10 Money Savings Travel Tips in Europe
We are no experts when it comes to Europe travel (like the Rick Steves, Lonely Planet and etc). However, having been to 8 countries and 11 cities in Europe, we are able to give some travel tips from an Asian’s perspective. The tips come from our own personal experiences, we hope you will find them useful!
1. Travel Light
Or you will curse yourself when you have to take those flights of stairs to exit a metro station, or dragging your belongings over cobblestones. In Europe, cobblestone streets, walkways and town squares are everywhere! Most budget airlines in Europe also enforce strict size and weight limits for carry-on items.
A 20 kg checked baggage can set you back at euro 20. Some airport transfer and intercity buses also charge baggage by the piece. Plus you save plenty of precious time on vacation by eliminating the waiting time at baggage carousel.
We packed using Flight 001‘s awesome F1 Spacepak system. There are a few bags where you can store your clothes, shoes, toiletries and lingeries separately. That is how we manage to fit 18 days worth of travel essentials into a carry on luggage. Our F1 DSH-1 Carry-on is super light weight and spacious too. Tips on how to pack like a minimalist will be up soon!
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2. Download Offline Google Map
How to do it?
Step 2. Go online. Find the cities that you are going to visit.
Step 3: Optional. Identify your places of interest such as hotels, metro, tourist attractions and restaurants and save as favourite.
Step 4: Type in the phrase “ok maps” into the search bar, and search. Step 5: Google Maps will then download all the map data that’s currently on your iOS or Android screen. You can clear the cached databy tapping on Settings > About, Terms & Privacy > Terms & Privacy > Clear application data.
3. Tripadvisor Offline City Guide
Who can say no to free travel guides? Pre-download the city guides that work offline and offers users maps, reviews, self-guided tour itineraries and the ability to create trip journals. We often use it as a guide on what to order in a restaurant, and the reviews offer a lot of insider’s tips.
4. Use HotelsCombined.com for Accommodation
We use HotelsCombined.com to find the best hotel deals for our Europe trip. It allows us to compare all the top travel sites in just one search to land ourselves the best deal. The best thing is, Hotels Combined comes with best priced guarantee with no booking fee and no mark up!
I tend to filter by areas, price and rating to narrow down the hotel choices. We secured really good deal for our hotels in Budapest and Prague, the total bill came up to less than RM 300 per night!
The booking process is pretty straight forward. You will be redirected to the vendor’ site, and from the you just need to make your booking as per normal.
Our hotel room in Prague is very spacious, modern and cozy.
5. Mcdonalds is Always Your Best Friend
Your urine costs you as much as a packet of nasi lemak. #truestory. Most public toilets in Europe requires money payment of abour EUR 0.50. For free wifi and (sometimes free) toilet usage, head over to Mcdonalds. If the toilet is chargeable, buy a coffee or some snacks and use the barcode in the receipt for free acess to Mcdonals toilet. McDonalds is a cheap meal alternative, especially you just want to have a cute bite or you have a feeling that the restaurants around you are all tourist traps.
6. Plan Ahead
We always book ahead online, especially for popular attractions like the Eiffel Tower, Versailles, Lourve in Paris; Parliament Building in Budapest, Anne Frank house in Amsterdam, Westminster Abbey in London. While these places are top in our to-do list, the same applies to millions of other toursits. So to avoid queue and to avoid dissappointment (some places limit the number of visitors per day), remember to buy advance ticket that guarantee admission at a certain time (often with a small booking fee that’s well worth it).
Timing is also everything! At popular sights, it can help to arrive early or go late. Most tour buses arrive after 10 am, after their hotel breakfast and transportation time. Many sights are open late one or two nights a week, it is also a very goodtime to visit and beat the crowd. Buy a tourist pass or museum pass or combo-tickets that combine admission to a few sights. Pass holders can often march straight to the front and wave your pass or ticket.
7. Avoid Summer
With day light savings and summer holiday, most people know that summer is a good time to travel to Europe. However, since it is high season, the rates for travel and accommodation skyrocket. Queues are incredibly long, the crowds are crazy everywhere. Moreover, as an Asian, we are not particularly fond of hot weather. Hence, we tend to avoid the summer season ourselves.
8. Walk or Use Local Transport
Taking a tram in Vienna One of the reasons why we managed to spend within our budget of EUR 35/per person/day is – we do lot of walking and use local transport whenever we can. Buy a 1/2/3 day pass, depending on your travel plan is a good idea. It allows unlimited access on most public transport in that city itself. Walking also gives us a different perspective, as we get to see and experience things along the way.
9. Do as the Locals Do
Do as the romans do, eat like the locals when you are in Europe. We had many memorable experiences such as joining the local workers at a Czech pubs for an intense football match; watching a free movie at the open cinema in Vienna; having goulash by the road side just like the locals in Budapest and etc.
10. Join a Free Walking Tour
Feeling lost in a foreign city? Join a free walking tour and get some insights on the history, culture, atrractions and even restaurant recommendations from the enthusistic guide. Free walking tour is very common in Europe, and most of the tours do not require reservation. Remember to tip the guide if you really like his/her recommendations.