Jenn Paul

How to travel to Europe for less

For my 2018 Euro trip, I went to  7 European countries for 17 days for only $3300.

Yes, you read that right.

Averaging out at under $200 per person per day, me and my partner were able to book all flights, accommodations, excursions, and meals in 7 cities over 17 days. When you think about how much people spend on an all inclusive on an island for a week ($1500/7 days = $214/day)…I think we did pretty good!

This year we went to Dublin, Belfast, Amsterdam, London, Ibiza, Madrid and Reykjavik.

Our budget breakdown was approximately as follows (per person):

  • $1280 – Flights
  • $849 – Meals
  • $837 – Accommodations
  • $355 – Excursions

Here’s how we did it, and how you can too! (Please note that this post contains affiliate links).

Flights

This one is quite the process, but it’s worth it! We booked all of our flights as one way flights, and we didn’t book them all at the same time. We started booking months in advance, and were flexible on almost all of our destinations.

Step 1: Figure out when you’re going

  • First use Google Flights to see on average what days are cheapest to fly for your destination.
  • Then, set alerts on Kayak, Sky Scanner and Momondo for the days that work with your ideal timeline.

Step 2: Signup to save

  • Before you book your flight, sign up for TopCashBack.com, eBates.ca and eBates.com. All three sites have periodic promotions – so check out each one and sign up for whichever one makes the most sense. As a bonus, if you sign up using my referral links above, you’ll get a signup bonus.

Step 3: Book your flight

  • Now that you’re signed up for one of the above cashback sites, go to the site and search for FlightHub and CheapoAir. Both sites generally offer $10-$15 off on flights, and seem to be the best sites to book through for that reason.
  • MAKE SURE you’ve clicked through the appropriate cashback website prior to booking your flight. The cashback site needs to actually record your visit in order for you to get paid out.
  • If you have multiple flight segments (and if you don’t particularly care about being seated beside your partner) – book each flight segment separately. If you do it this way, you’ll earn cashback on each flight, which really starts to add up.
Accommodations

Most of the places we stayed were Airbnb’s. We were super lucky and had great experiences with our hosts. My favourite of all the places was this beautiful apartment in Madrid. The host was incredibly helpful, the apartment was gorgeous, and it was in the perfect location with so many wonderful tapas places and bars within a short walk. Just don’t plan on sleeping upstairs in the loft if you’ve had a few drinks, because those stairs are not for the faint of heart! 😉

Sign up for Airbnb using my link, and you’ll get $45 off your first trip of $95 or more.

Excursions

We decided to do a day trip up to Belfast from Dublin on our last day in Ireland. In the end, the tour cost about $72 CAD after all of the discounts. I’d say it was definitely worth the money. The tour guide was great, and we got to see the Dark Hedges (hello Game of Thrones Fans?), the Giant’s Causeway, the Titanic museum, and explore downtown Belfast for a bit.

Here’s how we managed to save $25 each when booking it it:

  • First we both signed up for Top Cash Back UK. This is a site that lets you earn cash back on your purchases. (If you sign up with my link, you’ll get £5 free. And sign up separately to double your savings!)
  • Then we both signed up for Viator’s newsletter to get 10% off our first purchase and waited for the welcome email to come in.
  • After that, we both clicked through the welcome email from Viator and added the day trip to the cart.
  • Then searched for Viator on TopCashBack and clicked through to the Viator site (that’s important!).
  • With the item in the cart, we checked out (note that sometimes there’s a weird glitch when you click through TopCashBack that voids the 10% discount – just reach out to customer service and they’ll credit your credit card).

I booked the trip at $97.98, but a few weeks later I noticed the price had dropped to $86.93 CAD. So I took advantage of their free cancellation policy and cancelled and rebooked at the cheaper rate. This brought the price down to $78.24. Plus I earned £3.46 ($5.85 CAD) from TopCashBack, bringing the final price to $72.39 CAD. Over $25 cheaper than the initial price.

Cash vs. Credit Card

Before we left, we did a ton of research into the best travel credit card to take overseas, since we didn’t want to have too much cash on us. We found the Rogers Bank World Elite Mastercard to be the best overall in terms of value. Most credit cards charge some sort of foreign transaction fee, including this one. However, with this card’s 4% cash back minus the 2.5% foreign exchange fee…you still end up earning 1.5% cash back! Plus it allows you to sign up for free additional cards, so myself and my partner were both able to get one in our names. And the fact that the card has a $0 annual fee, is just icing on the cake.

Where I’ve Been

Favourite city (so far): New York
Favourite country (so far): Tie between Croatia and Spain
Most underrated travel destination: Croatia
Most expensive country: A 10 minute taxi ride in Iceland cost $52 CAD. Yep.
Best food adventures: Tapas in Madrid and San Sebastian are currently unmatched
Worst food: Cuba – although the beaches were beautiful
Longest distance travelled: 16,380 km – Toronto to Australia
Most recent adventure: Hiking volcanos and snorkelling with Manta Rays in Hawai’i

 

ContinentCountryCities
North AmericaCanadaToronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Charlottetown, Fredericton, Halifax, Antigonish, St. John's, Corner Brook, Gander, Grand Falls-Windsor, Saskatoon, Regina, Edmonton, Calgary, Banff, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie
USAOahu, Big Island, Maui, San Jose, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Miami, Philadelphia, Scranton, Charlotte, Myrtle Beach
MexicoManzanillo
Europe GermanyMunich
FranceParis
CroatiaPula, Rijeka, Novalja, Zadar, Split, Dubrovnik
IcelandReykjavik
SpainIbiza, Madrid, San Sebastian
IrelandDublin
NetherlandsAmsterdam
United KingdomEnglandLondon
Northern IrelandBelfast
CaribbeanCubaHavana, Veradero
JamaicaMontego Bay
Dominican RepublicPunta Cana
AsiaIndiaGoa, Mumbai
OceaniaAustraliaMelbourne, Sydney