Want to see Europe but you’re not exactly rolling in the mullah? Yup, it’s a predicament loads of us have faced when planning our escape but there are a few easy-peasy ways to save a little bit of money when you’re travelling. Topdeck ambassador and travel blogger, Nicola Easterby of Polkadot Passport is living proof that money is better spent on travel than ‘stuff,’ and has some handy insider tips to seeing Europe on the cheap without sacrificing the experiences of a lifetime.
She says: “If you’ve spent months transferring every cent you earn into a travel fund, chances are you want to spend your money on seeing and doing amazing things, not overpriced airfares, transport, accommodation and less than average food.” Word.
1. Don’t waste money on generic souvenirs (whoops, guilty)
“A Tower of Pisa key ring might seem like a great idea at the time, but bet your bottom dollar that overpriced trinket will end up sitting in a drawer collecting dust. Save your money for something special that is sentimental and one-of-a-kind, like a unique piece of artwork from a side-street artist. Alternatively, you can take thousands of photos to frame when you get home.”
2. Avoid over-eating out
“Of course, one of the major perks of travelling is trying the local cuisine. Unfortunately, eating out is one those things which can get really expensive, particularly if you’re dining out for every meal. Treat yourself to a few special meals in each city, but don’t shy away from finding the nearest supermarket and stocking up on supplies for a picnic. After all, how often will you get the chance to sample some freshly baked bread and local cheese for a Parisian picnic under the Eiffel Tower?”
3. Don’t get an exxy EuroRail pass, unless you really need it
“The idea of getting a pass that allows you to hop on a train and end up in another city in a matter of hours is certainly appealing. However, the passes are expensive and if you lose it – that’s it, it can’t be redeemed! If you’re looking for an alternate way to jump from city to city, I highly recommend going on a road trip. Or, if you jump on board a Topdeck bus, you will have lots of freedom to explore and will get bang for your buck, thanks to a trip leader with great local connections and insight.”
4. Sounds obvious but be very, VERY wise with your money.
“There’s something about going overseas that turns even the most frugal into reckless spendthrifts! If you’re worried about breaking the bank, set a daily budget and take note of everything you buy. If you are travelling for an extended amount of time, keep an eye the exchange rate and take cash out at opportune times."
“Weigh up the pros and cons of using a Travel Money card, verses using your regular credit or debit card. A travel card works by using pre-loaded funds in the country’s currency at a set exchange rate (look for one with no international ATM fees), but any unspent money is stuck on the card at the end of your trip. Your own card will convert money based on the current exchange rate and may incur ATM fees which can really add up over time - so if you’re withdrawing money, take out large quantities at a time.”
Happy travelling, folks!