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

All Roads Lead (Back) to Rome

Well, my coin in the Trevi Fountain trick worked a treat: I came back to Rome!

On Saturday morning we were up and off to Weeze airport, a good hour and a half from Janina’s. Luckily a bus ran out there so we didn’t require a lift. I think the airport may secretly have been in The Netherlands it was so far away.

The flight with Ryanair was pretty good, although with all the added transport and baggage costs, I don’t think we really saved any money. Before you fly with then I recommend looking at how much it will cost you to get to the airport, and look at the cost of baggage, as it can add up to more than a regular fare with a bigger carrier.

We eventually got into Roma Termini late in the afternoon and, having found some accommodation, we headed out to browse Rome by night and to get some dinner. Our first stop was the Trevi Fountain followed by a wander through the streets, past the Pantheon, to find some dinner; an Italian thin base pizza and glass of red, al fresco!

After dinner we headed back to the hostel where we chatted to some girls from the States who were studying Spanish in Alicante, before heading to bed.

On Sunday morning we grabbed breakfast at the supermarket before heading back into the main town to the Monument Vittorio Emmanuel II. This huge structure, now also serving as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, I had not seen before and, while being amazing in itself, afforded some great views across the city and to the Roman Forum.

From the monument we headed to the Colosseum, via the Forum, where we ran into the girls from our room and arranged to meet them for dinner later that night. Chris then did a tour of the Colosseum (something I’d already done) while I sat in the sun and listened to some music. When Chris finished we headed to the river, via the Mouth of Truth, and spent an hour or so wandering along the banks towards the Vatican City.

Opposite the Vatican we headed back towards the main town via the Trevi, where I tossed another coin in (I want to come back afterall).

We met the girls just before 7:00 PM to go for dinner. Everyone was surprised by how small their pasta’s were, forgetting that, in real Italian meals, the pasta isn’t a main course. The dinner was pretty nice though and we had a good chat – these girls were interesting to chat to, lots of interesting opinions on American politics etc!

Chris and I then went on the net to book our trip to the Cinque Terre. We couldn’t work out the trains online, so we just booked accommodation and decided to go to the station the following morning.

We had to check out early on Monday morning then headed back to the station to book tickets to Genova. We then headed back to the Colosseum to meet our tour of the Roman Forum. This was very informative and explained how the Forum served as the governing and market centre for ancient Rome. The tour finished with a walk around the Palentine Hill and the gardens, a great vantage point for a view of the Forum.

From there we walked to the Spanish Steps where we sat for a while and had a rest while taking in the view over the city.  Then it was time to go to St Peters to climb the cupola for sunset.

The walk up the dome was similar to the Duomo in Florence with various different intricate stairways leading to the vantage point at the top.  Here, thanks to Dad’s suggestion, we witnessed the best view in Rome and one of the best sunsets I’ve had on my trip.  The clouds were just right for a long, glowing sunset and my camera got a very good workout!

Having finished photographing the sunset, and having been kicked off the cupola by friendly Vatican guards, we looked inside St Peters for a while before heading back into the main town where we stopped, exhausted, for pizza before going back to the hostel.

On the way back we stopped for a glass of red to kill some time while we waited for our train, then grabbed our bags from the hostel and went to the station for our departure towards the Cinque Terre.

j j j

All Roads Lead to Rome

We arrived in Rome late Thursday afternoon, and it was hot!  We met our local guide for a walking tour of the Colosseum and the Roman Forum then Urban (our Contiki guide) took us to see the Trevi Fountain then to dinner. 

The next day we got up early to try to beat the lines at the Vatican Museum.  I made it to the Sistine Chapel before I had to head off to meet Mum and Dad at Roma Termini (they had just finished a cruise of the Greek Isles with their friends Ruth and Mal).  This was pretty exciting.  It had only been a couple of weeks since they’d seen me off, but it was still very romantic meeting people at Rome’s main station and there were plenty of stories to share. 

They didn’t have long between their trains, so we sat down for lunch and a chat in a cafe at the station.  They loved their cruise and had plenty of photos to inspire me to head there for a trip while I’m in London.  After lunch I walked them to their carriage, then said our goodbyes before they went to Florence. 

I then caught the train to the Colosseum and went inside for a look.  It was very impressive, I thought much more so than from the outside, and I was very glad I headed in.  Looking up at the stadium from the ground level you could almost feel what it would have been like there thousands of years ago.

After the Colosseum I met up with Chris and we chatted for a while in the shade before heading into town for gelati and to visit the Crypt of the Cappuccini Monks, where Monks used human bones to decorate the rooms of the crypt.  Rather macabre, but pretty amazing!

As we were leaving we bumped into Janine and Melanie and all headed to St Peter’s Basilica which I hadn’t seen.  It was very impressive but, unfortunately, we couldn’t climb the dome to watch the sunset so we went to find some dinner. 

We stopped by a little restaurant with a fun waiter and had a nice local meal before wandering back to the Trevi Fountain for some night photos.  Rome by night was good fun, with its many Al Fresco restaurants. I got some great night photos and the fountain all lit up was even more spectacular than by day.

As I am hoping to make it back to Rome, I threw my Monaco Casino token into the fountain (as I had no other coins).  I assume that this will either bring me back to Rome or Monaco, either is good!!!

That night we had a little trouble getting home, as the metro shuts down early, but we made it back eventually.  I then had to say goodbye to all my friends from the other tour before heading to bed pretty tired.

j j j