Taking that time-out after college to do a bit of traveling is something that many students dream of, but with student loans to repay and a lack of any significant income, it can be difficult for most to see the world before becoming a part of it.
Being a bit more educated and worldly is certainly something of value, and we’re here to tell you that you can still achieve this goal without incurring too many expenses. That’s why we’ve compiled some ways in which you can hit the road without taking a hit to your finances, and bring you ways to see Europe on a student’s budget.
Before you can experience the wonders Europe has to offer, you’re going to have to get there first. Luckily, in this time of heavy competition, there are tons of good specials. You just need to know where to look. What you want to do here is some research on budget carriers. Even in early summer, some providers, like CheapOair, are offering flights from New York to Paris for as little as $700, round-trip, including tax! If the weather’s not a factor for you, consider going in the off-season, when rates are even cheaper. It may be the trip of a lifetime, but don’t treat it like one by going first class, and you should be fine. The first class education you’ll receive by traveling abroad will more than make up for it!
2. Public Transport
You won’t be taking taxis everywhere upon arrival, as you’ll want to avoid their fees, and of course, having to tip, which can drain the finances. Many cities are entirely walkable, like Rome, for example, and you’ll want to take them in with your own eyes, rather than through a car window anyway. Your main costs here will be getting from one major destination to another, and for that, you’ll need a train pass.
Eurail can provide you will some really affordable means to get where you want to go, without paying through the nose to get there. A Global Pass, which gives you unlimited travel throughout Europe (even the local lines, not simply the bullet trains) can be had for as little as $531 for 15 days. A month will set you back $842, but keep in mind that you, being under 25, will still qualify as a “youth,” so be sure to get your youth ticket. Select Passes allow you to hit any of 4 adjoining countries (France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, for example) at a more affordable rate. A short trip of 5 days will cost you only $376, but for 10, it’s cheaper to go with the Global. Get on the train, and get to where you want to be.
You will have to rest sometime, however, so consider, of course, the youth hostel system. Some in Berlin are extremely affordable at under $10 a night. This is where you’ll save your money, but if it’s still too rich for your blood, consider camping. You’ll meet many other travelers in this manner, but be sure to pack the right equipment.
4. Get Ready to Enjoy
Remember, many of Europe’s most famous sights are free, so take advantage of this. Under 26? The Louvre is yours. And it costs you nothing to walk up to Trevi fountain and snap a picture or stroll through the Piazza Navona. Walk around and soak it up, and make sure to share your experiences with others once you get back home.