If you’ve read my previous articles, you know that we’ve recently been in a trip around Europe (well, part of Europe) that lasted for an entire month. We decided to go slightly off-season for the reduced prices, but also not during the worst of times – in other words, we explored Europe between May 1st to June 1st and we were mostly right regarding the weather: it was sunny and nice, even though we did have a few rainy days here and there. But nothing to completely ruin the experience or keep us inside.
So who is “us”? My wife, my two-year-old son and myself. A family of three beginners when it comes to digital nomading or even travel for such a long period of time.
But even though I want to share adventures and opinion, photos and describe how much I loved each country and city that we visited, the first question that people ask (or want to ask) when it comes to our adventure is how much did it cost? And since this might help a lot of people plan their vacation or digital nomading adventure throughout Europe, I am here to answer the burning question: how much does one month of travel around Europe cost?
Before getting to the actual numbers, you need to know how we travel, because that matters a lot. First of all, we decided to take the train from one destination to another (we did go by bus here and there, mostly throughout Croatia). This reduced travel costs slightly but also cut a lot on airport transfer times and prices, so overall it was cheaper than traveling by plane and we got the chance to carry more luggage for no extra costs.
Second, we did not stay in hotels – all our accommodation was booked through AirBnb and each place we stayed at was amazing and we had no problems, on the contrary. The thing with AirBnb is that if you go for places with a lot of positive/glowing reviews and you can read then right (some might seem positive but underline specific problems), you will be fine. For us it worked especially well because we needed an extra bed and a kitchen to prepare real food for the little fellow and overall we managed to find better prices than we would’ve had from hotels. Plus, all our apartments were in central or very good locations, while the similarly priced hotels were on the outskirts of the city, had no kitchen and usually no extra bed. I will always take this deal!
Also, we did many other things pretty frugally: we didn’t eat out a lot and when we did we didn’t go for the fanciest restaurants possible. We cooked at home and sometimes went for fast-food type of belly-fillers (like a delicious Kebab in Munchen or quick fruit salads in Italy). We never traveled by taxi and tried to use public transportation at all times (or just walk). We didn’t fill our days visiting things you had to pay for like museums and similar and instead opted for free attractions and exploring the streets. Of course, we did spend time in zoos and aquariums, we did visit a few museums and other paid attractions that we were sure the little fellow would enjoy. At the age of two it’s really difficult to appreciate a great painting or the history of a palace…
Another extremely important element is that we didn’t visit the most expensive countries in Europe during our trip. We did go to Germany (Munich) which was clearly the most expensive, as well as Italy (Verona and Trieste) or Austria (Vienna) which were expensive as well, but we also had Budapest (Hungary), Zagreb, Pula & Rijeka (Croatia) and Belgrade (Serbia) on our list, which were cheaper.
These being said, during our one month long adventure in Europe we spent… 3272 Euros.
I know, that is A LOT and we could’ve, indeed, went for a lot lower. But before we get there, here’s how we spent our money:
Accomodation – 1467
Budapest: 96 Euros (3 nights)
Vienna: 150 Euros (3 nights)
Munich: 256 Euros (3 nights)
Verona: 189 Euros (3 nights)
Trieste: 229 Euros (4 nights)
Pula: 160 Euros (4 nights)
Rijeka: 124 Euros (4 nights)
Zagreb: 85 Euros (2 nights)
Belgrade: 110 Euros (3 nights)
Spending in each city – 1378.40 (includes food, entertainment and other costs)
Budapest: 137 Euro (45.66 Eur / day)
Vienna: 258,36 Euro (86.12 / day)
Munich: 203,81 Euro (67.93 / day)
Verona: 170,23 Euro (56.74 / day)
Trieste: 150, 84 Euro (45.96 / day)
Pula: 169.36 Euro (48.85 / day)
Rijeka: 124.50 Euro (36.75 / day)
Zagreb: 82 Euro (41 / day)
Belgrade: 82.30 Euro (27.43 / day)
Transportation between cities: 427 Euros
All in all, our average daily expenses, EVERYTHING INCLUDED, were of about 105 Euros per day. I’ve seen that number (100 per day) used by many travelers and nomads, so it’s certainly doable. And don’t forget that we were three people traveling on this budget!
But you know what? I think we overspent!
We could’ve saved even more money without making us feel miserable or take away any of the fun by doing the following: spend less on crap (there were all sorts of tourist-trap items that we bought that I am ashamed right now… but once he got it started, it got worse and worse and we bought more and more crap that wasn’t really necessary). Also, be more careful with our purchases: once, we bought the different size of diapers for our kid, having to leave them behind (about 5 Euros) and on a different occasion we simply forgot a shopping bag in a bathroom – and only remembered when we were back home (20 Euros value). These two things alone would’ve saved us at least 200 Euros, which is pretty impressive.
Also, I would travel slower, much slower: I would go for 7 nights in each city. This allows you not only to visit most of the things that the city has to offer, but also saves you a lot in terms of money spent on accommodation as most AirBnb hosts have discounts for week-long stays.
So if we were to do this again, I think that we could go with as little as 2000 Euros per month for the three of us. This is surely doable, but if you are just like us – starting up and lacking the experience of the veteran traveler or nomad – go for the higher budget. Unless you prefer fancier stuff, I am sure that 100 Euros per day is a solid budget for a couple or a family traveling with a young kid.