It’s perfectly possible to see Europe on a shoestring. However, if you’re not careful there can be some hidden big costs. Some can be prevented, whilst others are unavoidable. To help you budget, here are a few of the major costs to account for before hopping onto the continent.
Accommodation will arguably be your biggest cost. Youth hostels and campsites are some of the cheapest options – don’t get sucked into staying at hotels. If you can book your accommodation online each morning on your phone (or book them all ahead) you’ll save the headache of scrambling around a foreign city late at night looking for somewhere cheap to stay (you may end up settling for an expensive hotel if you can’t find anywhere). Booking online can sometimes even be cheaper. Use comparison sites like Trivago to find the best deal.
Food and Drink
If you haven’t got money to throw away, you won’t be spending your trip fine dining. Street food is always going to be your cheapest option. If you have a camping stove and utensils, finding a supermarket and cooking your own food is also a great money-saving option. In Eastern Europe you may be able to splash out on a quality restaurant meal a little more often, but forgetting doing this in Paris or Venice.
Road Tolls and Vignettes
For those that are driving around Europe, there can be all manner of hidden costs. Those coming from the US will need an international driving license. On top of this you then have road tolls and vignettes. UK and Germany are the only two countries where tourists don’t have to pay road tax. In countries such as France and Italy – motorway use will often involve toll gates, which can add up costs fast. Many Eastern European countries such as Slovakia and Hungary will request you buy a vignette (a little disc that is displayed on your windscreen), allowing you to use motorways.
On topic of driving you should also look out for parking charges in cities (hint: if you can find a supermarket on the suburbs, parking here is usually free!).
Travellers from the UK don’t have to worry about a Visa – at least for now. A fifty pound Visa called an ETIAS will be introduced after 2020. If you are planning your Eurotrop after this date, go to this site where you can find out about the ETIAS. This applies to all other foreign travellers outside the EU who already have to pay a Visa (all except those from Iceland and Norway).
Currency transfer costs
If you’re taking your debit card, beware of transfer costs when taking out money. It’s best to bring a pre-loaded travel money card that will prevent you having to pay for these transfer costs (you’ll have to pay a transfer cost initially when loading the card with money, but it will work out much cheaper in the long run). Shop around online to get the best deal on one of these cards.