro and get access to buffet dinner or appetizing snacks at your table.
- Cicchetti: Venetian style tapas served in small local bars in Venice. Cicchetti costs around 1 euro filled with meat and cheese goodness.
Now that you have learned the hacks of traversing through Europe economically, hop onto the next flight to your dream Schengen destination.