By Adam Ewart
If you’re planning a trip to Europe, you’ll no doubt be dreaming about beautiful landscapes, breath-taking architecture and an extravagant display of culture that you hope to experience during your stay. While many sightseeing opportunities are free of charge, the total price with transport and accommodation costs might mean you have to bump some museums and monuments from your list.
So, how can you get the most out of your Euro trip without overshooting your budget? With smart cost saving tricks, there’s no reason you can’t have your backpacker cake and eat it too, just follow these simple steps:
Top sightseeing spots in Europe
So, you’re ready to get out there and discover some of Europe’s delights, but where do you start and where should you visit?
Home of the Gods, no trip to Greece would be complete without experiencing the Acropolis of Athens, Temple of Zeus at Olympia and the island of Spinalonga, previously home to the largest leper colony in Europe. Researching local walking tours online before you travel can be a great way to experience history at a competitive price compared to larger tour operators.
Aside from its stunning beaches and vibrant culture, Spain is also home to some of the most impressive architecture on the continent. The Sagrada Familia – a strikingly beautiful piece of architecture designed by Gaudí – standing at over 170m high in Barcelona. Keep a look out for entry coupons online or book online ahead of your visit to avoid the queues and make the most of savings. Students, unemployed and retired visitors can benefit from a €16 reduced admission fee.
Paris is a one stop shop for discovering France’s rich history and grand architecture; popular tourist attractions include the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame de Paris, Champs-Élysées, Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre, all of which ooze grandeur and culture. By going up the first two floors of the Eiffel tower by foot, you can instantly save money and experience the views at your own leisure. Discounts for popular attractions like the Louvre, Arc de Triomphe and Tower of Notre Dame can be found by purchasing a Paris Pass, although entry to the Louvre is free on various days for certain admissions.
Thousands of people flock to Rome every year in hopes of seeing the Vatican City and the Coliseum. Ticket information for Rome’s top attractions can be confusing, so it’s a good idea to research online before you travel.
Buying a Vatican Museum ticket allows you to skip the queues for the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica which can easily be in excess of 2.5 hours. Tickets for the Coliseum also allow you to jump the line for €12 plus a €1.50 reservation fee, definitely worth considering if you want to spend you time in Rome experiencing the sights – and not queuing.
Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar is a delight of hand-painted ceramics, lanterns, intricate carpets and gold jewellery within its 15th-century vaulted walkways, attracting between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily. The bazaar is free to enter, and haggling is the perfect way to immerse yourself in traditional Turkish culture, let the bargain hunting begin…
If you’re looking to make several stops across central Europe, interrailing is a great way to explore the unique landscape of a country. You’ll also experience a wonderful sense of freedom without tight restrictions on travel times and destinations.
If you think interrailing is for you, there is a wide choice of rail passes to suit different budgets and travel requirements, including the InterRail Global Pass to InterRail One Country Pass, so it’s worth comparing prices before building an itinerary.
Avoiding extra costs
Unexpected costs are inevitable when it comes to long trips, especially if you’re taking regular flights and have to pay for your baggage allowance.
Researching local airline luggage charges and allowances will give you an idea of how much it costs to take your travel essentials with you, but it is also worth considering an alternative means of shipping. Reputable couriers that specialise in student shipping often beat airline luggage quotes, and their door-to-door delivery services could also remove the hassle of travelling with heavy bags (if you wish to take more than one backpack on your adventures). This might prove equally useful for sending larger and more cumbersome gifts home.
Savvy travellers can take advantage of maximum savings if willing to shop around and be a little flexible. Ultimately, it should be a fun and memorable experience, and for many students it represents a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Author bio: Adam Ewart is the founder of Send My Bag, a global courier service perfect for sending luggage from country-to-country, shipping to the USA and within Europe. Send My Bag allows travellers to transport belongings at an affordable cost and provides a new lifestyle for today’s traveller. For more information on shipping to Australia, the US or anywhere in Europe, please visit www.sendmybag.com.