Our Budget for 6 Weeks in Europe
We recently returned from a 6 week trip through Europe, and the question we get asked most often is "How did you afford that?" So I'm here to squash the myth that traveling has to be crazy expensive and outline our budget for you.
Let's start by looking at our itinerary. We crammed as much into 6 weeks as possible. We spent 3-4 days in most cities. It was definitely tiring to be moving around so much for so long, but it was perfect for our first trip. We wanted to get a good sampling of Europe and we absolutely did! The cities we hit were:
Now let's talk about transportation. We flew there and back using Norwegian Air. They are a budget airline that offers great rates for trans-Atlantic flights. Our cost for round-trip plane tickets was about $450. We only brought backpacks, so we didn't need to pay for any checked baggage. Once in Europe, we mostly traveled using a Eurail Global train pass. We bought 10 travel days and the cost for this was around $500. They offer so many discounts like a youth (under 25) discount and a discount if you are traveling with another person. Make sure you always look for deals like that when booking travel. Since we only had 10 travel days, we also had to take a few buses and an additional plane. In total, our transportation including airfare was around $1,200.
The next big expense people face while traveling is accomodation. We stayed in hostels or with people that we knew in every city. Out of 14 cities, we had people to stay with in 3. It also happened to be 3 very expensive places (London, Copenhagen, and Jonkoping) so this helped a lot. As we have a travel blog, we were also offered discounts at a few of the hostels. But, even regular priced hostels are mostly afforadable.
In total, we spent about $700 on accomodation. If you average this over the length of our trip it's about $20 per night, which is pretty awesome! Some cities are more expensive and you will freak out slightly inside when they charge you $50 for a night, but it will even out in the cheaper destinations.
The next biggest expenses are food and activities. To lessen these costs, we cooked a lot of our own meals and planned very strategically. For example, food prices are insane in Switzerland, so we only ate street food or cooked. And ticket prices for attractions can get hefty in Paris, so we did research and found out we could go to the Louvre for free on Friday nights so we planned accordingly.
Again, some cities are going to be more expensive than others. London, Paris, and Zurich were some of our most expensive stops and they were also all at the beginning of our trip which was super helpful. We looked at food and activity prices as our 'daily budget' and gave ourselves about $50 per day. Of course we did things that were more expensive, like going to the top of the Swiss Alps, but there were also days when we spent almost no money so it averaged out. At $50 per day, that made the cost of food and activities about $2,100.
Now, let's recap...
Transportation costs - $1,200
Accomodation costs - $700
Food and Activities costs - $2,100
That brings our total to exactly $4,000. We spent $4,000 and got to see 14 cities, meet incredible people, stuff ourselves with foreign food, and have the times of our lives. It may see like a lot of money, but people easily spend that amount on much shorter vacations. With a little planning ahead of time and some sacrafices when it comes to luxuries, you will be able to stretch your money. We never felt like we were being cheap, but also were careful not to be irresponsible or carefree with our budget.
I hope this inspires you to plan a budget adventure of your own!