Travel Tips

  • Be flexible when you travel
  • Don't plan too much in advance
  • Talk to locals to find deals
  • Don't settle for the first price you find
  • look into multiple methods of transportation

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David Tintner

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Transportation

Getting to Europe

Flying to Europe, or whichever international destination you may be heading to, can put a serious dent in your budget. International flights can cost over a grand, if you don’t know where to look.

Kayak Search

Last summer I booked a roundtrip flight from Miami to Barcelona for 585 dollars. I didn’t have a special connection with an airline, book years in advance, or use thousands of frequent flyer miles. With just a few good resources and the ability to be flexible you can find ways to save hundreds on your international flights too.

When planning your trip, don’t settle for the first price you find. Kayak.com is the absolute best resource for booking flights and saving money. Kayak’s search tool allows you to specify flexible dates and include nearby airports- two excellent ways to find deals. If you are planning a backpacking trip through several different cities and countries, I would also highly recommend planning your starting and ending points around the cheapest cities to fly in and out of. The key to traveling cheap is being flexible.

Traveling Between Cities

Europe’s transportation systems are completely different than the United States’. Everyone has heard about the Eurrail system that links most major cities by train, but what most people don’t realize is that there are several other options that may be cheaper or more efficient.

There are a couple of budget airlines in Europe that have insanely low rates and can often be a much better choice than taking a train. I’ve flown on both Ryanair and Easyjet for under 50 dollars. Flights between most major European cities take only an hour or two and can save a lot of precious travel time. Watch out for hidden fees and tricks though.

Lastly, do some research once you get to a city about the best way to travel from it. Talk to locals, tour guides and hotel or hostel staffs. There are some bus companies in Europe that do overnight routes between major cities and cost less than 30 dollars. Although it might take longer than taking a train or flying, if you can book an overnight bus ride it will save you a night’s stay in a hostel or hotel.

Getting around each city

Your greatest expense on your trip should be the international travel costs and the trains, planes or buses between each of your destinations. However, once you arrive in a city you can extremely minimize your expenses, starting with how you choose to get around.

One of the best things about European cities is their public transportation system. Almost every city has a subway or train system that can take you anywhere you need to go for next to nothing.

It can be easy to get intimidated by signs in a foreign language or large crowds, but don’t give up. Pick up a map of the subway routes and don’t be afraid to ask some one for help. Avoid taking cabs because they will be extremely overpriced, especially if you are alone or in a small group. Study the routes a little bit and soon the city’s public transportation will be your best friend.