50 days in Europe for under $2,500 – All Inclusive
Have you decided that Europe is your next destination? Are you interested in cheap travel? Do you not believe me about traveling Europe for 50 days spending under $2,500.00 for everything?
I grew up around this notion that traveling abroad will cost you tons and I know that other people can agree with this. I’m an example of how incorrect that statement is, and you can be too. I am giving you permission to change the cost of travel.
The summer of 2016, I traveled from Florida to Europe. Most of it with my two friends and bits of it solo. All in all, I spent 50 days in 6 different countries and only spent $2,500.00 for everything. EVERYTHING. This means, flights to Europe and back, flights between Europe, all forms of transportation, food, accommodation, and all attractions. I walked up the Eiffel Tower, ate in restaurants almost 3 times a day, had gelato every day in Italy, went to multiple pub crawls, seen the most beautiful cathedrals in every country, and had the TIME of my life without hurting my broke college girl bank account.
Before and during the planning of my Euro trip of 50 days, my goal was to spend no more than $4,000.00. I calculated that I would spend under $2,000 in plane tickets, $30 a night for hostels, $15 a day for attractions, $42 per city, and $30 a day for food. This was the answer that I got from reading up on other blogs.
I wanted to spend less than $4,000 because to me that’s a whole heck of a lotta mula, so I made it happen. The only way to properly execute is through organization and budgeting! Below, I slice it into the categories you’d spend your money on whilst traveling.
- Transportation: Flights, Trains, Metro, Buses, etc.
There are tons of websites you can use to book your flights. You can purchase straight from the airline (this may be beneficial if you have rewards credit card with airlines) or use a second party website. When looking for flights out of the U.S to Europe, I compared prices from Skyscanner, Google flights, Cheap-O Air, etc. Personally what I found to be the best deals, came from Google Flights. Google Flights gives you multiple options when it comes to airports to depart/arrive and the cheapest options from the airlines. If your trip is flexible, play with the dates! Some days it will be cheaper to leave from a certain destination than another.
Flight to/from Europe: Surprisingly leaving for Europe during its busy season, I was able to score my plane ticket from Florida to Paris for a cheap $300.00 on Norwegian Airlines. Be aware that red-eye flights are usually the cheapest! My trip home from Frankfurt was closer to $400.00.
Flights in Europe: I flew to each country I visited. In total, I bought 8 different plane tickets. For fare between Europe, I traveled on CityJet, Vueling, and RyanAir. I found the best deals with RyanAir, as my flight from Barcelona to Italy was a wopping $30.00. The other day they had a fare of only $8 to get from London to Scotland. It’s all about the SEARCH for the perfect price.
Trains/Buses: Out of the 50 days, I only took a train once, as I arrived in Frankfurt and needed to travel closer to my host family. My train ticket cost me $23.00 for a 2 hour trip. I took buses most of the time from the airport to the specific city I needed to go to. Bus trips cost me no more than $10.00 and most had free WIFI on the bus!
Metro: The metro is usually always packed, but it is the BEST way to travel as it is SO CHEAP. England’s metro price was the most expensive out of all of the countries I traveled to. It costs about $6.00 for a single journey ticket and can increase depending what zone you are traveling to. For the metro in all countries, you can pay individually for your metro pass each time you go in or you can prepay a loaded card. I chose to pay individually each time I went, as I tried to travel by foot to most destinations. France, Spain and Italy will cost you about $2.50 for a single journey ticket and you can use most of them a number amount of times within an allotted time period. For example, I could use a single journey ticket In Rome to multiple destinations within 100 minutes of not leaving the station.
Your feet: Transportation can add up if you are trying to jam pack your days. Personally, I traveled most of Europe by foot (besides the flying to new countries). One day I walked 10 miles in Paris. When you’re in Europe you will realize that mainly everything is in walking distance. Plus, walking gives you more opportunities to interact with the locals and explore! Guess what? IT’S FREE.
There are multiple options for cheap accommodation when it comes to Europe. I spent most nights in hostels. These are like hotels but cater towards tourists and backpackers to meet each other and have a place to mingle. Hostels will cost you about $8-$30 dollars a night depending on the time you make reservations and the time of the year. HostelWorld has hundreds of hostels to search from in each country. There is also Couchsurfing. I have not tried Couchsurfing yet, but it is next on my list! This is where you can stay in an extra room or a couch of a host in a certain city for free! Some may view this as dangerous, others will view it as a place to exchange cultures – you have be smart in these situations. But I was housed in Germany for a week for free. I was given room and board in return for my help on a horse farm. This type of exchange was through Work Away (you can read about Workaway and my experience here). Another option to keep it cheap is to stay with any family or friends!
I go more in depth about creating an itinerary and how specific you should be in a previous blog post, which features an example of my Rome itinerary, but it does come into play with cheap travel! When you have an itinerary of what places you would like to go see, places to eat, and adventures to take, you will have an idea of how much each thing costs – that’s if you do your research. Keeping an itinerary on most days will keep you from splurging too much if you have calculated out how much you can spend each day and where you are going to spend that money. This leads me to…
- Budgeting/Extra costs
To accompany my itineraries, I budgeted out how much I was going to spend each day. My goal was to spend no more than $30.00 for food, $20.00 for attractions, and $10 for transportation each day. Now if you add up (30+20+10) x 50 days you get a total of $3,000.00. Keep in mind, you will not end up spending $30 for food each day, you’re not going to attractions each day that cost money (a lot of places are free to enter: Cathedrals, parks, gardens, and places of interest), and if you are utilizing those things at the end of your legs, most days you will spend ZERO DOLLARS on transportation!
After the 50 days I calculated exactly how much I spent in each category:
Not each day will be the same. Some days you will spend more than others, and some you will spend little to nothing. If you fill your days deeply exploring the city and not jamming it with touristy attractions and expensive restaurants, you will see just how far you can stretch your dollar. To sum up how I truly spent $2,500 on a 50 day Euro trip… it was done through RESEARCH to find the best DEALS, being FLEXIBLE with dates in choosing flights and itineraries, WALKING to destinations, EXCHANGING services for accommodation, and staying ORGANIZED and BUDGETED.
The cost of a trip does not express how much fun you had and the memories made, so why break the bank when you don’t have to?
Let me know what you have done for cheap travel abroad and any secrets you’d like to share!