Europe is a dream destination with so much vibrant culture, stunning scenery and exciting cities to explore. But as a Nigerian student, the high cost of airfare and accommodation can make traveling Europe seem out of reach.
With some strategic planning, using budget airlines, student discounts and more money-saving tips, you can discover Europe on a tight budget. This comprehensive guide covers all you need to know to travel Europe affordably as a Nigerian student.
Finding Cheap Flights
The biggest expense for Nigerians visiting Europe is airfare, especially during peak summer months. Here are smart ways to get cheaper flights:
Fly with Budget Airlines: Europe has numerous low-cost carriers like Ryanair, EasyJet, Vueling and Wizz Air that offer steep discounts compared to major airlines. Be flexible with your dates and airports when booking.
Use Flight Search Engines: Websites like Skyscanner, Kayak and Google Flights scan multiple airlines to find the cheapest fares. Set up price alerts and book when fares drop.
Fly Midweek: Fares are most expensive on Fridays and Sundays. Leaving midweek days like Tuesday to Thursday can save you thousands of Naira.
Book Early: Booking 4-5 months in advance locks in the lowest fares before they rise closer to departure.
Fly Off-Season: Avoid summer crowds and prices. Traveling in shoulder seasons like spring and fall means fewer tourists and cheaper flights.
Use Budget Airline Hubs: Flying into airline hubs like London-Stansted, Dublin, Madrid and Milan which base budget carriers can unlock lower fares.
Consider Open-jaw Tickets: Book flights into one city and back from another. This lets you visit multiple countries without costly roundtrips.
Leverage Student Discounts: Check youth and student discounts from carriers like EuRail, StudentUniverse and STA Travel to save 10-30% on flights.
Sign Up for Fare Alerts: Get notifications from airlines when discounts are running for your route. Act fast once deals are announced.
Finding Affordable Accommodation
Lodging is often the second biggest travel spend. Use these tips to lower accommodation costs:
Use Hostel Dorms – Dorm beds at hostels are just ₦5,000-₦10,000 per night. You save money and meet other young travelers.
Look for Private Rooms – Many hostels also offer private rooms on a budget. Kitchen access lowers food costs.
Consider Homestays – Sites like CouchSurfing let you stay with locals for free. Or homeshare services like Airbnb for under ₦10,000 per night.
Travel in Shoulder Season – Accommodation prices dip 30-50% in spring and fall compared to touristy summers.
Share Rooms – Splitting a room with friends brings down lodging costs significantly.
Check Camping Grounds – In summer, camping is an affordable option across Europe. Some hostels rent tents too.
Consider House-sitting – Websites like TrustedHousesitters connect you with homeowners who need pet sitters or home watchers in exchange for free stays.
Download Booking Apps – Apps like Hostelworld, Booking.com and Trivago let you compare rates across lodging options.
Pack Light – Choose accommodations with laundry facilities so you can pack fewer clothes and other gear.
Look Outside City Centers – Lodging gets cheaper as you move farther from expensive downtowns and tourist hubs.
Join Accommodation Loyalty Programs – Signing up for hostel chain loyalty cards like Hostelworld Rewards can unlock discounts, free nights and perks.
Use Public Transportation
Europe has excellent public transportation that will get you around affordably:
- Take Buses and Trains between Cities: Buses and trains transport between countries and cities very cheaply compared to flights. Services like FlixBus offer fares under ₦5,000 one-way.
- Use Metro and Trams within Cities: Subways, trams, buses and commuter trains provide affordable intra-city travel. Buy unlimited travel passes to save more.
- Walk More: Europe’s compact and pedestrian-friendly cities make walking a feasible way to explore without spending on transit. Wear comfy shoes!
- Look Into Bicycle Shares: Many cities have bike rental programs with cheap daily rates under ₦1,000. It’s an active way to sightsee.
- Take Night Buses or Trains: Overnight transit options let you save a night of accommodation costs while getting to your next destination.
- Check out Rideshares: Carpooling apps like BlaBlaCar allow you to split drives between destinations at low costs.
- Consider City Tourist Passes: Passes like the London Pass include free public transit usage and skip the queue tickets for attractions, saving you money.
Eat and Drink Affordably
Food is a major travel expense. Follow these tips for affordability while still enjoying Europe’s amazing food:
Cook Your Own Meals: Prepare your own meals in hostel kitchens or Airbnb rentals to save substantially over eating out. Shop local markets.
Lunch at Markets: Street markets and food halls offer quick and cheap meals on the go for under ₦1,000.
Drink Tap Water: Europe’s tap water is safe. Skip costly bottled water and just ask for tap water when dining out.
Drink Local House Brews: Opt for cheaper house wines, beers and ciders rather than pricy imported drinks at bars and pubs.
Have Picnics: Pack sandwiches and snacks to eat outdoors in parks and save on sit-down eatery costs.
Grab Happy Hour Deals: Go for appetizers and drinks during happy hours when prices are lowered.
Try Cheap Ethnic Eats: Seek out affordable Indian, Greek, Turkish, Nepalese restaurants popular with students.
Download Dining Apps: Apps like Eatigo and Groupon offer dining deals and discounts at various restaurants.
Avoid Tourist Traps: Dining right in major sights and squares means jacked up prices. Eat just off the main squares.
Choose Fixed Price Menus: Opt for great value fixed priced lunch and dinner menus popular at restaurants across Europe.
Sightseeing for Less
Taking in Europe’s iconic attractions doesn’t have to break the bank with these tips:
Visit Free Museums and Galleries: Many state-owned museums and galleries offer free entry days or hours. Time your visits right to avoid tickets.
See Free Landmarks: Walk around and take pictures at free outdoor landmarks like London’s Parliament Square, Charles Bridge in Prague or Place de la Concorde in Paris.
Take Free Walking Tours: Tip-based walking tours by local guides are informative and free upfront. Donate what you wish at the end.
Seek out Student Discounts: Flash your ISIC student card for discounted entry to attractions like the Louvre, Athens Acropolis and more.
Consider City Passes: Passes like the London Pass often pay for themselves quickly if you visit enough paid attractions. Crunch the numbers.
Visit Shoulder Season: Smaller crowds and lower prices in spring and fall mean more affordable sightseeing.
Watch Free Shows: Venues like St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna host free classical music concerts.
Skip the Queues: Booking advance tickets online helps you skip ticket lines to save time and money.
Additional Student Travel Discounts
Take advantage of student specific deals across categories:
Flights and Transportation – Use an International Student Identity Card (ISIC) to unlock student discounts of 10-30% on flights, trains, buses, and tourist attraction entry.
Shopping and Eating Out – Flash your ISIC to get 10-15% off at retailers like Adidas and local restaurants in many places.
Accommodation and Tours – Hostel chains, travel agencies and tour operators offer discounts on bookings for student travelers.
Museums and Cultural Sites – An ISIC card gets you discounted tickets to museums, galleries, theatres, cinemas and other attractions.
Mobile Plans and Wifi – Get cheap student monthly EU data plans starting under ₦5,000 to stay connected affordably.
Summary of Key Tips
Follow this checklist to keep your travels budget-friendly:
- Fly low-cost carriers and off-peak
- Book shared hostel dorms
- Cook your own meals often
- Walk and use public transit
- See free sights and shows
- Avoid excess shopping and partying
- Flash student discounts always
- Travel in off-season with fewer tourists
- Stick to smaller cities and towns
With savvy planning using the tips above, you can discover Europe’s iconic destinations and hidden gems on even the tightest student budget. Splurge on a few memorable cultural experiences, but be frugal on the rest for an affordable trip.
Just pack your student ID, adventurous spirit and some comfy shoes to embark on a Eurotrip you won’t forget.