Yes, Planning a Trip to Europe for Under $1,000 is Possible — Here’s How

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How to Plan a European Vacation for Under $1,000

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Perhaps you made it a New Year’s resolution, or you’ve just always wanted to go, but visiting Europe is a popular travel destination for many people. More than 13 million Americans traveled to Europe in 2016, but the only problem is it can be expensive to vacation there.

According to Alpharooms, a discount holiday provider, the average cost of a three-day trip to a European capital is $1,013, not including flights. That’s not exactly budget friendly if you’re paying off student loans and covering daily living expenses. But not all hope is lost.

There are plenty of ways to save money on airfare, hotels, and transportation making it possible to plan a vacation to Europe for under $1,000 based on U.S. dollar to British pound currency exchange rates current as of January 2018. Here’s how to do it.

How to save money on flights

There are several ways to avoid spending as much money on your flight to Europe, especially if you have some flexibility in your schedule.

Book during the off-peak seasons

Airlines determine their ticket pricing based on how many people are searching for flights, according to flight search website Hopper. That, in turn, increases the demand and ticket prices go up by about 15 percent around a peak time such as the holidays, for example. Other peak seasons include spring and summer from mid-June through August.

The best way to save money is to not travel during peak periods and instead opt for low season (November through March) or shoulder season (April through mid-June).

“We booked roundtrip tickets on United Airlines from San Francisco to Lisbon at the end of

August for about $600 per person,” said Cliff Hsia, writer, and creator of, who traveled with his wife and two children for 75 days in Europe for $16,000. “In comparison, the same tickets booked in June or July were about $1,200 or more.”

According to CheapOair, roundtrip flights from New York to London range from $477 on off-peak days and seasons to $2,948 for peak travel times and seasons. That’s a difference of $2,471.

Travel on weekday flights

You should consider being flexible on your travel days to look for better-pricing, according to CheapOair flight expert Tom Spagnola. “Avoiding a Friday and Sunday will help bring pricing down as they are the peak days to travel,” he said. “Instead, Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays are the best days to fly. You can save an average of 10 to 20 percent.”

Book your tickets on a Sunday, three weeks out

According to Expedia’s “New Heights For Air Travel” study, buying your plane tickets on Sunday will give you the biggest savings. You’ll see about a 16 percent savings in flights to Europe if you book on that day.

To increase the savings, book about three weeks before your departure. “A recent fare search indicated that a ticket between Europe and the United States cost $1,962 when booked less than 21 days before departure,” reads the study. “But cost around $1,293 when booked more than three weeks in advance, saving $669.”

While Expedia’s example shows flight prices totaling over that $1,000 limit, the data is used to indicate the general benefit of booking your flight three weeks out. There are plenty of flights at off-peak times, as Hsia pointed out, that are less than half of the study’s example.

How to save money on accommodations

Don’t book a hotel

Booking an Airbnb instead of a traditional hotel can equal substantial cost savings. In London, for example, the average Airbnb rental is $144 per night compared to $252 in a hotel. That’s a $108 savings a night or a $756 for a seven-night stay.

To boost your savings, even more, Hsia suggested, stay at least seven days in one Airbnb to get a weekly discount. “Hosts normally offer discounts for longer stays, which hotels won’t do,” he said. “If they don’t, then ask them for one. I was able to keep my average per night cost to $71.”

Stay outside the main city

If you’re planning a trip to Europe, you’ll want to see the main attractions in the city. But that doesn’t mean you should stay in the heart of the popular metropolis. Alpharooms found that staying just outside of Europe’s big capital cities can save you a ton of money.

For example, if you’re headed to London, opt to stay in Windsor (30 to 50 minutes by train). Instead of paying an average about $168 a night for a three-star hotel, you’ll pay just $77 for the same level of accommodations. Even with a week pass into the heart of the city costing you $97, you’ll still save $358 for a five-night stay or $540 for a seven-night stay.

If you choose to only go into the heart of the city two days, you’ll pay about $33 roundtrip. For three days, it will cost about $50. That equates to an additional $47 to $64 savings in transportation during off-peak travel times.

How to save money on dining

Shop local for snacks

Instead of relying on the minibar or local restaurants to keep you satiated while you explore the city, head to a supermarket for snacks. “Shopping at local supermarkets is a great way to keep costs down, not be ravenous for main meals, and get an authentic sense of the culture,” said Hsia. “I was able to spend about $60 per day on food, or about $20 per meal, for my family of four.”

Cook breakfast and dinner

Another benefit to choosing accommodations such as Airbnb is that you could have access to a kitchen. If that’s the case, take advantage. “You’ll save a ton of money by eating out less and cooking your breakfast and dinners,” said Hsia. “If you want to try a restaurant, go out for lunch when prices are cheaper.”

On average, a week’s worth of groceries for two people in London will cost you about $113 ($16 a day) compared to one meal for two at a mid-priced restaurant, which will cost you $56. If you prepare your breakfast and dinner using groceries and choose a pub for lunch (around $22 for two), you’re looking at spending around $267 for a week’s stay. That cost would be eaten up in about five dinners alone.

How to save money on transportation

Book tickets early

“Book your train tickets early, up to three months in advance to get the best value and find the best discounts,” said Hsia. According to the Rail Europe website, some discounted tickets go on sale first and once those sell, the price increases up until the departure date.

A train from London to Amsterdam, for example, starts at $305 per person one way if booked just a few days out. That same route starts at $99 if booked three months in advance. That’s a $206 savings by planning. So, if you plan to visit multiple countries, secure your itinerary as early as possible to get the most significant savings.

Use public transportation

It might seem like a given, but using public transportation is cheaper than hiring a car or taxi. “Buses and subways in Europe go pretty far distances,” said Hsia. “Use them to explore the outskirts of the city and suburbs or to get across the city, then just walk anywhere that’s a shorter distance.”

The average subway ride in London costs $3.39 to about $10 per ride depending on the zone, whereas a taxi will run you about $7.14 a mile. But if you take a trip from the center of the city to the furthest zone, number nine, you’re looking at about a 30-mile trip or a $214 ride compared to just over $10 on the subway. Even if you had a family of four, that’s still $53 per person to take a taxi versus $40 total on the subway.

Buy a city pass

Many of the major European cities have a version of a tourist pass where you can pay a flat fee and get access to the major attractions and transportation starting for around $20. If you plan to visit a lot of the sights where you have to pay an entry fee and pay for transportation to get there, a city pass might be a more viable option.

A two-day London pass with transportation, for example, costs about $156. That gets you access to 80 attractions, the subway system, and a free bus tour of the city. If you visit just six attractions, you’ll save $106 on entrance fees alone. Upgrade to the six-day pass, and you’ll average about $30 a day on sightseeing, getting to see places like Westminster Abbey and Tower of London.

So, if you’re looking to book a vacation to Europe for under $1,000, it’s important to take all of these tips into consideration. Each hack might not seem like major savings alone, but they add up to hundreds of dollars over the course of a vacation.

With this in mind, here’s how much money you’d spend in total visiting London, one of Europe’s most expensive cities.

Travel Expense Cost
Flight from New York to London $477 round trip per person
Accommodations outside the city for five nights $325 total or $162.50 split between two people
Meal-prepping with lunch at pubs $186 total or $93 per person
Visiting the heart of the city for two days $54 round trip per person
Take six subway trips in the city $16 per person
Total cost for a five-day trip to London $802 per person

Swap the subway cost and upgrade to the city pass with transportation and you still come in at $942 per person for a five-day trip to the home of Queen Elizabeth II. We hear London calling!

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1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.

Earnest Disclosures

To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.

Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.

Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.

The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit, email us at, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.

© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.

2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.

Laurel Road Disclosures

Savings example: average savings calculated based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were disclosed. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.

Application detail: 5 minutes indicates typical time it takes to complete application with applicant information readily available. It does not include time taken to provide underwriting decision or funding of the loan.

Instant rates mean a delivery of personalized rates for those individuals who provide sufficient information to return a rate. For instant rates a soft credit pull will be conducted, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.

Total savings calculated by aggregating individual average savings across total borrower population from 9/2013 to 12/2017. Individual average savings calculation based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were provided. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.

3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Student loan Refinance:Fixed rates from 3.899% APR to 7.804% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.470% APR to 6.990% APR (with AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 2.470% APR assumes the current index rate derived from the 1-month LIBOR of 2.08% plus 0.64% margin minus 0.25% ACH discount. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, and the term of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. *To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms SoFi can offer you up front. After seeing your rates, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan. In addition to requiring your explicit permission, these credit pulls may impact your credit score.
  2. Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (

4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.

LendKey Disclosures

Refinancing via is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.

5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

  1. Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). The following table displays the estimated monthly payment, total interest, and Annual Percentage Rates (APR) for a $10,000 loan. The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) shown for each in-school loan product reflects the accruing interest, the effect of one-time capitalization of interest at the end of a deferment period, a 2% origination fee, and the applicable Repayment Plan. All loans are eligible for a 0.25% reduction in interest rate by agreeing to automatic payment withdrawals once in repayment, which is reflected in the interest rates and APRs displayed. Variable rates may increase after consummation. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.08% effective July 25, 2018.

6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Education Refinance Loan Rate DisclosureVariable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of October 1, 2018, the one-month LIBOR rate is 2.22%. Variable interest rates range from 2.72%-8.32% (2.72%-8.32% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of the borrower’s loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Fixed interest rates range from 3.75%-8.69% (3.75%-8.69% APR) based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Lowest rates shown require application with a cosigner, are for eligible, creditworthy applicants with a graduate level degree, require a 5-year repayment term and include our Loyalty discount and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. The maximum variable rate on the Education Refinance Loan is the greater of 21.00% or Prime Rate plus 9.00%. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change. Please note: Due to federal regulations, Citizens Bank is required to provide every potential borrower with disclosure information before they apply for a private student loan. The borrower will be presented with an Application Disclosure and an Approval Disclosure within the application process before they accept the terms and conditions of their loan.
  2. Federal Loan vs. Private Loan Benefits: Some federal student loans include unique benefits that the borrower may not receive with a private student loan, some of which we do not offer with the Education Refinance Loan. Borrowers should carefully review their current benefits, especially if they work in public service, are in the military, are currently on or considering income based repayment options or are concerned about a steady source of future income and would want to lower their payments at some time in the future. When the borrower refinances, they waive any current and potential future benefits of their federal loans and replace those with the benefits of the Education Refinance Loan. For more information about federal student loan benefits and federal loan consolidation, visit We also have several resources available to help the borrower make a decision at, including Should I Refinance My Student Loans? and our FAQs. Should I Refinance My Student Loans? includes a comparison of federal and private student loan benefits that we encourage the borrower to review.
  3. Citizens Bank Education Refinance Loan Eligibility: Eligible applicants may not be currently enrolled. Applicants with an Associate’s degree or with no degree must have made at least 12 qualifying payments after leaving school. Qualifying payments are the most recent on time and consecutive payments of principal and interest on the loans being refinanced. Primary borrowers must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. Resident aliens must apply with a cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The cosigner (if applicable) must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. For applicants who have not attained the age of majority in their state of residence, a cosigner will be required. Citizens Bank reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at anytime. Interest rate ranges subject to change. Education Refinance Loans are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application/consumer credit agreement, verification of application information, certification of borrower’s student loan amount(s) and highest degree earned.
  4. Loyalty Discount Disclosure: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower or their co-signer (if applicable) has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower and their co-signer (if applicable) have submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, or other student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, and VT and some products may have an associated cost. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate disclosed in the Loan Approval Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  5. Automatic Payment Discount Disclosure: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. Discount is not available when payments are not due, such as during forbearance. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account three or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
  6. Co-signer Release: Borrowers may apply for co-signer release after making 36 consecutive on-time payments of principal and interest. For the purpose of the application for co-signer release, on-time payments are defined as payments received within 15 days of the due date. Interest only payments do not qualify. The borrower must meet certain credit and eligibility guidelines when applying for the co-signer release. Borrowers must complete an application for release and provide income verification documents as part of the review. Borrowers who use deferment or forbearance will need to make 36 consecutive on-time payments after reentering repayment to qualify for release. The borrower applying for co-signer release must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. If an application for co-signer release is denied, the borrower may not reapply for co-signer release until at least one year from the date the application for co-signer release was received. Terms and conditions apply.
  7. Estimated average savings amount is based on 14,659 Education Refinance Loan customers who saved on loans between August 1, 2017 and July 31, 2018. The calculation is derived by averaging monthly savings across Education Refinance Loan customers whose payment amounts decreased after refinancing, calculated by taking the monthly payment prior to refinancing minus the monthly payment after refinancing. We excluded monthly savings from customers that exceeded $4,375 and were lower than $20 to minimize risk of data error skewing the savings amounts. Savings will vary based on interest rates, balances and remaining repayment term of loans to be refinanced. Borrower’s overall repayment amount may be higher than the loans they are refinancing even if monthly payments are lower.

2.47% – 6.99%3Undergrad
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2.47% – 5.87%1Undergrad
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2.47% – 8.03%4Undergrad
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2.95% – 6.37%2Undergrad
& Graduate
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2.48% – 6.25%5Undergrad
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2.72% – 8.32%6Undergrad
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