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?
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).
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?
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?
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?
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!