If you travel around Europe, in particular Western Europe, you’ll know that it can be expensive. You eat out for every meal, opt for hotels instead of hostels and pay for expensive sightseeing tours – all of which can add up. But your trip to Europe doesn’t have to be hugely expensive. It’s true that it’s not possible to grab a cheap and hearty street food meal from locals on the side of the road in Europe in the way that it’s possible in places such as Thailand or India. But for the budget savvy, an unforgettable European backpacking experience does not need to be one that gets you in trouble with your bank manager.
For a start, air travel in Europe is cheaper than ever, making it possible for anyone to find cheap flights at short notice to destinations as diverse as Madrid, Stockholm and Prague. The process is as simple as choosing your dream European destination, searching for flights online and turning up to the airport closest to you, whether that’s Belfast, Stansted or Glasgow airport. And by using budget carriers such as Flybe, you’ll still have change in your pocket, enabling you to properly explore your chosen European destination once you’re on the ground.
One of the greatest expenses for anyone travelling in Europe is accommodation. For long term trips, even budget hotels in Europe can be an unfeasible choice. Solo travellers have a particularly difficult time trying to find reasonably priced accommodation when the vast majority of rooms sold are doubles. A couple travelling together can split the cost, but a solo traveller doesn’t have that luxury. So what is the solution for a person travelling on their own, or even a couple or group of friends travelling on a budget? It’s simple – stay in a hostel.
If the idea of staying in a hostel makes you think of boozed up 18 year olds on their gap years, you’ll be pleased to know that over the last few years the hostel market has evolved and now caters for every kind of traveller. Yes, there are party hostels all around the world dedicated to the gap year crowd, but there a tonne of other options too. To find the right hostel for you, don’t just turn up to your chosen destination and hope for the best – do your research. Head to any hostel booking website, and you’ll be able to read user reviews written by travellers like yourself, enabling you to make an informed decision before parting with your hard-earned cash.
When deciding on a hostel, there are a number of factors to take into consideration. As a priority, undertake some research about the reputation and safety of the hostel. You’ll be staying in a dorm with people you don’t know, and while for the most part travellers have a mutual respect for each other, it’s always important to stay safe. If there are no secure lockers supplied free of charge, move on to the next place. You should also ensure that you have a clear idea of the extras a hostel provides free of charge or at an additional cost. There are many hostels that supply a free breakfast and hot drinks throughout the day, which is a great way to save money. And if you want to save money by cooking yourself, ensure that that there are adequate kitchen facilities.
If you do a little research, staying in a hostel doesn’t need to be intimidating. In fact, you’ll meet new friends and be able to stay in the places that you love for longer because your travel budget will stretch further. Happy travelling!