I’ve spent most of the last one year travelling across different cities in Europe as well as different towns in Germany where I live. For those who we haven’t met here, I am a Kenyan living and working in Germany. I am a first year medical student and I spent the last one year as a volunteer, so as you can see, I do not have a huge budget for doing what I love, travelling. The question I can hear you ask is “How then, do you afford travelling? ”
What many people do not believe is that it is very possible to travel cheaply and comfortably.
So here are a few tips that I normally apply:-
- Travel by road, no really.
I travel in different cities in Germany and the countries around by bus. There is a bus company called Flixbus which offers cheap rides. It is the Kenyan version of Easy Coach or Guardian only more comfortable, with reclinable seats, WIFI, USB charging ports and a toilet. You can even pay more to have a seat with more legroom.Just make sure you don’t get late for your ride. It travels across the whole of Europe even to London. You book the bus online and pay with your bank card or via Paypal.
2. Using Car sharing website called Blablacar
Car pooling from one city to another is a thing here. People travelling to a certain city share their car for a cost. It depends in the availability of travel, travellers and drivers rate each other.
Carry your neck pillow, it will make your travel way more comfortable.
Also, take the night bus. You can sleep on the bus and you will be fresh to explore the new city the following day.
If the distance is too long for road, take a flight. Flying is cheap in Europe because there are many small airports and if you book early, the price will almost be same as bus fare.
For example,( for those who know Germany cities), on my last trip to Amsterdam it took me 7 hours with Flixbus from Freiburg. Had I flown, from Basel Freiburg Mulhouse it would have cost me 60 Euros for a return ticket and one and half hours flight, almost the same amount I paid for the road trip .
It is more expensive to travel during holidays i.e in summer or during public holidays, so avoid traveling during these times if you want to save your coins.
3. Take the metro
Train is also very cheap. With the normal regional train, you can travel the whole the Bund with 24 Euros. And when I travel with a friend, each extra passenger is 6 Euros. To travel the whole of Germany cost 28 Euros. Each extra passenger pays a mere 8 Euros.
When you book early you can travel cheaply with fast or express train for example from Freiburg to Berlin for minimum 20 Euro. There is a washroom and restaurant on board. But it is always cheaper and better to bring your own food and drinks. Or a weekend ticket, the more people you travel with the cheaper it is for the extra passengers.
4. Skip expensive restaurants
Food cost me a minimum of 5 Euros for the to go portion. which is still not cheap, but in a normal restaurant the same food would go for around 10 to 15 Euros without drinks. Avoid touristic restaurants if you can, use them once in a while when you want to experience a really good meal.
5. Currency exchange
If you are travelling to a country that is not using the Euro, change your money in Germany before you leave. This applys to anyone in the world travelling to a different country. Otherwise you will waste a lot of time and energy in the new country looking for a forex bureau with favourable exchange rate. Some will just con you outright if by any chance they sense that you are a tourist. I experienced that in Budapest.
6. Visit parks, free/cheap spots
Public parks are free so are old churches and cathedrals too. Most towns in Germany have the old buildings and architecture, sculptures like the Tom Mboya one and old bridges. They will offer the optical nutrition you are searching for as a tourist.
7. Stay in Airbnb or Hostel for as cheap 10 Euros = KSh1135. .
In Budapest where hotels are quite expensive we choose to stay a hostel. The hostel was clean and cheap and also gorgeous. They also have a locker and a key where you can lock in your valuables. Most hostels have private rooms and you only share the kitchen with your roommate.
Camping is another way to enjoy a place cheaply. In Europe, camping is secure and cheap. Just get yourself a camping place in the forest, there are trekking ways and you don’t have to pay for it.
If you are a little adventurous like me, your bicycle is your best friend and if you have time, you can visit the towns near you. You keep fit too. Last summer, my boyfriend and I cycled from Freiburg to Titisee a beautiful town with a lake in the middle of the Black forest for 3 hours. Too tired to ride back, we just took the train.
Hope you got a tip or two from here on how to travel cheap. For those in other countries, you can apply some of these tips in your city.
How do you travel on budget? Let me know on the comment section