If it is your first time travelling, everything from planning to packing can be a source of stress. The financial side can be the worst of it — can I save enough in time and will I manage to budget properly? It is easy to panic when you start planning but by taking the extra time to organise yourself, you can reduce the cost and the stress.
Book in advance
Spontaneity is fun but if you have a plan in place, book well in advance to make the most of great deals. Leaving it until the last minute means you miss out on the best options and usually, the cheapest deals. If you need time to save, use sites like Booking.com where you only need to pay a deposit and can pay the rest closer to the time. Lots of places offer a free cancellation policy too so if your plans change then you won’t lose out.
Travel with a friend
From sharing the accommodation cost to having someone to split the shampoo with, it is cheaper to travel with a friend. If you decide to go with a five or more people, you may even be eligible for group discounts at attractions. Not only can you share the costs, but you can share the memories too.
Take the bus
It may take longer but it is far cheaper to travel by bus than train. Flixbus offer a deal where you can take a bus to five different cities in Europe for €99. A five day youth InterRail pass costs just over double that at €202. Buses will usually be less luxurious but the benefit of keeping costs low may be worth it.
Some areas offer an all-inclusive pass which allows for unlimited public transport use alongside discounts at the main hotspots. Cities like Berlin offer tiered Welcome Card packages where different cards offer varied discounts or even free entry to attractions. It is worth looking at the options before arriving to determine which offers you the best value for money — or if you even need public transport to get around at all.
To cut down on time and money, choosing to travel overnight means you save on accommodation costs and have extra time to spend in your destination. Make sure to bring a neck pillow and wear warm clothes in case the city is cold when you arrive the next morning.
Minicards are greatly over-looked when it comes to tourist discounts. Usually found in accommodation receptions, they are credit-card sized advertisements for attractions, shops and restaurants that you can carry with you. Most places also offer a discount or free souvenir if you show it during your visit. If you can’t find minicards at your accommodation, they have got an app available too. Once you download that, you are good to go.
Long term, it pays to do your research. A plan may sound like it will take the adventure out of travelling but it will help you feel more stable and financially secure. The more you know in advance, the quicker you can get to exploring Europe without spending too much time counting pennies.
This article was written by a SpunOut.ie volunteer. Check out our volunteering opportunities here and get in touch if you’re interested in getting involved.