It doesn't matter if you can't afford to stay at the Ritz; Europe is a cultural experience at any budget level. By focusing on finding an inexpensive flight, staying only in budget accommodations, and enjoying the cheap eats of each nation, a student or budget traveler can enjoy the perfect multi-country trip.
Students, budget travelers, deal hunters, vacation planners and backpackers can do a lot to make travel in Europe more affordable by focusing on finding cheap flights, hotels and food that each European nation has to offer.
Airfare is the biggest single expense of any international trip. Finding cheap tickets leads to significant savings in the total cost of travel. The Internet can be a budget traveler's best asset in the search for discount travel to Europe. Many air brokers offer cheap airfares for students or discount vacation packages for larger groups of travelers.
Traveling during off-season or shoulder season can not only lead to cheaper flights to Europe, but fewer crowds and possible better prices for accommodations. Many discount hotels offer even cheaper prices after November. For example, visitors may not want to spend too much time on Spain's beaches, but major cities like Barcelona will be less crowded and the locals will be more willing to guide and help travelers. Be sure to ask at the hotel's front desk if the price quoted is the off-season price. If the hotel is not full, you might be able to negotiate a discount in accommodations.
Eating on a budget doesn't mean giving up great taste or missing out on local flavor. Cheese, bread, and a cheap bottle of wine enjoyed sitting in a park in Paris with a view of the Eiffel Tower can make a picturesque lunch and still keep a backpacker on budget. A pretzel or sausage purchased from a German vendor while strolling along the streets of Frankfurt can be a tasty inexpensive snack - even better if it's washed down with a pint of regional beer. Many local cafes in Spain serve tapas at prices anyone can afford. Regional specialties make this cheap meal a favorite way for travelers to experience local culture at a discount price from Barcelona to Seville.