How Much We Spent Traveling in Europe for Two Months
When Andy and I set off on our Beyond Vacation kick-off trip, I decided to keep track of every penny we spent. There were two reasons for this. We’ve never really tracked our travel spending, and I wanted to know how much it costs for us to travel for more than a week or two. And I wanted to be able to share with you how much it costs to travel to the places we visited in Europe. I will have posts later that break down our spending by location. So how much does it cost to travel Europe? Here’s an overview of how much we spent traveling in Europe for two months.
How much does a trip to Europe cost
The following amounts are for two people. All numbers are listed first in euros, second in US dollars.
2,959.40€ / $3,924.47 – accommodation
1,335.60€ / $1,771.31 – trains
295.60€ / $391.81 – other transportation
2,056.78€ / $2,726.21 – food and alcohol
205.80€ / $272.80 – activities
130.04€ / $172.40 – miscellaneous
6,983.22€ / $9,259 – total
As you can see, Western Europe is not cheap. We traveled through Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and Italy, plus side trips to the tiny countries of San Marino and the Vatican. Andy and I are not bare-bones budget travelers, but we aren’t luxury travelers either, so this should give you a decent middle of the road view on costs. You can spend less backpacking in Europe by traveling a little differently and choosing less expensive destinations.
Accommodation costs in Europe – 2,959.40€
We spent 52 nights away from our home. Most of this was in apartment rentals, but there were a few nights in hostels and hotels, plus one night spent on an overnight train. 2,959.40€ divided by 52 nights comes out to an average of 56.91€ per night.
We didn’t pay for 15 nights of lodging. The night on the train was technically free accommodation since the ticket price is entirely included in the train category. We also got complimentary accommodations in the following places: 2 nights in Rotterdam for the post-conference press trip; 2 nights in a hostel in Nice and 3 nights in a hostel in Naples, both sponsored by Hostelworld; 7 nights in Bologna as part of BlogVille, sponsored by Emilia-Romagna Tourism. If we had paid for those ourselves, I estimate we would’ve spent another 1,100€ for 14 nights.
So 2,959.40€ divided by the 37 nights we did pay for averages out to 79.98€ per night, roughly 40€ per person per night. I think this is pretty good considering how expensive hotels can be in Europe. Renting apartments as often as possible definitely helped keep our costs down, not only in this category but also in the food category.
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Train costs in Europe – 1,335.60€
This was a plane-free trip, so our major form of transportation was by train. The train system in Europe is generally really good, and I’m starting to like train travel more and more.
We looked at getting InterRail passes (like Eurail passes, but InterRail is for European residents) but after some research decided it wasn’t worth it in our situation. Since we had all of our dates set ahead of time, it was cheaper to book the train tickets ahead of time in most places. Train passes would’ve worked if we were booking at the last minute. There were a few trains we bought tickets for at the last minute (in the Netherlands and Belgium, and short distances in Italy) because the prices were almost the same and we wanted to leave ourselves some flexibility.
Other transportation costs in Europe – 295.60€
This is almost entirely public transportation, such as buses, metros, and trams. We used public transportation a lot since we were mostly in big cities and the distances were too far to walk. Almost each city we were in offers some kind of day or multi-day pass for their transportation system, but not all of them were as economical. There is one ride in a taxi and a round trip boat ticket in here as well.
Rotterdam Tourism covered the cost of our local transportation for the 2 day press trip including this crazy tuk tuk and a water taxi. Emilia-Romagna Tourism covered the cost of the van that took our whole group on a weekend excursion, but we paid for our transportation for things like getting to Gelato University and to Modena for the vinegar tasting.
>>See how much my Paris trip cost.
Food and alcohol costs in Europe – 2,056.78€
We did our fair share of eating (and drinking) out, but we purposely rented apartments so we could eat breakfast in and make our own meals occasionally. We almost never bought breakfast out, we went grocery shopping when we stayed in apartments, and didn’t eat at fancy restaurants. We certainly could’ve eaten in even more often, but we also wanted to make sure we were trying the local food.
We had a few lunches covered at the travel blogging conference, all meals on the post-conference trip were covered, and a few meals were covered during BlogVille. Overall we paid for almost everything we ate or drank, and I’m estimating about 3 days worth of meals we didn’t have to pay for.
2,056.78€ divided by 50 days averages out to 41.14€ per day, so just over 20€ per person per day. Not bad considering how often we ate out, drank out, and indulged in gelato. (Check out Andy’s post about the best sandwich ever.)
Europe activities costs – 205.80€
This number includes visits to Vianden Castle and Castle Gravensteen, the Anne Frank Museum, the tulip farm, the Cantillon brewery, Mini Europe, renting beach umbrellas, and a few other things like that. It is a bit low though because we had quite a few activities covered by the tourism boards we were working with. The things we did in Bologna while we were participating in BlogVille were covered, like our San Marino guide, my pasta cooking class and Gelato University. We also had complimentary tours of Pompeii, the Vatican, the Colosseum and Roman Forum, and a food tour from Walks of Italy. These are all activities we would have paid for on our own if we weren’t able to get them sponsored, and I estimate the cost to be around 700€.
Miscellaneous costs on our Europe trip – 130.04€
The majority of this category won’t apply to most people, but there will always be some other expenses along the way when you travel in Europe, especially if you buy souvenirs. I only had one pair of jeans with me, and they were an older pair, so just a week into the trip they had holes in them and had to be replaced for 39.90€ in Amsterdam. I also bought some earrings the same day.
Because we were traveling in Europe for 2 months, I had to buy contact solution about halfway through the trip. We put our luggage in a locker at the train station in Paris during our train layover so we could find dinner. I bought some postcards, as well as 3 souvenir thimbles for my mom. We also had to spend a whopping 20 cents each to use a bathroom, which I only bothered to include here because I thought it was funny.
We each used our cell phones a little bit while we were traveling, and the extra charges we incurred for using our phones outside of Germany came out to a total of 16.04€. We also had to pay to do laundry 3 times when we didn’t have free access to a washer, and that cost came to 20.60€ total.
Planning a trip to Europe? Click here to check out my itineraries!
Europe trip budget per day
Andy and I spent about 131.76€ or $174.70 per day in Europe. Since we had a lot of activities and accommodation comped, these number should be higher. If I factor in the estimated costs of the things we didn’t pay for, the budget per day comes out to about 169.49€ or $224.73 for two people.
So that’s how much we spent traveling in Europe for two months! Everyone’s Europe trip budget will be different, but this will give you a good starting point for how much money you need to travel Europe. If you prefer more luxurious hotels or budget hostel dorms, you’ll need to make adjustments when planning your trip budget and saving for your own trip. In the coming weeks I will break these down by city and country so you can get a better idea of what it would cost to spend a week or two in some of these areas for vacation.
You might also enjoy:
- How Much We Spent Traveling in the Netherlands
- How Much We Spent Traveling in Belgium
- How Much We Spent Traveling in Rome
- Unconventional Guidebook series with insider tips from locals, by Gigi Griffis
- Or check out more real travel budgets
August 15, 2013 @ 9:44 AM
This is very, very helpful, Ali! We haven’t been to Europe in ages, and couldn’t quite get a handle on what a mid-range trip might cost. We’re hoping to get to France for 3 weeks, sometime in the next year or two. Love the apartment rental ideal. Hope you two had an overall splendid time even though sometimes travel sucks. 🙂
August 15, 2013 @ 4:56 PM
Thanks Laila! Renting apartments does help, and it’s nice to have a little more space than a hotel room gives you. Let me know if I can help you with your planning at all!
January 23, 2017 @ 10:40 AM
You’re so kind! I’m just seeing this now, 3.5 years after the fact. I hope you’re well. I enjoyed reading your Kosovo posts. 🙂
August 15, 2013 @ 12:39 PM
No, Europe definitely isn’t cheap. Especially trains. We look at the cost of trains and 9 times out of 10, it is cheaper for us to drive or fly. And driving allows a ton of freedom.
That’s not horrible for nearly 2 months of travel, but still quite a bit.
August 15, 2013 @ 5:00 PM
Since you guys have a car, it definitely makes sense to drive most times. We don’t have a car, or valid driver’s licenses, so that’s not an option for us. And for the typical tourist coming to Europe from the US or somewhere, renting a car and having to pay for the gas and potential tolls, parking, and everything else normally isn’t worth it. By far our most expensive train tickets were going home, Rome to Freiburg, because we booked last minute. And the overnight train in France was expensive because it was an overnight and requires reservations. The rest were well under 100 euros per person, we just had a LOT of trains!
August 15, 2013 @ 1:38 PM
Thanks Ali. This helps a lot for those of us wondering if Europe is in budget. Always good to have up-to-date info.
August 15, 2013 @ 5:01 PM
Thanks Gillian, glad to help! You can definitely do things cheaper if you’re more conscious of what you spend, but Europe is not the cheapest destination out there.
August 15, 2013 @ 7:35 PM
My daughter and I were in Europe for just over 3 weeks in 2012. Our accommodation budget was 75E per night for two. We ended up pretty close to that. We stayed one night in a hostel and one night on a train (part of the train cost is included in the lodging cost). We did not use apartments, but mostly stayed in small hotels or b&bs. We were in Paris, Amsterdam, Cologne, along the Rhine, Munich, Salzburg, Venice, Bruges and Switzerland. Some places are more expensive than others (Venice 130E) but if you average them out, this budget is do-able. in 2009, we traveled with 6 people and our average was between 30 and 33E per person per night. That time we used some triples and quads which keeps the budget down also.
August 16, 2013 @ 2:29 PM
Sounds like a great trip Phyllis! The smaller hotels and B&Bs are great too, usually cheaper than normal hotels, and usually run by friendly local people. The triples and quads make a lot of sense too when you have a group like that. Andy and I have looked into hostel dorms if we just need a night or two, but for just two of us it’s usually the same to just get our own room. There definitely are ways of traveling inexpensively in Europe, you just have to make it a priority and put a little effort into finding the cheaper places and other ways to keep your costs down.
August 15, 2013 @ 8:53 PM
This is a really good article that outlines the real costs of traveling. Even better you put it into US Dollars as well so international people like me can see the effect of the Euro in real terms.
I’m curious to know which site you used to the find the apartment rentals that you were talking about. I’m interested in renting apartment as part of my future trip to New Zealand but I don’t want it to be a homestay situation where I am living with somebody else. I would much rather pay the money and get the apartment on my own and deal with a complex manager instead. Are there any websites that you can go to that do this on a global basis?
August 16, 2013 @ 2:33 PM
Thanks Matthew, glad to help! The apartments we rented weren’t dealing with complex managers. We Airbnb.com for most of them, and also 9Flats.com for one of them. We’ve also used HouseTrip.com in the past and like that site as well. I’ll write more about apartments soon too, so that will have more details. When you rent through those sites, you usually deal with the owner of the apartment because individuals like you and me list their apartments on there. We have rented a few that are actually run by a company, so you would meet some employee, but it’s really not that different. Those sites are worldwide, and there are plenty of others too, some have more listings in one part of the world, some in others. Airbnb.com is probably the biggest, so I’d start there.
August 15, 2013 @ 9:28 PM
Very helpful and a little intimidating! We travel pretty bare bones, but I don’t know if I have the guts to tally it all it up to the last cent. Can’t wait to hear more about your fabulous travels.
August 16, 2013 @ 2:36 PM
It was a little rough to look at that big number at the end, but I have to remind myself that was 53 days of traveling, so it was never going to be low. If you go a little more bare bones you can definitely do this for less, but you have to decide which experiences and comforts are worth paying for.
August 15, 2013 @ 10:21 PM
I think this is super helpful since most popular travel blogs are written for backpackers traveling on a tight budget. I like how this is somewhere in the middle and a bit more realistic for most people!
Those food pictures made me hungry. Time for lunch!
Happy travels 🙂
August 16, 2013 @ 2:39 PM
Thanks Lauren, I’m glad you found it helpful! I don’t think I could ever be a bare bones budget traveler. We like to have little comforts here and there, we like to drink, and we feel strongly that some experiences are just worth paying for.
Sorry for making you hungry!
August 16, 2013 @ 1:53 AM
It is really not cheap travelling in Europe, now I know. At least being comfortable, having good food and enjoying most of the places to visit can be rewarding. Thanks for the information.
August 16, 2013 @ 2:39 PM
Thanks Jane, glad to help! Europe’s not cheap, but with a little effort it can definitely be affordable and enjoyable.
August 16, 2013 @ 9:45 PM
Fascinating to read this. We take our UK car over to Europe for about 5 weeks for a summer holiday every couple of years. We have found the costs of motoring have increased significantly in that time but because we have access to the car anyway it is still cheaper (and more flexible) than paying for 4 train tickets.
We tend to rent a few apartments in various locations that we know we want to visit as is usually cheaper than a hotel. For journeys in-between our booked apartments or if we just take a fancy to going somewhere we just ask at hotels in the area until we find one with a vacancy. If you wait until the evening they will usually be open to bargaining on the price, we usually figure on getting at least a 15% discount but usually a lot more. Better a full room than an empty one.
It can be a bit nervewracking. I remember one summer we realised we were only 4 hours drive from Budapest so we decided to go. We turned up and there was a convention in town, it took us 3 hours but we found a room and still got the discount.
August 18, 2013 @ 11:22 AM
For 4 people, I can totally understand that driving would be cheaper than having to buy 4 train tickets for each leg of your trip. We don’t own a car (or have valid driver’s licenses!) so driving just isn’t an option for us. Most of our train tickets were relatively inexpensive, but we had a night train in there which requires reservations and ends up being a bit expensive, and then we didn’t book our ticket home until 2 days ahead of time, so it was rather expensive too.
That’s great that you’re able to negotiate lower rates for hotel rooms sometimes! We booked almost every night ahead of time on this trip because we had specific things to do in most places and didn’t have as much flexibility, but I definitely want to take a more flexible trip in the future and just figure things out as we go.
Mary @ Green Global Travel
August 17, 2013 @ 4:28 AM
This is such a fantastic breakdown! I really appreciate it when long term travellers take the time to share their cost of travel so that others who may be inspired to consider pursuing their own travel dreams can get a feel for what everything costs. In your case, you have made of point of listing more realistic expenses in regard to non-backpacker travel costs – as well as pointing out and detailing options in regard to sponsored travel! Thank you!
August 18, 2013 @ 11:25 AM
Thanks Mary! We’re not budget travelers by any means, though we do try to keep our costs down. But you’re right, I do hope this is a more realistic look for people who travel in the middle somewhere, not all out luxurious and not penny-pinching budget. I also felt it was important to point out the estimated cost of the things we got for free so others planning their trips have a complete view. I’m glad you found this helpful!
August 17, 2013 @ 11:01 AM
It is a bit scary to see it all out like that. But as you say we knew it was going to be high given Europe and that many nights. We could have cooked in more and drank less, but we also could have done a lot more activities. We essentially didn’t move for a week in Minori and we could have done some boat trips which would have been expensive.
It will be a bit of a balance in the future between staying close enough to the things we want to do to reduce public transport cost and the extra cost of being in that place.
Wonderful post, my love.
August 18, 2013 @ 11:26 AM
Yeah, that total number does still seem so high, but we have to remember how long we traveled. And we had some really great experiences and hopefully have learned for next time. Thanks Andy!
September 5, 2013 @ 11:09 AM
I agree, it’s interesting to see it all spread out like that. I’ve been looking at my own travel costs- in the past year or so, I’ve spent many thousands of dollars myself on hotels, rail, food, and so forth. The hotels are the biggest expense by far. My expense tracking app says that so far in 2013, I’ve used 30 hotels at a total cost of $7,015.96.
I think I’ll do a “Cost Of Travel” post myself sometime soon; this is a particularly interesting topic to me.
September 5, 2013 @ 11:16 AM
It’s often helpful to people to see what the cost of traveling is, so that’s why I like doing spending posts. I’d rather spend that money on travel than just about anything!
August 18, 2013 @ 2:59 PM
Ali, Great resource, love the transparency you bring to your accounting post – pay toilette and all *laugh*
August 19, 2013 @ 12:25 PM
Thanks Maria! I really want to make sure people have a realistic view of the costs of traveling in Europe. Glad I made you laugh!
August 19, 2013 @ 3:49 AM
Ali! This is so helpful!!! Brian and I are headed to Europe soon (I’m hiking the Camino, I think we’ll do a bit of Europe afterwards) and I’m worried about budget. So this is so good to know. Thank you!
August 19, 2013 @ 12:29 PM
Thanks Kim! Europe is expensive, but there are definitely ways of cutting costs. If you eat out and cook more than we did, you can cut your food spending (especially since you’re vegetarian) and there are probably a few other things you could cut back on to spend less. Even traveling slower and not going to as many places. We definitely went to fast, and that adds more train tickets and things like that. Let me know if you have any questions!
Steph (@ 20 Years Hence)
August 28, 2013 @ 3:49 AM
Aieeeee! After a year in Asia, these numbers are freaking me out! We’re planning to head to Europe soonish, but we are going to have such sticker shock. I balk whenever we are asked to pay more than $20US for a room, so I have no idea what we’re going to do once we hit Europe (CouchSurf, I guess!)… I think we’ll really have to embrace slow travel while we are there, since transport costs will really add up and maybe getting some longer-term rentals can help defray costs. Clearly it’s time to start looking into how we can beef up our travel fund, pronto!
August 28, 2013 @ 10:52 AM
You CAN do it cheaper, but yes Europe is definitely more expensive than SE Asia. Apartments help because, even if they’re the same cost as a hotel or private room in a hostel, you have a kitchen and you can cook some or all of your meals to save money that way. The trains can get expensive, but compare them with flights and the occasional bus to see which is actually the cheapest. Most of our train tickets were pretty cheap, but the overnight train was expensive because it’s an overnight train and requires a reservation, and our tickets back home were expensive because we booked last minute. I’ve never tried CouchSurfing, but it might be a good option. There are also options to just rent someone’s extra room through Airbnb and those sites, and that would be cheaper.
Let me know if you end up coming through Freiburg! If we’re around, I’d love to meet you!
September 5, 2013 @ 2:14 PM
Thanks for sharing with us Ali, Western Europe is certainly expensive. I like reading how much other people spend as I like to compare, but also think its useful for travel planning. I’d like to visit Eastern Europe, I hope thats cheaper!
September 6, 2013 @ 2:20 PM
Glad to help, Jennifer! Eastern Europe should be cheaper. The farthest east I’ve been is Czech Republic and Croatia, both of which are popular enough tourist destinations that they’re closer to Western European prices. But there are still lots of inexpensive countries to explore!
The Cost Of Travel, Part II: My Year By The Numbers | Doin' Time On The Donau
September 19, 2013 @ 6:02 AM
[…] over at Ali Adventures recently posted about what it cost for her and Andy to travel through Europe for two months, and also what it cost just for their trip to the Netherlands. This sort of number crunching is […]
September 26, 2013 @ 1:06 AM
I guess that explains why we struggled so badly when we were there last year!
September 26, 2013 @ 11:33 AM
🙁 So sorry! I wish it was cheaper here!
April 16, 2017 @ 6:11 PM
which places did you travel exactly can you write them please and in which months did you have the travel
which transportation you preferred by air or by land most of the time
April 19, 2017 @ 9:52 AM
That is all detailed in the post, including the countries we traveled to and that we traveled by train. No planes on this trip.