At the very least, you know the difference between disposable and indispensable income and have bills to pay in order to live where you live and keep the heat on and food on the table. This list is for you. When you have to save your pennies to take a trip that you’ve worked hard all year to earn and you realize that if you want to take another one, it’s probably not the best idea to max out your credit cards to be able to take the current one.
Europe is at the top of many a traveler’s wish list, though plenty seem to think it’s an unattainable goal or a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that they don’t even bother trying to research going there for their next vacation. Figure out what you can spend and then see how one of these 10 trips can fit into that budget. There are so many way to save on travel that you might just be surprised by where you can go.
Prague, Czech Republic
Often raved over by travelers, Prague can be an overlooked destination. Once you get there, you’ll marvel at the historic city and all it has to offer, including amazing and free attractions, like the Charles Bridge and Prague Castle.
Plan your trip to Prague in the fall and winter to save big. You’ll also face smaller crowds of tourists, making the city much more pleasant – and easy – to explore. Avoid taxis and see Prague on foot. Cabs are unregulated and rates can be anything drivers choose to charge you. Look to dine in local pubs to save cash and stay within your budget.
Here's how you can have a great time in Prague on a budget.
When the Brits want to get away for cheap, they head to Portugal. Lisbon is rich with culture and you can indulge in popular Fado music in bars all over the city. Book a room in a pensão, which is like a bed and breakfast. You share a bathroom with other guests, but the rates are more reasonable than most hotels, so it might be worth the bit of inconvenience.
Save on activities by purchasing a Lisboa Card. It gets you into some of the most popular attractions for one low price and lets you skip the ticket queues. You can also find many museums and other attractions offering free admission on Sunday mornings.
Visiting Portugal is a magnificent experience. The country will amaze you! Check out 3 best beaches to visit in Portugal.
Right on the border of Europe and Asia, Istanbul combines the best of both worlds. Divided by the narrow Bosphorus Straight, travelers will be able to enjoy beautiful blue water and a mix of new and old architecture.
Find a hotel outside of the center of the city to save bucks and eat local for great food and prices. Of course local is all relative, as Turkish cuisine is a combination of Asian, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavor. If shopping is your thing, then you can spend hours browsing and haggling in the bazaars. Though the city is full of amazing things to see and do, it’s not all that child-friendly, so if you have kids, this might not be your preferred destination.
Also check out our article on relaxing things to do in Istanbul.
Germany has quickly become a popular family-friendly destination. The city is both fun and educational. Visit the Checkpoint Charlie Museum, rent a bike to get around town and then visit a palace. Skip traveling to Berlin in the summer and opt for winter instead. Flight and hotel prices decrease during that time. You just need to remember to pack your big coat and wooly mittens.
There’s a rockin’ nightclub scene in the city that can be very budget-friendly, especially on the east side. Bring your dancing shoes and party until the sun comes up. You can save even more on your trip by purchasing a Berlin Pass to get you into a load of attractions or by visiting galleries and museums on Thursdays, when they stay open late and have free admission.
Warsaw may be the most well-known city in Poland, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only city in Poland. Avoid the tourists by visiting a more traditional Polish city that oozes history and culture. Bundle up and plan your trip in the winter where you will save on everything, which is good if you have to stuff your luggage with warm clothes.
You’ll find some of the best exchange rates via ATMs, so forget about bringing a lot of dollars that will cost you money before you even get to spend them. You can also pay by credit card most places, which will also help save you a bit in the long run.
The medieval square is full of cheerful and affordable restaurants, cafés and shops that will keep you busy when you aren’t off exploring Old Town and Krakow’s suburbs where you can visit the Wieliczka Salt Mine, cathedrals and concentration camps.
This capital city has a little bit of everything. Maybe you haven’t considered it as an interesting travel destination, but you should reconsider. Divided by the Danube River, you can soak in the thermal baths – awesome for those that have joint problems, but also a great way to warm up if visiting in the winter months – and dine in restaurants that have food from all over the world.
Get around the different parts of the city on public transit. It will save you money and is also really reliable. Stay in a vacation rental. Apartments are plentiful and will help you stay on budget. To keep even more money in your pocket, buy the Budapest Card. It will get you into all kinds of amazing attractions for less!
Budapest is truly amazing! Check out our article on the best things to do in Budapest.
Enjoy the coast and lush landscapes all in one place when you visit Valencia. Plan your trip in winter and spring for the best rates on airfare and hotel rooms. Smell the scent of oranges in the air as you explore the city with a Valencia Tourist Card, then save even more money by dining off the prix fixe menus of restaurants in the Mercado Central.
If you want to try a lot of different dishes, Spain is the perfect place to order small plates. Tapas were invented here! You won’t feel like you’re missing out on the feel of the bigger cities like Barcelona or Madrid, and you definitely will like the lower prices you’ll find in Valencia, too.
Amsterdam (the Netherlands)
If all you know about Amsterdam is the fact that you can get Mary Jane and see naked ladies in windows of the Red Light District, you are missing so much about the city. This family-friendly destination has a ton to offer.
Take a canal ride for a fun tour of the city, get an Amsterdam Card to do everything that is sure to be on your sightseeing list – including a visit to Anne Frank’s house – and be sure to try the pancakes while visiting, because you can get them plain, filled, topped and affordably. They are offered at all times of the day. With all it has to do, Amsterdam is still small and totally walkable.
As with many European cities, the winter is the best time to travel there. Pack some sweaters and a coat and get ready to discover a Europe that you always dreamed of.
Here are some fun things to do in Amsterdam (other than the obvious).
There’s probably not a single person out there that hasn’t oohed and aahed over the azure waters of the Mediterranean as seen from Greece. Crete is one of the many islands of the country and is larger than most, so you might spend a lot of time traveling from one attraction to the next.
It will help to plan your schedule in advance, unless you really just want to lounge on the white sandy beaches, which is never discouraged. Obviously, there are plenty of ancient ruins to be seen, but the whole island is historical as well. You can definitely save money by eating like a local. Stop into one of the many tavernas for the best prices on yummy food.
Don't forget to check out the 5 best Greek islands to visit.
Have you always wanted to go to Germany and Russia? Well, Latvia is a combination of them both. Riga is a city made up of colorful buildings and is an independent nation. Wear comfortable shoes while sightseeing, because in sections of the city, like Old Town, cars are not permitted, so your feet will be your only transportation option.
This is one of the best ways to see a city, and it’s also free, so you win all around! Those interested in trying something new should sample Riga’s locally made liqueur called Black Balsam. It is made from different parts of plants and is served in a variety of ways.
Each bartender has their own special cocktail involving Black Balsam, so you can try it a different way each time you go out. Riga is a favorite summer destination and the rates will suit your budget even at this busy time of year.
As you can see, your pool of European destinations is not limited to the biggest and most popular cities. You can find amazing and rich travel experiences that give you the best of Europe and can also fit into whatever your budget may be.
Planning ahead and doing your research can help you save even more, plus your friends will be impressed at your trendsetting travel choice. You might find they want to follow in your footsteps. You don’t have to tell them how affordable it was, unless you want to.
Visiting rural areas, for example, is such a unique experience . We present you the 5 best rural places to visit in Europe. So, charge your camera, get out your carry-on and start making your packing list. You’re going to Europe!