Cost of Traveling Europe For a Month: Part 1 of 2

Since we moved to Thailand almost 2 years ago (this month actually!), we forever find ourselves comparing everywhere we go to Thailand, especially when it comes to prices. We have been completely spoiled seeing how far our dollar can go and it’s hard to get out of that mindset. So when we made the spontaneous decision to travel Europe last summer, we experienced a severe case of sticker shock. We knew Europe was going to be expensive, but we weren’t prepared for the drastic difference and, unfortunately, we let it put a damper on our travels pinching pennies and bickering over what we would/wouldn’t spend money on. We were also in a much different place financially as our affiliate sites weren’t where we thought they would be.

lake bohinj slovenia

Fast forward a year and we made the decision to go back to Europe, this time for 3 months instead of 3 weeks. The difference? This time, not only were we better prepared mentally, but we were in a better place financially. In addition to that, we’ve been introduced to the wonderful world of house sitting and hoped to get some assignments through Europe that would allow us to save some money along the way.

And that brings us to today. As you know, right before we left the US for Europe we accepted a house sit in the beautiful French Alps for the first 2 weeks of our trip. This was a fantastic opportunity for us to see a part of France we probably wouldn’t have seen otherwise and we had a free place to stay in exchange for taking care of 3 of the cutest Springer Spaniels. We had to rent a car to be able to get around there, so we made the decision to rent the car for a full month and do a 2 week road trip after we left. Luckily, Charlie just about perfected his 5-speed skills by the time we left the house sit (they were pretty sketchy in the beginning), and he got us safely to Lake Como in Italy after paying $100 in tolls in just 3 hours of driving. We stayed there 2 nights and I wish so badly we had spent all of our Italy-allotted time there. However, we continued on with a quick stopover for the night in Verona to see the famous balcony of the Juliet, and then onto the overpopulated little island of Venice. Two nights was two too many so off to Slovenia we went. The vibe changed the minute we crossed the border. We loved everything about Slovenia. We spent 5 nights in a cute little apartment in the lovely capital of Ljubljana and we didn’t want to leave. But fortunately, we had already arranged another 2 week house sit in Munich, our favorite city from our travels in Europe last summer, so we headed towards Germany with a quick stopover in the beautiful Salzburg. I couldn’t talk Charlie into doing the Sound of Music tour, but I still managed to drag him to plenty of filming spots (keep an eye out for the YouTube video and see if you can spot them!).

summer in lake annecy

I am currently hanging out with 4 cats in Munich adding up all of the expenses I’ve been diligently tracking since we landed in Frankfurt a month ago. I’ve tracked every euro we’ve spent and I’ve categorized them to see exactly where our money has been going. And to be honest, we are shocked at how much we’ve actually spent! Even after having free accommodations while house sitting for half of the month and eating a large majority of our meals at home, we still managed to spend at least 3 x what we would have spent in a month in Thailand. But at the same time, we’ve seen some insanely beautiful places and shared some amazing experiences across 5 countries and I’m not sure that’s something you can put a price on. Even still, everyone wants to know…how much does it cost to travel? Here’s the breakdown of how much it cost us to travel 5 countries in Europe for one month…

Total Monthly Expenses: $3838 USD

Accommodation $1387
Transportation $1240
Restaurants $613
Groceries $394
Coffee/Ice cream/Beer $71
Medical/Pharmacy $13
Misc (Entertainment, Park Entrance) $120

*If viewing on a mobile, flip your device horizontally to view full pricing table

Accommodations: Our accommodation costs covered 16 nights total and averaged $100/night in Italy and France as we stayed in hotel rooms close to the city center with free parking, Wifi and air conditioning. In Slovenia, we used Airbnb and averaged $55/night a few miles outside of the city center but were equipped with air conditioning, washer, Wifi, and full kitchen. Also, its worth noting we only actually paid $79 for our Airbnb stay in Slovenia thanks to credit we’d saved up from our readers signing up to Airbnb through our referral link, so a BIG THANK YOU to to all of our readers that continue to support us! (If you are interested in signing up for Airbnb and would like to help us out, use our referral link to send us $20 and you will also earn $35!)

Venice, Italy

Transportation: The bulk of this was the cost of our 5-speed Peugeot for the month at $552, followed by $311 in fuel, and $195 in tolls and vignettes (Austria and Slovenia required vignettes in place of tolls, although Austria still throws in a few sporadic tolls). I will never complain about the cost of tolls in America again! The remaining fees include public transportation we would use once we were in a city, such as buses, trains and ferries, as well as parking fees (and there is always a parking fee in Europe).

Restaurants: This includes eating at any restaurant, cafe, bakery, or fast food. We tried to refrain from eating out and opted for picnics or cooked at home as much as possible, but we still managed to rack up a hefty bill at restaurants.

Groceries: We did a lot of grocery shopping, especially in France. When we were house sitting, we were averaging about $40 for two days. We also found the grocery stores had great pre-made pasta dishes, salads and sandwiches that were great for picnics so a lot of our meals came from the supermarket even if we weren’t cooking.

varenna italy gelato

Coffee/Ice cream/Beer: I made a separate category for this. So many times a day we would make pit stops for just coffee (me) and beer (Charlie) or other times, ice cream, because that’s what everyone in Europe does!

Misc: This includes pretty much anything and everything else, such as our entertainment, park admission fees and tours. The bulk of our cost, however, includes Charlie’s night at the casino in Aix les Baines. He didn’t come out ahead of the game as planned…oops!

When we settled into our current house sit in Munich, we returned the car and are now getting around by foot. After we leave here we will be heading to Prague for two weeks. I’m anxious to see what the next month of expenses looks like not having our own transportation and not moving around so much.

Check out Cost of Traveling Europe for a Month: Part 2 of 2


Commenting area

  1. Great article, a very expensive months travel but a nice time I am sure…..Thanks for the link to airbnb, looks like money is coming your way…..

    regards, fileeep!

  2. I have been living/traveling in Asia for 5 years now and every time I return to North America to visit family or travel in Europe, I think I spend the first two days horrified by how expensive every meal is. Even in pricey Singapore, you can get amazing food for $5!

    • Charlie and Brittany September 18, 2015 at 1:41 pm · · Reply

      We feel the same way!! We haven’t made it to Singapore yet, but good to know you can still eat on a budget there! 🙂

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