(Closed) How to do Europe @ an affordable price?

posted 11 years ago in Honeymoons
Post # 17
Member
168 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

As someone else has already mentioned get on travelzoo’s top 20 email list now! When we were there we used staycity.com for apartments in Dublin and Paris, but it was more economical because we traveled with 2 other couples. Obviously on your honeymoon you won’t be so it might not be cheaper, but worth looking into.

We ate a lot of cheap street food for most of our meals and went out to like one or two nice dinners in each city. For lunches we made sandwiches or bought a few things from the grocery store to eat.

Buy metro passes when you first get to each city! It will save your feet and there are deals where you can get unlimited travel for so many days.

Also not sure how old you are, but if you still happen to have your college id you can get discounts at a lot of the attractions. (I still carry mine around it really comes in handy when traveling)

I recommend purchasing the Rick Steve’s books for each city you will be going to. I bought the previous years books used on Amazon.

Post # 18
Member
42 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: April 2012

I am studying/living in Italy right now and have traveled all over Europe. 

Hostels are by far the easiest and cheapest way to stay. There are plenty of really nice places out there with private rooms. Sometimes you have to share a bathroom, but overall I’ve had only good experiences. I’ve also managed to always stay in a private room. 

I DO NOT recommend purchasing Eurorail passes.  THEY ARE NOT A DEAL, I PROMISE! They USED to be a bargain, but more recently the prices have gone up and made them far more expensive than traveling on local trains. I’m going to be here for four more months and the cost of a Eurorail pass wasn’t economical for me. If you’re only coming for a few weeks its really not worth it. You can spend less buying round trip flights and go to the same number of countries. If I’m traveling to cities around where I live in Italy I tend to go to the train station and buy tickets for the local trains. Venice is about an hour and a half long train ride from where I live, and it costs me only 8 Euro to get there and back. 

If you’re traveling between countries I recommend flying. It is the cheapest, despite what many people think. I (stupidly) bought a train ticket from Zurich to Milan when I first arrived and paid 85 Euro for it. The ride was scenic, but I quickly learned a flight would have been cheaper. I’m flying to Belgium next weekend from Italy for 17 Euro round trip. But I second the previous statements that you should pack EXTREMELY light.I’ve flown with Ryan Air, Span Air, and Easy Jet.  A hiking backpack is the best purchase I’ve made. I’ve been able to carry it on to every flight. I’ve never been hit with extra fees before like Usuki mentioned, but they will get you with your luggage, so be careful. 

Sorry about the long post… I hope you have an awesome time. It’s amazing here and the most incredible experience. 

Post # 19
Member
297 posts
Helper bee

I used tripadvisor.com exclusively for finding our hotels in Germany. We also contacted the hotels directly and told them it was our honeymoon, and we often got better rates (like breakfast, taxes, and fees included) or upgrades to better rooms. So make sure you tell everyone it’s your honeymoon!

One thing to remember is that most banks will charge foreign currency transaction fees if you use them in another country. The fees are different for different cards. I have Bank of America, and the charge is 3% on purchases, so you have to keep that cost in mind. I believe the charge is added for anything that is processed in another country (like a hotel reservation), even if you make it in the States, but I could be wrong. Also, before you leave, make sure you convert some US dollars into Pounds and Euro. You can usually do it at the airport before you leave. Then you can avoid the long lines once you get to Europe.

Post # 20
Member
4460 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

My friend went to Dublin, London, and Paris for almost 2 weeks for less than $2000. 

Post # 21
Member
4 posts
Wannabee
  • Wedding: April 2011

We’re going to London, Paris, and Amsterdam for our honeymoon in April.  We used europeandestinations.com to book everything.  They give you a package, including travel between the different countries.

Post # 22
Member
134 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

I agree with renting out an apartment! In some of the smaller cities, which it doesn’t sound like you’ll be going to, you can often find little houses to rent as well. I stayed in a hostel for 2 nights in Marseille, France and was totally safe! It was more suited for the college age group, which is what I am, but I saw some older couples/travelers there as well.

Try out Ryanair.com for CHEAP flights within Europe. I think we found one from Marseille (south of France, about 2 hours west of Nice) to London for 14 euro! Round trip! These usually have strict baggage allowances though..so be sure to read the fine print!

Post # 23
Member
2570 posts
Sugar bee

I think the biggiest way to save money (without losing the experience) is on your food.  Similar to cities here walk a few blocks away from the tourist/downtown area for cheaper and better restaurants. Ask locals where to go and let them you know you are looking for something not in the tourist area.

Also take advantage of their grocery stores. You can get great prepared foods in a lot of the chains, ask where their outdoor markets are for street food. I had some of the best meals ever at an outdoor market in Amsterdam! Awesome falafels, fruit, fresh bread, cheese… yummmyyyy

In italy I found soda to be really expensive oddly so pay attention to what you drink and its cost. It was cheaper at a lot of places to get tap water and a carafe of wine than it was to get one soda!

 

Post # 24
Member
1741 posts
Bumble bee

Don’t convert money at the airport – Do use an ATM to pull out cash from your bank account in the local currency to save on conversion fees. 

Don’t fly RyanAir (if you don’t have an EU passport, you’ll be charged a check-in fee because you can’t check in online, you’ll also be charged for baggage and have to listen to advertisements throughout the flight and need to pay about 20GBP to get to the airport outside of London and another 15 or so EUR in Milan. Chances are you’ll find a cheaper less stressful flight with another airline) – Do look for cheap inter Europe flights on other airlines. 

http://www.hrs.com is good for European hotels, don’t be afraid to stay at smaller properties, but watchout in London as there are some really shady hotels that look good online. In London, I’d stay with a chain, even a low end chain must meet standards that independent properties don’t have.

In Paris, don’t be afraid to stay outside of the city, 30 minutes on the metro can save a lot in hotel costs. London and Paris are two of the most expensive European cities as far as hotels due to demand. Also, check the Travelzoo homepages for these countries. I found hotels to be much cheaper in Milan but I also found Milan way less appealing.

A PP mentioned skipping Eurail and I would generally agree, owever trains are more expensive in some countries than others so check online first. For example, an hour train ride between Frankfurt and a smaller city costs about 20 EUR and in Spain, a train from Madrid to a smaller city which takes an hour cost 9 EUR. Also, there are lots of train deals to be found by booking in advance, you may want to look into Eurostar between London and Paris. 

If hotel breakfast is not included int he price, skip it in favor of a local bakery, particuarly in France and Italy this will be cheaper and delicious. In London, eating out is expensive but grocery stores have prepared food (look for Marks & Spencers) for take away which is much more affordable and fresh.

Post # 25
Member
7 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: February 2011

Don’t go to Milan.  It’s really boring.  Go to Florence instead (soooo romantic).. went there on a getaway weekend with a bf once and it was so nice.  I have also heard some oher non-major cities are great like Cinque Terre and The Amalfi coast.  Sienna as a bus ride day trip from Florence is also cool.  Try staying in smaller cities and doing stuff like cooking classes or something… and rent apartments–usually much cheaper.

Post # 26
Member
85 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

I was wondering this too, thanks!

Post # 27
Member
1338 posts
Bumble bee

airfarewatchdog.com can be good for flights. 

Post # 28
Member
214 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2010

http://www.homeaway.com has some great apartments. You can save LOTS on money eating most meals at home instead of at restaurants. RyanAir and EasyJet have low priced flights to many destinations. I noticed that a PP said “don’t fly RyanAir.” But we used them and were amazed how inexpensive and efficient they were.

Post # 29
Member
38 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: September 2012

If you aren’t totally opposed to hostels check out http://www.hostelworld.com/ there are actually hostels that offer private rooms, rather than the traditional 5-10 people in bunk beds per room. I studied abroad in Germany for a year and traveled all over Europe for very little money. I did a 16 day trip in England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Scotland for under $1000, including a lufthansa flight from Germany, but we only stayed in actual hotels one or two nights.

Unfortunately the place we staying in in London was terrible so I can’t reccomend that. And I’ve only been on day trips in Paris and only went to Rome in Italy.

Ryanair can be ok, but they charge fees for absoultly everything and you really can’t take more than a tiny backpack for luggage.

Good luck!

Post # 30
Member
9 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: June 2011

Go to http://www.airtreks.com and book a multi destination flight. It’s far cheaper than purchasing the tickets seperately.

Post # 31
Member
344 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

we want to go to europe too. i wanted to do italy (leave lax, fly to venice, go to cinque tierre, florence, fly out from rome) but plane tickets keep rising! my fiance wants to do ireland or germany. and we’ve found deals on kayak with their package deals for hotel/flight/transportation for under 4000 for june (they’re around 3500 give or take). I am debating this and not having to hassle with anything or actually doing it on my own.

airbnb.com is an awesome place to find apartments to stay at. most of the time you get the whole apartment to yourself and it’s sooo cheap. you can get some for under 100 a day.

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