We’re all about planes here at Cheapflights, but sometimes trains are fun too. Interrailing around Europe can be a great value option to explore as much of the continent as possible, from the opera halls of Austria to the beer halls of Prague.
Here are our top tips to help you plan your budget.
1. Choose your region wisely
Let’s face it – budget travellers are the vultures of the tourism industry, circling ravenously on every free ride or meal. Why not visit those countries in Europe that have become less costly post recession.
It may sound opportunistic, but in fact you can do your bit to boost the economy by spending whilst getting unbelievably good value for money: win-win.
2. Hold off on booking accommodation
It may sound like terrible advice, but unless you’re planning to visit Cannes during the film festival, there will always be accommodation options available wherever you’re going.
Arrive in plenty of time before nightfall and ask the locals about cheap accommodation options. Whether you end up couchsurfing with a Good Samaritan or camping in a stranger’s barn, it’s all part of the adventure.
3. Buy an interrail pass… or not
Interrail passes are great value in theory, but don’t jump in blindly; country-specific passes can work out the cheapest – and even then, it might be more affordable to buy tickets every time you travel.
Aim to work out ahead of time how many days of train travel you’re realistically going to do while you’re there, and bear in mind that on many high-speed trains you’ll have to pay an additional reservation fee.
4. Swoop down on free-to-enter museums like a culture vulture
Avoid the hefty entrance fees at museums and galleries across Europe and plumb instead for all things free.
For instance, Berlin has several free walking tours available across the city, and in Paris there are certain nights of the week when museum entrance is free.
5. Get on yer bike!
Some cities are more geared up to biking around than others, but many major European cities now have established bike docks where residents and visitors can pick one up for a small rental fee.
Just remember to cycle on the right side of the road – and by right, we literally mean right in mainland Europe.
6. Who needs a table? Have a picnic
The absolute worst thing to do when you’re strapped for cash is waste money at an underwhelming touristy restaurant.
Spend your pennies instead on some fresh bread, cheeses, meats and fruit at a local food store or market, and pick a spot outside to feast on this delicious impromptu banquet.
Feature image by opethpainter
Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to… whose guides cover all the best hotels, restaurants, bars, clubs, sights, shops and spas.