10ways to save more money in Europe

For the past few months, I've been receiving many emails and messages regarding on how I did my planning and also how I manage to bring my expenditure to the minimal.

1. Walk
Strolling along the streets in the cities or taking a long hike up to the mountains, are ought to be the best way to discover and explore the country. In most cities, metro stations are not too far from one another. So if you are just travelling 1-2stations, WALK if you can. You can actually save a lot accumulatively. Don't be afraid to get lost! You can always ask locals around, or navigate through your map.

2. Don't buy a map until you arrive
At most tourist information counters and airports, you can actually get a map for free or at a little price. If you buy a map in advance, you tend to purchase it at a much higher price. As tourist information operates at certain hours (depending on the country), they are likely to be closed on Sundays. Don't panic if you couldn't get a map! Just drop by any hostel or hotels, they will be more than willing to give you one :)

3. Day pass may not be necessarily be cheaper

In most of the Europe countries, they do offer a 24hours day pass at metro stations for an amount that is cheaper if you are taking a lot of trips. If you manage to get an accommodation that is close to the city centre, you may not need even need to take a metro as often. Single trip usually cost less than 2euros regardless the distance.

In London, metro prices are slightly different. Prices differ depending on zones. The further you stay away from central London, the more you are likely to spend on travelling. London is more costly as compared to other parts of Europe. Get an oyster card! Using the oyster card, they will cap at a price. Meaning, if you purchase a day pass from Zone1-2, it will cost you £12 and with an oyster card, the price cap is £6.40. Thus, the maximum amount you spend if you travel Zone1-2 is £6.40.

4. Travel second-class seats
Be it the train or bus, there is usually a huge price difference between the second class and the first class. However, i do think that most of the second class seats are fairly comfortable. I have never travelled via first class but I can see that people who are usually travelling in the first class are
business people that may need wifi or more privacy. For night sleeper trains, you can also pay slightly more to reserve a couchette. It is slightly more expensive than regular seats, but it does make your train journey so much better. You will still save a little compared to staying in accommodation in the cities. First class private sleepers are also available, but at a more costly price.

5. Booking return trips are not necessarily cheaper
In the E.U. countries, the booking of flights and buses does not actually get you much savings if you book a return journey, Try checking individual tickets and also round trip tickets before finalising with your plans! Being able to book one way tickets allows you to have more flexibility in your trip.

6. Make use of discounts (e.g. Rail cards, student cards)
If you are a student that is deciding to go on a budget trip, PLEASE remember to bring your student cards! In the E.U countries, they are not as strict with what kinds of student cards you are having! (this is based on my personal experience) You can get discounts when visiting the museums or attractions upon presenting a student card. Railcards mainly apply to people who wants to travel mainly in UK.

Getting a railcard will allow you to save 1/3 the amount of the ticket, Also, it is valid for a year! So if you are in central London, you can visit any ticket office in the tube station, and request to tap your railcard discount onto your oyster card! That will give you a saving when you travelling during off-peak by tube! I do recommend you to get a rail card if you are having many trips in UK. You can apply the railcard discount to check if you will save more than what you will spend.

7. Tipping is not necessary 
When you are dining in restaurants, tip is usually included in the bill (service charge). In EU, it is common if people do not pay for service. In London, even if service charge is added to the bill, some places do state that service is discretionary. Thus, if you really encounter a bad experience, you can actually ask them to take out the service from the bill. However, it is not nice to scrimp on service just because you want to save. I believe that it is a very good form of appreciation. If you do not want to pay service, you can grab to-go food, fast food or street food !

8. Water
Water is essential to keep our body well hydrated at all times. The cheapest way to save money on water is to drink tap water. Tap water is drinkable in most parts of EU. However, there are still some parts of EU that do not have drinkable tap water. Try purchasing big bottles of water in the supermarket and not in convenience store if you have a choice. You will be able to see the difference in price. Click here to check which parts of Europe has drinkable tap water!

9. Bring cash and carry a money pouch
There are many ways to travel cashless as many banks or post office do sell travel cards which gives you a good exchange rate that allows you to withdraw in foreign countries with a fee. However, I believe that the best way to travel is with cash. I exchanged currencies that I will need for my trip before I departed. Do not put it in your bags as there may be pickpockets on the trains and buses that you may not be aware of. We have seen dodgy looking people that moves up and down the trains. Train conductor do make announcements to make sure we are paying attention to our baggage as
some pickpockets board the trains and pick something and leave the train. ( Some train stops to pick more passengers >5mins.) Always keep your valuables WITH you.

So whenever I have excess currency that I have left, I will go to any money changer and swop the leftovers to the currency of the country I am visiting next. So this process repeats until I reach my final destination.

10. Travel off-season
Many people have emailed me for tips to travel really budget in Europe. My answer is to travel off-peak! You may even spend lesser than what I've did in summer! I travelled in June, when it is the peak period. We experienced times that we are unable to reserve tickets of the exact time that we've planned initially. And also, you may even need to spend on train reservation that are not compulsory. (I made many trains reservation during summer even though it is not compulsory, just to make sure that I will definitely be able to board the train. Most train reservations I've made for these trains are >2hours travel time.)

Usually if you are checking on EUrail and Interrail passes, the price for passes off-season ought to be cheaper than the prices in Summer! I believe that if you travel off-peak, 90% of the time you will not need to make train reservations if it is not compulsory. I travelled in Germany off-peak and I do realise that the trains were fairly empty. So, always check everywhere before you book!

Travelling off-season also allows you to save on accommodation.

Don't stop travelling! xx

Related link: http://itsjustlynette.blogspot.sg/2014/07/30-days-1-continent-10-countries-33.html?m=0   


Edinburgh, Scotland 3D2N

In September, I paid about £40 for the train tickets up to Edinburgh from London! It was about a 4hours train ride. This is definitely not the cheapest price you can get from London to Edinburgh, but I believe that it is the quickest and most convenient way to get there. If you were to take a bus (which is definitely cheaper), you can even pay half of what you will pay for trains. The other option is to take a flight to Scotland. You will be surprised that the price for the flight will be comparable to what you will pay for trains, but it will be much of a hassle to head to the budget airports (not near central London), the transportation fees you will need to catch a bus/train to the airport. 

Upon arrival, we headed to Howies Restaurant at Waterloo Place for lunch. I believe that 2course for £9.95 was a really good steal for fresh seafood served in this restaurant! Me and my friend really enjoyed our meal. 

The great thing about Edinburgh is that, we did not spend a single cent on public transport. Everywhere is reachable by foot! We headed to check in at our hostel in Edinburgh. The architecture of the churches, the buildings were stunning. 

We took our map and walked towards the Castle of Edinburgh. You will need to pay if you want to enter the Castle. The view you will see just outside the Castle!

Edinburgh Castle, checked! 

Thats the Scott Monument from far!
Calton Hill, where we were walking to. It does looks far but certainly not!
Calton hill, where you can catch good panoramic views of Edinburgh. Also, it is directly facing the Arthur seat.
Arthur seat

The Scott monument in a beautiful park across the shopping streets of Edinburgh.

We went to Edinburgh during the period when they were fighting for independence from UK.

We were clueless on where we can have a nice meal in Edinburgh and we wanted to seek for wifi so we can search on food. Naive us forgot that England and Scotland were under UK, so WE HAVE DATA NETWORK. We headed to 'The Dogs' for dinner, It got really busy after a few minutes we settled in. So, do make reservation to avoid disappointment!

The next day, we decided to go for the Highlands tour in Scotland. You can easily search for the prices online but I recommend that you book in tour agencies in Edinburgh. I got my tickets for half the price that you are able to find online. Last minute tickets are definitely a steal! However, I did not really enjoy much of the tour. Be prepared to take long bus rides! I thought there will be many stopovers in the highlands but unfortunately they were not allowed to stop anywhere. Thus, those places that the coach stop are not as scenic as what you will see on the buses. 

Stopped at Lochness for a break and also for people who want to take the cruise in Lochness. That will be an additional expense as it does not include in the tour package.

Back to Edinburgh at about 8pm!

On the last day, we did not have much time as we have to catch a train back to London in the afternoon! We had really good breakfast! There were so many cafes in Edinburgh but we did not have much time to visit all of them! Prepare to do some research before you head there!

A photo posted by Lynette Tan (@lynettetly) on

The weather was really bad that day.. It was just really foggy and misty. We wanted to head to the Arthur Seat! So, we still decide to head towards to Arthur seat even though 90% of the chances that we will see nothing. It feels like I'm walking into the clouds. It was quite dangerous as I am not able to see what's ahead of me when nearing the top.

So, Im standing on the Arthur Seat. It looks ridiculous due to the weather.

That sums up my 3d2n in Edinburgh! If you are heading to Scotland for a longer stay, I suggest that you rent a car and drive to Inverness, Aberdeen and other parts of Scotland! Its a pity that I did not have enough time to explore further. Let me know if you have been there;)


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