ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Seeing Europe for a Lot Less than Most Tourists Will Pay; European Vacation IS affordable!

Updated on August 26, 2016

Brussels is strikingly beautiful


Spending less on your travel and accommodations frees more money for other things

When booking travel to Europe, most people think of major destinations to fly into and out of. In remembering that Europe has a very extensive rail system, you can save a lot of money by planning your trip before you go with this in mind.

I was determined to see Brussels. Home to so many things, but most importantly, I wanted to try Pomme Frits, the world famous Belgian French fries, sample some authentic Belgian chocolate, and finally, have a real Belgian beer in Belgium after seeing the NATO headquarters.

Book your flight as far ahead as possible.

I saved hundred of dollars by booking my flight and accommodations months ahead of my trip. I decided to fly into Cologne, Germany and then take the train to Brussels. What a great idea that was. I used CouchSurfer for the time that I was in Germany, where I carefully chose the person that I would be staying with. It would be rude to be a guest in someone's home when they have offered hospitality for free, so I decided to bring a gift to them. My gift was a German to English Dictionary, which worked out great because my host was planning a trip to the United States.

If you do use CouchSurfer or some other similar service, go with your gut. If it does not feel right, spend the money and get a hotel room. My host was informative and charming to say the least, but the Europeans, their stamina plus my jetlag made the first night that I slept jarring to say the least.

After my few days in Cologne, I boarded the train to Brussels. It was easy enough with the efficiency of the ICE trains, and the apartment that I rented was a few blocks from all of the embassies. Posh, indeed.

By booking ahead, I saved over 700.00 from what the posted prices were even a few weeks after I booked the trip. Make sure that you confirm with your airline what happens if you must cancel for any reason. I purchased trip insurance, and although I did not need to use it, as many different things as I had planned, it was far better to have the insurance there for me.

Be open to changes. When I flew to Germany, they were offering a few hundred dollars for anyone that was willing to give up their seat. I asked if I could be assured of being on the next flight. The gate agent looked it up and said that if I took the next flight, they would be able to reserve me a seat in the same location on the plane, or, I could give up the money and be upgraded to business class. I took the upgrade. I arrived 90 minutes later than my original departure time, which was fine with me.

Don't use a hotel. Rent someones' home or apartment instead.

I decided that I wanted to save some money by renting a home or an apartment instead of the usual hotel fare. Added to this, I have discovered that to American Standards, hotels can be very small in Europe.
In Brussels, I went through many days of searching through web pages, checking off the things that were important to me. Something important to consider is that in Europe, many of the older buildings will not have elevators. Another thing to think about is that the ground floor is not counted as a floor. The floors above the ground floor are. So, what we call in the US the 5th floor would in most parts of Europe be called the 4th floor.

By renting out a private residence, I feel as though I got a more genuine look at Brussels from what most Americans would see. I attended neighborhood festivals, ate food that I bought from local grocery stores, and I learned the sometimes complex and confusing bus and public transportation system that Brussels is known for.

I know that I saved a lot of money from eating in my apartment. I also saved a lot of money by having an apartment that provided free cable television and internet service, so I did not have to pay a daily or weekly fee for that.

When I compared what I would have spent if I had flown directly into Brussels, stayed in a one or two star hotel, rented a car rather than used public transportation, and then flew back to the US from Brussels, my savings were well over $2500.00 USD. That is more than a significant savings.

Just so you know, by booking so far ahead, my airfare round trip was less than $300.00 at the time I booked. My apartment was $1000.00 for five weeks, and my food bills totaled $450.00, including eating out.

About Me

If you find this Hub Useful, Funny, Interesting, or anything else good, please vote it up, thanks!


Submit a Comment

  • Darrylmdavis profile image


    6 years ago from Brussels, Belgium

    I found the couchsurfing part very interesting...something to look into!

    Just as an aside, "pommes frites" is a decidedly French (as in France) term. In Belgium, they are simply referred to as "frites" as it is obvious to Belgians there could only ever be one kind. ;-)

  • BestCrispAir profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from Texas

    My trip was wonderful, I had a really terrific time. I will be sharing a lot of my experiences with my readers in the weeks to come.

  • bamuscarella profile image


    6 years ago from Buffalo, NY

    Thank you so much for this hub. My fiancé and I are getting married next July and are planning a month-long trip to Europe, including France, Germany, and Italy (I also want to go to Belgium). I was thinking to get a Eurail pass to make taking trains between countries easier. I'm so glad to have found this hub because I never thought of renting private residences rather than hotels. We're planning to stay in France for the first couple of weeks, so I think that renting someone's flat might be a better bet for us during that time. Then we'll be doing a lot of traveling throughout the countries I mentioned; hostels or cheaper hotels will probably serve us better then. How was your trip to Brussels? I want some pomme frites!


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)