Planning and packing tips

How to save money for European travel

June 19, 2018 (Last Updated: May 5, 2023)
by Carolyn
How to save money for European travel

There’s no denying that travelling to Europe is expensive, particularly for Australians who have to fork out around $2000 each for a return airfare. 

To help you make your dream of European travel a reality, I’ve put together some suggestions on how you can save the funds required to book your trip. 

From skipping your daily take away coffee to selling your car on Gumtree, there are money saving tips here for everyone.

In order to know how much money you’ll need to save to put towards your European holiday, you’ll need a bit of a budget.  In this article, I run through the costs involved for 4-week holiday in Europe by car or train.

Once you’ve determined what your holiday to Europe will cost, you can start to make plans.  If you need some ideas to help you save up those precious holiday dollars, I’ve shared 7 tips below.

Money saving tips to help you pay for your European holiday

1. Start a loose change jar

If you’re like me, your wallet is probably weighed down by loose change and whilst it doesn’t seem like it’s worth much, a little can go a long way.

Why not make a habit of emptying your wallet of all your 50-cent, $1 and $2 coins into a piggy bank or savings jar each night?  You might be surprised how quickly your coins add up to a reasonable amount. 

Saving just $5 a day equates to $35 a week.  That’s a hefty sum of $1820 that you can save in a year.  If you’re part of a couple, double that amount and you’ve got a great contribution towards to your holiday costs.

2. Skip your daily take away coffee

It’s a real part of Aussie culture these days and grabbing a take away coffee from a local café each day is a habit many of us have picked up.

Consider skipping your daily coffee – or at least just treat yourself once a week – and put the money you save into your holiday fund.

Imagine how fast your piggy bank could fill up if you add your weekly coffee money AND your loose change to it.

Piggy bank

3. Take your own lunch to work

As easy as it is to head to the nearest café during your lunch break, it’s not the most economically friendly option.

Worried that a BYO lunch means a boring sandwich every day? Don’t be.  There are lots of easy and tasty meals that you can quickly prepare to give you plenty of variety.

If preparing additional meals seems like too much work, why not double the amount you cook for dinner and freeze single portions to take to work for lunch?

By taking your own lunch to work you could easily save $15 to $20 per day – that could add up to over $3,500 per year that could go towards your holiday.

Further reading:
7 cities to consider for your stopover en route to Europe

4. Sell some stuff

You’ve probably got plenty of stuff in your cupboards that you no longer want or need so why not consider selling it? 

You could arrange to hold a garage sale but for less work (and less stress), post your unwanted items on Gumtree.  You’ll get rid of what you don’t want and make some handy cash at the same time.  Win, win!

5. Set up a direct debit to a savings account

If the temptation of a daily coffee and lunch from the local café are proving too hard to resist, consider setting up a direct debit from your bank account into a separate savings account?

Having a regular amount of money automatically transferred to a savings account is a good way to establish a disciplined savings plan. As you aren’t physically handing over the cash you don’t feel it in the hip pocket and the holiday fund can quickly accumulate.

6. Plan ahead so you can take advantage of early bird offers

No one likes paying more than they have to so plan well ahead to take advantage of the early bird travel offers which are usually released around September or October each year (for travel the following year).

Airlines, cruise lines, car rental and tour companies are amongst those that offer discounts for booking early.  In many cases it’s just a matter of paying a deposit to secure the discounted rate.

By planning your travels well in advance, you can reap the benefits of discounted prices.

Map of Europe with flags

7. Cancel your memberships if you’re not using them

A quick glance at your bank statement could reveal a few more savings, too. Are you paying monthly subscriptions for things you don’t actually use? 

Things like gym memberships, Netflix accounts and wine club subscriptions are all so easy to set up online that we often forget we’ve done it – and therefore forget to use what we’ve paid for! 

Are you actually drinking all the bottles of wine you are sent each month or are they just accumulating in your wine rack?  It might be more beneficial to just buy a bottle or two as you need them instead of stockpiling.

Maybe you’d consider sacrificing Netflix for six months and make do with free to air TV,  if it means the difference between travelling to Europe or not.

Are you ready to start saving for your European holiday?

A European holiday is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many of us, and it requires a significant investment of our hard-earned cash.  With some careful planning, and possibly even a few small sacrifices, it can become a reality.

Top image: Adobe Photo / glisic_albina