The Cheapest Ways to Travel Europe, According to a Cheapo Who Loves Traveling Europe

*FYI - this post may contain affiliate links, which means we earn a commission at no extra cost to you if you purchase from them. Also, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Check out our Privacy Policy and Disclosure. for more info.

What’s the cheapest way to travel Europe?

After 7 years of bouncing around Europe as a) a backpacker, b) a broke student and now c) a restless expat, this is a question I’ve relentlessly sought the answer to.

My first taste of European budget travel was during my first ever backpacking trip around Western Europe. I had travelled from Paris to London, two major bucket list cities of mine, for less than the price of 6 Chicken Nuggets.

It was exhilarating. My mind was blown… and I suppose you could say, that’s when a monster was born.

Save these cheap ways to travel Europe for later!

You’ll be very, very glad you did. (Your wallet will be too!)

When I returned a year later as an exchange student, I took advantage of budget travel options to go absolutely insane and indulge in weekend trips anytime I could.

Along the way I discovered wild deals like 5 euro bus tickets to Paris, 20 euro roundtrip tickets to London, 40 euro roundtrip tickets to MOROCCO.

Not to be dramatic: but a whole new world – nay, a whole new ME – emerged. Since moving back to Europe, I’ve continued to take advantage of the countless cheap options out there – after all, why spend extra when you don’t need to?

That’s why I want to share with you my top tips today, lifting the veil on the cheapest way(s) to travel Europe.

You can also click here to download a free checklist that breaks down my process for finding the cheapest ways to travel from Point A to Point B every time. Enjoy!

PRO TIP: I always use Omio to quickly compare the prices of flights, trains and buses. It sorts everything by cheapest, recommended, shortest, etc. and is totally free! I love them and am a proud Munich local expert for them as well 🙂

My Cheapest Ways to Travel Europe Video

One of the most important things to do before travelling internationally is figuring out how you’ll get around. Want a video version of all the info below? Here you go:

1. Taking Buses to Travel Europe Cheaply

If affordability is what you’re after, I highly recommend traveling around Europe by bus.

While it’s not as comfortable, convenient or scenic as train travel, it comes at a fraction of the cost (which means more euros in your pocket for croissant hoarding and wine guzzling).

These days, the main contender in European bus travel is FlixBus. 

This honest Flixbus review is epic! It compiles all the pros and cons of riding with Flixbus and 14 important must-knows before your trip. #Flixbus #Europe #Travel

For me, Flixbus wins in terms of price, flexibility and convenience. With fares as cheap as 5 euros one way, the price simply can’t be beat.

Plus, you can easily download an app where you can check different bus times/purchase tickets up to the day of.

They even have the most chilled out cancellation policy ever – you can cancel/change your ticket up to 15 minutes before departure for only a euro (note: in the good old days, this was even free!)

That’s why I think Flixbus is the perfect choice for a spontaneous budget traveler.

They even have an awesome pass called Interflix that allows you to book 5 journeys for only 99 euros. That means you can ride from one European hotspot to another for only 20 euros… an absolute steal.

Click here to scope out the best Flixbus deals

This epic guide details the cheapest and most affordable ways to travel Europe. If you're looking to travel Europe on a budget, you can't miss this read! #Travel #Europe #BudgetTravel
Buses are one of THE best options for cheap transportation in Europe

NOTE: As with all things in life, you get what you pay for. Flixbus isn’t world-renowned for amazing service or punctuality, but they do get you from Point A to Point B eventually. I’d recommend them if budget is your #1 priority.

Other bus options to check out in Europe:

Eurolines: I’ve only used Eurolines a handful of times because Flixbus is so convenient to book, but they offer a lot of routes around Europe and in my experience, tend to be more punctual than Flixbus.

However, they’re a lot less flexible when it comes to modifications/cancellations, with a zero refund policy within 48 hours of the trip date, and a 25-50% deduction of the total fare if you cancel earlier. In other words, if you want to be flexible, Flixbus is a better choice!

RegioJet, AKA Student Agency Bus: I took this one from Prague to Budapest 2 years ago and it’s still (to date) the most luxurious bus trip I’ve ever had!

It was super affordable, there were movies available on board and even a “bus attendant” who gave us free hot chocolate and tea. Most of their routes seem to be in/out of the Czech Republic, but they’re an amazing deal if you’re travelling in that area.

Megabus: Megabus used to be my go-to bus company (they’re how I got from Paris to London for two pounds in 2014 – like I said, for less than the price of 6 nuggets!) but their European routes have since been acquired by Flixbus.

That said, they’re still active in the UK, and have some crazy deals if you book early enough (the first to buy tickets on certain routes can score them for only 1 pound)

Another cost-effective option in the UK is National Express. I’ve used them many times and they’re always very professional and punctual. The key with them is to book as early as possible to score the best deals!

Local bus lines: While travelling around the Balkans, I relied on a number of local coach companies to get around. If you happen to be travelling around the Balkans, your best bet is to inquiry at the local bus station for tickets – they’re usually very affordable even the day-of.

2. Hopping around Europe Cheaply with budget airlines

One of the most popular (and cheapest) ways to travel Europe is through budget airlines.

Unlike North America, Europe is crawling with budget airlines that can take you from Point A to Point B at ludicrously low costs.

… Sometimes even cheaper than the bus!

With Ryanair for example, I can get from Munich to London for only 10 euros if I book early enough. That’s cheaper than the cost of actually getting to the airport!

How to find them: I always use Skyscanner to check out the best flight deals. A few big names to look out for include RyanAir, EasyJet, WizzAir, Volotea,  EuroWings, and Vueling.

You can also use Omio (for free!) to search up flights, buses and trains at the same time so you can see which out of all these options is cheapest.

Download my free checklist: I actually wrote an entire post on how to find the cheapest flights TO Europe, and the tips/systems I introduce definitely work for flights within Europe as well. Click here to read it, and click here to download the free checklists I made that will help you find the cheapest flight every time.

One note with budget airlines: you absolutely, 1000% get what you pay for.

This means limited legroom, ‘meh’ service and additional costs for everything (including extra bags, in-flight meals and even printing your ticket at the airport).

But hey, for the price, you really can’t beat it. So long as you familiarize yourself with each airline’s rules and hidden costs, you’ll be fine.

If you want a preview of what the experience is like, click here to read my honest RyanAir review, and click here to read my honest Wizz Air review.

I wouldn’t stress too much about having the most luxurious and wonderful experience though… instead, it’s much easier to accept a mildly uncomfortable 1-3 hours.

After all guys, you are paying 10 euros to fly in a hover-box through the sky. Chill out, and enjoy the (dis)comfort of your legroom-less seat.

Click here to scope out the best flight deals on Skyscanner

This epic guide details the cheapest and most affordable ways to travel Europe. If you're looking to travel Europe on a budget, you can't miss this read! #Travel #Europe #BudgetTravel

3. Cruise around Europe on a budget with BlaBaCar

Those in search of the cheapest way to travel Europe should definitely look into BlaBlaCar.

BlaBlaCar is a carpool service that matches up drivers/passengers who are going to the same places. You’re essentially pitching in for gas/other expenses in exchange for a seat in someone’s car.

I know it sounds slightly sketch, but it operates on a good review system much like Couchsurfing and AirBNB. Many of my friends use it regularly with great results.

HELPFUL HINT: In some areas, Google Maps has even begun syncing up with BlaBlaCar, so when you search up how to get from Point A to Point B, BlaBlaCar rides will show up as an additional option below driving, public transport, etc.

Click here to check out BlaBlaCar

This epic guide details the cheapest and most affordable ways to travel Europe. If you're looking to travel Europe on a budget, you can't miss this read! #Travel #Europe #BudgetTravel

4. Save Money on Your Europe Trip by Hitchhiking

If you’re looking for (truly) the cheapest way to travel Europe, hitchhiking would be it. Is it glamorous? No. But it’s like, 50 shades of free, soooo…

Now here’s the thing: hitchhiking is better suited for some areas than others.

For example, while in the Balkans, I hitchhiked once in Bosnia and the guy turned out to be a lovely lavender farmer who (seemed to) own a monopoly over lavender fields in the area.

He barely spoke English and could only keep pointing at his fields like a boss while hollering “LAVANDA LAVANDA”.

That was a fun experience.

Bosnia & Herzegovina is one of the most underrated countries in the world. There are so many beautiful must-sees and dos in Bosnia. Here is a post filled with stunning photos that will inspire your wanderlust!
Close to where the Lavanda man picked us up

On the other hand, it might not be as easy to do in Western Europe… I’ve never tried it myself in this area, but I do have friends who once hitchhiked from Amsterdam to Munich to visit me for Oktoberfest.

It took 16 hours. SO, know that this is the ultimate cheap way to travel Europe, but it can be very unpredictable, tough and kill a lot of your exploration time.

It’s also true that hitchhiking isn’t for everyone. While it’s not as dangerous or uncommon as many people think, it still carries some risk and disadvantages.

Worth hitchhiking for though?

So…

You should probably NOT hitchhike if:

  • You are paranoid about safety (and travelling alone)
  • You are limited in time
  • You have strict plans on where you need to be and when
This epic guide details the cheapest and most affordable ways to travel Europe. If you're looking to travel Europe on a budget, you can't miss this read! #Travel #Europe #BudgetTravel
Hitch hiking: bar none THE cheapest way to travel Europe

5. See Europe in Style (and on a budget) with train deals

There are few travel experiences as epic as taking the train across Europe… that said, while train travel is incredible, it can wreak some serious havoc on your budget.

Cheap train travel in Europe can be possible though. Here are some tips!

How to travel Europe by train (on a budget): 

Book as early as you possibly can:

European train tickets are usually sold in batches, with a select number of really cheap (inflexible booking) tickets available first, then moving into higher price ranges as they sell out.

If you know where you’re going and are okay with a lack of flexibility, then buying as early as possible is probably your best bet.

Look into group/regional tickets: 

Many areas in Europe will have special deals for those travelling in groups or in particular areas. In Bavaria for example (where I currently live), there’s a group deal called a Bayern Ticket that gives you unlimited travel for the day for 5 people on the same ticket.

It costs 26 euros for the first person, then 5 additional for each extra person you add on, which is an insanely good deal if you get several people together.

Often, these deals will be cheaper than buying regular tickets, so do some research to see if these specials exist where you’re headed 🙂 For more info, you can click here for my full Bayern ticket guide.

Check if you’re eligible for discounts:

European train companies love rewarding people for being young, so often if you’re under the age of 26, you’re eligible for additional discounts, especially if you’re a student.

In Belgium for example, those 26 and under can buy a GoPass 1, which allows you to travel one-way anywhere in the country for only €6.60.

Get a train pass:

For my fellow North Americans, Eurail offers a lot of different passes for different countries, time periods, etc. These can be much cheaper than buying tickets individually, and they also offer a lot more flexibility.

It’s good value for money, despite not being the cheapest option out there. I would recommend doing a lot of research prior to buying a pass to see how much tickets cost for your intended travel routes because you might be able to plan a cheaper trip if you buy non-flex tickets far in advance.

Click here to browse the best deals on Eurail Passes

This epic guide details the cheapest and most affordable ways to travel Europe. If you're looking to travel Europe on a budget, you can't miss this read! #Travel #Europe #BudgetTravel

6. Travel Europe Cheaply by Renting a Car

Travelling through Europe by car might sound like a wonderful bucket list dream, but it’s a lot more complicated than just getting an old Volkswagen and decking it out in fairy lights.

The issue with renting a car in Europe is that it’s riddled with hidden costs, including extra fees for crossing multiple countries, dropping off at different points, highway vignettes (required for many countries in Central Europe, etc. etc.)

The truth is, it is highly unlikely that renting a car will be the cheapest way to travel Europe for you.

Is it worth it though? Well, the freedom to pull over whenever, go wherever and take off at a moment’s notice is pretty sweet.

Absolutely incredible Iceland pictures that will inspire you to visit! 31 amazing examples of Iceland photography and solid inspiration for you to travel to Northern Europe and Iceland. #Iceland #Europe #Travel #Photography

If you choose to go this route, here are some tips to help you get the best deal on travelling through Europe by car:

Use a comparison website:

A good start is using a comparison website to find the most competitive prices for a car rental. Expedia is my go-to.

That said, looking at these listed prices is simply not enough. It’s also important to…

Consider the hidden costs:

The prices you see on these comparison sites will most likely not be what you end up paying. There are MANY extras to consider, like insurance, GPS, multiple country fees, one-way drop off fees, tolls, vignettes, etc.

Sadly, the companies are not consistent in what they include in their listed price, so be sure to do your research and read the fine print so you can fully understand which is the best deal.

Click here to read my post full of hidden costs you should be mindful of!

Hoping to travel Europe by car? Don't miss these important considerations and hidden fees to ensure you have a smooth rental process! #europe #carrental #travel #traveltips

Find coupon codes automatically:

I highly recommend the free Google Chrome extension, Honey, which looks up free coupon codes for you automatically. It takes a click to install and is awesome for saving a little extra on all travel bookings and any other online purchases.

Malta travel inspiration at its finest - let these mindblowing photos show you all the amazing things to do and things to see in Malta.

Any more questions about the cheapest ways to travel around Europe?

I hope you enjoyed that guide on the cheapest way to travel Europe and that it gave you some good insight into the different options for cheap transportation in Europe.

If you have any questions though, feel free to ask below!


Watch my most popular YouTube video this week:


68 thoughts on “The Cheapest Ways to Travel Europe, According to a Cheapo Who Loves Traveling Europe”

    • haha BlaBaCar is almost like a more regulated version of hitchhiking. Definitely a good middle ground or starting point if hitchhiking scares you 😉

      Reply
  1. Great tips! I took Flixbus and it was perfectly fine and actually on time, which was a pleasant surprise! Also, I think the best website for looking up quite a bit of European train travel is bahn.de. It’s the German train website but it has train times and routes for many more countries. And it’s really easy to use. Always search the number of people you’re looking to book for. Sometimes we forget and just keep the number at 1, but I travel with my husband and we’re always 2 and 2 is always cheaper than 1 + 1! There are great deals in Germany for a group of people traveling together too. Found this on Easy Jet as well – prices are better for 2 people.

    Reply
    • Awesome info – thank you! I use bahn.de all the time since I live in Germany but I never realized it had such helpful info for other countries too. And I had no clue that booking for 2 is cheaper. SO good to know – thanks! <3

      Reply
  2. Great tips! I currently live in Europe and have the flexibility of owning a car, but I might use one of these cheap buses one day. Another thing about those cheap airlines…if you’re flying in Europe the flight time is usually no more than 2 hours, so it’s really not a big deal to not be able to recline your seat for 2 hours. As soon as you’re up, you’re already back down! Worth the cheap price in my opinion.
    And I think the hitchhiking is totally dependent on where you are. I went to the Isle of Skye in Scotland earlier this year and it’s extremely common for backpackers to hitchhike around the isle to get to the different sites. We gave a ride to some people and didn’t feel unsafe at all. Go with your gut!

    Reply
    • Awesome – thanks so much for this thoughtful comment, Kristin! Always good to get some input from others and their experiences <3 Scotland does seem like an amazing place to hitchhike. The people there are so lovely! Thanks for chiming in 🙂

      Reply
  3. It is really not easy to keep it cheap in Europe, but you have some great suggestions. In Denmark, they use GoMore, a great carpooling service. I used it a lot because train tickets are ridiculously expensive! Else, the trick is to book in advance, then you can get them almost cheaper than doing the carpooling.

    Reply
    • Ooh good to know about GoMore! I love that there’s so many new services popping up these days for budget travellers. Makes lives so much easier!

      Reply
  4. A very handy piece, if only travel in Canada was that easy…lol…I will be keeping this for future reference as I had never heard of Flix Bus they sound great and if you can get used to flying Ryanair you can get used to anything…

    Reply
    • Hope this comes in handy for your future travels, Faith! Flixbus is definitely a great budget option. They’re by no means mega-comfortable and there’s often delays, but it does get you to where you need to go eventually haha. Can’t really argue with prices like theirs!

      Reply
  5. I love this one! 🙂 I live in Europe so I have used almost all from the list but I really like it how you combined them.
    P. S. Your pins has amaaazing design, love it so much. <3

    Reply
    • haha I hope your experience was as fun as mine! Hitch hiking in the Balkans is a lot easier (I’ve heard) than in other parts of Europe 🙂 definitely a neat way to meet locals!

      Reply
  6. This is really useful for me! I am currently an exchange student in Italy untile Feb 2018 so I’ve been wanting to go out the country and roam around Europe. I most definitely am shocked with RyanAir prices! Thanks for this post!

    xo, Myrra

    Reply
    • What an exciting time for you! I travelled so much during my exchange in Munich and decided to move here 😉 You never know what a crazy impact this experience will have on your life. Hope you have an amazing time in Italy!

      Reply
  7. Love this post! Good timing too, I was just trying to decide about taking a FlixBus for an upcoming trip. Sounds like it is the way to go!

    We are also all about the budget airlines (Volotea is my current fav) but I swear my biggest annoyance isn’t the baggage fees or incessant selling, it is the lack of seat back pockets. Sounds ridiculous but for some reason that annoys me ENDLESSLY. #highmaintenance

    Reply
    • omg so true – no seat pockets kills me every time because then I’m left scrambling, with my passport, phone, boarding pass, etc. scattered all across my lap hahah. Flixbus is fine if you don’t mind meh service/delays. They’re definitely super budget friendly!

      Reply
  8. Great post with really good advice. Busses are a great way to go and often overlooked by North Americans. But I find them to be really useful in certain areas. I’m still a fan of trains though!

    Reply
    • I think buses are tougher in North America since major cities are so much further apart! In Europe though they are amazing since everything is so close 🙂 I’m a big fan of trains now too. They’re just so comfortable and convenient. Thanks for reading, Lynne!

      Reply
  9. This is all seriously so helpful! Thank you for taking the time to put it together. I’m definitely saving for my upcoming trip, since I’ll be an extra tight budget!

    Reply
  10. I don’t live in Europe but every time I go to The Netherlands I take adventage of those cheap trips in Europe itswlf. I’ve tried bus travels and by plain. Next I want to try train traveling. All in all Europe living is in a travelers best interest.

    Reply
    • Absolutely – living in Europe makes us travellers so spoiled 🙂 I can’t recommend train travel enough. It’s so relaxing and beautiful. Hope you get to see for yourself sometime soon!

      Reply
  11. Cheap travel is one of the things I love most about living in Europe! If I ever stopped travelling around Europe, Ryanair might go bust ;-). This was a great and really informative post!

    Reply
    • hahaha yes – I feel so spoiled living here. Thanks for reading, and keep travelling please because I rely on RyanAir way too much for them to go bust 😉 lol

      Reply
  12. Another cheap way to travel Europe to grab one of the multi festival/trip passes that Stoke Travel have. I picked up one of their Passports and it got me a free festival, and I got to visit Oktoberfest, surf in Spain, La tomatina and Ibiza with all my accommodation, meals and ridiculous parties sorted. They even have unlimited beer and sangria haha.

    Reply
  13. Hey Christiana, Awesome post loved it. Never know it was possible to travel Europe so cheaply. I will definitely make a point following these tips while a trip to europe this summer.

    Reply
  14. Transportation is one of the things that contribute to a major portion of your entire travel budget. That’s why people search for some cheapest travel option around Europe and your blog presents a very good information about that. It was certainly a good read. Thanks for posting.

    Reply
  15. Budget airlines were my best friend when I lived in London! It felt like such an accomplishment to grab an awesome deal and be able to go away for the weekend wherever I wanted in Europe!

    Reply
  16. Absolutely love this, I have lived in Europe most my life but even I learned something from these amazing tips. Will definitely pin this for later. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  17. I think there’s a lot to be said for different transport being good for different places! There are so many European trips I want to do and all in different ways (road trip through northern Italy? Train through Switzerland?) – there’s so much to consider! This post is really helpful in laying it all out though. 🙂

    Reply
  18. What a great and helpful post! I’m going to be traveling around Europe for a few months later this year so I’m saving it for later. I’ve heard of a few of these companies, but since I haven’t used them before, I tend to forget about them. So thanks for jogging the memory, too.

    Reply
  19. Great post! I for one wouldn’t really like to spend most of my budget just to get to the place I really want to go to. Sometimes the cheapest mode of travel makes you experience the best story to tell if time isn’t much of a factor 🙂

    Reply
  20. Oh I love Megabus. I use it all the time to travel from Toronto to Montreal. I didn’t know it exists in Europe too. These are some great info Christina! One day, when I’m less of a chicken, I would like to try hitchhiking in Europe 😛

    Reply
  21. Thanks for the tips, Christina! I love FlixBus and hitchhiking hehehe. When my mom backpacked Europe in the ’80s she just got a train pass but that seemed so spendy the last time I was there, and ended up going with FlixBus practically everywhere. I do love trains, though.

    Reply
  22. Thanks for the tips.

    Personally, I always prefer to use cheap airlines in Europe over buses or trains. They cost almost identical, but you get to your destination much faster and without back pain.

    If you book two or three months in advance, you can usually fly between most European Capitals for 30-60 USD. Some good choices are Rynair, Wizz Air, and Norwegian airlines.

    Reply
  23. hahaha yes – I feel so spoiled living here. Thanks for reading, and keep travelling please because I rely on RyanAir way too much for them to go bust lol

    Reply
  24. Budget airlines were my best friend when I lived in London! It felt like such an accomplishment to grab an awesome deal and be able to go away for the weekend wherever I wanted in Europe!

    Reply
  25. While travelling around the Balkans, I relied on a number of local coach companies to get around. If you happen to be travelling around the Balkans, your best bet is to inquiry at the local bus station for tickets – they’re usually very affordable even the day-of

    Reply
  26. I don’t live in Europe but every time I go to The Netherlands I take adventage of those cheap trips in Europe itswlf. I’ve tried bus travels and by plain. Next I want to try train traveling. All in all Europe living is in a travelers best interest.

    Reply
  27. Transportation is one of the things that contribute to a major portion of your entire travel budget. That’s why people search for some cheapest travel option around Europe and your blog presents a very good information about that. It was certainly a good read. Thanks for posting.

    Reply
  28. Thanks for all the info!
    I live in Europe, but I want to do more spontaneous weekend trips for cheap more often (I’m writing that as if I’ve ever done it before…)
    Grew up with travelling through Europe by car, and I dream of doing it again. To visit smaller villages overlooked by tourists, either by free will or because the car breaks down, makes great memories (it is handy being a member of one of these road help companies, especially when travelling with a 15-20 year old car). Oops, mind flew off there… but yeah, recommend people to go by car if they can afford it and don’t want to stay at the big cities most of the time

    Reply
  29. When you visit to another country, one of the important things that you must concern is budget. You need to prepare carefully everything for your trip.
    Especially, you should find out the cheapest way, it will help you save money better.

    Reply
  30. Hello Christina!!
    Wow it is an interesting and amazing article and it is very beneficial for all readers especially for all those who travel through it first time. I really like this article and I hope all the readers will be very thankful for it. It is very beneficial for me as I am going through my first flight and this flight will be very useful for me.
    Thanks for sharing this article with all of us

    Reply
  31. Thank you for providing such a useful and attractive blog, with very useful details and stuff I never expected, and I would suggest that you write more blogs and blog posts like that for us. Once again, thank you.

    Reply

Leave a Comment