On April 26 2014 we arrived in England with a goal, travelling to the maximum whilst spending the minimum. To do so, as soon as we arrived at the airport, after a good and intimidating immigration interview, we rented and slept in a car for a few days until we found our new home, a van. 

We chose a 2002 Ford Transit with a high top roof because we’d read a lot about them and from what I understood, they are like the old Beetle, ie, a wire and pliers repair any problem (ok, a bit of exaggeration there).

Travel in Europe is usually seen as glamorous and luxurious (at least for Brazilians), but as I consider myself a traveller, not a tourist, I must prove that it is not necessarily so. Maybe by showing you our adventure I can inspire you to travel more! Here I want to give you my 3 best tips for travelling Europe for cheap.

Tips To Save Whilst Travelling in Europe

1. Save On Accommodation Whilst Travelling

Accommodation for most, is the biggest cost on a trip. It’s been over a month since we’ve been living in our van and after travelling nearly 1000 miles, our only expenditure on it so far has been on diesel. We haven’t spent a penny on accommodation yet. Additionally, you can make use of sites like Couchsurfing.

Here is a video showing the inside of our van. We list some some tools to make your trip easier as well as their costs:

2. Save On Food Whilst Travelling

Food is perhaps the second biggest expense. Various ways to save:

Buy food from the supermarket but don’t go when you’re hungry! Don’t let your stomach do the shopping, otherwise you’ll end up spending more than you should.

Supermarkets and convenience stores often throw away food that has passed the validity date. When it’s getting close to this date, they will usually reduce the price of the item and place it in a discount area. Just search! When I lived in Berlin for a month, the bakery near the hostel always gave away various tidbits for free at the end of the day. Isn’t it just great when you get freebies?

An extreme but funny story. An acquaintance in New Zealand was camouflaging himself almost every night to scrounge through supermarket skip bins to find food. The truth is that the food was fine, it was just a few hours past it’s validity date. When I met the character I was completely surprised. He did it not because he was lacking in money, but because he was buying the most expensive mountaineering equipment available on earth (not joking)! I left his house with one of the dozen pavlova bases he had collected.

Cook: After a few weeks of travelling, we finally bought a camping stove with gas to make hot food. If you don’t have this facility you can also go to hostels, rather than hotels, which usually offer a kitchen.

3. Save On Transportation Whilst Travelling

Transportation is another high cost on any trip. You can travel by bicycle (as I have done) and save quite a lot. It isn’t an easy task though, especially in my case because I have some heavy musical instruments and electronics.

Also, much like making an income online, travelling by bicycle is like a full-time job, so it is quite difficult to reconcile both activities.

Hence why we chose to buy the van, as it also serves as housing and storage for items such as bicycles! Two days ago we stopped the van a little outside the centre of Padstow, where there was free parking. We took the bikes, went out to explore and got back “home” perhaps 7 hours later.

Below is a video of our adventure so far:

England In 8 Minutes : 1 Van | 2 Travellers | 23 Days | 20 Towns | 951 Miles

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Do you have any tips to travel Europe for cheap? Please share in the comments section below!