Surrey student travels Europe by day trips and they cost less than a train to London

Ellie Whiten, 22, in Belfast. -Credit:SWNS
Ellie Whiten, 22, in Belfast. -Credit:SWNS

A savvy Surrey student is travelling round Europe for next to nothing - going on day trips cheaper than a train ticket from Bristol to London.

Ellie Whiten, 22, has been on nine foreign day trips for consecutive months since October 2023, and says she has experienced a cheap “taster course of Europe.” She has visited Italy, Edinburgh, Belfast, Switzerland, Venice, Italy and the Netherlands all for a day - and less than £100 each.

The University of Surrey student says going to a city for a day means you can decide if it's worth splashing the cash for a longer trip. She recommends bringing a pack lunch and opting for an all inclusive activity, like a red bus tour.

She has been to Edinburgh twice for £40, Pisa, Italy for £50, Geneva, Switzerland for £60, Belfast for £45, Venice for £45, Rome for £45, and now Amsterdam for £70.

Ellie and her mum Coral with the tulips in Amsterdam on their trip in February 2024. -Credit:SWNS
Ellie and her mum Coral with the tulips in Amsterdam on their trip in February 2024. -Credit:SWNS

The student from Sussex, England, flew to Amsterdam on April 9th for 14 hours in an epic day trip to photograph tulip fields which only bloom for eight weeks a year.

She planned the trip after her mum, Coral, 54, saw pictures of the Danish tulips and was desperate to see them in real life. She said: “We’d seen a load of photos of the tulips, and it looked beautiful.

''We go on lots of walks, and we thought let’s go on a more spectacular walk than usual. We booked the flights in February it was £38 to go from Gatwick to Amsterdam and £45 for the way back.

“We got a ticket to Keukenhof which was £31 and included transport there and back from the airport. We got off the plane and found the bus outside it took 20 mins to get there and we literally had the whole day.

“Buses came every 15 minutes, and we could get on whatever one. We landed at 8:30am got there at about 9:45 and left about 4:30."

She managed to keep costs low as her main food for the day was a £4.99 meal deal that she took with her after buying it from Boots at the airport. We had cups of tea during the walk, but we all bought a meal deal at Gatwick, that was our main lunch.”

Ellie says a day trip is plenty of time to visit a specific destination. She said: “It’s sort of like a holiday but sort of isn’t - it’s a long day. I found that we’ve set realistic expectations, and never run out of time. It doesn’t sound like a lot but if you’re getting a 6am and 9pm flight it’s a lot of time.”

Ellie's day trips mean that she’s got to experience the "best of Europe" - without splashing thousands. She said: “I find having to plan a holiday such a bore. To go somewhere for a day you get to almost try it out and if you don’t like it, it’s a day and if you do, you can go back.

“It’s cheaper than going for three days and not enjoying yourself. Everyone goes on holiday for different reasons but I’m not a lie-on-the-beach person.

‘In a day, you get to see the main sights and attractions of a holiday. Except in Rome, I’d love to go back there because I feel theres so much more to see.”

Ellie's day trips:

  • June 2023 - Pisa, Italy, £50

  • July 2023 - Edinburgh, Scotland, £40

  • August 2023 – Belfast, Northern Ireland, £45

  • September 2023 – Geneva, Switzerland, £60

  • October 2023 – Venice, Italy, £45

  • November 2023 – Rome, Italy, £45

  • December 2023 – Edinburgh, Scotland, £40

  • April 2024 – Amsterdam, Netherland, £70

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