Is it possible to travel on approx $30 euros/day in Europe? I'm going on a 21 day trip, and have already booked airfare, train, and hostels. Is $30 euros/ day enough for everything else(food, admission, etc)?
I'll be travelling to France, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany and Austria.
Of course it's always possible - but this sort of budget takes quite a lot of preparing.
I mean you wanna go on trips, see a few places and take lots of pictures - and eat?? Of course you do. If you're prepared to buy in the supermarket and cook your own food (or alternatively eat cold), then €30 a day should be ample for food and more. So one way of saving money when you're on a budget of this sort, is to work out your meals before you go. Not right down to what you're going to eat for every meal, but find out - if you can, the cost of local vegetables, bread, meat (if you eat it), fish (same again), fruit, cake, drinks - oh and much more. We're only talking food here. Of course there's much more, like local bus and train fares to do the countries you're visiting (more in a bit).
You haven't exactly picked the cheapest places in Europe to see. Switzerland is expensive and the other 4 aren't the cheapest either, by far. It can be done though. Little things to bear in mind that will save you money, are local buses and trains for your day trips, rather than international ones. You say that you've already booked your trains, but I'm assuming that's to get you from one country to another - or have you booked internal journies too?? If you have, then you're more than a good way there with your suggested budget. I've lived on just a few €'s a day in parts of Western Europe - and certainly a lot less than 30. The things that take the costs up are eating and drinking out, rather than preparing your own meals. Just one example, a large sandwich and beer in a restaurant or bar in (say) Germany, will cost you around €7 - €8. You could however buy 2 bread rolls, a tomato, a slice of cheese and a can of good beer for around €2.50 - €3. Just an example. It may be a little more or a little less. So possibly more than a 50% saving straightaway.
Local buses will be cheaper than coaches doing longer distances. Many towns will do a day pass for €2 - €3 that'll allow you to use their services unlimited.
These are just some of the things I'd plan well in advance when doing a trip on a tight budget.
Western Europe is renowned for it's markets, both in cities and villages. Regardless of which country you're in, the best time to go shopping in one, is about 15 minutes before it closes. The vast majority of traders will be packing up - and many of their perishable foods will be on sale for a snip of the morning prices, just to get rid of them. Here in the NorthWest of England, it's possible to buy a whole carrier bag of different vegetables in the evening market for around 1/4 of the early morning cost. I've seen much the same in many markets across both Western and Eastern Europe.
I have to say - it makes travelling more fun, in so many ways - when you have to watch the pennies carefully.
Hope it goes well for you.
If you have already booked and paid for airfare, train and hostels the remaining 30 USD per day and person are just for food and fun, right?
For food and fun 30 USD per day should be an ok budget. A bit tight, but doable. Expect to spent around 10 EUR per day for food from the supermarket plus some snacks from fast food street stalls. If you can live on a strict diet of apples (or whatever the cheapest fruit is at the moment), bread, meat cuts, cheese and maybe some yoghurt (all from the supermarket and always the cheapest variety) plus water from the tap you can get by on around 5 EUR per day for food. This budget will definitely work in Germany,guaranteed - but it might be a bit more elsewhere.
At the current exchange rate you'll have around 10-15 EUR per day after expenses for food are covered. That is not a lot of money, especially if you have to pay local transport tickets (bus, tram, metro, etc) out of it. So you need to focus on attractions or sights that are free or cheap to do.
Bottom line: keep a very tight rain on the food budget and plan what you want to see in advance. Check out what local transport costs. (You can do that online, most cities' public transport agencies have websites with the ticket prices, often in English.) If in doubt, do less sights and walk. Best keep all the reciepts from the supermarket, all the public transport tickets and the entry tickets and see what you spent where at the end of each day. This will help you make sure you do not spend all your money in the first week of your trip.
Tips on food:
If you live for 3 weeks on a very tight food budget you can suffer from malnutrition if you don't know what you are doing. You can make yourself really sick if you do not eat enough fresh fruits and vegetables. If there is a choice between buying a pound of tomatoes at a supermarket or a hamburger at McD's, get the tomatoes.
If you usually drink soda and shudder at the thought of tap water, try to find a brand of vitamin tablets that you like. There are some varieties that make a fizzy drink with a fruity flavour (usually orange), get a package and drop the pills into your plastic bottle with the tap water. Catches two flies at once - vitamines and mineral needs are covered and the tap water tastes better.
When in Germany and Austria prefer the darker variety of bread. Rye and durum wheat are so called low-sugar carbs, they release the energy contained in the bread at a much lower speed. You will be satisfied for longer with a sandwhich made out of dark bread.
Since you already booked your hostels, check out which of the hostels have a kitchen you can use to cook. Rice or noodles with vegetables or minced meat are cheap and easy to do. If you don't know how to cook yet, learn it fast.
Bring silverware, a small plastic plate, a small kitchen knife to cut bread and vegetables (I have an foldable opinel knife for this), bags for sandwhiches and an air-tight container (tupperware, lock-and-lock, etc) that you can use to store food in. The silverware and the plastic plate are for making sandwhiches and eating on your hostel bed or on the park bench and the air-tight container will be a live-saver when you need to transport 3-4 peaches, pears or tomatoes without squeezing them. You can also cook enough food for 2 days and then store the leftovers in the container. When you fill the lock-and-lock containers to the brim with hot food and close it immediately it will keep for a day or two even without refrigerating.