Traveling to Europe can be the trip of a lifetime, but it doesn’t have to be the only trip you ever take due to high costs. Here’s your guide to budget travel in Europe from air, land, and sea!
There are a variety of cheap airfare options and this list is by no means comprehensive so do a little research and see what flies to your chosen destination! As long as you are willing to give up some of the classical comforts of air travel, these are great options for saving money on transportation. Below, you’ll find the best budget airlines for travel within Europe:
A British operated low-cost air carrier with destinations all over Europe. Only one carry-on bag allowed, but there are also excellent fare options including checked bags if that’s something you need. Simple offerings, no in flight meals or snacks and promotional products are sold in-flight, but an excellent airline for hassle-free travel.
A Spanish operated airline with great deals to both Spanish cities and other European destinations. Staff and crew are very friendly; baggage policies are decent allowing one carry-on of 10kg and options for checked baggage that are affordable as well.
Probably my least favorite option, but if the flight is short, there are some great deals to be had. Just know that you will likely be herded like cattle – even through the snow outside on the runways – and expect tiny seats, cranky flight crews, and fees for everything you can think of. Great for low-key travelers without much luggage and who expect basically nothing from their air travel experience.
Mainstream Airlines – Don’t count out large carriers like Lufthansa and Air France either. There are some great options particularly from the main hubs of the larger airlines. These are usually less stressful and include checked bags, inflight food, and helpful airport staff. Make sure to check if these airlines are heading to your destination as often they have great deals as well.
An even better way to explore Europe is through bus travel and with excellent and ever-expanding routes the possibilities are endless!
An amazing German company that makes bus travel enjoyable. These used to be two separate companies, but became one in 2015. The buses are all in like-new condition and include charging outlets, and headphone plugs in between the seats. The seats recline and there is ample room for luggage. Each person is allowed two checked bags of 20kg and one carry on of 7kg. Since the new company restructuring there is also in-route media including movies, music, and free Wi-Fi although this can vary depending on individual routes (particularly between EU and non EU countries).
Another excellent company operated from the United Kingdom that also has offerings in America and Canada. The fares are cheap and include free Wi-Fi, free checked luggage allowances, and connections to 110 locations in Europe.
You can find budget train travel in Europe with set travel plans and when you book several months in advance. The option for extended travel with rail passes can also make costs lower depending on your particular travel plans. Check out the national train websites (Like SNCF, SBB, DB Bahn, etc.), and find good deals. Make sure to also check both websites from your departure and your arrival city, sometimes the fares for one or the other with be cheaper for the same route. Buy 3 months out if you can, and sign up for the promotional emails. Providers offer flash fare deals and notify you when tickets will be released for high travel dates including Christmas, New Years, and national holidays.
Another way to see Europe, particularly Mediterranean and Baltic countries is by employing the ferry and boat travel options. If you are looking to visit Italy and Croatia and see the beautiful scenery from both land and sea, there are excellent ferry options here. Another excellent resource for Greek travel, particularly between the islands are the Greek Island Ferries. There are several options with Blue Star Ferries being one of the most popular. Prepare to spend hours onboard, but you will see the islands from a unique vantage point and spectacular views.
So do a little research beforehand on the travel options for your chosen destinations. Between air, train, bus, and sea travel the opportunities to decrease your transportation costs are endless. Use these tips on budget travel in Europe, save money and travel farther!