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How can you travel around Europe on a budget? Here are 8 simple tips that are guaranteed to save you money.
It was a long awaited trip to Spain; we had decided to visit Barcelona already last semester and planned to visit Valencia and Madrid as well.
Given that we were travelling on a student budget, we had to watch our expenses.
Here I am going to give you some tips on how to organize a trip without running out of money:
1. Plan early
We booked the air tickets about a month before the mid-term break and managed to secure the air ticket at less than USD 200 for Geneva-Barcelona and Madrid-Geneva.
On a separate occasion, I booked a flight to London at only CHF45 for one-way for November! That will be my next travel destination 😉
I found this last flight through the newsletter I received from Swissair, and from time to time, I receive updates from Expedia about cheap getaways too.
Hence, my suggestion to grab the best deals would be to sign up to the airline newsletters or Online Travel Agency (OTA) if you are someone who loves to travel. You might find sweet deals from time to time! Plan early to save!
2. Book your accommodation on AirBnB
Our first stop was Barcelona, we booked an apartment through AirBnB and it cost around CHF560 for four persons and three nights, which is less than CHF 50 per night per person. We found it quite reasonable for an apartment with three bedrooms, a full kitchen as well as a washing machine!
Our AirBnB apartment in Barcelona
3. Take advantage of your student card
As it was our first time in Barcelona, we thought that the most efficient way to tour the city would be the city sightseeing bus.
First rule of traveling if you are a student, bring along your student card! At most attractions, we get to enjoy student prices and sometimes, even free addmission. E.g. Museo Nacional Del Prado in Madrid provides free entry for students under age of 26, the age here can be a little tricky because I am above 26 but in some occasions, I managed to get discounted entries too. Nevertheless, the student card gave us discounts more than what is being offered in the discount booklet we received together with the bus tour.
We got EUR 6 off our ticket prices thanks to our student cards
4. Ride a bike
However, if you know how to cycle, I would then recommend taking a bike instead of the bus tour. You can join a cycling tour or explore the city on your own! It costs around EUR 20 to 25 depending on the time you rent it for, but it is definitely cheaper than the bus tour and you get to ask the tour guide questions about the city. We took the bicycle tour in Valencia and we loved it!
It also saves you from having to walk too much and, at the same time, allows you to explore the city quicker, especially if you only have a few days to spend.
5. Study the different transport options
The biggest part of the budget is normally spent in transportation to get around the city
In Barcelona, we mainly took the bus but in both Valencia and Madrid, we found it worthwhile to go sometimes with the taxi. We were always travelling in a group of 3-4 people and we usually checked on Google Maps how far it was for us to reach the location we wanted to go to. A 20-minute ride cost less than 5 EUR per person, which in some cases is even cheaper than the public transport.
So if you are someone who loves traveling, find a few friends to travel with, not only you will have someone to share your joy but also you will be able to save on transportation and even meals if you like the idea of sharing. This brings me to the next tip.
6. Set up a travel fund together with your friends
Set up a travel fund together as a group and use it to pay for common expenses like transportation and food. Allocate the amounts you are willing to spend per day and appoint someone to monitor the funds so that you know when you should save by looking for cheaper restaurants, and when you can splash out.
7. Stay in a convenient location
In Madrid and Valencia, we stayed really close to some of the attractions and hence, we saved money on transportation by simply walking to the places.
In both Madrid and Valencia, we decided to stay in a hotel but without breakfast included. A typical breakfast costs around EUR 20 in the hotel but a breakfast with croissant, coffee and orange juice cost less than EUR 6 anywhere in Spain.
8. Do conscious shopping
All girls (and maybe some guys) love shopping, don’t we? I have to admit that I was totally excited about Spain because I had heard many times that Zara was really cheap there. So inevitably, I did some shopping for myself but I realized that I didn’t spent on shopping at Valencia at all because whenever we had free time, we spent our time at Las Arenas, the beach in Valencia. It was really nice to simply chill out and relax 🙂
To ensure that you don’t run out of money through over-shopping, bring just enough money for meals and transportation, e.g. EUR 50 per day. and keep the rest of the money in the safe of the hotel. Just think about how much you have to bring home when you graduate. This really helped me to ensure that I bought really the minimum as compared to what I spent in London last semester.
Overall, I personally think that travelling for experience is much more important than simply spending on shopping. It is about creating memories of a life time because we never know when it we’ll get to travel together again once we leave school. Nevertheless, I had a great time traveling with my friends and I hope you too had a nice mid-term break!
Time to get back on track at school and “fight” for the last month before school ends!
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