A European Holiday: How Much Will it Cost?

There are plenty of articles written to help answer the question, “How much does it cost to travel to Europe for a holiday?” (or vacation for my North American friends). Yet, as was the theme with my last travel-related post, I found the information already available didn’t address my questions in a way that I found useful.

Having recently spent four weeks exploring Europe whilst honeymooning with Chris, I decided to sum up our travel expenses and put together a post that I hope will help you when planning your European adventure.

Keep in mind that budgeting for any trip is inherently difficult. Exchange rates are in flux. Different tastes lead to different expenditure. Whether you’re travelling in peak or off peak will also play a major role in determining the prices you pay.

Considering this, before getting to what we spent, I’ll describe the details of our trip so you can understand the basis for our spending.

You can skip straight to the costs if you choose (spoiler: it’s AUD $239 per person, per day), but I strongly recommend skimming the additional information.  Without understanding what we spent our money on, the numbers themselves aren’t going to be all that helpful.

The Trip

This is a summary of what we did, as a couple in our 30s, for the purpose of clarifying what our budget provided.

Itinerary

We spent four weeks in Europe from late August until late September. This placed us in the shoulder season – not quite as expensive as European summer and not as cheap as winter.

The trip was divided, roughly in half, between the UK and Italy with an even amount of time spent within, and outside of, major cities (e.g. London and Rome).

Accommodation

We stayed in mid-range hotels (e.g. Premier Inn and Tango Hotel) for the most part. These were all very clean, comfortable and most included breakfast. We didn’t use Airbnb.

Food

For the most part we had breakfast included at our accommodation. Sometimes this was cornflakes and toast, other times it was a culinary delight.

Lunches mostly consisted of a sandwich and drink at Pret a Manger or similar.

Dinners were at nice restaurants and usually consisted of two courses and a glass of wine. We didn’t eat fast food or take away.

Throughout the day we would generally drink water we’d purchased in bulk from a supermarket, transferred into 500 ml bottles for easy carrying. That said, tap water was probably fine in most of the locations we stayed.

Most days we’d enjoy a snack (e.g. cake and coffee, a cheese board, or similar) or a drink (e.g. a wine or a cocktail) in the afternoon.

All that is to say we didn’t skimp on food and drink, but we could have spent a lot more had we wanted to.

Activities

We visited plenty of tourist attractions, museums, galleries, churches, city tours, etc. We did something most days. Some days we did lots of paid activities, other days we just explored for free.

Activities are probably the most subjective part of the budget, as you could just as easily explore for free as you could spend hundreds every day. To attempt to provide some objectivity, most people we’ve spoken to feel that we managed to fit in plenty and have a lot of fun experiences, neither overdoing it nor foregoing anything really worthwhile.

Transport

We travelled between destinations mostly by train, also hiring a car for a few days, taking one inter-city flight, and taking coaches around the Amalfi Coast.

Within cities we did plenty of walking and otherwise relied on metro trains, trams and buses. We didn’t take taxis or use ride-sharing apps.

The Costs

Now you know what we did, here is what we spent.

The budget is an Australian dollar daily average, per person, whilst travelling as a couple.

  • Accommodation: ~$93
  • Food ~$74
  • Activity ~$36
  • Transport ~$36
  • Total: ~$239

Exclusions

The above excludes the following items which don’t neatly average out to a per day rate:

  • Return flights from Australia.
  • Travel insurance – seriously don’t leave home without this sorted!
  • Luggage, consumables, souvenirs, etc purchased while away.

Currency and Exchange Rates

All figures are in Australian dollars which converted, on average, at the time, as:

  • GBP £1 cost AUD $1.70
  • EUR €1 cost AUD $1.50

You can work out the equivalent amount in your own currency by converting from AUD to your currency for September 2017.

Examples

Here are some example costs. Click on the amount to convert to your own currency.

  • 10 days travelling as a couple: ~ AUD $4,780 together + exclusions.
  • 2 weeks travelling as a single (twin share): ~ AUD $3,345 + exclusions.
  • 4 weeks travelling as a couple: ~ AUD $13,385 together + exclusions.
  • 1 month travelling as friends (twin share): AUD $7,275 each + exclusions.

The above assume that you travel in a shoulder season, when exchange rates are relatively similar to those described above, and that you enjoy an equivalent standard as described in the summary at the top of the post.

I hope this helps you figure out what you’ll need to save for a nice European trip.

Bon voyage!

4 comments

  1. Hello Andrew,

    Thank you so much for your post! I am flying from Aus and meeting my mother in Italy (who’s is flying from Brazil) in November, I know we might get rained on, but it is the only time I can do it! This post was heaven sent ! Thank you 🙂

    • Hi Ana! I’m really glad you found the info useful. I’ve spent a bit of time in Italy in November and absolutely loved it. The weather was a bit cooler, but I spent plenty of time outdoors without too much rain. Hope you and your Mum have a wonderful time.

  2. Thanks Andrew! Very useful info as we plan our 4 week (or so) holiday to Europe. Not sure how much more an 18mth old will cost (or save us!) but he shouldn’t be too expensive.

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