Growing up, Europe felt like a pipe-dream. All everyone talked about was how expensive, and extravagant trips to Europe were – like a once in a lifetime thing, that you did after college, or for your 25th anniversary. Well, in the past five years, I’ve been to Europe four times (what can I say, I love pastries and wine), and I’m here to tell you, it’s NOT any more expensive than almost any other trip out there, if you do it right. Today, we’re sharing our top tips to going to Europe affordably, so that you don’t have to sell plasma to get there.

-Go Off-Season
Peak season for Europe is June-August. If you go during this time, you will not only be visiting during the most crowded time of year, but you’ll be paying top dollar for EVERYTHING. If you have your heart set on a warm weather visit, chose late May, or early September, for HUGE savings.

-Rent Your Digs
Airbnb and VRBO will save you a TON in Europe. For example, in The Cinque Terre, we rented a three story vacation home, for a little over $100 a night – which gave us a full kitchen, where we made breakfast and espresso each morning, and took it out to our balcony to watch the ocean. This saved us money in two ways – on meals, and it was way cheaper than a hotel.

-Drive Between Countries
Everyone always talks about taking trains between countries, and I know that there’s a really romanticized version of travelling in Europe that way. But here’s the thing – if there’s more than one of you, it’s cheaper to rent a car and drive. Last year, for our two week trip, we rented a car for $300 – which was less than the train pass for ONE of us. That literally cut our transportation costs in half, and we found it way more convenient.

-Fly For Free
We’ve said it over, and over, and over again but GET AN AIRLINE CREDIT CARD and be loyal to it. You will be amazed at how fast your miles accumulate – we’ve NEVER paid for airfare to Europe.

Europe doesn’t have to be unattainable – it can be something for everyone, or something you do semi-regularly, if you apply some tips and tricks to saving money.