Have you always dreamed of taking a vacation in Europe? Whether you pine for the Alps or long to stroll along an Italian beach, you can make your travel dreams a reality. It requires planning, of course, and perhaps giving up some things in the short term to save for your long-term goal. Here are eight ways to save on your dream vacation.
- Start a Savings Account
It’s easy to open a savings account these days. You may be able to do so online, avoiding a trip to the bank. Once you open an account, consider having a set amount withdrawn weekly or monthly to fund it. Automatic transfers are a convenient method of saving, and many times you don’t miss the money too much.
Consider different ways you can put more money in your account, such as looking into a VA IRRRL, putting your work bonus or tax return directly into the account, or cutting back on entertainment expenses.
- Shop for Cheap Airfare
Do you fly often? You may be ahead of the game with frequent-flier miles. If you need other ways to save on airfare, try booking early. You can also save money by avoiding the busy summertime rates and vacationing during the winter.
Some countries may be cheaper flight destinations than others. Even if they aren’t a planned stop, consider spending a few days in a different country to save on airline rates and enjoy all the things the “bonus” country has to offer.
- Sleep on the Train
You can save a night’s hotel bill by taking an overnight train from one country to another. If you were planning to travel by rail anyway, you could combine your room-and-board expense with your transportation expense. You can start the day exploring a new country.
- Avoid Hotels
You can easily spend hundreds of dollars every night in a hotel. Those in the middle of a major city are exceptionally pricey. You can cut your costs by opting for alternate places. Some to try include:
- Renting a room or apartment
- Use Public Transportation
If driving in a foreign country doesn’t sound appealing, you’re in luck. You have an abundance of transportation methods from which to choose. You can still travel by car through a ridesharing program. You can also travel by rail. Many European countries have sophisticated train networks that offer a quick, safe and comfortable ride.
Walking is an excellent way to see Europe, too. There’s no better way to get a close look at the historical sites and meet the locals.
- Pack Lightly
You may be tempted to bring lots with you to Europe, worrying you may need something and not have it. A lighter suitcase, though, has its advantages. As you travel between countries, you will be glad to avoid lugging a heavy bag. You can also save on costs at the airport by keeping your bag at a reasonable weight. If you stay somewhere with laundry facilities, you can pack fewer outfits.
- Travel in the Off-Season
Do you want to spend your vacation jostled around by crowds of tourists? If not, consider traveling during the off-season. In the summertime, tourists are everywhere, including Europeans embarking on their own vacations. You can find cheaper accommodations, smaller crowds, and reduced transportation prices outside of peak seasons.
- Visit Less-Expensive Countries
Many people have Paris, Rome and London on their bucket list, and with good reason. However, Europe is filled with beautiful, historic cities and countries that don’t always make the list of top destinations. They are still great places to see. Consider visiting Slovenia, Serbia, Cyprus or the Czech Republic. You can find breathtaking scenery and friendly locals in many destinations off the beaten path.
Your goal of traveling to Europe is undoubtedly exciting. Start planning as early as possible. Making a few tweaks to your schedule can save you money and enrich your visit.