One of the primary sources of my information gathering stage when planning a vacation is to look online for helpful time or tricks to cut my costs. For almost every place in the world that you can dream of visiting, there are always articles posted online offering helpful (and sometimes not helpful) tips to save you money. I would much rather try something new and exciting than spend on a cost that can be minimized. Here are some that aren’t so helpful.
Museum passes are a great money saver if you intend to visit multiple museums. I find that the majority of travelers are similar to me, casual museum-goers with a passing interest in art. Works of aesthetic beauty will move me, but I tend to grow tired of seeing paintings, sculptures, and displays, even if they are of world-class quality. On my month-long trip, I visited at least 10 museums and near the end, I couldn’t fully appreciate the uniqueness of each piece. There are many other things to do in Europe outside museums. I would only recommend the museum pass if you are planning to visit multiple museums in one day, or if you have a deep interest in certain artists or artistic styles.
My first plan was to buy a month-long Eurorail pass and make a loop around Europe. After looking at the exorbitant prices(around 800 CAD for a month), I knew there had to be a better way. With proper planning, airlines and buses are far cheaper options than trains. I even used a local car-sharing service in France, which was by far the cheapest means of transportation. It is a common misconception that trains are the most efficient travel method. Yes, you get to see more of the landscape as you speed by; however, your eyes will soon get tired of blurry villages and indistinct mountains. My first choice would be using discount airlines like Ryanair or Easyjetw
Often the go-to choice for frugal travelers (especially backpackers), it is not the cheapest option out there. Hostels are great for meeting other like-minded travelers, but you can opt for AirBnB or Couchsurfing as cheaper alternatives. AirBnB offers a little more security, while Couchsurfing offers the unique opportunity to connect with locals.
You may think that a tour is the best way to visit all the important sites in a city. However, these tours are often overpriced and unnecessary. A little research can help you navigate through a city in an efficient manner. I will admit that a skilled tour guide who can provide relevant information about the city is a great addition to a trip; it makes the planning process shorter, but it makes the experience more generic. I would rather wander a city by foot and see what I discover.
Tourists have little knowledge of local streets and fare prices, so I avoid taxis as much as possible. You never really understand the routes or prices of certain trips and it is too easy to get overcharged for a simple trip to the airport and its hard to argue with a driver that speaks little English. Most of the cities you visit will have efficient public transportation, albeit some systems are a little confusing.
Have any other tips? I would love to hear them! Leave me a comment below.