Traveling Europe on the Cheap
Replies: 8 - Last Post: Sep 26, 2012 4:31 AM Last Post By: battybilly
Sep 24, 2012 7:42 AM
Traveling Europe on the CheapHello fellow travelers,
Im looking to Travel through Europe on the Cheap and wondering if any of you could give me some tips?
Here's the Story:
Im thinking of Traveling through Europe with my Car, and either sleeping in the car (backseat-its a large car) or Couchsurfing (if really need be a hostel-but this would be kept to a minimum as I want to save the money) Have any of you done something similar, and how was it (tips please! :) ), Also how do you go about meeting new people if your on the road (peeps my age-23)?
Edited by: happyexplorer89
Sep 24, 2012 8:10 AM
1Have you ever slept in a car? It is horrendous, and doing it with any sort of regularity I imagine would be horrendous. A small tent might be an idea?
If you are staying in hostels or couch surfing meeting people will be a doddle. The people who either opt to stay in communal living quarters, or invite others into their house for free, are nearly always up for meeting people. When you are looking at Couchsurfing then you can always ask if they are willing to show you round the city a bit, etc.
Sep 24, 2012 1:13 PM
Welcome to TT!
I'm not sure if traveling with your car will be the cheapest option. Perhaps, you could research if other options, e.g. traveling by bike, could be cheaper. I'm sure the regulars on the On your bike branch will be able to provide you tons of ideas if you decide to make it by bike.
Sep 25, 2012 7:21 AM
4I've slept en-route throughout Europe in my car, many times.
Just read the signs before you park up - or you might be in for many sleepless nights.
You mention Europe - a very big place, but not where.
I mean.... Are you talking about Luxembourg, Norway, Iceland, Albania - somewhere else?
Different countries, different attitudes.
Over to you.
Sep 25, 2012 8:30 AM
5So I’ve spent the last 4 ½ months travelling by car thru Europe with my girlfriend, with a month to go, and happy to offer up some advice. We bought a Mercedes Van, kitted it out with bed, stove, gas fridge, electricity, and storage, and have yet to pay 1 euro for sleeping. By not having windows in the van, we are just a UK utility like vehicle and have not had a problem once. We assume we’ll lose a bit of money on the resale, but not too much I hope!!. You have your choice as to how luxurious you make it. You can buy ours if you want…We’re back in the uk November ish!! Don’t forget to insure you’re vehicle and Greenflag offers up a nice comprehensive European cover for breakdowns that’s not too expensive. Don’t forget all the triangles, vests, breathalyzers, etc that you need for driving in Europe. We’ve been stopped twice, and no problem but we had all that we needed.
First…make a budget and a potential plan of how far you are going to go. Our original budget was 500 euro EACH per month, to cover it all. We have been budget travelers for many years, and have yet to sacrifice a thing, and including all fuel costs, its closer to 400 per month…(But plan 500 . We don’t hit up bars or smoke). Recognize that if you are one, you’re still going to need 700-800, as fuel is the biggest expense assuming you have the same type of gas consumption. If you really are going to do a car, then I’d recommend you have a tent, stove etc . We
live on a lot of bread, cheese, pate, veg , eggs, yoghurts etc. Lots of stir fry’s and thai curries as we carry pastes and a wok. Pork is by far the cheapest meat in Europe..We have not skimped once. Wine is cheap when you get into Europe, so we also have cases of wine and go thru 2-3 bottles go per week. LIDL is the grocery store that we use most, (yellow sign)as prices seem to be the best. Beer in Lidl is 23 cents per can, and it seems to cover the occasional beer urge. France’s hard alcohol content is lower than the rest of Europe, so buy anywhere other than France!! Aldi Supermakets is also around, but they don’t carry anything but ALDI brands. Carrefour, E.Leclerc, Intermarche, …all are great supermarkets and easy to find and listed on GPS. They are usually all centrally located and much MUCH cheaper on gas prices then the motorway roadside ones.
Essential is water. Everywhere we’ve gone, there has been free drinking water and free showers at all beaches and most villages usually have some kind of contant running fountain/water source for drinking. We fill up constantly, and have a 50 liter water container, plus a dozen empty bottles that we try to keep full at all times. Basically, a weeks worth of water . We’ve yet to pay for drinking water.
Contact friends you know for a few nights in a bed, Couchsurfing, etc . We’ve used it a few times, but in general, so many people are trying to use CS’s throughout Europe that it’s not so easy. CS Hosts in Barcelona are getting 20-30 requests per day!! We have seen friends all around Europe, (so check out all your friends) and its nice when friends offer up a shower, laundry, etc. Again, sleeping out is easy and never a problem. Don’t know about the car though!! We can fully sleep lying down and its very comfortable. You don’t meet the people if you are not staying in camp grounds, (we are happy with our own company) but you do avoid the cost. If you want to meet people, plan on it being 7-8 euro a night at a campground with a car. You can also make friends on beaches etc. . NOWHERE that we’ve passed thru in Europe has been a problem for sleeping. Isolated beaches, car parks occasionally fields, etc. We did spent about 3 weeks in Switzerland, and did not have the problems that Pirate at 50 said, but again, no windows so we don’t look like a campervan….
Google maps is ideal for forming a potential route and then add 10% on to the end. Make sure you add the NO TOLLS option to this. Originally, we figured out a potential route of about 10000 km, its going to be about 11400) and a fuel cost of 1.50 per liter to cover it. So far, we’ve been about 1.35 per liter and assuming 30 MPG, figured we needed 800 liters. . We had a route that started in in the UK, to France, Belgium , Switzerland, Luxembourg, to Pyranee, North coast of Spain, all of Portugal, South coast of spain, to south of france, cut through N. Italy to Venice which we’re about to do being on Corsica right now, then back to UK via Austria and Germany. RE: the Mercedes, If you can do this, I highly recommend it, especially if it’s a high roof version. The ability to stand up makes for a huge difference when inside. Figure that if you plan it properly, you can use the van, then sell it, losing no more than a grand, assuming nothing breaks down etc. The loss on sale should make up the "under budget" that we currently are!! WE opted for pretty luxurious as I’ve been a carpenter in the past, so I self built mine and have electricity for lights, charging, etc as mentioned above. In the UK, gumtree, Ebay, …all have van’s for sale.
Honestly, we could have stayed in one country for the entire time and have tried to do too much but this was our chance to do europe!. Try to really think what you want. Is it beaches, mountains, seeing friends? We wanted a bit of a beach tour with some history of Europe. When we look back and see our route, we realize how much we’ve really missed. Barely touched a country in many ways, so try to think what you really want. Less is probably better. Right down the must sees that you want then figure out the route. We have not paid to many museum entrance fees, but places like The Alhambra in Grenada is a must see. We’ve yet to pay for any parking anywhere as well. There is ALWAYS free parking if you look around, but you have to think not in the main central proper.!! Google “what’s happening in Europe” for example . The body painting festival in Austria or the Boom festival in Portugal were some highlights we would not have known about with some advance searches..
Diesel Fuel in Europe. Petrol is upwards of 1.80 /Liter so diesel is better. Luxembourg is the cheapest by Far, so fill up LARGE. IN France, in the N. of France, look for Auchan supermarkets. The rest of France, look for Intermarche supermarkets. Spain and Portugal have actually been the most expensive for diesel throughout Europe, averaging 1.44-150. IN Portugal, look for Jumbo fuel markets which is Portuguese version of Auchan but they call it Alcampo. In Spain, (and also France) look For E.LeClerc for cheaper prices of Gas. Again, Intermarche and all these places have web sites that you can find out where there are locations. Recognize that a lot of Europe is closed on a Sunday, make sure you fill up on a Saturday and buy your groceries on the Saturday if you are paying cash , as its credit card only on a Sunday for diesel. (Spain sucks for this).
Buy a GPS before you go. It’s essential and use the NO Toll option so you don’t have to pay tolls. It’s a bit longer, but you SAVE HUGE. Try to get one with the most updated maps as well…Ours is a bit off but has worked wonders. Be careful in Portugal. They have automatic tags that are read when you drive past, and you are then supposed to go in and pay at the post office . However, UK reg. plates don’t qualify so you’re still OK . Obviously, any toll road with a stop and pay booth means you’re going to have to pay, but the automatic ones are VERY nice and the bill will never find you….Not yet at least if you have a NON portugese reg..
Toilets…Yes, we’ve left deposits all over Europe, but McDonalds is easy if you need to use a bathroom for a sit down job. We’ve yet to eat at a McShit, but used their toilets constantly. Also, McDonalds offers free wifi throughout Europe, so it’s very easy to go in, use the wifi and toilet, then leave. German Mcdonalds is not as easy as you need a German SIM card so they can send you the log in code, but everywhere else is very easy and has almost no time limits. Most GPS’s will list the closest mcdonalds, stores, etc. Bring a computer and have Skype……
So as to your whole idea, if it’s cheap you want, this isn’t really cheap due to fuel costs. If you want cheap, Easy Jet to the north coast of spain and buy a bicycle and live on the beaches. Water and showers are everywhere. But ask a backpacker how much they spend for hostels, fun etc, and include in what we’ve seen, it’s a bargain for what we've done. The average youth hostel in Europe is about 18 euro a night per person…Pretty sure if you talked to travelers and told them you had seen Europe on 500 a month for everything they'd be amazed.
Hope that helps. PM if you want more advice or a look at Van for sale!!!
Sep 25, 2012 8:44 AM
Sep 26, 2012 4:25 AM
7sleeping in the car
Not in the Netherlands either. The police do fine people who illegally camp inside their car and penalties are higher than the price of a hostel bed.
Sep 26, 2012 4:31 AM
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