How to Travel Through Europe on a Student's Budget

Paying as little as possible for the same experiences.

By: Emmalie Keenan
October 27, 2016

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It's been almost two months since my arrival in Germany, and I've done a lot of amazing things and have a lot more ahead of me. I've heard it a million times though, people asking me how I can find the money for everything I'm doing, even my eight year old niece... So here are my secrets to paying as little as possible for the same experiences. 


Paddle on Lago di Braies | Photo: Kelly Park

1. FLIXBUS 

If anything this is an ad for Flixbus. Make them your best friend. It's a coach bus, but insanely inexpensive. This is how I go everywhere. I don't care that it may be a litte longer, take the overnighter and sleep on it(That will save you a night's cost for a bed, too!). And plan in advance--the tickets get pricier the closer you get to the date.

2. CORNY(granola bars): 

Hopefully when you come this will still be a thing, but right now I buy about five boxes at a time because they are 1.20euros each with a 3euro coupon for Flixbus in each marked box...I've saved over 50euros doing so. ***Buy your tickets separately not round trip in order to save 6euros per trip***

3. CONNECTIONS: 

Say you knew a kid from a couple years ago who's now living somewhere you're planning on visiting, be straight forward and ask if you can sleep on their floor. I've done this a lot, and it saves you so much money. 


Ryten Mountain Hike | Photo: Christin Healey

4. NO HOTELS: 

If you don't have connections, make sure to look into Youth Hostels and Air BNB before booking a pricey hotel. They are usually much cheaper and a great experience. 

5. BRING SNACKS: 

Bringing lunch & snacks along is an easy way to save money, choose one meal to go out for instead of having to go out for every meal. Fruit and sandwiches are easy fixes and filling. Also--don't forget about your abundance of granola bars now. 

6. SCHOLARSHIPS: 

If you are studying abroad like many college students, make sure to apply to every scholarship you see. Scholarships help me immensely here, not having to worry about paying rent is a relief every day. 

7. BYO: 

Two things I would highly suggest bringing is a sleeping bag and reusable water bottle. I bring my sleeping bag on all my adventures, saving me the cost of bedding. I also never buy water, which is SO expensive here! I'm serious... So just fill your water bottle before you leave home. 

8. STUDENT DISCOUNTS: 

Every time you go to any sort of museum or somewhere you have to pay, make sure you ask if there's a student discount. I've saved over 30euros being a stickler about this. If you are studying abroad make sure you bring your student ID with you. But I would try your home uni-ID too if you've got one! 


Photo: Emmalie Keenan

I worked three jobs this summer, bartending, nannying, and I spent a week being a german substitute-teacher, sometimes working over 15 hours in one day. I will say, working hard the summer before you leave pays off. Make lots of money, make lots of memories. But why spend more than you need to?

Cover photo: Moritz Wolf


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.