Going To Europe: 7 Helpful Tips To Plan A Comfortable Budget Trip

You need to plan. A lot.

Cover image via Booking Hunter TV / YouTube

1. Consider travelling during shoulder season, eg. spring and autumn

As compared to travelling around Asia, visiting Europe during off-season isn't always worth it. It really depends on the type of attractions you want to visit. While travelling to Europe during winter season can be cheaper than summer, you may not be able to enjoy most of the attractions (like museums, parks, and castles) as their opening hours tend to be shorter than during spring and summer.

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Travelling during shoulder season, like between April till mid-June (spring) and September till October (early autumn), will allow you to take advantage of slightly cheaper flight and hotel rates, yet also enjoy the places you want to visit.

2. It is sometimes cheaper to travel to your destination via a combination of flight and train

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You don't necessarily have to fly to your chosen destination - sometimes it's cheaper to land in another country and then travel by train to the European city of your choice. There are some airports that are relatively cheaper to fly into in Europe, such at Heathrow and Gatwick in London; Amsterdam in the Netherlands; and Paris in France. This is because each country has different airport charges, and some might be higher than the others.

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Travelling between countries via train is very convenient and comfortable. You don't need to go through any passport control as long as the country is within the European Union. You can opt to fly into Amsterdam, then hop into a train to Brussels. A second class train ticket usually cost between €25-30 (about RM117-141), as compared to paying about RM500 more to fly into your destination. 

3. Eat like a local

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Having local food is always more affordable than foreign cuisine, and it's part of the travelling experience! Just like Malaysia, each European country has their own unique street food. They're also really affordable and filling. Grab a laugenbretzel (German pretzel) from a stall for breakfast, and try a leberkässemmel (an Austrian meat sandwich) on the streets of Vienna for lunch! 

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If you want a comfortable place to sit and dine in, look out for neighbourhood restaurants. A restaurant that is packed with local residents is always a good sign. Don't be shy to ask the waiters for recommendations, they're usually very friendly :)

4. Public transport is the cheapest way to get around

Image via Pete Devrell

Unless you're travelling in a 10-pax group, public transport is still the cheapest option to tour around the country. Petrol prices, toll rates, and even the parking fare can be really expensive in Europe. Travelling via public transport is really convenient and super easy! Just refer to Google Maps to find out which tram or bus you should take to get to your destination. 

Image via Jebulon

Certain countries use a prepaid smartcard similar to our Touch 'n Go, while others sell tickets in the form of single use or multi-day passes. Choose the one that fits your travelling frequency to save money. You can easily get both of these at a kiosk in any train or bus station in the country. Alternatively, you can visit a public transport service counter (available at major train stations) and ask for a recommendation.

5. Do some research before buying any tourist cards

Most cities will have its own tourist card that offers discounts or free entries to popular attractions. Some of them can also be used as public transport cards. However, buying one doesn't always help you save cost. It really depends on the duration of your stay in the city and the types of places you want to visit. So it's good to do some research to see if it covers the ones on your travel list. 

Image via Catatan Kaki

For example: There are two types of tourist discount cards you can get when you're visiting Amsterdam - the I amsterdam City Card and the Museumkaart. Those who want spend their time visiting museums and historical sites should get the Museumkaart as it offers free entry to 400 of these around the country. On the other hand, the I amsterdam City Card is more suitable for those who want to experience the highlights of the city. 

6. Try staying in youth hostels instead of hotels

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Staying in a hostel isn't as scary as some would imagine it to be. You can choose to stay in a dorm, where you just pay for a bed with shared bathroom; or you can stay in a private room for more privacy. Most private rooms also come with ensuite bathrooms. All hostels come with basic amenities like heater, hot shower, blankets, and free WiFi. Some provide towels for free while others may rent it for a small fee (between €2-3). 

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Some hostels also include a simple breakfast in the room rates. It's a great place to make new friends as well as there's always a common area for guests to mingle around. Don't forget to ask the reception if they collaborate with any tour groups - sometimes you can get free city tours or discounted entrance tickets to popular attractions!

7. Buy your food souvenirs from the supermarket

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Just because it's sold in supermarkets, doesn't mean that the chocolates aren't delicious. Ask any local Belgian and they'll tell you that they don't spend their money buying chocolates from fancy chocolate shops. You can find really good ones in the supermarket near your hotel at an affordable price too!

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Food items from specialty shops will be slightly more expensive than the ones you can find in the supermarkets. You can buy a packet from each store and decide which you prefer before your huge shopping spree. 

Itching to head to Europe already? You can go on a Euro trip for free with Mah Sing Group's Eugo, I Go contest!

Image via Mah Sing Group

The Mah Sing Group is looking for a lucky winner to go on an all-expenses-paid trip to six Central European countries. You could stand a chance to win a FREE tour for two to visit Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and Switzerland! 

Here's what you need to do to win this trip:

1. Complete a simple survey on the Eugo, I Go website and register with your personal details. You'll get a special URL after your submission is successful.

2. Share the special URL with your friends and family. Each share is considered as one entry - so the more you share, the more entries you'll have.

3. Head to Southville City Sales Gallery in Bangi or any Southville City Road Show to redeem your free Tealive voucher (available daily from 10am-6pm). This is necessary to complete your contest entry. You can check their website for the updated list of Road Show venues.

The lucky draw to determine the Central Europe trip winner will take place at Southville City Sales Gallery in June. 

Southville City is an award-winning township situated just 19km away from KL city centre

With the opening of the Southville City Elevated Interchange, this self-sustained township will just be 19km away from the heart of KL. The Mah Sing Group also designed it as an eco-friendly township with luxurious lifestyle features such as a 13km jogging and cycling track, 10-acre Summit Park, 1.5km Riverside Walk, and a complete security system, making Southville City a great place for families. 

Mah Sing Group will be launching the new Sensa Residence, a three-room and two-bedroom home with a layout of at least 888-square feet. 

Join the Eugo, I Go contest to win your free trip to Europe now

Or you can find out more about Southville City here.

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