Traveling to Europe on a Budget

The canals of Amsterdam spread out below the city on a fine fall day. Photographed by Chase Dekker.

You don't have to know much about Europe to know it can be expensive. Whether you are thinking about traveling into the northern Scandinavian countries or down along the Mediterranean, a trip to Europe can add up…fast. However, by heading overseas during quieter times of the year and following some money-saving tips, it is possible to explore the culturally diverse continent without making your credit card scream.

Below, you will find some of the things I look for when traveling to Europe and how I have learned to travel there without spending too much. Unlike a lot of other travelers who go completely “bare-bone” I like to go with a little added comfort. By that, I mean I like to stay at hotels where I have my own private room instead of staying at a hostel. So this write-up is going to be best for those that want to spend some money, just not A LOT.

Use a Budget Airline

Budget airlines are becoming an increasingly popular mode of transportation when traveling the world. If traveling from North America, there are a variety of budget airlines that will transport you to Europe, although some of them are seasonal. Check out any US International Airport Wikipedia page (such as San Francisco International Airport) and head down to Airlines and Destinations. This will give you a comprehensive list what airlines fly out of that airport, and if it's seasonal. Some budget airlines that fly internationally include: Norwegian Air, WestJet, and EuroWings. These airlines will take you from a good selection of North American cities to multiple European cities for a fraction of what most airlines charge. While you most likely have to stop in their hub cities, they offer a large array of flights connecting to most European cities. While these airlines do not offer a lot of thrills, the cost more than makes up for what they do not have.