You’re dreaming of it, basking in the Tuscan sun, gorging on Spanish paella, and exploring the conflicts of WWII in Germany. Europe has an incredible history, excellent cuisines, and vibrant cultures that most of us only dream of exploring. There’s a nasty little rumor floating around that says Europe is expensive and exploring the dreamy continent costs some serious cash. As someone who has lived in Europe for three and a half years, I’m here to bust that rumor and tell you that it couldn’t be further from the truth. Ready to see the Greek ruins up close and personal? Or how about fall in love with Porto, the city that inspired J.K.Rowling to write Harry Potter? Then stay tuned because I’ll be sharing three ways to travel to Europe for cheap. Before we begin, I want to preface this by saying if you’re traveling as a family or paying for more than one person, it will be more expensive, as with any trip, but it’s not impossible.

Plan Ahead and Start Early

Taking a trip across the pond can cost you an arm and a leg…if you let it. However, a cross-country vacation can do the same. But if you plan early, you can save a lot of money. Airfare and accommodation are the most significant money suckers when it comes to travel, so start looking into these months in advance. When booking your flight, there are plenty of budget airlines like Level and Norwegian Air that have cheap flights from the United States to Europe. Keep in mind that budget airlines are precisely what they are: Cheap. You get exactly what you pay for. You’re not going to be flying n luxury, and with cheaper airlines, the legroom is limited, and you may have to pay for meals, snacks, blankets, etc. But don’t discount the more popular commercial airlines either, if you look early enough, you could get a perfect deal. Sometimes it isn’t cost-effective to book a round-trip ticket, especially if you have plans to travel around the continent. Check out different combinations including one-way tickets and entertain the idea of flying into one country and out of another or planning your arrival and departure from the country adjacent to the one you want to visit if it’s cheaper.

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Currency Strategy

Staying up to date with the economy, researching the cost of living, and taking advantage of the currency exchange rate can help you save a ton when traveling to Europe. Currently, the exchange of Euros to US dollars is favorable for Americans, so take advantage of it. Countries like Spain, Portugal, Greece, and Italy, all have a low cost of living in comparison to the United States and will take your dollars even further. Some of these countries also have daily lunch or dinner menus that allow you to eat an appetizer, entree, dessert, or coffee for as little as €12 (≈$14).

Travel Around Europe

For those that have been bitten harder by the travel bug, now’s your chance to knock off a few places on your European bucket list. Visiting other cities within Europe, while you’re there, is a cheaper way to see more places. With the help of budget airlines, high-speed trains, and busses, traveling around Europe has never been easier. Depending on your plans and budget, you could even take a day trip to a different city and spend the day exploring. Most places aren’t more than a couple of hours away and depending on your mode of transportation, can be very cheap.

Hopefully, now you can see that there are plenty of ways to travel to and around Europe for cheap. Add it back to your summer plans and mix up your transportation to your travel style and needs to find what works best for you.