Budget European tours


I'm looking to go to europe later this year (maybe september-october or thereabouts) but it seems so expensive!

I was thinking of doing a tour as I am going alone and it'd be kinda boring if I didn't, but yeah.. tours are expensive.

I have been looking at contiki and top deck, but don't know many others, especially any decent budget ones. Not looking for camping, basically anything hostel and up will do. I just don't know where to look.

I'd like to spend about 20-30 days on a tour around western europe and then afterwards have a week or 2 to explore somewhere on my own.

Any suggestions would be great! I know ozbargain probably knows the truly cheap ways to go about it.



  • You could have a look at http://www.intrepidtravel.com

  • wouldn't it be cheaper to do it yourself rather than via a group tour?

    • Possibly, but I don't want to miss anything and I want to stick with the same people (at least partially) the whole way, because travelling alone can be really boring and scary. At least with a tour group it's a much easier way to do it, and I probably won't waste as much time!

  • Try expatexplore.com based in london,known a few people who has used them

  • +2

    You could look at Busabout for a cheap option? They drop you off at hostel style accomodation.

    • Yeah try something like this if you are not game to fully go it alone and believe me it's easier than you think especially in Europe.

  • +4

    Hi Brezzo,

    I have traveled with Contiki, Top Deck, Busabout and a couple of smaller country specific operators (Haggis and Paddywagon). If you haven't been to Europe before and are going to be away for a few weeks I definitely recommend doing a tour for at least part of the trip. I have traveled on my own before and it can get lonely spending all day on your own. Sometimes I was lucky to meet people in the hostel to hang out with, other times I was on my own. The good thing about group tours is that you often have the day to spend how you wish, so if you want company, you can group up with others to sight-see, but if you want to do your own thing, you can just meet up with the group later.

    Given your time frame, instead of doing a 20 - 30 day tour, I would suggest breaking it up in two: E.G: A two week tour, then a week or so on your own followed by another two week tour. Most of the longer tours are actually smaller tours joined up, so you will have different people starting and finishing the tour at different stages which can be a bit awkward for group cohesion from my experience. A week or so downtime between tours would be ideal as you might be ready for a few days on your own and to do a few things like catch up on washing, email home, download photos, recover etc!!

    By booking two separate tours with the same company, you might be able to secure a discount with a major company such as Contiki or Top Deck. I used to attend free travel shows (in London) where I was able to secure a 20% discount off the tour rate, although I haven't seen such good discounting in Australia. Definitely hunt around for discounts on your tour, try calling the travel operator direct and asking them about the best discount available.

    One way to save money on your trip is to do your research about costs and the activities you would like to do before you go. On nights where dinner is not included, the tour leader will often offer a group dinner option at a local restaurant. One leader told us for 20 Euros we could have an all you can eat dinner which is not great quality but there would be heaps of food. A couple of us headed out and shared a couple of pizzas instead - much cheaper than 20 Euros each and much nicer food!

    Have fun planning your trip!

    • Agree - break it up into 2 smaller tours, say no more than 2 weeks. If you get sick of one bunch of peeps, then you'll only need to see them for another handful of days.

  • I have always done Europe independently, but I notice that with Busabout you can stay as long as you want in, say, Paris, then continue your trip. Maybe a good way to get away from a clique or annoying group on your current Tour. Which is what has put me off Contiki etc. Just a thought. Everyone's different.

  • with tour you paid expensive tour fee and each attraction they charge you more.
    I went with Trafalgar 2 years ago. I really hate it. They provided crap food and accommondation. Each attraction they will charge quite a bit, or would be just left in the hotels in the rural area.
    eg Louvre museum only like 10 to 20 euros ticket they would charge like nearly 100 euro to go in.
    when book tour make sure you check itinerary carefully see if the entry of each attraction is included.
    and tour guide tip fee etc
    or end up spend like double or triple