Travelling Europe on a Budget by Allison Weiner, UL International Student Ambassador

Hi everyone! We are now halfway through the semester and Easter break is just around the corner.

Now for Easter break here at UL, most of the Irish students will be headed home for a week of mom’s cooking and relaxation but I know my fellow International students are itching to get out of Ireland and travel!

Since I am assuming that most of you have not travelled Europe on a budget I thought I would center this blog post on doing just that.

Travelling Europe on a Budget!

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Bilbao, Spain

 

So when I begin to plan a trip I think of 5 big things to consider:

  1. What should my budget be?
  2. Where will I go?
  3. How will I get there?
  4. Where will I stay?
  5. What will I do?
  1. What should my budget be?

I suggest you book your flights, hostels before your trip and then consider an in-trip budget. Look at the general prices of submission to tourism spots you wish to visit, the general price of things at your destination to get a feel for how much you will be spending. Give yourself a daily budget based on your findings and keep to it.

Keep in mind, some cities/countries are cheaper than others and that will influence your budget.

Where will I go?
Where will I go?
  1. Where will I go?

This is the most exciting question of them all!

I bet you all have places you have dreamed of visiting. For my first Easter break at UL I travelled down Italy (starting in Venice and ending in Rome) and then went to Paris for 2 days. It was absolutely amazing and I got to visit cities I had always dreamed of touring!

I hope you dream big and visit the countries/cities you have always dreamed of because you never know when this opportunity will come around again.

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Chain Bridge, Budapest
  1. How will I get there?

There are 2 websites I would suggest for anyone looking to travel within Europe on a budget: Ryanair.com/ie/ and Skyscanner.ie.

Ryanair is a super cheap airline for flying within Europe. That being said you are getting exactly what you pay for. The flights are usually at really early or late hours, the service is far from friendly and the airports you fly into will be located outside the cities you want to go to rather than major airports in the cities’. Also, be very mindful of checking in on time and luggage allowances because Ryanair has strict rules on luggage size and they will charge you extra if your bag does not fit these constraints.

Don’t be turned off by Ryanair! What you want and need is a cheap airline that will get you where you want to go and Ryanair certainly fits that description. Just pack a backpack with whatever you will need and go off on your adventure.  Also, Ryanair is an adventure in and of itself so have fun with the whole experience.

As for Skyscanner, this website will allow you to search for cheap flights by your destination location.  Of course this is a handy website when planning any trip and you should get used to checking this website on a regular basis when you are sitting at a computer procrastinating your homework.  As study abroad students you have the availability to pick up and go traveling spontaneously on any weekend so Skyscanner might inspire some spontaneous trips throughout the semester. Take advantage of this website!

Both Ryanair and Skyscanner have free smartphone apps that you might find useful!

Grand Place, Brussels
Grand Place, Brussels
  1. Where will I stay?

I am sure that up until this point in your lives most of you are used to traveling with friends and family. You have probably only ever stayed at hotels and friends/relatives homes – life has been good to you!

Now, however, is the time of your lives when mom and dad won’t pay to put you up in an awesome hotel room on the Seine in Paris or near the Vatican in Rome so let us all kiss that sweet time of our lives goodbye, take a deep breath, and say hello to hostels.

Your friend and ally in this search for housing will ultimately be HostelWorld.com.

I love using HostelWorld! They have links to great hostels and you can trust reviews and ratings.  Some hostels are better than others but they all provide what you need: a bed, a shower and usually a free breakfast (don’t get excited, it’s just cereal and toast).

Some hostels, like the Generator in Dublin, are awesome because you can pick rooms based on gender, small rooms that are ensuite and have bars on the first floor.  Don’t underestimate the simple adventure that is staying at a hostel.

Don’t forget you will need to provide your own towels and showering goods because these will not be supplied for you at any hostel.

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Santiago de Compostela, Spain
  1. What will I do?

Every city that you will travel to while abroad is an adventure. People will have been there before and you can talk to them about their travels or read about the city through Google searches. Also, get travel books! I myself have a travel book for travelling Europe on a budget because these things will always be helpful!

Most people don’t realize that whatever hostel you’re staying at will have pub/music crawls set up for the evening that you can sign up for and the hostel might have deals with local tourism agencies for city tours.

Use what resources you have!

Also, don’t forget to just go for a walk around the city. You have no idea what treasures you will come upon by just going for a walk in a new place.

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