10 Steps for Traveling Europe Cheap

How many times did you search for plane tickets and thought “I guess it will still be there when I’m 65 and retired.” Don’t be discouraged! I am going to explain how you can travel to your dream country for less than you imagined possible.

Step 1. Forget about your exact travel plans

The quickest way to make your trip as expensive as possible is to narrow your search to something incredibly specific.

For example, just because you have a four day weekend on Easter doesn’t mean its a good time to travel. Open yourself to being flexible on the dates you travel, the locations you travel to and what kind of places you stay at. The more flexible you are, the cheaper the travel will be.

Step 2. Determine where it is that you really want to visit.

I know I just said to be flexible but that doesn’t mean you can’t choose where you want to visit, it means you have to be open to getting there ways you didn’t anticipate. If you want to visit Dublin more than anything, don’t search for flights from the US to Dublin only. Chances are you can find a plane ticket from the US to another European city for much much less. Then you can book another short flight to Dublin for less than $80 roundtrip. It’s a great way to see a bonus country as well!

Step 3. Determine which city you will fly out of

Flights to Europe vary tremendously in price depending on which airport you’re flying to, leaving from and the dates of travel. So a good first step may be to determine which airport you are going to fly out of. If you live in a big city such as New York, Boston or Los Angeles, lucky you! You’ll find the cheapest flights to Europe from these cities.

If you don’t live in these cities, chances are you’ll end up flying through them to get to Europe. So if you can drive to one of those cities, that may be a cheap option. Otherwise, consider booking a flight to one of those cities from your hometown. Although it seems strange, you may get cheaper flights by booking each leg individually rather than booking a ticket from your home to your destination.

Step 4. Determine the cheapest European city to fly to

The easiest way to do this is to check websites that aggregate all of the cheapest airfares so you don’t have to search through hundreds of flights yourself. Some sites allow you to type United States or the city that you know you will be departing from in the “from” field. In the “to” field, try choosing “everywhere.” Then scroll down the resulting list looking for the first/cheapest country in Europe to fly to. If for example, Norway comes up at $340 and France comes up at $380, then it’s probably worth it to just choose France if that’s your desired destination; however, if the difference is more than $100 I would choose the cheapest airport first.

The annoying thing about Skyscanner is that the deals are often no longer active and sometimes you also have to search through many dates looking for the cheapest to travel on. But, patience is key and it’s how you find the cheapest flights. Another word of advice is that sometimes the flights are through travel agencies and it is probably worth it to search for reviews on the agency before booking your ticket, keeping in mind that happy customers rarely write reviews. But if the agency has one out of five stars, that may be a clue to pass.

Step 5. Find an inter-European flight to get you to your European dream destination

One thing most people don’t realize is that to fly from one country in Europe to another is dirt cheap.

I have flown across Europe for $14 one way. No joke. I have never paid more than $60 for a flight within Europe. Use to find a flight to your actual destination from whatever country you ended up in booking the cheapest flight to Europe.

Step 6. Now that you’ve arrived, find a cheap or free place to stay

Everyone has their own idea of a dream vacation. If yours is staying in the Ritz, then I’m surprised you read this far through this article. For most of us, we just want to stay somewhere decent while enjoying everything Europe has to offer. I have never stayed in a dump in Europe. I don’t want to and I’m just not that desperate. Accommodations come down to four options: hotel, rental, hostel or Couchsurf.

    • Hotel. Staying in a hotel is a safe way to go and if it’s your first time to Europe or you’re not much of a risk-taker, then this is probably the route you want to take. Hotels depending on where you are visiting range from $20-$200 per night so you might want to keep that in mind when choosing a destination. I wouldn’t advise staying in Monaco unless your oil company is seeing record first quarter profits but staying in nearby Nice might be an option. In other words, keep your options open.
    • Rental. Booking a rental room, apartment, villa or house is also a safe bet but can be a little more complicated than just checking into a hotel. Sites like Homeaway and Airbnb offer some really unique locations and I have to say, some of my favorite places I have stayed in Europe were rentals. From a villa on a winery in Tuscany to a secluded mother-in-law in a quiet neighborhood outside of London, I really enjoyed staying in rentals and the price is often much less than staying at a hotel if there is a group of you that can share the cost.
    • Hostel. The word hostel brings up thoughts of scary movies but the reality is that the difference between a hostel and a hotel is sometimes indiscernible in Europe. Sure there are hostels where you get a bunk bed in a room with five other travelers and for some people this is exciting and interesting! But just because bunk beds aren’t your thing, doesn’t mean you should rule out everything that has the word hostel in the title. I have stayed at some “hostels” which were just as nice as a hotel.
  • Couchsurf. If you are really on a tight budget or if meeting local people is really important to you, there’s no better way than to Couchsurf. If you have no idea what I am talking about, visit the Couchsurfing website. Essentially, the site lets you request to stay with someone who is wiling to host travelers at their home for free and vice versa. People leave reviews on the travelers and the hosts so you can have some assurance they are reputable. This of course comes with risk and safety precautions should be taken. In addition, you should always have a backup plan in case the situation doesn’t work out.

Step 7. Eat cheap.

I’m focussing on the necessities of visiting Europe: travel, lodging and food. There are of course plenty of other ways to spend money but these are the things you have to spend money on, food being one.

Food is amazing. I love food and the first couple times I went to Europe I was disappointed because I randomly wandered into restaurants and most were subpar. This all changed when I started checking TripAdvisor for restaurant reviews, that’s all it took to make every meal out amazing. This wasn’t so much a saving money tip as a general word of advice. However, TripAdvisor does let you search by general price of restaurants so $ is cheap $$ is moderate $$$ is getting expensive etc.

Here’s a money saving tip: buying groceries in Europe is usually very inexpensive. So if you have booked an apartment with a kitchen, take advantage of it! Go shopping at a local market and buy some new strange foods to cook! If you’re on a road trip, get some sandwich stuff to save a few bucks.

Step 8. Realize there are still more expenses

Even though travel, lodging and food are your main expenses, there are of course going to be others. Things to think about include, transportation once you arrive, fees for attractions and souvenirs.

Options for transportation include taking public transit. Most European cities have fantastic and inexpensive public transportation that can be purchased using local currency or a debit card at a kiosk. Note that American credit cards often don’t work at these as you need a chip and pin number.

Renting a car is a great option if you plan on traveling outside of the cities, it’s usually quite affordable and gives you ultimate freedom in mobility. Trains, although charming, are not usually a cheap way to travel across Europe. Flights are much less expensive and quicker. But if you are in love with the idea of seeing the country side by train, then it’s worth giving a try. Tickets can be purchased in advance on the Eurorail website for a fee. Or if you’re more flexible and feeling like it’s worth the risk, you can purchase them in person at the rail station for usually quite a bit less.

Step 9. Travel light

Although you might not think that traveling light will save you money, believe me, it will. First of all, every airline is going to charge baggage fees. So each leg of your flight is going to cost you $25 to $100 for each bag. That adds up fast. Secondly, if you have two suitcases, you are going to fill up two suitcases full of stuff that you probably don’t need. Thirdly, taking cheap transportation like the metro becomes frustrating and impractical when you’re hauling around two unwieldy bags. Fourth of all, your bags have to be with you at all times or in a hotel, so if you plan on checking out in the morning and going to another city, you won’t be able to do anything until you get to your hotel and check your bags in.

All in all, it’s just a huge pain to carry a bunch of stuff around Europe with you. My advice, and I can’t stress this enough, is to fit everything into one backpack. I have a 50L backpack and it had everything I needed for a month and a half in Europe. Yes, there are places to do laundry in Europe as well. If you’re saying, well you don’t understand because you’re a guy. I traveled with two young women and they both fit everything into a backpack. If you’re saying you don’t understand because you’re young, I traveled with my mother to Europe and she fit everything into a standard size school backpack! You can do it too!

Step 10. Always plan for the worst and hope for the best

Whenever I travel to Europe I plan out my expected expenses and round everything up. I also plan for at least $200 of unexpected expenses. In the end, my expenses are always well below this number but I don’t want to ever end up in the situation where I’m overwhelmed by the cost.


In 2,000 words I have given you the condensed Europe-on-a-budget-guide. There are of course lots of other things to think about when booking your Europe trip but the most important thing is to just do it! Find those cheap airline tickets to Europe and book them. You can fill in all the blanks later, don’t try to plan everything out before getting your tickets and don’t try and plan every second of everyday. Leave time to be spontaneous and immerse yourself in the European life.

International Escape brings the very best international travel deals online to one place. Finding cheap flights from a specific airport to a specific airport isn’t always possible but by broadening your destination choices, you can find flight and hotel deals that you never dreamed possible. does the dirty work of sorting through hundreds of thousands of daily flights to find those unbelievable deals. Fly from Los Angeles, California to Oslo, Norway for only $340 round-trip, yes these deals do exist! You’ll find them featured on the “Deals” page.

In addition to helping travelers find the very best deals on international flights, I decided to put my money where my mouth is, so I am traveling these very deals and bringing my experiences to you on the “Inspiration” pages of My hope is that these inexpensive travel deals will inspire others to pack their bags and make that international escape they’ve always dreamed of!


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A Short Introduction To Berlin

In the past century, Berlin has undergone more identity shifts than Bob Dylan. To many people, Berlin evokes unfortunate images of World War II, a huge grey wall of socialism or stereotyped images of Bratwurst. The truth is that Berlin is THE city of the 21st century.

Often the conflict between Old Berlin and New Berlin overwhelms visitors, so this short introductory guide aims to lay out a few must-see spots within walking distance of each other. Your trip will most likely start at the new Hauptbahnhof (central train station), which sits near the German parliament building (Reichstag), Angela Merkel’s office in 2019.

An excellent way to get over the jet lag is to wait on the solid line to go up to the glass cupola in the building, which provides an excellent panoramic view of the city. After the Reichstag, you can walk to the Brandenburger Tor and admire the statue on top of the Gate. Next to the Gate is the Adlon Hotel, it became more famous for Michael Jackson’s baby-dangling escapades than for its glamorous guests,  or the fact that Queen Elizabeth II owns a part of the hotel.

On a nice and sunny day, this area is great to sit and have a drink in one of thousands cocktail bars Berlin has to offer. If you are hungry, Berlin is famous for both its sausages and Döner kebabs, which have been brought to Germany by the substantial Turkish (not so) minority. After a Döner and some snapshots, the next thing to do is walk down Unter den Linden in the direction of the Fernsehturm (TV tower) and Alexanderplatz. At the Fernsehturm you can stand in a long line except you booked ahead online a fast track ticket.


Then you will get the opportunity to go up the 368 meters by a fast elevator and see the entire city. Once up, you can eat at the city’s highest restaurant, which actually revolves 360 degrees approximately every 30 minutes. Prices are a way higher than at the ground. Find here tickets for the Fernsehturm and other Berlin attractions. 

There are plenty of quality shops and cafes in the area of Under den Linden, including the large Dussmann Kulturkaufhaus at Friedrichstraße (a book, music, and media store). Unter den Linden intersects with Friedrichstraße, which is near the historic Museuminsel (literally: Museum island and really more of a peninsula). Don’t miss out the Berliner Dom (Evangelical Cathedral) that opened its gates for the first time in 1750.

View on Berliner Dom


No trip to Berlin is complete without an adventure out there on the Museum Island, especially to see the priceless antiquities at the Pergamon. Free audio guides are available there in many languages, so even if you are not a classics expert, you will become one! Since Museuminsel is formed by the river Spree, a pleasant way to spend the afternoon is on one of the many boat tours offered by many companies. Find your boat tour here!

A popular spot now is also Neukölln, the new Kreuzberg. Don’t worry, if these names confuse you. It’s the hot spot districts that tend to change every 5 years clockwise. Some party areas like around the Warschauer Straße at the riverside of the Spree welcome your inner and outer party animal. Actually, there are several clubs in every district.
On Oranienburger Strasse you will find arts and culture like almost everywhere in the city. But here is also one of the redlight districts of Berlin. Not as “organized” and large as in Amsterdam or Hamburg.

Anarchistic squats continuingly fight against the government like at the Rigaer Straße in Friedrichshain by occupying apartments. The area around the Simon-Dach-Straße features bars, galleries, theatres, and a hidden and secret cinema. During the day it is free to enter and browse or purchase from the galleries of the many local artists who display here.

It’s a Bar-Capitol: over 500 bars are welcoming customers every day. Here there is an official list of Bars in Berlin.
Berlin has its own charm, do not get upset upon difference.

Adriatic Sea Croatia

Top 6 Highlights to visit in Croatia

We highly recommend you to visit Croatia. Not only because one of our crew members is a Croatian, but because it’s stunning. Croatians sometimes listen to stuff like “I don’t like the rocks, I like sandy beaches”. Let me tell you something: we have also sand beaches! But mostly it’s rocky. Therefore, the water is crystal clear and you can hike to lonesome places, where the whole beach will be yours. Try that elsewhere without a boat. So the most important thing besides your swimsuit for a summer vacation is this kind of shoes:


We highly recommend you to explore Croatia by car. You can rent cars in almost every town.

Although you might end up being stuck in a traffic jam during the main touristic season in July and August, it’s worth it to see the whole variety of its beautiful sites.
The relatively small country has become one of Europe’s top destinations, still being mainly an alternative to Greece, France, and Spain. Actually, Croatia doesn’t have to hide.

They have the second best football team in the world with a population of 4.2 million.

Croatian football fans

Come one, they deserved it.

The Nature is stunning. The rocky coastline has a longitude of 1778 kilometers and includes pine-fringed coves, wide sandy beaches, and comfy inlets. 1185 islands vary from lush and forested to stark and hilly. Yachties love the sailing opportunities, sunbathers have a fantastic selection of beaches, and scuba divers have a paradise of sea life to explore.
Beyond the beautiful scenery, Hrvatska (Croatia) boasts a fascinating history and cultural life.

The walled town of Dubrovnik on its southern tip may be a must-stop for Mediterranean cruises however the long coast is affected by remnants of Croatia’s varied past.
The Romans swept through two thousand years ago, going away an amphitheater in pula and Diocletian’s Palace in Split. Long dominated by Venice, several ports on the coast bear the distinctive imprint of its former master. In southern Dalmatia, the cities of Hvar and Korcula match small Venices but without the canals.

In Istria, the striking bell tower in Rovinj is sculptural after that on St Mark’s square in Venice.
In distinction to the Italian-influenced coast, the Croatian interior was a part of the Austro-Hungarian empire and inherited some of the fancy looks.

Especially Zagreb, Croatia’s capital, is built in Austro-Hungarian architectural style.

In the northern part, within the middle of green, rolling hills, lies Varazdin, Croatia’s most underrated town. Lying too far away from the coast to draw in a lot of tourism, Varazdin nonetheless boasts a spectacularly well-preserved baroque center.

So, what visit first?

You can rent a car and start in the south or in the north.


Byron called it the “Pearl of the Adriatic” for the impressive curtain of walls surrounding a town paved in marble and strewn with Renaissance sculpture.



Hvar Town

In addition to the luxurious harbor promenade and sculptured facades, it’s becoming best-known for its nightlife on the Adriatic Sea.

Hvar Town

You can also sty in the quieter towns on the Island of Have in Jelsa, Vrboska (yeah it’s hard), or Stari Grad, the oldest town in Croatia founded by the anciant Greek as “Faros”.

Korcula city

It resembles Hvar in some ways that, particularly the tight cluster of streets, but it lies on a slim solid ground and is quieter than Hvar.


Istria’s prettiest small city, it retains the flavor of a traditional fishing port despite the significant inflow of tourists in recent years.


Brela Beach

The idyllic coves, bordered with pine trees, stretch out like long jewelry of beaches. Forbes magazine recently named it one amongst the top twenty beaches within the world.

Plitvice Lakes national park

It has to be seen to be believed. The sixteen turquoise lakes appear to glow, and there are waterfalls all over. It’s a UNESCO world heritage site.

Plitvice National Park


No matter wherever you go in Croatia, you’ll realize folks are wanting to welcome tourists. English and more often even German are widely spoken, and prices are relatively low compared to other destinations of the European coast. Therefore what are you waiting for?