Europe is a traveler’s paradise. The continent is well connected by rail, the cities are historical and beautiful, and you can experience many different cultures in a short space of time. For most of us there’s only one set back: cost. Travelling in Europe is undeniably more expensive than travelling in Asia or South America. Particularly in cities like Vienna or Paris the costs can be pretty daunting. But I can tell you from experience that it’s very possible to see Europe on a budget. We managed to do it on minimum wage fast food jobs, and so can you! So let’s break down the costs….
Budapest is a great budget city
Now, the cost of getting to Europe is obviously going to depend on where you’re coming from and where you’re flying into. We got return flights from Perth go Dublin for $1600 AUD each. This route is one of the more expensive routes to take. I have seen American travel bloggers claim to fly to Europe with WOWair via Iceland for less than $500 return. And if you already live in Europe you get a head start-the initial flight to Europe is the biggest cost for most people.
Sleeping in the airport is good for your budget-not so good for your back!
Getting around in Europe on a budget is easy! You’re spoilt for choice, with a great rail system, intercity buses, and cheap budget flights. If you’re willing to book your travel far in advance with no check in luggage then you might find flying with a budget airline like Ryanair to be the cheapest option. However, if you like flexibilty, comfort and great window views then you’re probably going to want to travel by train! Eurail passes (or interail if you’re an EU citizen) are a great way to save money while travelling in Europe. We got global one month eurail passes for €604 each. This gave us unlimited rail travel in most of Europe for 30 days. It also covered some buses and metro travel. This works out at just over €20 a day for almost all your travel while you’re in Europe. There’s lots of different passes available and there’s often special deals so be sure to have a look at the website and see what suits you.
The first train ticket from our trip!
Here’s the big one-accomodation. Europe has some of the best hostel facilities out there. There are lots of options available ranging from budget to boutique. Hostels can seem scary to the inexperienced- the lack of privacy, the snoring, the wobbly top bunk. But honestly, I would almost always pick a hostel over a hotel! The atmosphere is social, the staff are helpful, and the money you save means you get to travel for longer! Below is a break down of all the places we stayed and how much we spent in each place. I’ve listed the price we paid for both of us for the sake of accuracy as occasionally we stayed in private double rooms.
–Amsterdam-2 nights in the city-Hostel Meeting Point-€96 (large dorm)
-2 nights at the beach-Flying Pig beach hostel-€119 (large dorm)
–Berlin-3 nights in the city-Sandino World improvement hostel-€84 (small dorm)
–Freiburg-4 nights in the city-Black Forest Hostel-€84 (large dorm)
–Venice-4 nights a short bus ride from the city-Camping Rialto-€84 (two person tent with beds)
–Vienna– 2 nights a metro ride from the city-Hostel Hutteldorf-€70 (large dorm)
–Budapest-5 nights in the city-Full Moon Hostel-€176 (private double room with ensuite)
–Rome-3 nights outside the city-Seven Hills Villiage-€44 (small private wood cabin with shared bathrooms) note-we would not recommend staying here unless you have your own vehicle. It’s far from central Rome with bad public transport. They also appear to have raised their prices since we stayed.
-Total cost for two people-€875
Approximate cost for one person-€437.50-average €17 a night
As you can see we sometimes chose to stay in slightly higher end accommodation. For example, our accommodation in Budapest could have been much cheaper. You can stay in a dorm here for just €9 a night! We did things pretty cheaply, but it’s definitely possible to do it on a smaller budget.
Full Moon Hostel Budapest
It’s easy to eat cheaply in Europe. A baguette and some nice cheese is only a couple of euros and one of these A+ chocolate puddings is 19 cents!!
These puddings were a staple of our Europe diet
But if you’re like us you’re going to want to treat yourself to a few nice restaurant meals. After all, the easiest way to experience a local culture is by eating their food! Eating out varies greatly in different European countries. We ate out in Budapest one night for €10-this was two starters,two mains and two drinks. In a more expensive city like Vienna it’s hard to get one main course for €10. On average we spent less than €40 a day on food-that’s €20 per person, and we ate out at least once every day. If you’re happy to cook your own food all the time then you easily eat on less than €40 a week in most places.
But let’s say you spend €40 a day. That’s €1200 a month, which is €600 a month per person.
Budget eats in Freiburg
So so far we’re at €57 per day including food, accommodation and transport. From here your costs really depend on you! There are tonnes of free activities around Europe. You can stroll through the unique cities and admire the clash of historical and modern architecture. You can visit beautiful churches and marvel at the intricate detailing. You can hike through the alps or the Black Forest. You can picnic in one of the great urban parks present in almost every city. But of course, you could also visit expensive art museums, got to Disneyland multiple times, or spend all day shopping in designer boutiques. Your activities in Europe can be as cheap as you make them! Here’s some extra tips for saving money when sight seeing!
Most churches in Europe are free to explore!
City passes are a great way to save money especially if you plan on seeing multiple museums. Lots of cities have some form of pass, but I’ll just talk about the two that we bought.
This pass covers all public transport within the city and offers free admission to many of Amsterdam’s top museum including the Van Gogh museum. You also get discounts for many other attractions, a free city map, and free admission to the zoo! They offer 24 hour, 48 hour and 72 hour passes. Visit their website https://www.iamsterdam.com/en/i-am/i-amsterdam-city-card to find out if it can save you money!
Berlin Museum Pass
There are multiple city passes in Berlin, but we chose to get the Berlin museum pass. This is a three day pass which costs €24- €12 for a student. It covers all of the museums on museum island and many more in Berlin. It’s worth looking into, especially if you want to explore Berlin’s unique history. Find out more here http://www.visitberlin.de/en/museum-pass-berlin
The IAmsterdam pass includes a canal cruise!
It’s also worth looking at looking at public transport passes as opposed to paying for each trip individually. Free museum days can be a great way to save money. All the museums in the Vatican are free on the last Sunday of every month!
A sneaky sistine chapel photo!
I hope these tips will help you to plan your trip to Europe! If you play your cards right it’s easy to travel on a small budget!