Once you’ve got a good idea of where you’ll be visiting on your trip to Europe, it will be time to figure out your budget. Despite what you may be thinking or what you may have heard, a trip to Europe doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, backpacking through Europe is one of the cheapest ways to vacation. The most expensive part of your trip will most definitely be transportation. Divide your trip into two different sets of costs; pre-trip expenses and on-the-road costs. Pre-trip will cover all of your supplies, airfare, and train passes. On-the-road costs will cover everything else, including lodging, food, and attractions.
The standard calculation that experienced backpackers will tell you is $60.00 per day with a little lee-way in each direction. This will cover everything from paying for your hostel to getting into the Louvre. It is possible to make it work with less, but trust me, you in no way want to be stranded at the end of your journey, looking for the cheapest of everything. It will take away from your overall experience and if you’re undertaking and endeavor like this, you want to fully enjoy it.
Take a look at an estimation of some of the costs associated with a backpacking trip to Europe.
Airfare: Your airfare will vary greatly depending on when and to where you book your flight. If you’ve planned wisely and you still have several months before you depart, you will be able to save significantly on your plain ticket. You’re looking at anywhere from $500 to $1000 for your ticket. Make sure to shop around as there are always plenty of deals for the thrifty traveler.
Documents: Your passport and other necessary travel documents will cost between $100 to $150 depending on what all you need. You will want to do your research about visa requirements in each of the countries you plan to visit. For more information about visa requirements for traveling in Europe, click here.
Rail Pass: Train travel is one of the best ways for getting around Europe, but it can be quite expensive. Depending on your itinerary and length of stay, a rail pass is going to cost you anywhere from just a couple hundred dollars up to a thousand bucks. Read our article Train Travel in Europe for more information.
Hostels: Hostel prices will vary greatly depending on where you are. They can run as low as $10 bucks all the way up to $40. For example, in large cities like Paris or Prague, prices will usually run on the higher end of the spectrum. The farther you get from the main tourist destinations, the better the costs get. For more information, read our Hostels in Europe article.
Food: Depending on your taste and preference, food can either be extremely affordable or extremely expensive. If you plan to stick with supermarkets and grocery food, you can keep your spending between $10 and $20 per day. However, if you’re after some authentic cuisine at a nice European restaurant, you’re going to pay for it. A good mix of the two is the best way to travel as you’ll get to experience the best of both worlds.
Transportation: What? I thought we were backpacking. Yes, but you will have to plan on spending money for bus and subway tickets, especially if you’d like to see as much as you can in the places you are visiting. To be safe, budget $10 to $20 per day for local transportation.
Attractions: Most of the main attractions in Europe as with anywhere else in the world come with a price. Depending on where you are and what you’re trying to see, you should budget between $10 and $20 per day for museums, galleries, and historical exhibits.
Expenses for a trip to Europe greatly depend on your itinerary and preference. You can skip out on a lot of costs by shopping at supermarkets and staying in lower quality hostels. However, for a little bit of extra cash you can enjoy delicious food, outstanding beer, and a quality place to rest your eyes. No matter what type of trip you’re planning it’s important to budget carefully to maximize the overall enjoyment of your trip.