Honey, I’m home! Europe was awesome. I had an amazing time and was in no way ready to come home yet. But, alas, the real world.
While abroad, I used a free travel spending tracker app called TrabeePocket which I highly recommend. I was able to track each city separately, state the currency they use plus the exchange rate to CDN, and include my budget so I knew how much I had left to spend on each leg of the trip.
Things to note about our budget:
– For the purpose of this post, I’m going to list my costs in Canadian dollars and per person. At the time of travel, the exchange was $1.50 CDN = 1 Euro and $1 CDN = 5 Danish Krone.
– I’d consider this to be a mid-range budget considering our accommodations, how we traveled, and what we did while in country. You could easily spend less by staying in hostels, taking trains or buses, and making your own meals.
Airfare – $1,330
International flight (YYZ – AMS, roundtrip): $830
Domestic flights: $500
Our domestic flights included flying from Amsterdam > Copenhagen > Munich > Berlin, then back to Amsterdam to catch our flight back to Toronto. The in-country flights were pretty cheap and with only two weeks there, we wanted to maximize our time and decided against taking the train or bus.
Accommodations – $892
We stayed in Airbnbs and budgeted $100/day, which meant searching for rentals in the $80 range because of the additional service and cleaning fee that’s added to each booking.
Finding a place in Munich during Oktoberfest was a challenge. Many Airbnbs had increased their rates during the festival or were already booked up despite us searching 7 months out. It took a while to find a place to stay but we stuck to our guns and budget, finally securing a place that was only a 2 minute walk to the metro.
Copenhagen was also pricey but we found a new listing that was priced lower than average. It’s a pricing strategy some hosts use when they don’t have a lot of reviews that can back up their property and attract potential guests. The apartment was really nice and I had a good feeling from the host during our communication so we booked. We had a great stay there so it worked out!
Our total of $1,784 for 2 people for 14 nights came over budget but much cheaper than if we had stayed in hotels. For two people to split the cost of accommodations, it just made sense for us to go the Airbnb route than hostels. It costs more but you also get more privacy and comfort that as a couple we just prefer to have.
Insurance – $155
Whenever I travel, I always get a comprehensive insurance plan that covers all the standard stuff, plus trip cancellation, delay or interruption. I sourced some quotes online and found the cheapest one to be from PC Financial. Sites like LowestRates.ca can do all the legwork for you by sourcing quotes from a variety of insurance companies so you can get the best deal possible.
Food and Drinks – $1,021.13
Andrew and I went dutch for almost everything and splitting our bills made tracking our spending much, much easier.
I couldn’t decide between two restaurants to take Andrew to for his birthday so we did the illogical thing and went to both – one on his birthday (which I treated him to) and the other one on the last day of our trip (which we went dutch on). These two dinners alone make up 1/4 of our food spending so it does skew our total food budget.
If I take out our two expensive dinners, we averaged about $55/day per person for food and drinks (both of the alcohol and non-alcohol variety). We purchased snacks to have on hand and made a few meals ourselves, but the majority of our food came from takeout places and restaurants because we were constantly on the go! We ate at home when we could but most days we would be out and wouldn’t come back home until late. We had a loose itinerary for each day of our trip and knew where we were going to be most days, so I did some research on affordable places for food in the area. This really helped offset our food budget.
A note about tipping – you generally leave the change from your bill, round up to the nearest 5, or leave 10% for really, really good service. The prices on the menu also includes VAT so the prices listed on the menu is close to what you’d expect to pay on your final bill.
We saved a ton of money on alcohol via drinking in public, which no one will really bug you about there if you’re not bugging anyone else. We’d enjoy a beer or glass of wine with dinner but for a casual drink, we would stock up on cold beer at the local grocery store and find a nice spot to plant down and enjoy our beverages. The exception was at Oktoberfest where you had to buy beer there, which came out to $15 a stein.
Attractions – $170.50
We went to plenty of museums and attractions and fortunately half of them were free. The ones we did pay for were the Van Gogh Museum, Anne Frank House, Neuschwanstein Castle, Dachau Concentration Camp tour, and Those Dam Boat Guys canal tour. We did a free walking tour in Copenhagen and Berlin and tipped the guides $15-$20 each. We also spent about $20 on rides and carnival games at Oktoberfest.
Transportation – $303.18
We rented bikes in Amsterdam and Copenhagen but purchased day passes in Berlin and Munich. I really enjoyed cycling around but it really starts to take a toll when you’ve been biking all day for a week straight. We took a break in Berlin and Munich and took public transportation to get around. It especially made sense in Munich since we took two day trips while there.
Most day passes were $10-$15 but multi-day ones are generally cheaper. Single fares cost almost half the price of a day pass and since we were travelling around so much, a day pass was much more cost efficient.
We didn’t take any taxis and used public transportation to get to and from the airport. Some cities required us to pay for a train from the airport and then purchase a separate fare for local transport. Other cities combined them and you just had to pay extra as the airport zones are usually further.
Shopping and miscellaneous – $338.53
I don’t usually do much shopping while abroad but the weather was much cooler than I had anticipated and had to buy some fall-appropriate items, including a jacket. We went to a laundromat twice to wash our clothes — it cost us $7 to wash and dry one load in Berlin but $20 in Copenhagen. $20! They weren’t lying when they said it was an expensive city.
We do like to pick up something for our families when we travel, usually in the form of food. We found a nice cheese shop in Amsterdam and bought a few bricks of cheese to bring back, including two bricks for ourselves. We picked up a few other gifts on the way and stocked up on liquor at the duty-free shop en route home.
|Food and Drinks||$1,021.13|
|Shopping and misc.||$338.53|
On an original budget of $4,400, I came under by $189.66.
I’ve done Europe on the cheap in Italy in 2008 and I still look back on my trip wondering why I spent so many nights eating bread and prosciutto for dinner or why I passed up on a world-famous museum because it wasn’t free. I knew that wasn’t the experience I wanted to have again so we did a lot of research for our trip this year, figured out what we wanted to do and what it would cost, and added some extra padding for incidentals. We had a great time, did everything on our to-see list, ate amazing food, and still came under budget.
How do you budget for your travels? What did you budget for your Eurotrip?