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How to Find Accommodations in Europe on a Budget

by Susan Finch

Nov 8, 2017

© Nataliaderiabina | Dreamstime


Taking the kids to Europe doesn’t have to break the bank when you leverage frequent-flyer miles, credit card reward points and some ingenuity. But you can also score European accommodations on a budget that are actually more fun and engaging for the kids than a typical hotel room. Plus, you’re more likely to get some sleep without the kids bouncing off the walls and your bed. Here’s five ways to get started.


Upscale family glamping

Photo: Ian Allenden | Dreamstime


Upscale Campgrounds

Camping in the United States may not sound like an upscale option for families with kids, but there are more than 10,000 campgrounds in Europe that often include restaurants, mini waterparks, cabins, mobile home options and entertainment for the kids. You can find these ACSI campgrounds outside of most urban cities in Europe, as well as in rural areas. The best part is you can go ultra luxury and rent out a cabin or fully stocked mobile home, or stick to a frugal plan and just pitch a tent. A family of four can enjoy a European campground for roughly $60 a night.



Housesitting with kids is not only possible in Europe, but a completely free lodging option for families of all sizes. However, you may have to pay a small fee to join an organization that helps connect housesitters with owners like Trusted Housesitters. It’s true not every accommodation will be open to kids staying in their homes, but many are completely open and encouraging to the situation. For example, a large home with a hobby farm including chickens may specifically ask for a family to help the home look full of life and the animals cared for while they’re away.


Family-Friendly Hostels

Hostels often have a reputation for targeting teenagers and college graduates, but you can find plenty of family-friendly hostels with private bedrooms and amenities like kids programs and free tours. Look for hostels that come with fully equipped communal kitchens. You may be able to pay a small fee for a potluck with new friends, or use the kitchen to store perishables and cook for your family.

family in Airbnb

Photo: Rawpixelimages | Dreamstime

Off-Season Airbnb

You’re probably already aware traveling to Europe during the off-season yields savings. But when you combine it with an Airbnb rental, it can really pay off in big savings. Look for Airbnb homes, apartments and family-friendly accommodations on the outskirts of a major European city with access to the transportation you need like a bus. And when you book your lodging off-season, you’re likely to slash your price tag by up to 50 percent or more.



Even die-hard Costo fans may not realize you can score vacation packages and hotels through Costco Travel. Its travel business model is similar to its store. Costco relies on large volumes of people to purchase its products in large quantities in order to pass on the savings. When a large audience is ready and willing to book vacation deals, Costco can also extend better deals to travelers. And their options are impressive. In addition to hotels and a specialty on theme parks, the packages and hotels include gathering up the kids to head to Rome, Paris and Barcelona including daily breakfast.


But there’s another benefit to booking budget-friendly accommodations in Europe. You end up on a totally different type of adventure than most of the mainstream with stories and experiences that form lasting memories. And at the end of the day, that’s what a family vacation should really be about.


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