A trip to Europe doesn’t have to break the bank. With some planning and flexibility, you can enjoy an affordable European vacation. Budget-friendly travel is possible across the continent, from the hilly streets of Porto, Portugal to coastal Split, Croatia. Whether you’re backpacking on a budget or are looking to save on a family vacation, these tips will help you plan an affordable adventure in Europe.

Tip 1: Travel in the Spring

Europe is most popular with tourists during the summer. Avoid inflated airfare and lodging costs, as well as the crowds, by traveling in the spring. Many European countries are beautiful throughout the months of March, April and May. Consider temperate Ireland, sunny Spain and Portugal, or the moderate weather of the Adriatic Coast. You’ll find green spaces, budding gardens and pleasant daytime temperatures across the continent.

Tip 2: Use Stopover Programs

Many airlines offer “stopover” programs, which allow travelers to stay in a country during an extended layover at no cost. This way, you can see multiple European cities during a trip without a huge cost increase. There are multiple European airlines with stopover programs.

  • Spend up to five days in Finland with Finnair.
  • Fly IcelandAir for as many as seven days in Iceland.
  • For extra savings, choose Porto over Lisbon when taking advantage of TAP Portugal’s three-night stopover.
  • Flights booked with KLM include a stopover option in Amsterdam.

Tip 3: Visit Less Popular Destinations

Cities and countries that receive fewer tourists, and therefore, fewer tourism dollars, usually have more affordable accommodations and excursions. Beautiful options include Macedonia, Montenegro, Hungary, Albania and some less-traveled Greek islands.

Tip 4: Use Public Transportation

To cut down on transportation costs during your European vacation, visit walkable cities and use public transportation. Even smaller cities in Europe usually have convenient bus or metro systems. It’s also easy and affordable to travel between cities via bus, train and plane.

Tip 5: Cut Down Entertainment Costs

Sometimes, it’s worth choosing a destination with more expensive accommodations if there are lots of affordable entertainment options. Cities with high-quality markets (where you can find ingredients for picnic meals), free museums, live music, gorgeous architecture and low-admission galleries are often a better deal overall.

Tip 6: Save on Your Flight

Savvy travelers know that flying from the US to Europe can be the most expensive part of a European trip. To find flight deals takes patience and flexibility. It’s also important to know that there’s no foolproof way to score a great price on your flights. For the most savings, consider a less popular destination, fly during the week and be flexible with your travel dates.

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