If your dream is to explore the cobblestoned streets of Paris, stroll along the lush gardens of the Roman site of Ephesus, take selfies in red-and-white Gothic Revival architecture and drink a cappuccino by the old bridge in Venice—all without going broke—you’re not alone. Whether you’re backpacking through Europe or planning a luxury vacation, affordable ways to see all those famous sites and experience local culture are out there. But how can you make it happen? Read on for tips on how to travel Europe on a budget.

Plan Your Trip Carefully

Most of all, before you head off to Europe, make sure you’re financially prepared for all the expenses that will come with a trip like this. Calculate how much you’ll have to spend on everything from flights to travel insurance to food and lodging and see what kind of budget you’ll need. If you’re planning a backpacking trip or other trip on a budget, it’s best to start saving money well in advance. That way, you’ll have enough cash to pay for all the expenses that come with a trip like this.

Stay in Hostels and Guesthouses

If you’re backpacking through Europe, you’re probably used to staying in hostels. But even if you’re not, it’s worth the extra cost to stay in a guesthouse. These are often much nicer than hostels, while still being affordable. Plus, in a guesthouse, you’ll get a much better feel for the European way of life than you would at a hostel. Most European capitals have a wide variety of guesthouses from which you can choose. Most also offer special deals on weekends. If you plan to travel to Europe during the off-season, you can sometimes find really good deals on guesthouses.

Book Your Tours in Advance

If you’re visiting Europe during peak season, booking your tours well in advance may be necessary to get a lower price. If you wait until you arrive at the tourist site, you may be forced to wait in long lines and pay full price. Alternatively, you could look into guided tours offered by local groups or organizations. There are often small groups or special tours just for students, so you may be able to get a cheaper rate.

Take Public Transportation

One of the best ways to save money while traveling Europe is to use public transportation. Sure, a taxi ride or Uber is easy on your wallet, but if you want to experience Europe in a way that feels more authentic, use public transportation. And you don’t have to worry about not finding it. Cities and towns across the continent have public transportation systems that are easy to use, affordable and convenient.

Eat at Local Cafes and Markets

Although many people think that eating at cafes or restaurants is what makes traveling expensive, that’s not necessarily true. You can save a lot of money by eating at cafes and markets. The food at cafes is often much cheaper than at restaurants, and you can get a great meal for much less. If you do choose to eat at a restaurant, order one of the cheaper items on the menu. Avoid ordering drinks, appetizers and desserts, which are usually the most expensive parts of a meal.

Final Words: Save Money While Traveling Europe

You never know which city or country will be your favorite on your trip, so save as much money as possible by following these tips. And remember, it’s not a waste of money to travel; it’s an investment in your future. You’ll gain lifelong memories, cultural knowledge and self-confidence that will help you in all aspects of your life.