Many people love to travel to Europe, but from the exchange rate to the cost of airfare, making things affordable while they’re away can be a little daunting. Don’t be afraid! After returning from her study abroad in Greece, Calli Jansen, our student ambassador at Michigan State University, has compiled a list of some quick tips on how to save money and make the most of her European adventure.
1. Travel off season
Yes, he has just finished the finals and has all summer off school, so he might be thinking that now is the perfect time to go to Europe. Let me remind you that everyone else has this idea, too. Therefore, not only will it be full, but it will also be expensive! I know it’s not always possible, but flights and hotels offer AMAZING discounts at peak times. These may vary by location, but traveling to most of Europe in September or October can be one of the most cost-effective options.
2. Do your research on attractions
In addition to traveling in low season, look for places you want to visit and see if they offer deals during certain days or times of the day. Many places also offer savings to book in advance or offer coupons.
3. Use your Student ID / ISIC Card
Around the world, many attractions offer discounts for train tickets, meals, museums and plenty for students. Research the place before you go or ask while buying tickets and you could save some euros.
4. Pack Snacks in Your Suitcase
One way to actually accumulate bills is to eat each meal, which is sometimes unavoidable due to the lack of cooking equipment and ever-moving locations. But packing some snacks for microwaves, peanut butter and crackers or granola bars can provide quick relief. You can also go to the local market for a couple of fresh fruits for a healthier option.
5. Do not be afraid of public transportation
Again, this will include some research before you leave and extra time on your daily plans, but it can help you save a lot of money because many taxis will have sizey fares and apps like Uber if they’re available they can charge a international rate.
6. Look into apps for communicating with friends back home
International phone plans can be pretty abrupt, but there are multiple apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and iMessage/FaceTime on iPhones that allow you to send text messages and call your loved ones for free, provided you the schedule change allows.
7. Ask locals about usual prices
In super tourist places, traders tend to mark their products. When asking a local, it usually leads to one of two options: going a couple of blocks from the attraction for lower prices or bartering. Depending on where you are in Europe, it is not always respectful to counter the offer, so local information is key.
8. Utilize an ATM instead of exchange booths
All airports, train stations or ports will have those exchange booths so they look like attractive offers, but in reality many of them include rates for their services and international rates. Check with your bank before you go to look for travel card options that will allow you to withdraw money from ATMs to avoid excessive charges.