Europe on a Budget
Looking for ways to make European travel more affordable? Here, some ways to stretch your travel dollars.
Select a lesser known destination
More budget-conscious Canadian travellers may be bypassing Paris and Rome for lesser known European destinations that offer similar culture and attractions but are more affordable.
A recent Expedia.ca/Angus Reid poll found that 70 per cent of Canadians are likely to skip some of Europe’s longstanding hot spots for an “off the beaten path” destination if the cost is lower and the cultural interest is high.
Cities such as Dubrovnik, Valencia, Tallinn and Budapest, for example, have experienced double and triple growth over the past two years, according to Expedia.ca. These cities offer food, sights, nightlife and old world charm that rival other traditionally popular European destinations.
Save on lodging
Rick Steves, television host and author of European travel guidebooks, gives these tips for the budget-minded traveller.*
• Book a B&B. In many instances, a B&B offers a sense of warmth and character — and at up to half the price of a hotel.
Save on food
• Skip the hotel breakfast. Unless it is included in the cost of your room, hotel breakfasts are rarely a good value. Save money by joining the locals at a nearby café.
• Pack a picnic. $20 can buy a hearty picnic lunch for two almost anywhere in Europe. Many grocery stores have extensive deli sections where you can purchase items for a gourmet lunch for much less than a restaurant.
• Look for an open-air market. Some of the best inexpensive eateries are located in or near open-air markets. They cater both to market workers and savvy shoppers.
• Don’t over-tip. In many places, a gratuity is already included in the bill or not expected. If you’re unsure, ask advice from locals as opposed to restaurant workers.
Save on shopping
• Go for the big department store. Department stores across Europe sell souvenirs, post cards and folk art for up to 20 per cent less than the shops and stands on the streets and at tourist attractions.
• Cheaper can be more interesting. Try to plan most of your shopping in cheaper countries where gifts and folk art are often more interesting — and your dollar stretches the farthest