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!

j j j

The London List

Admittedly, during the year I did not write about every step I took in London.

Below are some of the lesser touristy things I did on days out that I feel are noteworthy.

Art

  • TATE Modern – Permanent Exhibitions, Dalí & Film, Global Cities
  • National Portrait Gallery – Daily Encounters (Photographs from Fleet Street), Pop Art Portraits, Photographic Portrait Prize 2007
  • TATE Britain – How We Are (Photographing Britain)
  • National Gallery – Permanent Exhibitions
  • Oxford University Botanical Gardens – Hard Rain (Remaking a World Gone Wrong)

Culture

  • Greenwich – Markets, Royal Observatory
  • Barbican Art Gallery – Seduced (Art & Sex from Antiquity to Now)

Film

History

Music

  • Mozart’s Requiem

Stage

Sites

  • Canary Wharf
  • The Millennium Bridge
  • O2 Arena
  • The Tube
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The Changing Seasons: From Summer to Autumn

Yesterday was a crisp Autumn day in London. There was not a cloud to be seen and, despite being freezing, the day was beautiful.

Adrian, Cynthia and I set off early for Oxford for a relaxing Sunday out of London. Sipping my coffee (I’ve discovered decaf), I began to feel very relaxed as the train departed Paddington and sped through the city into the countryside, past rolling meadows and picturesque hay bales. I realised, as I sometimes do, that I haven’t updated this journal for too long.

We arrived in Oxford a little over an hour later and wandered into the city centre to book a walking tour for the afternoon. We then bought ourselves a cheap (comparative to London) lunch and headed for the botanical gardens. I really enjoyed sitting under the yellowing Autumn leaves, nibbling a baguette and watching the passers by. It was the first time, in a while, that I’ve felt truly relaxed.

From here we had a look at a climate change centric photography exhibition before thoring ourselves in the greenhouse while being wowed by some incredible tropical plants. As it approached 2:00 we strolled back to the centre of town to commence our walking tour.

This took us through various parts of the town with our guide commenting on the history of the city, its buildings and its various colleges. Luckily we were able to enter several colleges, as part of the tour, for an interesting inside look into their beauty and grandeur.

Possibly the most enjoyable part of the day, for me, was spending the remainder of the afternoon in a restuarant / bar on the main street listening to live jazz while we had Devonshire Tea and read the Sunday papers. It’s something I often intend to do, and never do it, and sitting there relaxing with friends really made my weekend!

In other news work is going well, having had my St George’s contract extended until the end of November. I have booked my ticket home for early December. I will arrive in the midst of several major birthdays and Christmas before madly job hunting to start work next year.

Since my last entry I popped over to Paris, needing some time out of London, and had an amazing Autumn weekend with beautiful weather and great culture (thank you Gilles). I wandered the streets, visited Le Père Lachaise (home to the tombs of Edith Piaf, Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison) and spent Sunday night in a funky underground jazz club.

I’ve also been spending many days in London trying to fit in as much as I can before I head home. From a trip with Yumi (one of Adrian’s house mates) to the Tower of London, to a morning service at the beautiful St Paul’s, to free outdoor cinema at Trafalgar Square, to days in the Tate Modern, I’m trying to make the most of this city.

I will be home in a few weeks but, until then, stay well and I look forward to catching up soon!

j j j

Eurovision Party

Yes, I did just say Eurovision Party!  Anyone else excited?  The wonderful thing about living in London is that you can attend Eurovision parties, as the awards are playing, and witness them in all their glory.

Adrian met at our place for some pre-drinks before heading to Cynthia’s where the party was to take place.  Come 8:00 we all huddled into the lounge room, complete with some awesome party food, to watch the awards – as tragic as they are.

I don’t know why the Ukraine didn’t win, Philip tried to explain the politics of it all to me, but they were the best!  How can you go past Elton John look-alikes in silver tight-shorts singing “Eins eins, sieben sieben, eins, sieben, eins eins.  Everybody dance!”  Hilarious!

The UK gave it a fair stab too.  The theme: mile-high club I would suggest.  You see, when I decide to watch Eurovision I believe the tackier the better.  This is why I also believe that the Ukraine, then the UK should have won.

Instead, for some unknown [political] reason, Serbia won with their Joan Kirner look-alike and the Pussycat Dolls.  Oh well, such is life.

In other news I’ve had my contract with the HPA extended until the end of June, which is exciting.  There’s really not much else to report though at the moment.  Hi to everyone at home, I love you all!

j j j

The Imperial War Museum

Throughout the week Adrian brought his laptop over and we finished Skins season 1 🙁 . We’re now going to have to find another series to keep us entertained for a while!

On Saturday we had a lazy morning, watching The Holiday in bed, then we headed out to the Portobello Road markets for the afternoon. The weather was great and we had fun exploring the very extensive markets. Later that afternoon we went shopping for some work clothes etc before meeting Sally in Fulham for dinner. After dinner we headed over to Andrew’s pub to have a few drinks and he joined us for his dinner break which was cool.

Yesterday we visited the Imperial War Museum’s Holocaust Exhibit. It was well done, but again very shocking and moving. It’s interesting to see the different accounts given by the different museums across the world. Though all tell similar stories, the exact personal accounts tell a variety of tragic stories and each museum has been a whole new experience. I find it interesting that I’m learning far more about world history on my weekends and in my last 6 months of travel than I ever did in school.

After a couple of loads of washing and dinner we watch the Da Vinci Code and headed to bed.

By the way Beth, if you’re reading, I bought another lilac shirt, haha! How metro! And yes, it was almost as ‘affordable’ as the last one!

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