money saving tips for europe travel

Money Saving Tips for travelling around Europe & other international destinations

Are you looking to travel to Europe or further abroad? We have compiled a list of tips and websites that will hopefully open up options and give you the best chance to find the best travel deal for you.  

 

booking cheap flights to Europe Saving Money on International Flights

Flying within Europe: 

The best and easiest way to find value for money flights across Europe is to use comparison sites such as Momondo and Cheap Flights. Both pick up both budget and mainstream airlines and link you to the airlines/travel agents website.

Flying Long haul/Round the World: 

If the long haul flight you are looking for is fairly straight forward use comparison sites such as Momondo and Cheap Flights. If you are looking for a Round the World ticket, stop over or connecting flights than it can be worth using the services of a travel agent. Students under 26 should look at STA travel along with some other agents to compare. Travel agents that are usually very competitive price wise include Travel PackTrailfinders and Travel Bag. There are many others hunt around for the best deal.

Earning Frequent Flyer Points for heavily discounted flights.

If you are good at managing your money and credit cards it can be worth getting a British Airways American Express Credit Card. Earn Avios (points) that will enable you to fly for just the cost of the taxes/charges on the flight. There are a lot of people who purchase everything they can with their Amex BA Card and they get rewarded

Follow a Discount Flight Club

These are businesses which inform you when popular destinations offer cheap flights. Jacks Flight Club is a popular one in the UK. 

Looking at Flying to your final destination from another location.

An example of this is a direct flight to Havana in Cuba was going to cost £800. Miami (which often has cheap flights from London) was going to cost £400 and then a return flight Miami-Havana £120 meaning it was a £280 cheaper then what the comparison sites/travel agents were suggesting. They were not suggesting going this way this way even though Miami is just a 45 minute flight from Havana!  You still use the comparison sites such as Momondo to find the flights but sometimes it is worth thinking outside the box to see how you are going to arrive at your final destination. 

Other tips in saving money flying internationally

    • Factor in the cost of travel to/from the airports. Trips to/from London's Luton, Gatwick and Stanstead can add £20-30 return to the cost of travel and then there is the commute from the airport you're flying to/from
    • Budget airlines love adding on charges for different service levels, where possible save money by not using there service upgrades. e.g baggage check in.
    • Always book early and where possible try and book trips around school holiday and peak times. 

momondo flights

 

booking cheap bus & train travel Booking Cheap Train/Bus Travel

Booking Europe Bus Travel:

Check my bus is the easiest way to find pricing for individual journeys across Europe other than researching each individual countries National bus services. Busabout offer excellent value for money with their hop on- hop off bus service to popular European destinations designed for travelers looking to explore various European countries. 

Booking Europe Train Travel:

RailEurope is the best website start to source the journeys you may be looking to do to find prices as well as times/duration of travel. If they don't have the information themselves will direct you to the relevant railway site. In some cases it may be cheaper/quicker more convenient by bus so use the Checkmybus website alongside RailEurope

If you are exploring Europe and will be traveling to numerous destinations it maybe worth considering purchasing a Eurail Pass (non European citizens) or Interrail Pass (European Citizens). Do your research above to see whether it is worth purchasing a Eurail or Interrail Pass. Some countries such as Portugal have relatively cheap train travel where other countries are more expensive.

Eurostar will often have some good deals if looking to go to/from London to Paris (Disneyland), Amsterdam, Brussels (Bruges). 

booking car hire in Europe Saving Money on Car Hire

Car Hire in Europe can be relatively cheap and a great way of seeing exactly what you want but you also need to know the tricks to protect yourself from added costs.

Find the car you need by using a comparison site such as Car Rentals, Enjoy Car Hire, Travel Supermarket or Momondo.

- Don't be a wood duck at the rental desk only rent what you originally asked for. (They will always try and upgrade you and this can make the cost balloon)

Make sure you organise Car Hire Excess Insurance prior to being at the car rental desk. The car you hire will often have insurance attached but with a hefty excess (usually a few thousand pounds). The car hire company will then look to sell you car excess insurance at an inflated rate. You can beat them at their game by organising car hire excess insurance yourself either for the specific car hire or if looking to hire cars regularly an annual plan which costs around £50 a year! To source car excess insurance we recommend looking at TravelSupermarket and ICarHireInsurance.

Exploring Europe on a Tour

Touring Europe as part of a tour can offer excellent value for money with total cost often considerable less than if you booked accommodation and travel directly yourself. Popular tour companies for 18-35's  are Contiki and Top Deck while Trafalgar is good for all ages. A good source to find tours and operators is Tour Radar.

Hunt around for a deal, tour operators will often discount tours to get seats on the bus.

hotel bed Saving Money on Accommodation

The key to saving money and getting the accommodation you want is either to book early or wait for last minute offers if you are open to the destination you are heading.

  • Look to use sites such as Booking.com that will have late cancellation options which give you more time to find a better deal at a later date.
  • Look to plan travels around school holidays and peak periods as that is when you will pay a premium on travel and accommodation
  • Ideally travel with someone to halve the costs.
  • Find a property you like hunt around on other booking sites to see if you can get a better price. Travelsupermarket is good for comparing different booking sites.
  • Where possible keep it open to what you are looking for e.g package deals, hotels and private residences (Airbnb) to help you get the best deal for you
  • Check reviews to make sure you will likely be happy where you are staying
  • Factor in travel costs you may incur during your stay. 
  • Book using a credit card as it is easier to get money back with a lot of organisations.

Useful Accommodation Resources

hostels in Europe Booking Hostels 

Hostel Bookers, Hostel World and Hostelz are three websites that all have a large database of Hostels, compare prices to make sure you get the best deal.

 

booking private rooms Booking Private Rooms

This can be a cheap way of finding a great place to stay with a more homely feel. Try Air BnB and 9Flats.

 

booking hotels in europe Finding Hotel Deals

 It can be worth hunting the different websites for the accommodation you seek. Hotel Info and Trip Advisor are always worth looking at for the customers ratings of places which they have stayed. Other popular websites worth looking at in general include, LastminuteHotelsLate Rooms and Expedia.

 

booking holiday homes Booking Holiday Homes

If looking for a Villa/Holiday Home AirBNB is always worth a look but also try the following websites Holiday Lettings, Villa's to Go and Premier Holidays.

 

booking beach holidays Booking Beach Holidays

Last Minute, EBookers, Expedia are a good to start with when looking at booking a beach holiday while the following holiday companies are always worth looking at Low Cost Holidays, Virgin HolidaysThomas Cook, ThomsonsFirst Choice and On the Beach are all good resources when searching for holidays.

 

booking luxury holiday breaks Discounted Luxury Holidays/Breaks

Secret Escapes is a free to join travel members club that offers some amazing discounted deals on luxury/boutique holidays. Well worth registering with.

 

booking city breaks Booking City Breaks

Last MinuteEBookers, Expedia are all good websites for finding value for money flight/hotel packages for City breaks while Shortbreaks offers value for money Eurostar/Hotel packages to Paris, Lille, Bruges, Antwerp and Brussels.

 

booking skiing holidays Booking Skiing Holidays

For appealing Ski offers hunt around on the following websites Last MinuteSki FranceExpedia, Crystal Holidays

 

booking travel adventure holidays Booking Travel/Adventure Holidays

Radical Travel (Busabout - hop on hop off bus around Europe as well as tours through Ireland and Scotland), Contiki (Is a well established tour company offering various tours through Europe and the rest of the world.) Trailfinders,Top DeckIntrepid TravelSta Travel and G Adventures.

 

booking golfing holidays Booking Golfing Holidays

2fore1 Golf will get you discounted green fees across many courses in the UK and Europe. So save quite a bit of money combined on a golf trip.

 

finding great travel deals Finding other Great Travel Deals

Try all the websites listed above to source the best deal or if open to where you travel try group buying websites: Groupon and Living Social Also try Cashback websites: Quidco and Top Cashback.

 

Travel Essentials

 

booking airport transfers in Europe Booking Airport Transfers

It can often be cheaper to pre-organise Airport Transfers rather than paying when you get there although make sure you do your own research with your destination. Check local buses, trains, shuttle services with the airport you are arriving at.

The following companies provide Airport transfers although can be a touch expensive but worth checking just in case. Holiday ExtrasHoliday TransfersHoliday Taxis and Shuttle Direct.

 

organising travel insurance Organising Travel Insurance

There are so many companies it can be hard work getting the best deal which is unlikely to be what is being offered by the agent or website you have purchased a product from.

The easiest way of sourcing the best travel insurance deal is using a comparison website such as Confused.com or Go CompareCoverwise specializes in travel insurance and can also be worth looking at.

Check first that you are not covered by your bank, and if so, is that cover suitable for the travels you are taking?

- What activities are you likely to do on holiday?... and does the insurance you are getting cover these activities if you have an accident?