We became experts in traveling on a budget through Europe. It has been already more than 2 years that we live nomadic in Europe. Europe feels like our country. On average we switch places every 3 weeks. So that means after 21 nights in the same bed we hit the road again and travel to our new temporary home.
People think Europe traveling through Europe is very expensive. And yes it can be. But is also can be very affordable. If you follow up on the advice about transportation I am going to give you now.
Sneak peek traveling on a budget through Europe
I will give you a sneak peek of our Europe travel – comfortable and very affordable. Traveling all the way from Amsterdam to Marseille, we cover a distance of almost 1300 kilometers, and it costs us only €30,-. Traveling this track by car would cost you at least €150,-. So unless you will be sharing your car with 4 other persons you won’t beat this price.
Continue reading and discover our best tips to travel on a shoestring through Europe!
Coaches cover the whole of Europe – FlixBus is the #1
We are big fans of FlixBus. Perhaps you don’t know FlixBus but when I tell you “apple green big busses with an orange stripe” it probably does ring a bell.
Without them, our whole budget / nomadic / free / Europe living wouldn’t have been possible like it is now. They are cheap, comfortable and their coverage is great.
To illustrate their coverage I’d like to share a little anecdote. We like to come back every half year to one of our favorite pet sit jobs in rural France. And when I say rural I mean rural. We can drive around in this National Parc Morvan for hours and only see 3 other cars. There is a FlixBus stop 1,5 hour away from the picturesque B&B we are staying in. And France is big, you know.
FlixBus rides are very easy to book in just 2 minutes via their app. We have quite some FlixBus experience so far and they always exactly left the minute they were scheduled to leave. We ran into some very friendly drivers and of even more importance; the drivers changed seats regularly. That makes for a good night of sleep 😉
From Bucharest, to Lisbon, to London, Italy, Poland and Denmark. FlixBus is your recommended budget travel partner.
Ouibus is a great alternative
If you can not find what you are looking for at FlixBus you might want to try Ouibus. They cover a big part of Europe as well for good prices. We always start with checking FlixBus first. In Spain Alsa is a good bus operator too.
Low budget trains because train travel is the best
We know, buses can be efficient, but train travel is so much more fun! Unfortunately train travel in Europe is expensive, and booking international trips not so transparent. But.. since a few years there are two great new players in the train world. They go by the names of FlixTrain (no surprise isn’t it?), and yes you almost did guess correctly; Ouigo. They are what RyanAir is in the sky but then on rail tracks. They are budget railway companies. Without sacrificing a lot on convenience and speed, they are a LOT cheaper.
Their stunning prices are made possible by only servicing the main routes, not having offline ticket offices, having a very efficient operating system, and by squeezing in slightly a bit more passengers.
Of these two European low budget train operators, Ouigo is our number 1 choice with a bullet. They work with true high speed trains, whereas FlixTrain uses old trains that don’t go that fast. Unfortunately you cannot travel the whole of Europe (yet) with these companies. Use FlixTrain in Germany and Ouigo in France.
Queen of budget travel through Europe: RyanAir & special RyanAir advice
Good old RyanAir shouldn’t be missing in this blog. Although I must say I don’t support air travel (we try to keep our flights to a minimum because of the heavy environmental impact, instead we choose bus travel and train travel). I would wish flying wouldn’t hurt our planet so much. The personal benefits on the short time are great but don’t outweigh the harm on a bigger scale on the long term.
The image of Ryanair is not one of customer-friendliness but I do think they do deliver. Things are as they are sold. The cabin crews are friendly, the airplanes good. You get what you pay for and that is totally clear upfront. No hidden surprises.
I’d like to give away two RyanAir travel hacks. First, it is not necessary anymore to print your boarding pass. Just show your digital pass in the app (no connection needed) and you are good to go. Tip 2: you have to pay for your luggage nowadays. But just book the Priority Passenger option for only €6,-. and you are allowed to bring 2 bags into the cabin with you (a 10 kg bag and a hand bag). You are even allowed into the Priority Lane (with 80% of the other passengers ).
Two high-impact tips for budget travel in Europe
Let’s finish with my best tips for budget travel in Europe. The tips mentioned above are great. But please make sure you always combine them with the advice I am going to give you now. To travel more for the lowest fares.
1 Travel Europe on a budget tip #1:
Book far ahead. The more in advance you book, the cheaper you travel. This applies not only to RyanAir flights but to bus travel and train travel as well.
2 Travel Europe on a budget tip #2:
Be flexible when you want to travel. That means: if a ticket is €150,- on Friday the 3rd, you decide to travel on Saturday the 4th instead for 1/10 of the price.
Enjoy traveling Europe in an affordable way! Save on transportation costs, and keep your money for museums, coffee and a concert.
PS The €30,- trip I was talking about in my introduction? Take the FlixBus night bus from Amsterdam to Lyon Airport. There you swap your bus for a Ouigo TGV that brings you in 1,5 hours to Marseille.