30 Ways to Save Money in Europe (or Anywhere Else)

After months or years of saving, you’re finally able to take that trip. Congrats! What now? Here are 30 ways to save money in Europe (or really, anywhere).

We’ve covered how to find travel deals using Hopper and Kayak.  We’ve talked about saving money with cheaper substitutions of equal convenience

These 30 ways to save money in Europe will reduce costs without sacrificing convenience or enjoyment. By embracing value travel, you’ll be that much closer to your next trip.

These 30 ways to save money in Europe will reduce costs without sacrificing convenience or enjoyment. By embracing value travel, you’ll be that much closer to your next trip.

  1. Rent lodging through Airbnb.
  2. Limit destinations to two or three.  You’ll save on transportation and lodging (Airbnb typically charges one cleaning fee per stay).    
  3. Don’t spend all your time in major cities.  Spending time in smaller cities or in the country is good for your wallet and sanity.
  4. Buy water, wine, beer, and snacks at grocery stores. 
  5. For lunch, buy sandwiches from grocery stores and picnic outside.
  6. Refill water bottles. 
  7. Eat and drink like a local.  Avoid imported (American) soft drinks and snacks.
  8. Drink and eat at the counter when given the option.  Full-service areas have full-service prices.
  9. Cook breakfast and some lunches/dinners when you have a kitchen.  Eating breakfast in can save $10-$20 a person. Cooking dinner can save $30+ a person. 
  10. Eat big when hotel breakfast buffets are included or pre-paid.  Grab an apple or roll for later.
  11. Research tipping etiquette.  In much of Europe, gratuity is included in the price, though you might round up.
  12. Use public transportation instead of taxis and ubers.
  13. Months before you travel, research rail pass prices versus point-to-point tickets. 
  14. With rail passes, go small.  Don’t opt for the Eurail pass when a country or region pass will do the trick.
  15. Consider planes instead of trains.  But factor in the cost of luggage.
  16. Include the cost of parking when driving.
  17. Read about key attractions soon after you book airfare.  Some attractions, like the Ann Frank House, book up months ahead of time.  Many tickets are cheaper in advance.
  18. Rent a manual transmission to save big.  But only do it if you’re fluent in stick.
  19. Seek out free parks and monuments. 
  20. Enjoy churches, which are a source of free (or cheap) art and architecture. 
  21. Visit fewer museums but fully explore each one. 
  22. Price out attractions ahead of time.  Knowing costs will help you prioritize. 
  23. Do the math before buying museum and city passes.
  24. Redeem cash back (credit card, Costco, etc.) before or after your trip.
  25. Travel with carry-on luggage only. 
  26. Take a limited number of quick-drying clothes and wash them in a sink.  Or, better yet, get an apartment with a washer.
  27. Set a price on souvenirs ahead of time and stick to it. 
  28. Try to buy souvenirs at the end of the trip.
  29. If you have complementary access to airport lounges, use them to load up on meals and drinks at the beginning and end of your trip.
  30. Pack tissues and basic medicines (ibuprofen, Imodium, antacid, and sleep aids).

Spanish Steps, Rome, Italy
Europe is filled with free destinations like the Spanish Steps