Where to go in Europe on a budget?
Replies: 48 - Last Post: Apr 22, 2013 10:13 AM Last Post By: kittinkatdjinn
Apr 20, 2013 8:42 PM
45Tryfan: Unfortunately I know that I won't be able to do it all. And I don't want to make the mistake of trying to do it all, and then strech myself too thin. What would think about this course of travel? Dublin (or which ever city my relatives are in, hopefully northern Ireland so its not too far to travel.) to Liverpool, Liverpool to London, and London to Amsterdam. Then fly back from Amsterdam. Is that possible with my budget? Or am I being to over ambitious? I know those are expensive cities to travel in, but if I'm staying with relatives in both Ireland and London that should save me quite a bit of money.Then I woud only have Liverpool and Amsterdam that I'd have to pay for lodging. I'll work on a better itinerary this week, and then post my travel plans, expensives for travel, lodging, etc.
Apr 22, 2013 2:49 AM
Whilst not commenting too much on your route, I would like to suggest that you buy any trains/bus travel in advance.
In the UK you can book trains 12 weeks in advance. This could mean that a train from Liverpool to London could cost under Â£15. I tend to use Eastcoast.co.uk as I have a loyalty scheme with them. If you plan to take more than a few trips on English trains it may be worth buying a 16-25 railcard (Â£28) which gets you a 1/3 off on all journeys.
Similarly you can book cheap travel on many bus lines in advance. The cheapest is probably megabus, who often have Â£1 fares. Realistically though you can expect to pay Â£5 for a long distance journey in the UK if booked more than a few weeks in advance.
The same could be said about ferry lines leaving from the UK - however I don't know quite as much about this.
If heading to Paris after London, Eurostar tickets can be bought for as little as Â£33 one way if booked in advance. This leaves from the centre of London to the centre of Paris, meaning there will be no costs getting in and out of cities from bus depot's, ports or airports.
If travelling to Spain, they have a great online booking system for trains. I believe the train provider is called renfe and you can book from up to Â£62 days in advance.
Whilst it is a great when travelling around to have the freedom just to make a last second decision on where to go, in the UK espicially and also in Europe, there is often a trade off between money and this luxury. In my experience, a little planning of where to go and when you can save a lot of money on transport (& thus guesthouses etc because you have your dates early) and then travel for longer.
Hope this helps!
Apr 22, 2013 4:01 AM
47The above poster has it right. To get the most days out of this trip you will need to plan in advance. I would suggest your absolute maximum time possible is 20 days. That budgets out at €60/day. Budget €20 per night for accommodation then let's say you have 8 nights at family so you spend €240 on accommodation. You will probably be best flying from Dublin to Liverpool and London to Amsterdam. Currently flights around that time are £19 (€24) and £29 (€36) respectively with Ryanair and Easyjet, hold luggage will be extra. A train from Liverpool to London booked in advance will be £25 (€30), this is better than a £10 coach as it only takes 2-2.5hrs not 5.5hrs.
So if you budget say €150 for you transport (I always add extra on), you have a total budget for intercity transport and accommodation of €400 (rounding up). So now you have €800 left so €40 a day for local travel, food and attractions/activities. This is right on the edge of what is possible, but it just about is. Make the most of the free attractions in London. And book your ticket from central London to the airport early as well.
So let's say you have 5 full days in Ireland, 2 in Liverpool, 4 in London and 3 in Amsterdam. Plus travel days at the start end and in between each destination gives 19 days, that should do ok.
Apr 22, 2013 10:13 AM
48Definitely try to narrow down where you're going. The more the travel, the more your budget will be eaten up. I spent a month trying to do everything, and really regret it. I never really got to "see" anything cause I was trying to keep up with travel companions that wanted to see everything there was to see in Europe in four weeks or less.The places that we went that I will be going back to (by myself, mind you), would be Scotland and Paris. For your purposes Scotland would be the cheaper option.
Scotland was beautiful with lots of outdoor activities, even in the big cities. Edinburgh has a fun hike to the top of Arthur's Seat, and Cragsmiller Park is really beautiful and includes a castle to tour. If going to Scotland, I'd suggest getting the "Explorer Pass." This includes admission to as many historical sights as you want within a certain time period. I think there were one day up to ten day passes. Depending on how many sites you visit you can save a lot of money, I know I did. We used ours for Cragsmiller Castle, Edinburgh Castle, and a couple of other sites and saved a lot of money compared to purchasing each admission separately. The national museum in Edinburgh is great. I could have spent an entire day there and admission is free.
Eating mostly out of supermarkets is your best bet. In Scotland they have pretty good deals that include a sandwich, side, and drink for three pounds at most markets. I also would pick up fruit, bread, hard cheese and salami that would last well in my pack. I ate that a lot. Pubs have good happy hour specials if you can plan ahead. I did well getting soup specials at happy hour for around two pounds. I also carried really good protein bars with me (like Luna bars) and that made up my breakfast a lot of the time. Or lunch if I couldn't find something affordable.
Staying in dorm style hostels is your best bet. Bring your own travel, quick-dry towel to save more money by avoiding towel rental (usually one to three pounds). You'd save a lot more money on accommodation by going during the "off" season, but that doesn't sound like a viable option for you. If you're a light sleeper but still want to save money, book into the highest number bed dorms (cheaper) and take comfortable ear plugs. This is what I did and slept fine, whereas my travel mates were woken up A LOT due to inconsiderate roommates being really loud in the middle of the night. Summer is extremely busy, so you'll want to book accommodation well in advance. August is the busiest month to visit Scotland due to the Festival. You need to book accommodation at least a year in advance to stay anywhere near Edinburgh during August.
Having a ScotRail pass was really handy for us, as we were going everywhere. This also included some buses, but be warned it's really hard to get a listing of exactly what buses are covered. We got around Edinburgh without using public transportation much at all. We stayed close to the Mile so didn't really need it and walked everywhere. Bus passes are super cheap though if you need them (like two pounds for a day pass). Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get to the train/bus. They will not wait and are never delayed. I was very frustrated with my eternally late travel companions as we missed several trains that way because they thought, "We'd only be a couple minutes late."
Going to the Isle of Skye is a must if you can. We were only there one day and I will eternally regret that fact. Tons of beautiful hiking (free) and gorgeous scenery. Public transportation on Skye is limited and only runs on certain days so you need to figure you what you're doing in advance. Also, some of the most beautiful places don't have immediate access to food, so plan accordingly. We ended up at the SkyeWalker Hostel in Portnalong. Great hostel, and such a gorgeous area!! Lots of great walking. However, I was unprepared and didn't have any food and had to beg someone for some of their groceries.
Scotland CAN be done on a budget if you're careful and do lots of planning ahead of time. Stay out of restaurants and away from guided tours. Do your own tours by studying ahead of time. Above all: Don't try to do too much.
Check out all our reviewed and recommended accommodation and book online.