Alright. So here's where I am going:
In August I am flying to one-way to Europe (Ireland) and I will be there for about 7 or 8 months. For the first month, I am going to be in Ireland (visiting friends, so staying there and potentially eating for free), Scotland, and Denmark. Then, I will be in Denmark for 3 months at a Folkhojskole, where living expenses are included in the tuition, which I've already paid. Then, I am going to fly to Turkey, and travel Turkey for about three weeks and then make my way through the Balkan Peninsula (so, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Albania, Croatia, and Montenegro, not in that order though) for about 2-3 months.
I have about 5000-5500$ CAD for all this...
Keep in mind I will be couchsurfing for the majority of my trip, and also hopefully will be helpx-ing in a couple of the countries. I also was planning on getting a train pass for some of the Balkan peninsula.
Do you think that's a little crazy? Or could I do it with that amount of money? I have backpacked europe before and spent roughly 1000 euro per month, and that was with me buying nice things and staying in quite a few hostels. Also, are the Balkans relatively cheap?
Any help would be appreciated.
Maybe if you broke down that financial data into separate country estimates we could reply - do you really think someone is going to do the math? My advice - do not carry cash!
Ah, I didn't even think of that, sorry!!
I think the issue is I am not sure how much some countries would cost... but here is a rough outline I based off of my lonely planet's guide to europe on a shoestring (they estimate a budget at the beginning of each county chapter). I made a handy-dandy excel spreadsheet and copied the information here:
Turkey -> 14 days --> 490$ CAD
Bulgaria -> 21 days -->280$ CAD (14 days with helpx placement, wouldn't spend much money while there)
Romania -> 7 days --> 140$ CAD
Serbia -> 7 days --> 350$ CAD
Macedonia -> 5 days --> 250$ CAD
Albania -> 5 days --> 200 CAD$
Montenegro -> 4 days --> 240$ CAD
Bosnia -> 7 days --> 280$ CAD
Denmark -> 10 days --> 600$ CAD
Scotland -> 14 days --> 600$ CAD
Croatia -> 7 days --> 280$ CAD
Total: 3950$ CAD
I'd love to spend more time in each country, and am currently contemplating getting a WHV somewhere to maybe pad my travel fund and stay longer, but currently this is what I have come up with... a rough budget. Considering I am going to be couchsurfing, I rounded down a bit because I wouldn't be paying accomodation. The extra 1000-or-so would cover the few inter-continental flights, train passes, and any one-off expensive things, like if I wanted to go canyoning or rock climbing once or twice.
This is quite rough, please offer criticisim, if you think I am underestimating the cost of a country or (unlikely) overestimating. I'd also be going during the off season, January to March or April-ish, so hopefully things will cost less.
1) Make your handy-dandy excel spreadsheet in local currency, EUR and CAD. Local currency prices will stay relatively fixed, but the exchange rate to the CAD will fluctuate until you get there. Update the exchange rates once a month to be more accurate. And for us Europeans it is easier to say "yes that is enough" if we see EUR figures.
2) Plan with the full budget. Do not rely on couchsurfing. There might always be something so that the helpx-ing or couchsurfing opportunity does not work out, in this case you might end up paying for a hotel out of necessity. Also note that prices in the LP guide are outdated, with the troubles the financial world is in prices and exchange rates are on a rollercoaster ride, some going up, some going down - utterly unpredictable.
3) Have emergency funding. Shit happens. Say you have an accident, get robbed or miss your connection, it would be stupid to travel without some money in the bank that you can use in emergencies. In your case you should have enough money to get to the nearest Canadian embassy and maybe buy a flight home on short notice. I would recommend that you have around 1000 EUR for this.
[ Edit: Edited on 16-Apr-2009, at 13:28 by t_maia ]
Yes, I am aware that the Lonely Planet guides are outdated... I used to work at a hostel and their description of us as 10 years out of date!! But it was the only reference I could think of to go on, I don't really know how to find out how cheap or how expensive countries are! I took your advice and converted it to euros and local currency. I also searched hostel prices on Hostelworld in a city in each of these countries, would that be a pretty accurate description? They're all roughly the same price... 20 CAD (about 12.65 Euro). Anyway, here it is in euros:
Turkey -> 14 days --> 307.85 EUR
Bulgaria -> 21 days --> 175.91 EUR (14 days with helpx placement, wouldn't spend much money while there)
Romania -> 7 days --> 109.95 EUR
Serbia -> 7 days --> 219.89 EUR
Macedonia -> 5 days --> 156.06 EUR
Albania -> 5 days --> 125.65 EUR
Montenegro -> 4 days --> 150.78 EUR
Bosnia -> 7 days --> 175.91 EUR
Denmark -> 10 days --> 376.96 EUR
Scotland -> 14 days --> 527.73 EUR
Croatia -> 7 days --> 175.91 EUR
Total: 2503.61 EUR
Looking at this now, especially with the costs of hostels, I am guessing this will not be enough for some countries (like Romania). :/
Turkey -> 14 days --> 307.85 EUR
No friggin' way. It would be enough to pay for bread and a bed in a cockroach-infested hostel in Istanbul, but that would be it. No entry to sights, no travelling around to Cappadocia or the Turkish Riviera, no onward transport to Bulgaria.
You should budget around 40 EUR per day for most of Eastern Europe and Turkey, so 14 days in Turkey would be something like 560 EUR.
Simlar for your stay in Bulgaria - 21 days x 40 EUR means 840 EUR. If you spent 14 days with helpx-placement you can substract 15 EUR per day for cost of accomodation, but you still need to pay for your food, cost of transport and for fun things to do. So you are looking at 630 EUR for your stay in Bulgaria. (840 - 14 x 15 = 630.) Even if you calculate with 5 EUR per day for food during the time of your helpx-placement you are still looking at roughly 310 EUR.
And for Scotland and Denmark plan on having 60 and 55 EUR per day respectively.
I have backpacked europe before and spent roughly 1000 euro per month, and that was with me buying nice things and staying in quite a few hostels.
Either you are an utter genius in saving money or you forgot about the cost of the Eurail pass. If you say you spent about 1100 EUR, had a Eurail pass to cover your transport costs and did a lot of couchsurfing I'll believe you, but otherwise no way. Most people plan on having 50 EUR per day and person as minimum budget in Western Europe, that works out to 1500 EUR for a month.
[ Edit: Edited on 17-Apr-2009, at 17:48 by t_maia ]
If you stay in Ireland for 7-8 weeks then all your money will be gone after that. It is really expensive here.
Oh yeah, I forgot I did have an interrail pass. It's because I bought it beforehand. But.. yeah, I spent around 2000 euro in two months not including transport (except in ukraine)... granted I did a helpx position for two weeks in which I spent about 20 euro total the entire time... (food is usually included in a help exchange position) and I did couchsurf a lot in the beginning, but near the end of my trip I noticed I had money and, while I love couchsurfing, hostels can be fun too, so I stayed in a few (with one night in a hotel because I got to a place one night early with no place to stay). I dunno, I left Ireland with 4000 euro in my account and came back with something like 1950 or 2000. But yes, I did have an interrail pass, which I forgot about. :P
But yes, okay, 40 EUR a day for eastern europe sounds good! Like I said I really wasn't sure what to budget. I think I will definitely need more money in order to see everything I want, so I am probably going to get a WHV (probably to Denmark). But if all else fails and I cannot get a job, I should have enough for A MONTH of travel in the Balkans at least... the priority countries for me are Serbia, Bosnia, Bulgaria, and Turkey. I want to see those the most.
As for squishyspu: I know how much Ireland costs, I lived there last year. :P I am staying with friends in Ireland, and volunteering on inishmore in a hostel where I worked last year and where I know this year I will get food and a room. (No money though, because I don't have a WHV anymore). So all I really have to pay for is the occasional pint (5 EUR or 8 CAD), some snacks or extra food (40 EUR or so) and my way there and back (6 EUR to get from the airport to Dublin City Center, 17.10 EUR for an adult return ticket from Dublin to Galway, and I thiiink its 10 EUR for a return ticket for the ferry to Inishmore if you use the worker's rate).
You have nowhere near enough money - per your planned stays and times in the selected countries. Accommdation will swallow up (I'm estimating - but won't be far off) about 80% of your alloted funds, unless you're sleeping rough ! !
Sorry to be so negative, but I've done all the countries you mention, except Turkey - bit I don't think that makes a lot of difference. Again.... Sorry.
Yep, I figured that out. I mean, I would probably be couchsurfing whenever I could because I love it and it is cheap, but at the same time, of course, I should budget for the accommodation in case I can't find a couchsurfer. :P I am getting a WHV for Denmark, but in case I do not find a job, I think I have enough money for a month of travel in the Balkans.