Before I started on my journey around the world, I was doing tons of research about how much money I would need. This was the main way for me to tell how long I could last on the road. I finally figured it out and attempted to break it out strictly by region.
Then I quickly realized this was too hard and that sticking to a rough budget per day was going to be the best option. So, I scrapped the original plan and just decided to hope for the best knowing how much money I had to spend for the entire year. If you want to read about how much I saved, I have a post here.
What 3 Months Traveling in Europe Cost Me
I started my trip in Iceland on September 20th, 2016, and then ended my Euro trip in Istanbul on December 20th. Since then I’ve been roughly keeping track of my costs. So I wanted to share with you what I’ve spent in hopes this can help you plan a trip in the future! I’m not the type of person who documents every little thing she spends. I’m actually really bad at that. But I do know what I started with and what I had when I left Europe. Below, I talk about what I ended up spending money on and I’m pretty proud of myself!
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Here’s what 3 Months of Traveling in Europe Cost Me:
READ MORE: HOW I SAVED $35,000 TO TRAVEL THE WORLD
Some people I’ve talked to have said WOAH that’s a lot of money for 3 months, while others say dang that’s nothing for 3 months! It all depends on how and when you’re traveling. And also how much you’re splurging vs. sticking to a budget.
I’m SUPER proud of myself. Mainly because that’s roughly $61 a day (less than I thought I’d spend in Europe).
Here’s where I’ve been in Europe so far (some city hopping and some country exploring):
Iceland, Germany 2x, Austria, Slovakia 2x, Slovenia, Budapest, Prague, Zagreb, London, Dublin, Greece, Istanbul
Iceland, Germany, Austria, London, and Dublin were by far the most expensive places I went.
The hardest part for me was switching to a frugal mindset. In San Francisco, I was saving for my trip of course, but I also had an income. So spending was pretty easy and I felt I could justify things a bit more. Plus things in SF were really expensive that now it’s hard to compare and everything seems cheap! In SF you can’t find a single thing to eat for $3 whereas out here you can. That’s been an interesting switch, but after 3 months I now have a grasp on what is ‘cheap’ and what is ‘expensive’ for a long-term traveler.
The main ways I stuck to the budget were:
1. Staying in hostels – usually, I book using Hostelworld and it’s amazing for finding cheap places to stay
2. Eating street food and cooking for myself
3. Not going inside every single museum and castle. Only the ones that I’m really excited about.
4. Taking public transportation (I have the time, after all)!
5. Not buying souvenirs (I don’t have room anyway).
I go into more detail below…
The $5,500 includes:
All Transportation –
- Ubers and cabs in all cities. I don’t take a lot of cabs or Ubers and try to get everywhere by public trans which saves tons of money. Use this code for a free Uber ride.
- Trains, buses, ferries. It’s been important for me to learn the public trans systems when I get to a city because it’s typically been super easy. Except for Greece…that was hard. 🙂
- Flights to and from each country. Most are bought from Skyscanner and I’ve flown RyanAir a bunch. I have to check a bag every time which sorta sucks, but I try to search for airlines where the bag price is included. My flights have ranged anywhere from ($11 to $200). Here are the different flights I’ve taken (all costs included in the $5500).
- This includes all of my food. A lot of hostels have breakfast included which always helps even though they typically aren’t that great. Some days I’ll just get a croissant, a yogurt, or make myself eggs/bacon if I have a kitchen.
- Many times for lunch I’ll opt for a cheap kebab (~$3), sandwich or traditional food if it’s cheapish. Street food is always pretty cheap. Not always the healthiest, but it does the job.
- Also, I’ve been craving greens since being in Europe. I’ve also noticed that if I want a salad I can always go to an Italian restaurant because they always have a salad option. 🙂
- Treating myself is definitely a thing I do though! I had a 40 euro drink and app at the top of the Shard in London and the drinks in Iceland were$15-$18. Basically, I just try to balance it out with cheaper meals later.
- I’m mainly staying in hostels which have cost anywhere from ($7-$25). Check them out on Hostelworld here. I actually have grown to love staying in hostels because the staff is so helpful and they always have fun stuff organized. Plus I’ve met soooo many cool people that I wouldn’t have met staying by myself at a hotel/airbnb.
- I’ve been SUPER lucky to stay with people for free along the trip too. Shoutout to Hailey & Jannik, Babsi, Diana and Dan, Shay and Kurt, and Michelle for all letting me stay for free with you!! YOU DA BEST and this clearly helped my finances.
- I’ve also stayed in a few Airbnb’s when I need to chill out. I did one in Budapest and one with Michelle in Prague. Airbnb’s are great when I’m in the mood to splurge a bit more and be alone. If you want to try Airbnb, use my $40 off your first stay with my code!
- I’ve gotten a few free stays in exchange for blog posts. Example here.
- Couchsurfing – I have yet to do it, but am for sure going to try it on my trip. Everyone I meet who has done it raves about it and it’s free!
- This includes all pub crawls and parties. I don’t go out as much as I probably would have if I was right out of college and I hate clubs so that’s saving me a bit of money. If I do drink I’ll typically buy it from the store before going out, but honestly, alcohol in eastern Europe is super cheap anyway.
- There are certain places where I’ve spent a lot on alcohol and others where it’s way less. I think this has evened out over time.
- This also includes all coffee’s, teas and sodas but I’m not a huge coffee/soda drinker. So typically don’t need it in the morning which has saved me lots of money. Most hostels have it for free anyway.
- I’ve also been drinking water from the tap in all the countries I’ve been to. But I typically opt for buying a large water bottle and finish one a day at least. I drank so much more water at home, but I’m trying to stay hydrated as best I can.
All Touristy Activities –
- Staying in hostels has helped so much with activity/attraction costs because they know that backpackers are on a budget and always offer the cheapest option for activities in the city.
- Usually, I try and find a free walking tour in every city I go to. They are tip-based and usually really great to get the lay of the land of a city. Most of them give good food and bar recs too which is always nice to hear from a local. They are also a great source of exercise 🙂 and last about 3 hours.
- Here and there I’ve bought city cards that let you into most sites. See Ljubljana card example. If it’s only a few euros sometimes I’ll pay and go to the top of certain sites for the view.
- I typically don’t pay to go into churches since there are so many you can go into for free in Europe. I like free museums and typically won’t pay unless it’s included in my pass or is something I really want to see. Like the German History Museum in Berlin (I paid 8 euro) or the Acropolis ($10).
Cheapest & Biggest Expenses:
My biggest expenses were Iceland where I rented a camper van with my friend for 10 days, Oktoberfest because it’s Oktoberfest and drinking is expensive, a visit to London and Dublin because I went out and ate out a lot in both places. The cheapest places were Istanbul, Turkey, Greece, and Budapest!.
I hope this info helps! I’m not the kind of penny-pinching traveler so if you are then you can probably do 3 months in Europe for much cheaper than I did! I ended up splurging a few times and there are so many ways to save money that you’ll learn after being on a road for a short time.
Also, time is on your side when you’re traveling on a budget. You can usually take the cheaper flight times and go places in off/cheaper times because every day is a Saturday for you! 🙂
Heading to Europe anytime soon? Check out my favorite packing gear I used for the last year of travel!
HOW I SAVED $35,000 TO TRAVEL THE WORLD
What to Pack for a Trip Around the World in All Climates
9 Painless Ways to Make Friends While Traveling Solo
What It’s Like Coming Home After Traveling for One Year
100 Things I Learned & Experienced from 1 Year of Travel
21 Awkward AF Things That Happen When You Get Back from Traveling Long-Term
I Quit My Job and Am Going to Travel for a YEAR!
Monthly Diaries of My Trip Around the World
Great Katie! Amazing that you’re able todo this and find ways to stretch out your experiences. Soooo proud of you! ❤
You’re crushing it Katie!
Thanks Kyle! Hope you’re doing well!
Hello!! My name is noelle and i was wondering if youd give me the lowdown on your blog and how you got started? Moving to barcelona in a month and wanted to start one! Ill leave my email if you get a chamce to get back to me:)
Hi Noelle – Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can give you some tips! 🙂
The Traveling Spud recently posted…What 3 Months Traveling in Europe Cost Me
First time visiting your blog and love it! I’ve been meaning to go to Europe but I’ve had to think about roughly how much I should save for Europe!
I noticed you went to Istanbul, was it a safe place? Would love to see a post on this !!
I think $61 a day is actually VERY good! I know people suck in their breath at the sound of $5,500 but actually when you break it all down that’s very reasonable.
I love your photos too! I need more inspiration for travelling in Europe and it looks like you saw some beautiful places!
As someone based in Central America, $5,500 seems like so much for 3 months…and then I remembered you were talking about Europe and then it does really seem like a good deal! Europe is on my list for (I hope) 2018 so I love seeing real figures on how much it may cost!
Yeah seriously! I know what you mean. You should definitely go! So many cool cultures 🙂
Considering that 5 weeks in Italy cost me (2 pax) 2,000 euros, which is exactly $61 a day (haha), I think you did quite well! I run on about $25 a day at home (Romania and don’t pay rent, we own) but the country is so much cheaper than what you visited (used to be more expensive than Greece, but not anymore).
We did rent in Italy as we lived (and I worked remotely from) there. I am done with hostels, to be honest.
I know how you feel about being done with hostels! After my trip I’m going to be done too :). I think you did quite well too! $25 a day at home is also amazing!! I wish i could do that!!
It took me some years to be done with hostels but finally decided we are too old for them (in our 30s).
Thats actually amazing for 3 months! Well done! I like coming home from a trip, knowing I had an incredible time, but also that I didn’t bankrupt myself!
Agreed! I felt good about myself, but I’ve more than made up for it in the rest of my travels haha.
I LOVE everything about this post! Especially how thorough you were in keep tracking of your expenses and how perfectly you broke everything down here to share with others! This post is right up the alley of a new blog series I started called Travel Money Diaries, which I think you would love!
Can’t wait to check out more of your posts!
Thank you! Love your post as well. Always good to see how other people do it!
This was so helpful, thank you!
I’m glad! you’re welcome!
How did you plan the visa’s?
I actually didn’t need any for the places I went except for Turkey! I just got that one a few days before I went online! 🙂
One of my relatives is planning to travel to Europe and we were wondering how much money he should save for his expenses. Thanks fir this article. It was very helpful.
Oh great I’m glad! It definitely depends on how long he will be there. I spent over $5,000 for 3 months so I’d start there! 🙂
Thanks a lot for this article. it was really helpful for me. especially I am planning for visiting Europe by next year for almost the same period you did bu with kind of different countries ^^ But I am wondering if you have booked all the accommodations before you travel or not? Thanks again ^^
Hi of course! I’m glad it was useful. 🙂 I didn’t book accommodations before..I mainly would book on Hostelworld about 2 days ahead at least! 🙂
I love your website and article. My plan go to Europe on August – Sept 2018.
Thank you so much for sharing your experiences.
My name is Renny from Bali, Indonesia. Please let me know if you want come to Bali. You can stay at our home.
Hi Renny! Thank you for reaching out. I’m glad this helped you on your trip. You’ll have such a great time 🙂 And i love Bali so thank you for the offer!!
That is a very informative, inspiring writing!
I am planning to backpack for 3 months this summer. I am not a city person, more of an outdoor / mountain/landscape person. I was wondering if its possible to get it done with 5500 ?
Awesome! I’m sure you could do it even cheaper than I did if you stay out of the expensive cities!
Hello! Lovely blog 🙂 I am just considering spending 3 months in Spain/Italy/Portugal so these types of pieces are great to read to be inspired!!
Just confirming the currency you are referring throughout – is it Euro or USD or something else?
This has all be converted to USD! Have so much fun!
I’m so glad to read this. I’m at Day one of my 3 months traveling after working in the uk for the last 1.5 year. I was a bit worried I wouldn’t have enough for my hiking photography themed travel adventure. But I have 7000£ for 3 months and planned to live quite frugally so this has given me some piece of mind. You rock your blog rocks. Thanks for writing and sharing your travels stories 🙂 D
OMG thank you so so much!! Hope you have a blast and I’m glad this helped you 🙂
Your tips very useful for Europe traveler. Europe is awesome place for roam. I love the Europe. I read your blog and really happy with your information on Europe travelling. Thanks for such post and please keep it up.
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Glad you find it useful!! 🙂
This is a super post. It would be beneficial to follow your advice. I am impressed, Your every photo is looking so pretty and every location is awesome. I love Europe.
Thanks for sharing!
Thanks! I love it too!
Such a big time for visiting a Europe you can explore all the beauty of Europe and also various places which comes under it, but it will cost you more than bugs and can lose all of your savings but you can save too by finding cheap hotels, transportation which are the major expenses during the travelling and you can take the help of internet which is a vast source for providing the information.
Thank you so much for these wonderful tips. This is a great post and place you visited. Lovely pictures.
Thank you!! I appreciate it 🙂
Hey! Would u mind sharing ur itinerary for ur 3 months trip? 🙂 And I have a question here – do u book ur hostels along the way or u prebook all ur accommodations for the trip before u fly off?
Hi! I bopped all over the place! I started in Iceland and went to Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Slovakia, Hungary, Czech, back to Germany, Greece, Croatia! Honestly, I went where the wind took me and only planned out about 3 weeks to start!
Hello! Did u purchase an eurail pass for this trip? If yes, which type did u purchased? 🙂
I didn’t have a Eurail pass! I got around via bus, train and car!
Hey Katie, I am hoping to go to Europe next year. I guess we will see what happens with what’s going on right now. And so I’m working out a budget. I was wondering what currency your $5,500 is in?
Gosh, I hope we can do that this year!
This is in USD!
Europe is on!!! ill keep in mind the tips. Good content thankyou soo much
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yay! Excited for you!
Great content. Thankyou soo much for sharing.
Thank you so much for these wonderful tips.
Thanks for sharing this useful piece of content 🙂
Thanks for sharing this wonderful article, I really like it.
Thanks for sharing this information. I really like your post very much.
This is a great article. Tips are pretty much helpful. Thanks a lot for sharing this.
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Nice! thanks for sharing this article.