How Much Does it Cost to Travel? 3 Months Traveling Europe on a Budget

We know that financial considerations are probably the biggest factor you grapple with when planning a trip. Hard numbers can be difficult to come by, especially when everyone has their own unique travel style and considerations.

The goal of this series is to provide you with real budgets people have used for trips they have actually taken. This could be anything from a long weekend in Miami to 6 months backpacking around South East Asia. It’s our hope that by shining a spotlight on what people are actually spending- and the value they get for it, you will have a better idea of what it really costs to travel.

All of the travel budgets will live on this dedicated page.

If you’re interested in contributing to this series please send me an email using the contact form on the site.

Today’s budget comes from Katie who blogs at The Traveling Spud.

Where did you go?

3 Months of Traveling Europe on A Budget - How Much Did It Cost?

I was traveling Europe on a budget for 3 months! I quit my job to travel for a year and started the first part of my trip in Europe.

Briefly, what was your itinerary?

I explored some countries thoroughly and city hopped a bit as well. My route was: Iceland, Germany 2x, Austria, Slovakia 2x, Slovenia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Greece, UK, Ireland, Istanbul.

Iceland, Germany, Austria, London and Dublin were by far the most expensive places I went and Greece was the cheapest!

How much money did you spend overall (include plane tickets, meals, activities, accommodation, souvenirs, etc.)?

I spent $5,500 for the whole trip while traveling Europe on a budget.

How much did you spend on transportation?

I spent about $500 total on flights. I’m a big fan of using cheap flight sites like Skyscanner to book last minute deals. I also had the flexibility to book on days when other people may not be traveling. I would type in “Everywhere” as my location and see where I could fly for the cheapest.  This was one of the keys to traveling Europe on a budget for me.

To start my trip, I took off from San Francisco (SFO) to Reykjavik, Iceland for $200 one-way!

I then spent about $400 on other forms of transportation like buses, cross-country trains, and local buses and trains.

What kind of accommodation did you stay in (hotels, hostels, apartments, couchsurfing etc).

Seeing Slovenia - Traveling Europe on a Budget

My main mode of accommodation was hostels. I also did a few Airbnb’s when I needed to be alone or felt a bit anti-social! I spent anywhere from $8 a night to $50, but most were in the $15-$20 a night range. I also met a few friends along the way who let me crash at their apartments in some of the countries.

What sort of activities did you do?

The Baths in Budapest - Traveling Europe on a Budget

I LOVE free walking tours and I try to do one in every city I go to so I can get a lay of the land. Plus, they are usually just run on tip base so it was a great way to save money while traveling Europe on a budget.  I also went to museums, churches, markets, parks and walked around to see a lot of monuments. I didn’t do too many “paid” activities unless it was something that really interested me like a fun day trip or cool museum.

What did you splurge on while traveling Europe on a budget? Was it worth it?

I splurged on a few fancy meals in London. One night I went to the top of The Shard in London with my friend and had dinner and a few dirty martinis. I spent about as much as it would cost me for 4 nights in a hostel, but it was SOOOO worth it!

What did you scrimp on? Are you happy with that decision?

I scrimped on food a lot which was hard because I love FOOD! In Europe, I would try and taste the foods I really wanted to try when I first got to the country and then would attempt to cook at my hostel or Airbnb whenever I could.

Public transportation was key to me traveling Europe on a budget. I took it as much as possible and this saved me a lot. I’m happy with the decision because it saved me money to continue to travel longer!

Did you purchase any special souvenirs?

My Photographs are my Souvenirs - Traveling Europe on a Budget

I didn’t actually buy a single souvenir for those 3 months! This was mainly because I didn’t have room in my suitcase and I just told myself that my photos would be my souvenirs. Plus, I could save money this way. I’m much more psyched about experiences than owning a bunch of knick-knacks anyway. Although if you take me back to Istanbul with an empty suitcase, I will buy the entire Grand Bazaar!

Did you do anything special to save up for this trip?

Yes, I saved up for about a year. I basically looked at what I was spending money on that I could cut out. I cut out getting my nails done, buying coffees, eating out as much and stopped partying as much or just bought cheaper drinks. Another thing that helped a lot was setting up automatic savings in my bank account. At one point I started taking out $200 each paycheck to send to my travel fund and most of the time I didn’t even notice it was gone! This helped A LOT!

Do you have any regrets regarding how you budgeted this trip? Would you do things differently next time?

Traveling Europe on a Budget

I’m pretty proud of how I saved and budgeted for the trip! I had guessed it would cost $6000 for everything after doing my research on what it would cost per day in the countries I wanted to visit. I ended up coming in a bit under at $5,500 so I had an extra $500 to spend on other things. I’d call that a win!

Anything else to add?

Yes! If you’re looking to travel, just remember there will probably always be someone traveling on a smaller budget than you. I couldn’t believe how little money people had and were traveling for longer than me! It’s cool because there are sooo many ways to make money on the road or find free accommodation/food in exchange for work. If you want to travel, do it! I promise it will work its way out while you’re out there and you’ll end up having the money you need.  Traveling Europe on a budget is totally doable!

 

If you are looking for a backpack for your next European adventure, check out this post for our recommendations for the best travel backpacks!

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How Much Does It Cost? Traveling Europe on a Budget

Article by

Stephanie Yoder is a girl who can’t sit still! She is the co-founder and editor of Why Wait To See the World. Learn more about her here.


  1. This was so helpful! I’m also surprised to hear that Greece is so cheap! I wasn’t expecting that for some reason, and it’s good to know!

  2. London is super expensive but actually a trip up the Shard to the viewing gallery is over £20 so a meal and drinks was a great idea. Keeping to a budget is so tough here in London. Amazing you did it all for only $5,500. I bet the exchange rate helped at the moment though! Great post

  3. Curious how Prague boils in financially. I know that it’s been on the up and up, and it’s hard to find current articles that lay out the finances well!

    • I did a 2 month backpacking trip around Europe in Fall 2015, and Prague ended up being one of my cheaper destinations. I was there for 4 nights, and I spent:
      – $92 on lodging (hostel)
      – $120 on food (including waited restaurants every night for dinner)
      – $113 on tours/attractions (2 tours, a concert, museums & other entrance fees)
      – $10 on transportation (bus & subway)

      If I were to do it over again, I’d probably spend much less on attractions. The tours were good, but the concert and one or two of the museums were not — if I’d researched a little more ahead of time I could have picked out the good ones.

  4. This post is just amazing! I am planning a trip to Europe and would definitely include Greece in the list. Thanks much for all your tips!
    TheWickedSoul

  5. Amanda Y says:

    Definitely not the way everyone would be wiling to travel and it’s a low ball figure, but it’s good to hear about different options!

  6. Very interesting! I read this while comparing with my own budget from 5 weeks road tripping alone in the US, which I spent 6000 dollars on. There’s a big difference in travel style – I brought tons of souvenirs, not knick knacks but books, posters, bookmarks, useful things, and didn’t skimp on paying for museums. I also never cooked once, because I’m just that lazy.. I think it’s awesome that you could travel so cheaply – it’s really nice to see travel done in a different way than one’s own 🙂

  7. I spent way more than this when I was in Europe but that is probably because I am so obsessed with the food that I just had to eat out for every meal. I’d hate to even think about how much money I spent on food in those 11 months in Europe!

  8. I have only travelled to UK (england, Ireland and Scotland) and the cost was definitely lower than what u spent but still it was on a higher side. approx GBP1500 for a 10 day trip. find cheap hotels was challenging for me. and the cheap ones i found was too bad to live. I will try to follow your foot steps next time. Hope it will save me a lot of money.

  9. Crystal Reed says:

    Thank you so much for the post; I also want to start traveling and hoping to witness the amazing views everywhere.too good to see you travelling and sharing all the relevant information and experiences. Awesome tour tips, lovely photography.

  10. Hello, I’m Michelle Andrew and I was reading your blog which is really great. These detailed facts and beautiful pictures makes the blog more informative and captivating. Thanks for the blog and keep sharing.

  11. I am getting more and more interested in Europe . Europe really is a wonderful place. I need to save up thought since i feel that traveling in Europe is as expensive gallivanting . Too awesome!!

  12. I’m backpacking Europe in June next year so this was super helpful! I’m trying to do it as cheap as possible which includes packing only carry on for around 6 months!!! eeeep so exciting though. Thanks for the read 🙂

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