10 Hints for Saving Money
as a Tourist in Austria - Part II

5.) Break through the "ATH" ("average tourist′s horizon") - meaning, try actively to get in touch with local people to ask them for advice. This is essentially the very idea behind this website. Visitors of Austria are often looking for clichés only and the official tourist information services encourage them in doing so. Not me. Financially good deals and personally rewarding encounters with locals are possible - but you have to try it yourself.

For example, if you sit in a café, grab some random Austrian and tell him or her about your travel plans. Maybe he or she will have some special piece of advice for you that will spice the whole thing up a bit. In the tourist information centres, tell the people straight away that you want to experience the "real" Austria - for fair rates.

6.) Transportation: Another big one in the travel budget. Hitchhiking is the cheapest mean to get around, but - as anywhere in the World - only reasonably safe. If you prefer commercial and official means of transport, it is worth looking into special offers of the "ÖBB" (Austrian Federal Railroads).

For example, if you are under 26, you are eligible for a young person′s card that costs about 20 Euros and cuts all fares by something around 50 percent. On the weekends, there are often special deals available for certain parts of the rail network - check on the ÖBB website. Transportation from and to Airports can be easily done using public means of transport - at all international airports of Austria, although they might cost as much as private services. Check at the airport upon arrival, if in doubt.

7.) Combination-cards: Since the majority of Austria-visitors pay significant shares of their attention to Vienna and Salzburg, you should consider to buy combination tickets for the major attractions. The local tourist information centres will inform you about such tickets, which usually come as plastic cards and cover a certain number of museums, historic buildings and alike.

8.) Free entertainment: In most touristy areas of Austria, you will encounter hustlers in Baroque robes that try to sell concert tickets. These concerts usually don′t meet particularly high quality standards and focus on the usual suspects - Mozart, Beethoven, Mozart and then of course Mozart. However, you can also take advantage of the many free concerts that are offered in Vienna and other places on a daily basis.

Students of music performance often give concerts free of charge, and a standing ticket at the National Opera costs as little as 3,50 Euros. Most theatres sell left-over tickets 30 minutes before the beginning to students at very reasonable fares. There is no need at all to spend a lot of money on tacky concerts if there are good ones for free. To find out about them, check a daily paper or specifically ask the tourist information centre about non-touristy concerts.

9.) A very general piece of advice: Avoid the crowds! Nothing pushes prices as much as thousands of tourists keen on spending money. In Austria, the second-best attraction of a certain kind is often a lot less touristy and still worth a visit. Especially during the main season, this can pay off. For example, the most popular show mines are Hallein, Hallstatt and Schwaz - but there are others in Leoben, Oberzeiring and other places that offer very similar tours.

10.) Food and drink for the really cheap ones: The cheapest meals you can probably get in Austria is offered by the "Mensa" (not the IQ-130-plus-people), the university canteens. Since they were privatised several years ago, they are operated on sort of a franchising basis. They sell nourishing delights such as compost, starch and more compost - but for very little money.

The cheapest beer that I know is sold in cans by Hofer supermarkets. It is significantly cheaper than bottled water and insignificantly tastier. Note that it is perfectly legal to drink in almost all public places in Austria. Unlike in the US, bringing your own beer to a park or so is fine.

Return to "Hints on Saving Money - Part I"

Back to "background"

Further Reading

Money, Currency & Finance in Austria

Currency Conversion Tool

Finding a Cheap Hotel in Austria