Last updated in November 2020
Find the cheapest way to travel in Europe depending on your journey. Travelling in Europe can be low cost and fun. There are many different travel options and some are cheaper than others. It is also easy to get tricked by seemingly unbeatable deals.
To find the cheapest way to travel in Europe, it is important to consider which factors are important for you. Depending on the country and your preference, the cheapest way to travel in Europe may differ. This post will help you to find out which way is the cheapest for you.
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The cheapest way to travel in Europe
If you are travelling solo and want to get to your destination quickly, using a plane can be the cheapest way to travel in Europe for long distances. Budget airlines often have good deals, especially if you fly off-season and only take hand luggage.
Flights can come as low as £10 per flight (Ryanair) but you would have to add costs for getting to and from the airports. Most times, you will have an additional bus journey which can be anywhere from £2-£20.
There are some simple tips that can help you save money when flying.
Cheapest way to travel in Europe: By bus
Bus journeys can be ridiculously cheap. Without considering other factors, busses are the cheapest way to travel in Europe. You can travel from one end of the country to the other for as little as £4, depending on the country you are in.
The journey will take a long time but the routes can be quite scenic. If you can work remotely, you can also make use of the time on the bus by working.
Trains are generally a fast but expensive mode of transport. Thus, they may not be the cheapest way to travel in Europe on first glance. But this is not true for all countries. Switzerland, for example, offers a Travel Pass that can make your train journey considerably cheaper.
Interrail is a European travel program that allows you to use trains in 33 countries for a flat rate. The travel period ranges from three days to three months and you can even bring your children (aged 11 or younger) with you. You have two options:
- One Country Pass for as little as €51
- Global Pass for as little as €185
This is a total steal if you are planning to visit multiple countries or cities.
There are two different ways you can utilise cars as transport. Either you own a car or you rent one at our destination. Owning a car and using it for travelling may look like it is cheaper, but there are a number of factors to consider, except the obvious petrol costs:
- Potential extra insurance for driving abroad
- Mileage added to your car
- More repair and maintenance cost due to increased use
- Costs if you have a breakdown abroad
- Fuel efficiency if your car is older than the car you could rent
- Reliability of your car vs. the rented car
Overall, you will likely come out cheaper with renting a car, as long as you avoid being ripped off.
Another benefit, if you are using a car, is that you can also sleep in it if you are male or travelling in a group. I do not recommend women travelling alone to sleep in their car. Your safety should always come first. If you cannot afford accommodation, it may be better for you to stay at home.
A bicycle is the cheapest way you can travel as it is absolutely free. However, in terms of time efficiency, biking your way through Europe may take while. That said, it is also the most healthy way to travel and your body will thank you.
However, you should be mindful that there may be some costs associated with biking:
- Seeing a doctor if you have an accident abroad
- Bike maintenance and repairs
- Storage costs
- Transport costs if you do not complete your whole journey by bike
Which method is the cheapest?
Assuming you are travelling on your own, the cheapest routes are as follows (from 1=cheapest to 5=most expensive):
If you are travelling in a group (up to five travellers), using a car becomes cheaper as you only need one car. If you are in a group of five, a car may even be cheaper than using the bus.
When travelling, you also need to sleep somewhere. There are many different options:
- Friend’s/family member’s place
- Sleeping in your car
Sleeping at a friend’s or family member’s place is always the best option. It is free, comfortable and you get to see someone you like being around. Next is sleeping in your car which is free but uncomfortable (and potentially dangerous depending on the area you are in).
Another free way to spend the night is Couchsurfing which is handy for those who do not have friends all around Europe. With Couchsurfing, you can sleep for free at a stranger’s place. The way it works is simple, in return, you can cook your host a meal or tell them stories of your travels.
Cheapest way to travel in Europe: Food
Of course, you also have to eat when you are travelling. For short journeys, the cheapest way is to bring homemade food. You can even take our food past airport security provided it does not contain meat, fruits, vegetables, or liquids.
For longer journeys, you should avoid buying from shops at a train station or airport as these often charge higher prices. The same is true for rest areas near motorways. Keeping your eyes out for an ordinary supermarket will likely save you money.
If you book accommodation, having your own cooking facilities will greatly reduce your food costs. This is where Airbnb and hostels beat a hotel room.
The cheapest way to travel in Europe summary
There are many cheap ways to travel in Europe and the cheapest method depends on whether you are alone or with a companion, where you are, and how far you want to travel. Nevertheless, it is worth comparing prices to find the truly cheapest way to travel in Europe for you.
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