How to Backpack around Europe on a Student Budget

Barcelona is a student-budget haven if you play your cards right, in fact it’s possible to travel there and come back with MORE than what you left with!

It really does feel like Summer is just around the corner. Well, the British weather may say different, but birds are tweeting, flowers are blooming and we are definitely heading towards some sun- hurrah! But as much as sipping pink gin in a beer garden, exploring beaches in Cornwall and riding the wave of festivals is a typical Summer well spent, there are loads of options to travel further afield without taking out another overdraft- especially in Europe!

Student budgets are hard to manage whilst at university, let alone on holiday- but like every other post on this blog, there’s living proof that it is possible. How I hear you ask?

Well firstly, ERASMUS isn’t just for those on a ‘Semester Abroad’

Amsterdam is full of internship opportunities in quirky startups or multi-national businesses, there really is something to suit any course out there!

Whilst Brexit has left our summers to come in chaos, there’s no reason we can’t try to enjoy this one without visas or healthcare to worry about.

Particularly where the ERASMUS+ is concerned- I have no idea whether this will continue to run post-Brexit, but at the moment it is still possible to apply for funding for a trip abroad by doing an internship. The Erasmus Intern website is dedicated to helping you find an internship that will not only help your CV to stand out from the rest, but also filters paid and unpaid internships. It’s completely possible to take an internship in your field and come back with more money than you left with too! It is a bit of a lottery draw, but if you plan to do a long term internship, your university can help you to stay out there, many offer bursaries of around £400 to pay your expenses. Learn new skills, get paid and explore a new country- what’s not to love about that?

And RyanAir isn’t the ONLY budget airline out there

7 flights for the price of 1 sound good to you?

Websites like and are missing a trick here, as much as I love the ease of booking a flight using their filters, there are some cheaper options out there. Websites like and pick up on error fares, sale prices and last minute bargains to make sure you get the most for your money. Plan a backpacking adventure using and I (pretty much) guarantee that it’s cheaper than getting an interail pass. Plan your route and keep adding until you’ve got your complete itinerary using the multi-city option for extra flexibility too!

Here’s an example that took me 5 minutes to find. That’s 7 flights for 7 weeks of travelling to 7 different countries (and 10+ cities) for the same price as one return flight ticket! Go on, give it a go!

2nd July: London > Barcelona

7th July: Barcelona > Geneva

16th July: Milan > Split, Croatia

27th July: Dubrovnik, Croatia > Finland

3rd August: Finland > Norway

9th August: Norway > Budapest

15th August: Budapest > London

Total £174 GBP


plus you can easily stick to £25 a day and live comfortably!

Eiffel Tower, Paris, France, Tower, Eiffel, Landmark
Paris is ALWAYS a good idea and it doesn’t have to cost you the Mona Lisa either!

I’ve posted about it in Amsterdam and Paris using £50, but the majority of the cost does come down to your living arrangements- the only reason I have spent more on these trips is to avoid hostels, but if you’re travelling solo, they’re an ideal place to meet new faces and embrace other ways of life, so there’s no reason it cannot be done. Other popular websites include couchsurf- where you can stay somewhere for free, or plenty of the ERASMUS internships offer accommodation.

My personal rule is whatever your budget is, spend upto 50% on accommodation, 25% on food and 25% on sightseeing, overall. The bigger your budget, the more you can afford to spend on doing things, but when you’re looking for accommodation on the cheap, around £12 a night seems fair. £6 on food is completely doable if you shop at the supermarket rather than going out and £6 could get you entry into a museum, a ticket to a gig or some souvenirs, you just have to look for the cheapest option.

A great example of this is Paris: one of the most expensive cities in the world, yet most of it’s tourist attractions are free of charge- bar the Eiffel Tower. A typical day-trip in the city can look like this.

Supermarket Shop: 1 x Crossiant, 1 x Pepperoni Pizza, 3 x Diet Coke cans, 1 x Chicken and Salad Sandwich = £6,50 (+1 Happy hour drink £2)

Activities: Sacre Coure artist quarter, Paris Museum of Modern Art, sunset stroll across the river Seine = £0

Souvenirs: 2 x Postcards, 1 x disposable camera = £5

3* Hotel: Ibis 13th Hotel D’Italie £13

Total Cost: £26,50


There’s just a few ideas to get you started on your backpacking journey, I hope that this has given you a sense that this is all entirely within reach! Take on some extra hours at work and get saving for a trip of a lifetime! Let me know if you have any of your own tips in the comments below or head over twitter so we can chat about travelling! x



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