5 Hacks to Live on the Cheap in Pricey European Towns

Want to experience the beauty of European towns, but you’re short on cash? No problem, here are some quick ways to save while going to pricey towns such as Chamonix where a beer costs 6 EUR and a bed in a dorm is 18 EUR if your lucky enough to get one.

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Budget Travel in European Towns
Courtesy of Leo-setä on Flickr

1) Avoid Trains: they are too expensive.

Take a bus or if you plan ahead book a flight on easyjet.com which is often time cheap (@ 35 EUR from Birmingham, UK to Geneva, Switzerland) but with advanced planning even swiss.com (@ 37 EUR from Prague, Czech Republic to Geneva, Switzerland) is a quarter of the price of a train – which cost 210 EUR!!  Additionally, they are obviously much faster than trains saving valuable travel and sleep time!

Read more: How Safe Is the Channel Tunnel?

2) Avoid Hostels: they can be expensive too.

Look at airbnb.com for apartments.  You will most likely need stay for at least a week and it will cost as much or less than a hostel, plus you have privacy (no drunken noise at 3am). Airbnb apartments are significantly cheaper if you can book with some friends, splitting the cost. You can also cook and store food (saving cash) and lock your belongings in a safe place (think passport!).

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Traveling Cheap in Pricey European Towns
Courtesy of Leo-setä on Flickr

3) Seek out happy hour drinks.

You can get a beer for as low as around 1.50 EUR. Happy hours are generally between 4:00 – 6:30pm and after 10:00pm.  Stay away from the main strip where the prices are typically jacked up for tourists.

Read more: Best European Cities to Parlay in English

4) Don’t pay retail for lift/transportation tickets.

Buy a rapid carte (if in Chamonix) or if you’re a student get the student deal of 10 EUR a pop per lift ride instead of 50 EUR!  Many other pricey towns in Europe will have student discounts or other tourist discounts.  Ask in hotels, hostels, information centers, train stations, and airports.  Keeping your eyes open for deals can go a long way in saving you some cash.

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Read more: Europe Destinations without the Crowds

5) Get a tourist card (and an ISIC card if you’re a student).

In most tourist towns, taxes pay for such cards so that tourist can get around and spend money.  You can take advantage of this by getting a tourist card, for example in Chamonix you can get one for 2 EUR/ week and ride the Chamonix valley bus for free (http://www.chamonix.net/english/transport/) and some SNCF trains as well!  This way you can easily access other interesting places, bring food with you to maximize cheap traveling!  If you’re a student, guarantee yourself the student discount widely available in Europe by getting an ISIC card.

There is no reason to get discouraged from expensive towns.  If you know how to work it, then it will be significantly less expensive than for the average tourist allowing you to relax and enjoy your well deserved vacation with money left in the bank!