Travelling to Europe for 2 weeks? If yes, you will LOVE the below advice
a) Ditch the Eurorail.
Its been 15 years since DDLJ and its time we buried the “we have to do Europe with Euro Rail pass” myth.
a) Euro Rail pass is a “discount” coupon. It is not a ticket. You have to line up at the train station to buy the ticket. Many times the line for this is longer than the line for regular train tickets!
b) There is no ticket preference for pass holders. That means if the train is fully booked you can’t board that train
c) The discount coupon makes sense only if you do a minimum number of trips over the travel dates
d) Euro rail pass gives you access to the fastest and most expensive trains. So far so good. However most often the fastest trains are only slightly faster than the regular trains, especially over shorter, well traveled routes within a country
For instance in Italy, Milan to Venice a Regional train takes only 20 mins more and is 60% less expensive
Unless you are doing a lot of inter-country travelling in Europe, you will nearly always be better off buying train tickets a-la- carte.
We saved INR 15,000 on our last Italy trip and INR 10,000 on our last Germany trip using this strategy.
Saving: INR 10,000*2 = 20,000
Hostels. I know your nose cringes automatically at the word, but don’t be scared. These are not your Indian Youth Hostels and their associated dorm rooms. The standard of European hostels are extremely high and in many places you can actually book a separate room, especially if there are 3 or more people travelling together.
Ceterus paribus, even if you are a couple, for the same quality of accommodation (including booking separate rooms) , you can save Eur 30-50/ day.
Cost saving: INR 20,000
c) Guided Walks.
Guided walks and tours are quite expensive, averaging about 40-50 Euros per tour. On a 14 day itinerary, tours itself can set you back INR 15,000 per person.
An excellent alternative in many European cities are the free walks (Yes.. ..Free). The quality of most of them are excellent. The only catch is that it’s customary to tip the guide. Even with the tip, you will save a considerable sum of money
Saving : INR 10,000*2 = 20,000
d) Food and Water:
A simple thing but much ignored tip is refilling your water bottle instead of buying mineral water throughout the day. In summer the saving per person per day will be Eur 7-8 Euros.
For Food, an excellent low cost option is Turkish/ Middle Eastern Food. These days they are present in almost every European city. They are not only cheap; they make an extremely tasty and healthy meal.
Cost saving: INR 10,000*2 = 20,000
With the advent of low cost carriers, it is often cheaper to take a flight than a train. You have to book well in advance, but this planning is often worth it. (We travelled on a INR 750 flight from Ibiza to Malaga). Train tickets offer limited if no early bird discounts. Admittedly you can’t do this for every trip, but it should be used intelligently when planning your itinerary
Cost Saving: INR 7,500*2 = 15,000
Say a big No to matrix, unless the purpose of your phone is to receive incoming office calls. It is very easy to buy Local sims and phones and the cost savings as compared to the best Roaming plans will be humongous.
(On our last Spain trip, we spent a total of INR 1200, without any significant reduction in our mobile phone usage)
Cost Saving: INR 5,000*2 = 10,000
All in all – Total saving: INR 105,000.