Frugal Europe, tough but doable

Frugal and Europe are thought to be mutually exclusive terms... But there are certain things that you can do to enjoy Europe without busting the budget.

Frugal Europe

Saving money in Europe is difficult but not impossible... The dollar is not doing well against the euro, $1.30 to one euro, at the time of writing.

But here are three tips anyone can use, on your three biggest expenditures, accommodations, travel and food.

This is not just theory we applied these three tips in our May 2013 trip to Italy... A country not exactly known for being economical for tourists.

Frugal Europe, save on accommodations

Frugal Europe

Wherever possible, rent an apartment, second choice would be a bed-and-breakfast, and last choice for accommodations would be a hotel.

No bell boys to tip, you can cook your own meals, and with just a little effort you can become part of a local community that is just not possible when you are a hotel guest.

Case in point, we had our morning coffee every day with this young lady who was more than helpful in pointing out places and stores that the locals frequented... A little local knowledge will go a long way, To saving money on the essentials in a strange town.

Home away; Booking.com; and Vacation rentals by owner are three sites I would visit for some ideas.

Frugal Europe, do not rent a car

With the price of gas being close to nine dollars a gallon, some pretty heavy and hectic traffic, you can save the price of 1 to 2 weeks worth of lodging by not renting a car.

Avoid taxis like the plague, they are very expensive.

Instead take the train, save money and time...In the three major cities we recently visited in Italy, Rome, Florence, and Venice... The main train station is centrally located where you can either walk or take convenient and cheap local buses and subways to all the places you want to visit.

Especially in Rome, you can rent an inexpensive apartment close to a suburban Metro stop miles from the Coliseum, and spend a third on your apartment versus being downtown close to the tourist attractions.

The Rome Metro is fast, safe and inexpensive.

Frugal Europe, avoid eating out

Now I enjoy a nice restaurant meal just like anyone else... But not when we travel...I save our fine dining experiences for cruise ships.

If you take my advice and rent an apartment in the suburb, you will find local, low-priced grocery stores that can provide all the food you need.

I had my regular oatmeal for breakfast, we made sandwiches for lunch, and the evening meal consisted of fresh bread, fresh cheese, fresh prosciutto or salami, and an inexpensive local bottle of wine.

Thanks for reading Frugal Europe...You can have your cake and eat it too.