10 day of fun-filled, pocket-friendly travel itinerary to Europe
Are you planning a Euro trip, but worried about the travel cost? What if I told you that it is not as expensive as you think, and with better planning and implementing a few simple hacks you can see much of Europe without spending a lot.
Here I am sharing, my 10-day travel plan to Europe. It cost me close to 1 lakh Indian Rupee ($1600). I must mention here that I didn’t deprive myself, just implemented a few useful hacks
Step 1: Getting the Itinerary Right
First of all jot down the places which you want to visit, refer to the map of Europe and arrange these places in a logical order. It will save a lot of cost, time and hassle associated with travel. Your travel itinerary will have a point of entry to Europe and a point of exit. In my case it was Brussels-Amsterdam-Berlin-Prague-France
1.1 Point of Entry to Europe
Three factors determine the point of entry.
- Your itinerary
- Cost of flight ticket from your country
- Visa issuing country
In my case the point of entry was Brussels. I booked a Bangalore-Brussels flight through Skyscanner website. Skyscanner is a reliable website and a great place to find the economical and best flight options. One way ticket will cost you around Rs. 26,000 ($375) at present if you book it around three months in advance. The flight duration is around 15 hrs with one stopover.
1. 2 Point of Exit from Europe
It is the final destination in your Euro trip itinerary and again the choice of it is primarily influenced by the cost of flight tickets. In my case it was Paris and the flight ticket will cost around Rs. 20,000 ($280).
1.3 Traveling within Europe
The good part about Europe is that its countries are well connected have excellent means of communication and offers seamless movement across countries. In a few hours, you can reach from one country to the other. There are plenty of low-cost airlines and buses.
Buses: Flixbus is a great platform which offers convenient and affordable travel options across Europe.
Flights: Again you can use Skyscanner for booking inter Europe flight tickets. Popular low-cost airlines options include Norwegian, Ryan Air. There are a few points which must be told beforehand. Some of the airlines have hidden charges and rigid penalty clause, and some of them operate from airports far from the city. In such cases, you have to take a bus or train to reach the city center. Pay close attention to the terms and conditions. Here you will find valuable information on affordable flying options within Europe. It is advisable that you travel light as far as possible. Your rucksack weight shouldn’t exceed the stipulated limit-usually 10 kgs.
This is how I traveled within Europe
- Brussels- Amsterdam : 3 hours Journey by Bus booked on Flixbus, cost 10 Euros (Rs. 780)
- Amsterdam-Berlin: 1-hour flight-Easy Jet booked on Skyscanner, cost 45 Euro (Rs. 3500). The bus costs approx. 30 Euros and takes 8 hours (too much)
- Berlin-Prague: 4-hour bus journey (Flixbus), cost 19 Euros (Rs. 1500)
- Prague-Paris: 2-hour flight -Ryan Air booked on Skyscanner, cost 25 Euro (Rs. 2000)
2. Visa and Foreign Exchange
It is advisable to get foreign exchange from your bank. At airports, the exchange rates are higher. Keep a mix of cash and Forex card. You can get the travel card from your bank at an attractive rate. I got a Forex card and currency from HDFC bank in India.
To visit Europe you need a Schengen Visa. It allows a person to travel to Schengen countries only. Here are the countries which issue the Schengen visa.
It costs 60 Euros (Rs. 4500) /per adult. The choice of the country depends upon your point of entry or the country where you are going to spend the maximum time. I opted for German visa as I stayed there for maximum time. I applied for the same through VFS . On VFS platform you will find the country-specific list of documents you need to avail Visa
3. How to Save on Food and Accommodation
Stay in Europe can be much cheaper if you opt for youth hostels. These hostels are great for backpackers. It is pretty much fun, you get to meet and interact with different people from various parts of the world. This experience itself is very enriching. Hostel World and Hostel Bookers are two great websites for discovering great hostels at affordable price. If booked well in advance you can get decent accommodation for Rs. 1500 (20 Euros) per night, along with complimentary breakfast. Make sure your hostel is close to the city center as it saves cost and travel time. Here, is the summary of places where I stayed:
Quick service restaurants such as McDonald’s, Burger King and Street food such as falafel, are affordable options. A meal will cost you around Rs. 200 (3 euros) per person. Alcohol and beverages should be bought from retail stores or dedicated alcohol shop. Beer is cheap in Europe and starts from as less as 1 Euro.
4. City Tour and Local Commute
Europe has a rich history and plenty of monuments. The best way and probably the most affordable way to explore this is through free city tours. Sandemans is one such group which organizes these walking tours everyday. Tours start early in the morning from the city center or from the major tourist attraction, the schedule can be found on the website of Sandemans or you can get it in your hostel. It is advisable that you tip your guides as a token of appreciation and gratitude for showing you around.
Fortunately, in cities like Prague, Amsterdam, Berlin all the major attractions are in close vicinity and can be covered by foot. For bigger cities like Paris where tourist attractions are far apart, you should take a subway. Instead of buying a single ticket go for the whole day pass
You need an entry ticket to visit a few monuments and the tickets are in the range of 15-20 Euros (Rs. 1000-1500) . The examples are the Eiffel tower, Lovre museum, Colosseum, etc. If you are not a student the tickets can be costly. Decide on the monuments which you must visit and the ones which you can give a miss. This will save you from an impulse expense.
5. Night Life
Europe is the ultimate party destination. Cities like Prague, Amsterdam, Berlin, etc. has a vibrant nightlife. I strongly recommend the pub crawls. The detail of pub crawls can be obtained from the hostel where you are staying or from the internet. A Pub crawl includes a visit to multiple pubs in a group of like-minded people, welcome drinks, goodies and more. My favorite was Drunken Monkey in Prague. Here you can find a link to some of the amazing party destinations in Europe.
6. Concluding Remarks
- Optimize your itinerary in such a manner that you spend less time and cost on transportation
- Plan well in advance- At least three months, to save money on travel tickets and stay
- Foreign currency- Buy it from your bank and not from the airports
- Look for low-cost airline and buses to travel between countries.
- Travel light- Too much luggage will draw airline penalty
- Stay in youth hostels- It should be close to the city center and should offer complimentary breakfast
- Free walking tours to explore a city
Total Expenditure (Rs. 1,10,000) = 46,000 (Round trip flight from India)+ 8,000 (Inter-Europe transportation cost)+ 5,000 (Visa) + 20,000 (Stay)+15,000 (Food)+16000 (Misc.)
P.S. I have shared general tips and hacks here and have not gone into location wise details. That warrants a dedicated post
Sharing below a few snapshots from the trip. More images can be found on the Facebook page of The Budget Travel.