Hacks for Traveling Europe- Save Time & Money

If you are like most people you are always looking for ways to maximize your time and money while traveling. This post is designed to help you do exactly that by providing you with hacks for saving time and money while traveling Europe.

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Buy Tickets to Attractions in Advance

Most attractions and historical sites sell tickets online these days. Always check to see if there is a website for the place you want to visit, look specifically to see if you can buy tickets in advance. This will save you time waiting in lines, often money due to reduced admission costs and you can be sure you will be able to get in.  

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It is even worth looking up attractions with no admission cost, often these attractions have very long lines and will sell time slot tickets for just a few euros so you can walk right in. By spending just a few euro’s you can save yourself hours in line.  We did this on our last trip to Venice to get into Saint Mark’s Basilica. For 2 Euros each, we walked past hundreds of people waiting in line.

 

fountain-354924Drink the Water

Europe has a huge amount of public fountains that have wonderful drinking water, free of charge. If you see locals drinking from the fountain, it likely has been used for centuries and will also be just fine for you. Save the environment and your wallet by reusing water bottles at these fountains. The tap water in Europe is also perfectly fine to drink unless it is posted otherwise (this is very rare). 

Buy Local Train Tickets

Always try to buy train tickets directly on the countries train website and not from euro rail. Euro rail almost never comes out as cheaper plus you will often have to pay extra fees for seats, for fast and night trains.  The best time to find cheap train tickets is about 6 weeks in advance, there should also be a great selection of seats still available. If you don’t understand the countries language and they do not offer an English option, use google translate.  

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Here you will find some links to the most popular train companies in Europe;

Germany – Deutsche Bahn

France- SNCF

Italy- Italia Rail

Spain- Renfe

UK- National Rail


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Eat the Food

Want to save some money on restaurants? Always walk at least 3 city blocks away from any tourist attractions.  You will get better local food at more reasonable prices. You may also save yourself some time here because the places might be less busy. Your menu may not be in English but most of the time your server will speak English or you can take a chance and order something you aren’t familiar with- who knows you might find a new favourite.

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If you want to save even more money, buy at east one meal a day from the grocery store. Grocery stores often have great options for a fraction of the restaurant price.  My favourite is buying some fresh bread, cold cuts, and maybe some cheese. You may also want to give street food a try, just make sure you chose a vendor with local at it for the best and freshest.  Have yourself a picnic in the park or take a leisurely stroll as you eat.

Get City Passes

Generally, these guys can save you a bunch of money if you are interested in visiting museums and touristy things wherever you go.  They usually also include public transportation passes which are a plus. I have yet to purchase one of these passes and not ended up ahead for both time and money. So how do you get one? Just google the city you are visiting + pass and you should be able to find one available for most large metropolitan areas in Europe (or the rest of the world).

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Airplane Travel

If you end up flying while in Europe be sure to do carry-on only. It is going to save you both money and time. Most airlines now charge upwards of $50 for checked bags, plus you won’t need to wait for your stuff at the baggage carousel. Just be sure to check each airline’s carry-on requirements for both size and weight as each airline is different. You should also know that airlines like Ryan air allow only 1 cabin bag… So make sure all your stuff fits! If you need help with carry-on only packing check out this post Carry-on only packing guide

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Got any other awesome travel hacks for saving time or money while in Europe? Share them below.

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