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Six Money-Saving Solutions for Slow Traveling Europe

Dreaming of a week-long stay in Paris? Or a month or longer meandering through Europe? Slow travel is the way to do it, and it can be surprisingly affordable. Slow travel is where you stay for a week or longer in one place so you can fully immerse yourself in the culture, meet the people and live like a local. It’s the best way to experience Europe.


Here’s six ways to save money on your slow-travel European adventure.

 

Maximize your airfare

Round trips tickets to Europe are spendy, whether you pay cash or use those valuable frequent flier miles. You won’t save money on airfare booking a longer trip, but why not maximize your investment by spending longer in Europe? For the best deals on airfare, check out budget-friendly European airlines that fly from the US, like French Bee, Iceland-based Play (with connections through Reykjavik), Norway-based carrier Norse Atlantic and Fly Atlantic (with flights from the US east coast through via Belfast, Ireland).


Take advantage of extended-stay discounts

When booking accommodations through Airbnb or other temporary housing service, look for rentals that offer discounts of 10 percent or more for stays of seven nights or longer. This is quite common in Europe. You’ll receive bigger discounts for stays of 28 days or more. For monthly stays I’ve received discounts of up to 63 percent. I recommend staying in an apartment or house, instead of a hotel. You’ll feel more like a local and it will save you money, as you can see from my next tip.


Enjoy meal preparation at home

Take advantage of your kitchen, no matter the size, and prepare some of your meals in your temporary European home. Although I like to eat out, eating out two or three times a day for an extended period is not only expensive, but it can also take a toll on your health. Restaurants meals, no matter how expensive, tend to be heavy on the salt, sugar and fat, but low on vegetables and fiber.


Two of my favorite things to do when visiting a new country is to shop the farmer’s markets and visit the supermarket. You’ll feel like a local buying your fresh produce and cheeses directly from farmers. It’s a great way to discover new foods, seasonal vegetables and regional dishes. After gathering your favorite treats from the market, take them to a park and enjoy a picnic.


When traveling, I like to prepare my own breakfast of muesli, yogurt, banana and fresh or frozen berries and decaf coffee. The ingredients are easy to find locally and I know my day is off to a healthy start. It’s tempting to indulge in the delectable offerings from the neighborhood bakery, but I reserve going out for coffee and a pastry to an occasional treat.


When I do eat out, it’s generally for lunch as the prices are much less than at dinner. Restaurants don’t open until around 7:30 pm for dinner in most European countries. By enjoying an evening meal at home, I can have it at my usual time of 6 pm. It might be as simple as a salad with a quiche from the local bakery.


Save money on your car rental

If you are renting a car in Europe for three weeks or longer, check out the women-owned-and-managed company, Auto France. They manage Peugeot’s Car2Europe program where US residents can rent a brand-new Peugeot car straight off the factory floor to drive through continental Europe. The price includes full insurance, built-in GPS, road-side assistance and unlimited kilometers.


You can pick the car up in several major European cities and even return it to a different city. The longer you book, the less you’ll pay on a daily basis. The prices are far less than through a traditional rental agency. When renting a car, I typically take advantage of my credit card’s auto insurance, however it is limited to three weeks. But with Auto France you can rent a car with full insurance for up to 175 days — almost six months. I found the least expensive Peugeot 208 to be the perfect size for Europe’s narrow roads and tiny parking garages. And if you don’t mind driving a manual transmission, you’ll save even more.


Purchase public transportation and city passes

Since you'll be hanging out in one city for a while, check into weekly and monthly passes for buses, trams and subways. You'll save money and enjoy greater convenience. If you plan to travel to several countries in Europe, a Eurail Pass may save you money. Be sure to purchase it before you leave.


Don't forget travel insurance

As with rent a cars and accommodations, travel insurance is also less per week the longer you stay. World Nomads’ standard policy for someone my age traveling to France for one week is $76.58. For four weeks is $125.70. And for 12 weeks is $301.00. Per day, that is $10.94, $4.49 and $3.58.

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Of course, traveling overseas for three months is going to cost much more than taking two weeks away. However, you’ll be rewarded with a richer and more memorable experience slow traveling through Europe, and having the time to fully immerse yourself in the culture and the lifestyle.


For more ways to make your extended stay affordable, read my posts:

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Hi, I’m Lori Cronwell. As a writer and frequent traveler, I admire the values most Europeans embrace: choosing quality over quantity; residing in smaller, more sustainable homes; working less and spending more time with friends and family.
 

Those values were key in my decision to drastically downsize to a 700 sq. ft. accessory dwelling unit (ADU) with the goal of creating a simpler, more sumptuous life with time for travel.
 

Slow travel, that is. Spending more time in one place — even if it’s just a week. You'll not only spend less, you'll discover a deeper and more meaningful travel experience.

Please subscribe below and join me on a journey to find affordable ways to explore Europe in the slow lane and to live a more European lifestyle every day of our lives.

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