I'm looking to possibly go to Europe next summer, 2011. I've done plenty of backpacking through Asia, Central America, North America, etc., but I've been spoiled by the cheapness of these places and am now completely clueless as to what is a standard budget for a typical Euro trip. I'm not sure which countries I'm going to yet (I know that some Eastern European countries tend to be cheaper), but I'm just looking for a broad overview of a general budget. I stay in dorms in hostels, eat street food, and don't do a ton of souvenir shopping- I can definitely do it on the cheap.
Also, how does transportation work in Europe?? Being from the US where there basically is no such thing as public transit, I'm really curious about taking the train in Europe- is it inexpensive, can I buy a pass, how much can I expect to pay to get around??
Thanks for your help!!
One of the transportations option in Europe is by train , I don't know how long you plan to go. But it is possible to buy special train pass to travel up to a month in Europe you can do this with Interrail http://www.interrailnet.com/
As for the budget I think Europe is generally about as expensive as North America but of course this changes slightly between countries and cities. One thing you shouldn't forget is the changing currency rate between the Dollar and the Euro . So i don't know what you spend in North America but I think it is about the same here.
I hope this will help,
i suppose the interrail pass only eligible for europian...
Thanks to both for your responses -
What a bummer that the Interrail pass only being available for Europeans! I looked into it, and you have to have lived in Europe for at least 6 months. Would have been such a good deal! Plus, I love train travel (we don't really use trains for transportation much here in the USA!)
I hope that Europe is the same price as North America, but I hear from most of my European friends that many everyday things are more expensive in Europe I could be wrong, I just have no idea what a backpacker's budget would be. (Naturally, if you live there, things would be cheaper because you wouldn't be paying for hotels, eating out every meal, etc.)
i suppose the interrail pass only eligible for europian...
You are completely right I forgot about that for non EU it should be http://www.eurail.com
'All' Eastern Europe is cheaper than the western bit.
Train rides in Eastern Europe take forever. A 20 mile trip can take three or four hours, but are so incredibly cheap.
Western Europe can be very scary money-wise, but it's so diverse and can be done cheap if you take the time to plan your trip. There are hostels out there and shops selling excellent food and drink (no need to eat out) that'll so pleasantly surprise you. Also, there are excellent budget airlines that will get you from one country to another for a cheaper fare than any bus or train - on occasion.
If you're into trains and nothing else, then maybe a rail pass is a good option. But if you're travelling a lot of the continent, then trains can become very tedious after awhile.
As for a budget, then depends on where you're going. Norway and Iceland can easily clean you out in no time at all, whereas countries like Bulgaria and Ukraine will allow you survive and have fun on maybe less than €10 a day and about the same price for a room. A sleepr train going from one country to another in Eastern Europe will probably cost you less for a bed, than getting a day train and a room, before moving on.
To give an example, just turning up on the day - a train from one side of Romania to the other will cost you around €15. Doing the same thing in the UK will be around €150.
Yes there are advance fares, but turning up on the day will not qualify you for one.
Eating out (I see you say you do street food) can be very cheap in Eastern Europe, whereas in for example Paris, if you're not careful - it can be painful on your pocket. It can still be done quite cheaply, but it takes a bit of asking around. Whereas in Bulgaria it's possible to get a plate of meat (or salad if you don't do meat) and a large beer, for way under €5.
To give you a more specific answer on budget:
Most people need 65+ EUR per day and person in Western Europe, that is rock-bottom cheap with sleeping in hostels and eating food from the supermarket. Many people travel on 100 EUR a day in Europe and that is quite sensible if you need your little creature's comforts and don't want to count your money before you pay for entry to a sight.
In recent years these amounts have translated into something between 80 and 150 USD per day.
A big chunk of your money will go to transport, sleeping and activities. Those are the factors that define the cost of your trip.
You can expect to pay in Western Europe per day and person:
- 10-30 EUR for a hostel bed
- 5-15 EUR for food from the supermarket (Note: supermarket food, not street food. Street food is relatively expensive compared to supermarket food, for street food 10-30 EUR would be necessary.)
- 15-25 EUR per day on average on transport between cities
- 5-15 EUR on transport within a city
- 5-20 EUR for entry to sights
- whatever money you can spare for more expensive activities such as partying, wildwater rafting, etc. This can be as much as 50 EUR per day.
Bottom line: Aside from a paid-for return flight ticket and a completely paid-for Eurail pass you should have at least 35 EUR per day just to pay for food and a hostel bed. That is rock-bottom survival level, just barely enough that you do not have to beg.
Ways to do a Europe trip really cheap:
- WWOOF. You do volunteer work on farms in exchange for food and a place to sleep.
- HelpXchange. Same thing, except that you might help in the house or elsewhere.
- Hospitality services such as Couchsurfing, Hospex, etc.
- Limiting the places you travel to. Pick a country and stay for longer in some non-touristy places there, maybe with a couchsurfing host. If you do not travel around all over going to you a new city every 3 days you don't need as much money for transport.
- In summer taking a tent can be a good idea. In a real pinch you can pitch it in the fields. Many farmers won't mind you borrowing a spot of land for the night if you ask nicely and are gone the next day. Also there are many camping sites close to cities, many of them are easily accessible by public transport. They can be cheaper than staying at a hostel. Places where this is true are Vienna, Paris, Munich, Florence, Venice and a few others.
One more thing:
I just saw that you have done a cycling trip throug Vietnam, is this correct? If yes I can highly recommend doing a cycling trip around Europe.
Cycling is really cheap and great way of getting around in Europe. Europe with its designated trails is a heaven for cyclists.
The hardest and most expensive part of such a trip is getting the bike across the Atlantic. The most sensible strategy is usually to buy a bike in Europe and sell it before you fly back. Or buy it in Europe and take it back to the USA. The reason is that for the money it costs to fly the bike return you can buy a decent new one. Consequently many people save the money for the leg to Europe and use it as a down payment for a new bike.
I did a trip around europe a couple of years ago... just 4 weeks but that cost me around £1000 not including flights and unfortunately things have sky rocketed since then.
Prices will vary depending on where in the countries you visit. For example, things in northern England tend to be a fair bit cheaper than the South East (around London) In france Paris is VERY expensive but places like Agen are less so.
When i did my trip I started out in Paris and bought train fares through france, switzerland, Italy and Sicilly as i went along. There is a discount in most of these countries if you are under 26. I'd avoid driving a car around any of the towns and cities unless you have nerves of steel. I know that in the UK train fares are much cheaper if you buy them in advance by a month or so.
Obviously you will want to see the main touristly sights but i had the most fun when we ended up in the quieter less touristy places. Rome, Paris,, London Barcalona etc are all fab and well worth a visit and the public transport in these cities is awesome. But i really would recommend going to places outside of the big places you hear about all the time... The south of france around Bordeaux is lovely and the north of England has so much to offer, Manchester, York and Newcastle to name but a few.
But if you are planning on spending a couple of months over here then start saving now
Plus if you do decide to come to the north of the UK send me a message and i'll recommend loads of places to visit!