Skip to content

Backpacking in Europe – 10 Tips to SAVE MONEY

Backpacking in Europe is an essential rite of passage. I would definitely recommend it to anyone, especially if you want a first backpacking experience. A lot of people get discouraged because it’s too expensive. However, a lot of people are able to spend their money and TVs and consoles which cost a lot more.

From the ages of 19-22 I backpacked in 17 European countries and for the most part it was quite affordable. As long as you know some key ways to stay on a budget, it’s actually quite easy to do so.

1. Take a Water Bottle for Backpacking in Europe

The first crucial tip to make sure that your budget doesn’t bleed away is to make sure you have a bottle of water. Most likely, you’ll be backpacking in Europe in the summer and it can get scorchingly hot. In a lot of touristy areas, bottles of water can set you back a couple of euros which can easily be avoided if you already have your own bottle. A lot of cities have water fountains in different areas and in some countries you can also use the tap water.

2. NEVER take taxis

For the most part, you should avoid completely if you’re backpacking in Europe. Unless of course it’s an emergency situation. However, taxi drivers will most likely rip you off big time. Most European cities are very easily walkable and you can get directions from Google Maps. Moreover, you will pay a tenth of a taxi fare if you use public transport and get familiar with it.

3. Use Budget Airlines

I have always started and finished my backpacking trips in Europe with a flight. I have always used budget airlines. Budget airlines have a really bad reputation for providing a terrible service. However, I haven’t had a bad experience with any of them. Easyjet, Ryanair and Wizz Air are the three most well-known of them and they are generally disliked.

In my book, if I only have to pay £40 to go from one side of the Europe to the other, I really don’t mind. As long as you actually take me there. Yes, it’s a hassle that they don’t print your boarding pass. However, from my experience, everything else is generally fine. Only having hand luggage should be no problem if you’re a backpacker, I’ve taken my backpack on flights and had it in the overhead bins without any issues.

4. A Eurail Pass (Probably) Isn’t Worth it

Having backpacked in Europe multiple times, I’ve never been tempted to shell out my cash for a Eurail pass. From what I’ve seen, a Eurail pass can cost an eye watering amount of money. The prices depend on what kind of journey you’re taking, but it can cost more than 200 quid for just 7 days within a month.

In my book, I have preferred to buy individual train tickets which have been fairly cheap most of the time. On my last trip, I mostly took buses as there weren’t any rail services that could take me where I wanted to go. The only train ticket I bought on my last trip also just cost me £12. So that should make you consider whether or not a Eurail pass is worth it.

Moreover, with the Eurail pass, you can only really go certain places. Taking the same old route of Paris, Amsterdam and Berlin will only take you to overrated places. Not only are these places overrated, they are also on the expensive side.

5. Flixbus is Essential

Like I said, I’ve taken the bus a lot while backpacking in Europe. Not only because it’s cheaper, but also because it’s sometimes the only option. While taking the night bus can sometimes be horrible, it means you don’t have to pay for accommodation for a night.

You can find Flixbus in most countries in Europe and they have consistently been quite a good service. For example the bus journey from Budapest to Bratislava cost me only about £8. These buses are also very comfortable and even have power outlets to charge your phone.

6. Avoid Expensive Cities

When most people think of backpacking in Europe, they might think of just going to London, Paris and Amsterdam. However, like I said these places are both overrated and expensive. You will get better value for money in visiting much more budget-friendly destinations. With a lot of these places, I prefer them over the more well-known ones anyway.

London, for example is insanely expensive, it’s almost impossible to do on a backpacker budget. Museums in London charge over £20 for admission, contrast that to Belgrade where you can spend less than that in a day.

7. Take Advantage of Free Things

I’m not mad about walking tours, but a lot of them are free if they are your thing. Moreover, sometimes you don’t have to pay to see something interesting. A lot of museums in different countries are free to enter and are definitely worth visiting. For example, I was able to visit the House of Terror in Budapest without having to pay. Moreover, there are plenty of other things you can do for free, such as checking out the art on the remnants of the Berlin Wall.

8. Don’t Overpay for Accommodation

If you’re a backpacker, it’s all too obvious that you’ll stay in hostels during your trip. During my trips in Europe, I’ve only ever stayed hostels as it’s a crucial way of saving money. Staying in hotels is completely out of the question. Moreover, it’s also a good idea to stay somewhere just outside of the city centre as it will save you a bit of money.

9. Don’t Give Scammers Your Time

Even in European countries, which are perceived to the safest places in the world, there are scammers. They are especially prevalent around Europe’s most popular tourist spots such as the Colosseum. On the contrary, I almost saw no scammers in lesser-known destinations such as Belgrade and Skopje.

Rome gets a thumbs down from me, too many scammers

If a random stranger approaches you and seems friendly, it’s wise to keep your guard up. Chances are they want at least ten euros off of you. An example of one of the most prevalent scams is the bracelet scam. This involves a seemingly friendly man giving you a friendship bracelet insisting that it’s “free” and then asking for a tip. If you refuse, they turn threatening and they might get their mates over to follow you until they get 10 euros.

The key to avoiding these lowlifes is to put on a mean face and just give them no attention at all. Scammers are also like NPCs, if you just walk away from them, they’ll realise you’re not worth hassling and won’t pursue you.

10. Use ATMs Wisely

ATMs can be quite tricky to use if you’re abroad and it’s a whole subject in itself. Knowing where you should go to get your cash can be essential as it could save you some serious money. First of all, one company of ATMs is notorious for ripping off tourists, known as Euronet. Do not ever use one of their ATMs, they pull every trick in the book to try to rip you off. If you need some cash, try to find an ATM at a bank even if it takes a bit of time.

1 thought on “Backpacking in Europe – 10 Tips to SAVE MONEY”

  1. Hey there!

    Thanks for sharing your insightful tips on backpacking in Europe. It sounds like you’ve had some incredible experiences exploring the continent on a budget!

    Your advice about carrying a water bottle is spot-on. Staying hydrated while traveling is essential, and it’s great to know that many European cities offer free water fountains.

    I completely agree with your point about avoiding taxis. Walking and public transport are not only cheaper but also allow you to immerse yourself more in the local culture.

    Using budget airlines and Flixbus is such a savvy way to save money on transportation. It’s fantastic to hear that you’ve had positive experiences with them.

    Your suggestions about avoiding expensive cities and taking advantage of free activities are so practical. Exploring lesser-known destinations and finding free attractions can really stretch your travel budget.

    Thanks again for sharing your valuable insights! Happy travels!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *