Yes, you can make a budget trip in Europe under ₹ 1 Lac ($ 1500). It is completely possible and so many travellers have done it. Go through this actionable guide below, and thank me later. If like me you have always dreamed of travelling to Europe one day, then this post is for you. Before you go ahead let me tell you this is a guide for 10 days in Europe on a budget. Also since I am Indian, this guide is for India to Europe trip on a budget. You can still go through if you are from other countries, as I have mentioned all the expenditure in USD ($) also.
When you think of a budget trip in Europe from India or other Asian countries, the first and most important expense is flights. The flights that you choose can make or break your budget trip in Europe. For best deals book your tickets 3 to 4 months in advance. There are various sites to help you in searching for the best tickets and connections like Skyscanner.
The best way would be to compare costs on all these sites and eventually book directly through the airline’s website. Making your booking directly on the airline’s website will always be cheaper than anywhere else. Also, keep your dates flexible, and book the flights on the cheapest days. When travelling from Asian countries to Europe, the best connections are Dubai or Istanbul. Moreover, connecting at Istanbul will be way cheaper than Dubai. A decent round trip booked well in advance will cost somewhere from ₹ 35,000 to ₹ 40,000 ($ 500-600).
2) Schengen Tourist Visa
In totality, 26 European countries have come together to form the Schengen region. Once you take this Visa you can travel to all the 26 countries. The Tourist Visa is generally valid for 90 days ie. 3 months. While making the application just make it Multiple Entry Visa, and indicate the first entry point. For eg: When I got the Visa for my trip my first country of entering Schengen region was Switzerland. So I got a Swiss Schengen Visa with multiple entries. Find all the requirements for the Schengen Visa here. The application process is simple and there is no need for an agent.
If you also want to visit the United Kingdom, you need to take a separate UK Visa as they no longer belong to the Schengen area. Find all the requirements for the UK Tourist Visa here. If you have more time between your connections or wish to explore Dubai or Istanbul, on the way, then you will have to consider getting the Tourist Visas for them too. Of course, you will need a passport too.
3) Travel Insurance
Travelling involves some risks and that is the main reason so many of us put off our travel plans. You might get robbed, you may pop your ears or meet with an accident, you may lose your passport, your luggage may get lost, you may miss your connecting flight and so on and so forth. The list is endless and you get to hear these threats from your dear ones once you announce your travel plans.
Travel Insurance is essential to cover these risks, as well as also a requirement for the Schengen Visa. Decent travel insurance plans start from ₹ 1,000 only. There is no need to spend more than ₹ 1,000 or $14 on travel insurance. World Nomads is a Travel Insurance I would recommend here. It is designed by travellers and for the travellers, meaning a perfect one for your holiday. They provide Cheap European Travel Insurance. Along with General Travel Insurance, they also have Snow Sports Insurance and Scuba Diving Insurance, Travel Accidents Insurance and Natural Disasters Insurance too.
World Nomads provides Insurance to everyone below 70 years of age.
4) Forex Card – Niyo Global Card
Next up is how do you spend/ carry your money abroad? How do you convert it with each and every country? For my budget Trip in Europe, I used the Niyo Global Forex Card. This card comes for free, with the lowest currency exchange rates. This is an INR card, where you can load your currency in INR (₹) and withdraw in the same way once you are back in India.
The Niyo Global Forex Card was a real blessing to me. This is a next-generation card which helped me save so much on conversions and to make my trip cashless too. Moreover, this card can be used in 150+ countries and comes with a dedicated app with the following features:
- Live Currency Conversion Rates.
- Real-time Notifications.
- Load and Reload on the go via NEFT/RTGS.
- Lock/ Unlock or Block your card on the go.
5) Accommodations – Where to Stay?
So now you have the flight tickets sorted, Visa is done with and also have the Forex Card to spend your way through Europe. The next puzzle is accommodations, where to stay? An ideal accommodation is the one which is near the railway station. You don’t want to take your heavy luggage bags around with you. Or walk miles to reach your home for the day, after you are tired from all the sightseeing.
One way to save on this is to book a hotel which is in a suburb like an area. A better way is to book a hotel between the place you are visiting for day 1 and the place for day 2. If you wake up early here, you get a bonus of another new place that you can explore. For eg: When I was moving from the Black Forest region in Germany towards Munich city I stayed in the little village of Weinheim and had a great morning beside Waidsee Lake. Read that adventure here.
Depending on your budget and lifestyle you can choose from various options, I have listed out below:
The most traditional types of accommodations are hotels. Depending on your lifestyle and liking you can choose a hotel to stay for the night. First, decide your budget per night and your requirements and simply search accordingly. You can search from the best hotels, and Resorts to the best Villas and Guesthouses effectively on Booking.com. Again everything depends on you and what kind of experience you want.
b) Airbnb Homestays
Airbnb is the new generation way of exploring a place with its culture and its people. Lots of people rent out spare rooms from their homes to earn some extra cash. Moreover, there are also some beautiful apartments and properties listed on Airbnb. Basically, you stay with the locals and learn more about the place, their food and culture and in the end make new friends. Airbnb is like a home away from your home and perfect for your budget Trip in Europe.
While making the selection keep in mind the amenities you need. Make sure to look through the pictures and go through the reviews. Prefer Superhosts over normal ones. You will not spend more than ₹ 2000 ($30) per night with a decent Airbnb home in Europe. Join Airbnb through this link and get up to ₹ 3025 ($43) off on your first trip.
Hostels are a great option for a budget trip in Europe for people who love backpacking or the younger lot in general. Most hostels have a common room or area, where you can hang out together with other travellers and make new friends from other ethnicities. Some hostels even have a dance floor! These hostels generally have dormitories with 6-8 beds. So if you are a group its a great option. Hostels in Europe cost somewhere between ₹ 800-1800 ($10-25) per person per night, depending on the city you are visiting. Mostly all have breakfast included. They also organize some city tours or some events for the people who are staying.
Couchsurfing is a cool way of exchanging experience for the experience. With Couchsurfing, you can meet and stay with locals all over the world. Couchsurfing is a place where people all over the world have opened up their homes to travellers for free. They let you stay in their spare rooms or let you sleep on the couch. Moreover, they give you their homes and washrooms and even their food and kitchens. What do you give in exchange? Take them some gifts, or buy their grocery for a day or just tell them your lovely travel stories. A better way is – start hosting travellers by being a host on the network and give back to the community. If you are brave enough then, this is the best option for your budget trip in Europe.
6) Internal Travel
Europe has many options like buses, trains, trams and even cheap flights to move from one city to another. You can choose to travel from one place to another by local trains or buses, at night. This way you save money on accommodation for that night. And the journey will be really comfortable. So that you can sleep through the travel and wake up in a new place the next day.
The Eurail pass is a great option. But if you work out your way through the local transport and book a few things in advance, going without the pass works out cheaper. Moreover, travelling on flights is very cheap in Europe. You may use a flight, to save on your time. One tool which helped me massively here is called Rome2rio. You just have to enter points from where you are starting and where you want to reach. Rome2rio gives results with the cheapest mode of transport and also the fastest mode of transport. It helps you get anywhere with plane, train, bus, car or a ferry ride. Of course, you can always use Google maps too. I would not spend more than ₹10,000 ($145) on internal transport.
7) Food and Drinks
Now all this travelling walking and sightseeing is going to make you hungry. Not to mention the fact that most of the cities here have cuisine which has to be tasted. Spending on local food would always be wise when travelling. But do not go to restaurant chains like McDonalds or Dominos, they are simply unworthy of all that money. Ask the locals the question, “Where do you eat?” rather than, “Where should I eat?” They will surely come up with the most amazing places.
When searching for accommodations opt for a with breakfast option. This means you can stuff yourself up in the mornings and perhaps survive all day! Most of the Airbnbs and Hostels provide you with a kitchen in which you cook your own food. You just have to purchase some ready to cook food from an Asian store or some bread and things you need from a mall and cook them as you like. Cooking your own food is a great way to save a lot when you are on a budget trip in Europe.
Pack a snack like a granola bar, or some chocolate, or dried fruits and nuts with you to eat as you go. Lastly, it is always better to go out for lunch rather than dinner. Dinners in Europe are always costly. I would spend ₹1000 to ₹1500 ($15-20) per day on food, when on a budget trip in Europe.
Before we talk about drinks, let’s talk about water. Tap water in Europe is cleaner than bottled water. Moreover, there are fountains at every corner on the streets where you can fill up pure drinking water. So just take an empty refillable bottle and drink through the taps and fountains, rather than purchasing bottled water. This hack will help you save a lot when you are on a budget trip in Europe. Coming to drinks, beer is extremely cheap in cities like Prague while wine is a thing for France and Switzerland. You can just buy from the stores and enjoy your drink in a park. Or you can save all your money if you are a teetotaler like me.
8) Attractions and Sightseeing
For attractions, the budget while spending would be ₹1000 ($15) per day or € 10 a day. Every city in Europe has a free walking tour for the tourists. It is a great experience where locals come and tell you about their city. One useful resource is the website FreeCityTour.com. This site has listed out all the free tours. The cities in Europe are not huge like the cities in India and you can easily walk from one place to another. Walking is a great way to explore and go around places. You will have to burn off all the bread and cheese and cakes that you are eating.
For your Budget trip in Europe, you will have to book for the major attractions For eg: the Eiffel Tower, in advance to avoid queues and hours and hours of waiting time. Or spending excessive amounts which are unnecessary. Also if you want a guide for a particular place or you are searching for some excursions or experiences in the city, I would recommend this website called GetYourGuide.com for making online bookings.
Another great way is biking your way through the city. Read about my early Morning Biking adventure in Prague here. There are many biking tours also available in many cities in Europe. You can book them here in advance.
You want to manage your business while you are away or talk to your family. Which Sim to but and how to connect to the world? There are Indian providers like Jio (₹1000) or other providers which provide International Service. You can just extend your service with the current provider for your budget trip in Europe. Or you can buy Euro sim for € 10 after you reach Europe. You can also get a Matrix Card if that suits you. Or like me, you can entirely depend on the Wifi. Almost all City centres and attractions have free public wifi that you can use. Moreover, while selecting accommodations make sure they provide a Wifi.
Any trip is incomplete without shopping for souvenirs, right? So, is your budget trip in Europe. While shopping for souvenirs, do not shop from branded stores. They usually charge more and are available in India also now. Buy from the local artisans or some local things. Ask the locals, and they can show you some best shops. Buy something which you never find at your homeplace or any other place in the world. Moreover, every city here has shops that sell rings, photographs, keychains, fridge magnets, caps and hats, coffee cups, etc. of that place. One more best way is to collect post stamps from all the places you are visiting. See how I bought Vlatavian Moldavite pendant in Cesky Krumlov here.
Expensive European Countries Vs Cheap European Countries
When you are on a budget trip in Europe, you might want to consider which destinations in Europe are cheaper and which destinations in Europe are expensive? Almost every country in Europe has something to offer. Each country has different architecture, food and cuisine, culture and language. Even the cheap countries have a lot of places that must be explored. Although you have your budget ready, while making the itinerary it is necessary to know which countries are cheaper and which ones are expensive.
Most of the countries in Eastern Europe are cheaper than countries in Western Europe. The following list will help you to plan your itinerary. It is a good idea to pick some from Expensive European Countries and some from Cheap European Countries, in order to balance your budget trip in Europe. Or you can select all the destinations from cheap European countries and squeeze your budget to around ₹70,000 ($1000).
- Expensive European Holiday Destinations – Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Luxemburg, United Kingdom, Finland, Belgium, Netherlands, France.
- Cheap European Holiday Destinations – Bulgaria, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania (home of Dracula), Albania, Serbia, Ukraine, Hungary, Croatia, Portugal.
- Countries in between – Germany, Italy, Austria, Greece, Spain, Sweden, Ireland.
Want to know how to save money for travel? This post is just for you – How to Save Money to Travel.
Budget Trip to Europe – Cost Breakup
This is an approximate estimate of expenditure that I would incur on a 10 days Budget trip in Europe.
|Sr No||Expenditure||Amount ( ₹ )||Amount ($)|
|5||Food and Drinks||10,000||145|
|7||Attractions and Sightseeing||10,000||145|
|8||Sim Card / Communications||1,000||15|