Oct 162012

So, just how much do you think it costs to travel around Europe for one month?  I have been meaning to write a post like this for a while and, after a visitor named Luke asked me about this, I figured I’d write about it now.

The short answer is $1,000 – $3,000 and up (not including the flight over there and back).  Read on for what you need to consider to approximate your expenses.

First, I will talk about what you need to consider when traveling abroad; then, I will more directly answer Luke’s question.

When you want to know how much it costs to travel around Europe for a month, these are the big things that you need to think about:

  1. How will I get to Europe and back? Often this is a thousand dollar affair or more.
  2. How do I want to live/sleep over there – hotel, hostel, couchsurfing (will explain in another article or youtube video), friends place, the street, etcetera?
  3. Which cities do I want to visit?  London is a lot more expensive than Budapest.
  4. How many cities do I want to visit and how do I want to get from one to the other – car, plane, train, bus, hitch-hiking (will talk about in another post or youtube video)?
  5. Do I want to take paid tours or find the sites on my own?  Tours can be pricey, especially day-trip tours.
  6. Do I want to shop or not?  I’m a guy so the answer is always no.  So, you’re on your own when it comes to this ladies ;P.

For number one, figure at least $1,000.  My last round-trip ticket in 2012 was just under $1,000 and though I’ve heard of $500 fares, those never seem to fall on your vacation time.

For living/sleeping, this is going to be the biggest expense.  Say you can get hostels that average $30/night, this is $900 for the 30 days that you are there.  Some hostels are less and some are more.  The best way to figure out how much you will pay is to figure out the cities in which you want to stay, look up hostels you like and their prices, and add these up for each city.  For hotels, do the same.  Hotel prices will most likely average well over $100/night – closer to $150-$200 depending on the city.

The city that you want to visit determines how much you will spend on basically everything – the food during the day, drinks at night, living accommodations, tours, etc.  As mentioned above, London is A LOT more expensive than Budapest.  One tip is to visit one or two expensive cities, if you really want to go to Paris/London/etc. and then spend the rest of the time in nice but less expensive cities like Budapest/Prague/etc.

How many different cities you want to visit is a big deal.  Remember that you need to budget for traveling between the cities.  Also, sometimes a plane is less expensive than a train, and much faster.  So definitely check out both options and, if it’s a short distance, go for the bus.  As for good travel websites, just google them – “cheap flights in europe” etc. or look into Air Berlin, Ryan Air, Nikki, etc.  When booking trains, if you purchase the ticket the day you want to leave, the price is often double what you would have paid if you purchased the ticket only three or five days in advance.  So, planning here will save you a lot of money.

As far as tours are concerned, I actually really like them.  It is a nice and easy way to see cool and or important sites in a city, get the history behind each site, and meet other travelers.  I don’t think they are too ‘touristy’ and you shouldn’t either, because you are a tourist!  The downside to these is that they can be expensive, especially day trips.  I loved my day trip to Pompeii, but I think it was like $150 when I did it a year ago or so.  In place of tours, just buy a decent guidebook for each city or look up the best attractions online; this will also provide you with a nice experience.  Just make sure to figure out how much each city has to offer before you go there so you know how many days you want to spend there.  This will be a big help in planning your trip.

As for shopping, just don’t let the wife disappear with the credit card!  And, if it’s a girlfriend, she shouldn’t have your credit card anyway!!! 😛

Also, remember that you will be spending money throughout the day on random things such as food, water, alcohol, etc.  You need to factor this into your budget and the cost depends on the city.  I always assume I will spend $20 to $40 per day, which would include public transportation within the city, a lunch, and or maybe a dinner.


Now, Luke wants to travel to Paris and then all over Germany within a one month time-frame.  He wants to stay in hostels and travel by train.  Excluding the plane flight to Europe, I would realistically budget $3,500.  It could be $1,000 more or $1,000 less, but $3,500 is a good estimate.

If you make a budget for yourself, you will spend less money!  Plan out where you want to go and stay and add it up.  Then, buy all hostel and transportation tickets in advance and you will save a lot of money. Spontaneity is expensive.

Note that I save A LOT of money by staying with friends (that I made in college and high school) for some time each month.


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