How to plan a solo trip to Europe on a small budget

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Amsterdam, Netherlands

European countries have preserved their nature, architecture, and culture very well. To explore those ancient and well-known places takes a lot of money. Undoubtedly, it feels like a dream trip when you are earning enough to make ends meet. But you can definitely achieve your dream trip if you plan it properly.

Since I came back from my first solo trip to Europe, I have been asked many questions and to my surprise, there are so many people who are interested in going on a solo trip. So today I would like to answer the most common questions to help you all plan your trip to Europe on a small budget. These tips and tricks will definitely help you:

What was my budget for a Euro trip?

Initially, my budget including flight tickets was 1,50,000 INR for 23 days trip. However, I ended up spending almost 2,00,000 INR, which is still cheap for the number of days.

How to manage in such a low budget?

  • Flights: Once you are sure which countries you want to see, you have to find the cheapest air tickets. I did my homework by comparing prices on a few known flight booking sites and kept a check on any offers coming. I prefer traveling through flights that offer one layover or halt so that the traveling time can be reduced. However, you can go for the cheapest one to reduce your travel expense.
  • Traveling within Europe: This is a tricky decision because there are many options such as flights, trains, buses, etc. to travel within the countries in Europe. Depending on how much time you have, you can opt for any of them. I took a Flixbus for going from Germany to Switzerland, it is the cheapest option, comfortable enough for the price we pay. I took a train from Switzerland to Italy, it is cheaper than a flight, fast, and comfortable. So decide based on your budget and time you want to spend on traveling.
  • Accommodation: Hostels are the best and can save you a hell lot of money. Hotels in Europe are as expensive as 100 EUR a night, depending on the season you go, while hostels can cost you anywhere from 20 to 40 EUR per night. If you are not sure to share a common dormitory, there are options like female dorms which are quite safe and comfortable. If you have a friend who can host you in any of the countries, it will save you a few more bucks.
  • Food: This is where you spend most of your money. Food is expensive in most of the countries of Europe. If you go to a restaurant, it can cost you a minimum of 25-30 EUR per meal. That is 60 EUR for two meals. Not good for small budget travelers. Instead, try supermarkets. There are many food options like salad, sandwiches, wraps, muesli, etc. available at the supermarkets, which are far cheaper than going to a restaurant. I loved packed bircher muesli, sandwiches, and berry juice. Far cheaper and far nutritious. If you have a free breakfast in your stay, then make sure you have a filling one (I do take an apple or two with me to have it later in my day).

Is Eurail Pass worth it?

Absolutely. Eurail offers a global pass that allows you to travel to multiple countries. You can choose one that covers your itinerary. There are options to select a continuous pass (valid every day within selected dates) or selective day pass (valid only on selected dates). However, I suggest that the bus services like flix bus are good for short distances and take a train for the days when you have to travel long distances.

Is it safe to travel solo for a female?

This is the most common question and I want to answer this question in detail. I belong to India, and unfortunately, in my country, a female traveling the world solo is something unusual. Because we are taught that it is not safe to travel alone or to even go out at night alone; hence traveling abroad alone raises many eyebrows (Trust me!). When I started to think about implementing my travel plans on my own, my biggest fear was being alone. But I wanted to fight the fear and explore the world. Only after I broke my own barriers of fear, I understood that it is not so ‘unsafe’. There are so many women doing exactly the same thing. So if you wish to see a place or experience something, just go for it.

Countries in Europe are very safe, but at the end of the day, you have to be cautious for your own luggage. Keep your passport locked and close to you, and do not carry much of cash. In most of the countries travel card or credit card is accepted everywhere, so use card whenever possible. Do not walk alone on dark streets and prefer to use a taxi if you are not sure how to reach a destination. Always give preference to your safety over money.

Days to chill and relax

It will be too exhaustive to walk whole days (can be 5 to 10 miles a day). Therefore it is crucial to take rest at the end of the week. On the rest day just stay indoors or go out for a nice dinner and make new friends. If you do not rest it will take a toll on your body.

I hope these tips help you plan your Euro trip. You can email me for any queries or for help with itinerary planning.

Thanks,

Pooja

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