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Guest post by Kyle from Millionaire Mob
I try to travel to Europe with my family at least once per year because I love the history and culture there. The food is amazing as well.
But if you don’t plan your trip effectively, you’ll end up paying way too much money! There are a lot of expensive museums, restaurants, hotels and more. If you travel like a local, you’ll save a boatload of money.
I also love mini-travel hacks that enable me to see the world for little to no cost. Why? Because I can then travel to more vacations spots! I’ve used the Southwest Companion Pass to see a number of different locations in the U.S. Now, I’m turning my attention to traveling abroad.
Here are some of my favorite ways to save your family money on a trip to Europe.
#1: Opt for European Hotels
I have found that local or European branded hotels are much more affordable than U.S. branded hotels in Europe. The old saying is that a 4-star hotel in Europe is like a 3-star hotel in the U.S. I think that saying actually applies in reverse. Any hotel that you try to book that is U.S.-based is typically much more expensive than local brands.
Pro tip: You can also look for hotels that are not in the touristy areas. These areas usually have more expensive prices. Stay in a local area to get a feel for the culture and save money!
If you are more adventurous about saving money, you can opt for a private room in a hostel. This way you can all have the same space and save significant sums of money. It’s not for everyone though because hostels don’t have as many amenities as certain hotels.
#2: Know the Difference Between Formal and Informal Dining
Should you choose a restaurant or a café? This seems like a silly process since everyone should know the difference between the two. Actually, each country (or even city) might have a different approach to the two. Cities like Paris are known for their amazing cafes.
However, these cafes can be very expensive for breakfast. Save money by opting for a boulangerie or something more casual. I’ve found that the food is actually better and costs a quarter of the price!
#3: Use Tools to Help Book Cheap Travel
This might not be Europe specific per se. I have a number of different flight screeners set up to trigger flight alerts to Europe. When traveling as a family, you have multiple schedules to plan around.
The good thing is you have defined spring break times or even summer holidays. Take the time to use some free tools to book award travel and set up specific city screens.
We are traveling to Amsterdam as a family in March. We ended up booking our flights for $400 each person round trip. The flights were direct too!
#4: Stock up on Groceries!
Who says you can’t cook on vacation? Personally, I love renting larger Airbnbs for my family stays. That way I can have a full kitchen and all the options I need to live like a local.
The good news is that European groceries are amazing. Thanks to food regulation a lot of their food is very fresh and local. There are meat, cheese and bread shops all over the place. You can stop at each of them to grab some of the best ingredients to make a local meal. Plus, it’s fun to cook the type of food locals eat in the country where you are staying.
If you have younger kids, sometimes European food isn’t as kid-friendly (country dependent of course). I don’t know many kids that like having French duck breast! In Italy, kids can eat their heart out with Pizza all vacation long. Anyway, the variety of food options
#5: Buy Passes in Advance
If you plan to ride the trains from city-to-city, you should definitely buy your rail passes online before you make the trip.
The rail passes are frequently cheaper and also you can use the benefit of the internet to search for coupon codes. The same applies to the museum and tour passes.
Conclusion on Saving Family Money in Europe
Europe is a must-have travel experience for any family. There’s such a big learning curve from traveling in other locations that it helps open your eyes to the world. There’s plenty of activities (and learning experiences) for your kids. It will be a trip of a lifetime and is a gift that keeps on giving well into their future. I remember looking back on my European trips as a kid and am so grateful for them.
Will you use any of these tips for saving family money in Europe? If so, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
Author Bio: Millionaire Mob is where people come together to find the best travel deals and financial advice. We specialize in dividend growth investing, passive income and travel hacking. Our advice has helped thousands of people travel the world and achieve financial freedom. Millionaire Mob will provide you with the best advice to help you learn and grow along the way. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter and/or Facebook for all the latest updates.