Every year Europe is filled with backpackers all cutting their teeth on new countries and adventures that they will always remember so surely they could help me with this. So I googled, and asked people and looked up guide book after guide book trying to answer what I thought was a simple question.
How much does it cost to backpack Europe?
Planning your backpacking trip to Europe is fraught with the usual dilemmas. Choosing your backpack, what places do you visit, will I make friends… and the list goes on. While those questions were easy enough to answer one major sticking point for me was just how much money I’d need to backpack Europe on my first solo trip abroad. I was as green as the grass when it came to travel and backpacking so I wanted to know EVERYTHING.
I knew everyone would travel differently so a basic idea on how much I would spend each day was all the over thinker in me needed to be happy. The answer never came however, and I set off for Europe praying I could afford it. I didn’t want that kind of unknown for people following in the same dreams as me so over my 2 month jaunt around Europe I took notes of my daily expenses and then blogged about them.
Some thirteen countries later I’d created the breakdown on just how much it cost me to backpack Europe over the summer of 2010. For detailed info on each city follow the links below.
- Warsaw & Krakow
To make life easier I’ve also put all the figures together and outlined my expenses for each city in the table below. Comparing each city here as I added up the figures was really interesting and you can see just how prices vary as you circle around Europe.
|City||Days Stay||Transport||Attractions||Accommodation||Food||Misc||Currency||Total||Total $AU||Total $AU Now|
Now that’s the costs for all of my expenses on the road out of the way. The final totals for my trip looks something like this:
|Global Eurail 10 Days over 2 Months||975|
|Global Eurail 10 Days over 2 Months Now||1010|
|Average Daily Cost||105.94|
|Average Daily Cost Now||103.92|
And there you have it. My trip around Europe (minus 5-6 days I spent going crazy along the Amalfi Coast) came in at a total of $5721.09 AUD. I’ve omitted the cost of flights in and out of Europe as that can change on a regular basis, everything else however is in there. To get more detailed breakdowns be sure to follow the city links further up because I document exactly what I spent the money on including entry fees to museums and other sites.
I’ve included today’s currency conversion (as of 17/11/2014) rates just to help people get an idea on what it may cost you to travel now. Prices will have changed in the countries since I left so don’t hold me to it please. I will however love it if you can update me on any or all pricing as you travel so I can keep this information as relevant as possible.
This post is the first time I’ve tallied up the total costs of the trip since finishing it this time last year and honestly I expected it to cost more for some reason. Considering the drinking and the fun I had while seeing so many major cities right across Europe I know now that you could do your trip cheaper and much more expensive. For me it was about enjoying myself so I made sure I never went without (except for the AK47 shooting tour in Riga) and will honestly say it was money well spent.
I can only hope that this information will help to serve others trying to plan for and take their own backpacking trip around Europe. I’ve tried to detail everything I wanted to know as a would be backpacker still planning my trip at home but if I have left something out feel free to ask I don’t bite.
Lastly just remember this information will only ever be a guide because you wont travel Europe like I did. It’s a starting point to base your travels and budget around. It is in no way the holy grail for of backpackers budget guides to Europe.
Estonia and Latvia now trades in Euro’s. From what I have heard the costs have increased slightly so my costs should still be roughly in-line with living costs.
Great review! You definitely did a lot and did a good job of saving money. Spending that amount in Europe for a couple of months is pretty good. Look forward to hearing about Estonia as it was the first country I ever visited! 🙂
Cheers Jeremy. I’ve already blogged about my time in Estonia. Check the link in my sidebar to see all the posts about it
Awesome rundown Chris. Really puts it into perspective financially for people and gives them an ability to plan things out easier.
Thanks Justin. You know as well as I do how cheap and expensive Europe can be. I’d wish I could have had something like this when I was planning my trip to Europe last year to but things into context.
Chris, your breakdown of costs confirms the research I’ve done on backpacking Europe. Although I’ve backpacked for over 3 years I’ve yet to visit Europe. I’ve partly avoided it because of perceived expenses, but I’ve come to realize (although relatively expensive) it’s not bank breaking.
Samuel that was another reason I wanted to get this up for people to see. Europe is expensive but it’s not going to make you sell your first born to see it. To many people just get used to the bargain of SE Asia I think and instantly write off Europe because the price difference between it and Asia is huge compared to say America or Australia.
Hey Chris – I’ve been following your blog as I’m going to travel next year from Australia and you have been very informative and really were the reason i started reading travel blogs. Thanks for this post it’s really helpful, one question would you recommend the eurail pass at nearly $900AUD for travelling, or would a better option be to just play it by ear and try to pick up cheap flights between coutries? I’m planning on travelling with my partner for 5 months through 6-8 countries…..
Cheers Jarratt glad I could be of use. I started the blog to try and make it easier for as aussies to plans their trips as I struggled to find the info I needed.
As for the Eurail pass, I have a post I need to write about it. Best transport for Europe by far is the train or bus as cheap flights need to be booked a month or more in advance and even then the airports are not in the cities so you then travel 30-60min via a train anyway.
If you are under 26 then Eurail works out as a bargain. Over 26 and well I personally think you can pick-up trains along the way cheaper by watching specials etc. I had the over 26 pass and know I could have done it cheaper from looking at my costs.
Thanks for the response, yeah we will both be over 26 and although we will have a rough outline of what we will be doing, it will be very much an open plan that is subject to change as we go. I guess from your response, our best option is going to be to just keep an eye out as we travel for cheap deals to move on from our current country to the next. I guess the only issue for us will be that as we enter one country, we must already have an exit route booked to move on to the next. So as long as we stay at least one country ahead of ourselves, we are best off picking up specials as we go!
Look forward to your blog on the Eurail, and all your other ones as well of course!
I never had to have proof when going from one country to the next. The only time I needed that was when I flew out of Australia. The rest of the time they just checked my passport and that was it.
Fantastic, fantastic resource! As somebody planning their own European/South American/African backpacking journey for 2012 – it’s good to have some hard data to refer to. Having read a lot of your travels, it’s good to know that you got to have all of that fun (and eat all of that delicious food) without spending a small fortune.
Thanks Chris. It’s all just data and everybody will travel differently but at least people can read about what I did in Europe and now see how much it cost and draw their own conclusions about if its doable or not for them.
I especially like the then-and-now comparison and it’s great to see the overall trip after checking out many of the city posts as you published them. And it’s important not to completely do without, even if it costs more along the way…you gotta have fun too or what’s the point?
Exactly Heather. What’s the point in travelling if you aren’t going to enjoy yourself while you do it.
Such a complete breakdown Chris – really useful. The ‘then and now’ is good too, just to show the difference the exchange rate can make. Looks like you’ve ‘done’ Europe pretty thoroughly!
Thanks Liv. The then and now bit is open to interpretation because prices can change in the countries but it does give people an idea on just how good the exchange rate is at the moment. I wish I was bringing the aussie dollar to Europe now.
great review…definately wl use this as my reference for my next trip to Europe..thanks for posting it
This is such a wonderful and informative series! Great job and thank you! I feel like people always want to know how much Europe will cost them and then just drop the subject because it is so hard to find information. I know some of my friends from college always talk about how badly they want to go to Europe but then just write it off because they think it is too expensive. Obviously, you have made it clear that Europe can be affordable.
Did you keep all your receipts in a shoe box in your backpack? I’ve been travelling 4 months non-stop now, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to keep track of expenses 🙂
The best I can do is look at my credit card history… which I am really trying to avoid.
Thanks for the info though. Europe can be done even cheaper I’ve learned. It all depends on how “budget” the traveller is. As you know, there is Tripping, CouchSurfing, and HitchHiking. I even met a guy who went DumpsterDiving.
Man, my girlfriend and I have been traveling for 4 months in Europe, and with airfare included, we have spent 1500 dollars. Between us.
I wish I had your budget:)
How?! That’s incredible! Must say I am impressed!
We just got back from a two week backpacking vacation in Europe and it cost us well over 3000 dollars. And I thought we were being frugal!
totally making my all hyped! me and my husband is aiming to backpack europe hopefully 2012! and this is overwhelmingly helpful already! thanks for the great post! i can really hug you now! 🙂
Hi Josephine, glad you found it useful and feel free to ask me any questions you like as I’m still in Europe travelling around.
can’t say that’s unreasonable, I read another blog somewhere someone said they did about $6.5-$7k in 3-4 months so it seems to me that is realistic what I am not seeing is this:
You are obviously from Australia using AUD so my question is this do you end up using more AUD because of the Euro to AUD exchange value? What I am trying to say is this:
As I understand it, if I were to spend $1k USD that is almost 700 Euros, if it costs me 1,000 Euros I need to spend at least $1,400USD and that is A LOT of money (who said Europe is cheap??? Heck no!); I did an exchange rate comparison against the AUD and while the AUD retains more value than the USD you have to almost double your money to achieve the amount mentioned in Euros.
My only worry is that since the Euro is almost twice the cost, how the heck do you NOT run out?
Hi Sharon. I’m not sure I understand you 100%. I calculated all of my costs on a case by case basis because of the different currencies when I travelled europe 12 months ago which accounts for the then and now prices.
As a large percentage of the countries I visited do not use the Euro were you doing a conversion for those countries as well to euro first? Each currency is listed above in the table if it helps.
The totals for my trip in Euros worked out on the leaving for europe now cost would be 3705 or 5336 USD. Hope that makes things a bit clearer for you.
ah right I did forget that you had other currencies to contend with, I was just using the base numbers of course in Euros which is not acurate but if it had been then 5700 in Euros would be a lot more than what meets the eye in your own home currency.
What I’m saying is I can see how easy it would be to forget that while you are paying in Euros you are actually paying a little more in your home/native currency. So if you only budget let’s say $3,000USD per month you might be shortchanging yourself here and there because what you get in Euros for $3k USD will be significantly less.
haha Shannon yes if you just added up the base numbers that would be huge.
I worked out it was about 70 euro to 100 australian dollars at the time I travelled so I just kept to that. It was hard in some countries that didn’t use the euro as the calculations were 10 AUD for 10,000 whatever its called 🙂
You have to remember that even though the Euro is worth more than the AUD,
you get more for your Euro.
eg. coffee in Greece 1euro
coffee in Aus 3 to 5 dollars
Great review mate, 100$AU/day seems like a reasonable estimate if you’re not fasting.
Speaking as a Couchsurfer, and just to make sure readers aren’t scared away from our gorgeous continent: it is possible to travel around Europe on a shoestring, really.
I know Russian hitchhikers taking 50 euros in their purse and returning home a month later, for sure a bit skinnier but satisfied because they saw the slanted tower of Pisa, the Eiffel Tower, the Big Ben, and alpine flora. Seriously, there is a Europe for every budget, hitchhiking is generally safe, couchsurfing communities in cities like Berlin, Amsterdam, Munich, Paris, London, Lisbon, Barcelona are awesome, if you don’t care about the environment cheap flights are plenty, if you want you can stuff your backpack with wholewheat sandwiches or sleep under the stars. Apart from that, German supermarket Aldi is possibly the cheapest in the world. Also some great ride-sharing websites like mitfahr-gelegenheit.de and very competitive buses (euroline 5 day pass).
I’m following on twitter 🙂
camilo the “kindman”
wow what a great post, so informative. thank you!
OK, I’ve been back to this post a few times now… and this time it’s because I want to get serious about setting a budget for a future trip to Europe… I think is fantastic as a point of reference. I’ll want to try and go cheaper, but I now know what I can cut out to do that. Cheers!
This is a great post, I’ll definitely be referencing it when planning my 4-5 month trip to Europe for next summer/fall… Really enjoying the blog as a whole, keep up the great writing!
Sounds fairly spot on to me. Just spent a while over in Europe too, and whilst you can easily spend a lot more, if you do it right and plan ahead you can do it from under $100/day for sure!
A mate and I who just got back have actually written a bit in our own blog, along with all sorts of other things “adventure” oriented. Please feel free to check it out.
Great info, thanks for sharing! There’s definitely a huge variation in prices across most of Europe and it looks like your spending reflects that. Did you find that some of the prices in Eastern Europe were more expensive than you originally thought? We’ve noticed a big increase in prices over the last five years or so, and I’m wondering how this has affected tourism and travelers.
I’ll be travelling through Europe next year so this has been a huge help. It’s a relief to see that your costings are similar to what I’ve budgeted.
Mate you are a legend. I was so pumped at finding this website. Great insight for Aussies, especially ones travelling to europe in feb to backpack! im planning on six months so i suppose im looking at 15-20 grand or so which is what i planned for. Keep up the good work mate
This is great! You know, I was googling this just the other day but for the life of me I couldn’t find anything like this. I wont be backpacking as such (my other half is English and we’ll be basing ourselves in the UK with friends/family) but this is a great start – so thank you!!
Hi Kate, gald you found it useful. Way back before I started travelling this was something I wish existed so that was the driving force behind creating the resource.
Hi Aussie Nomad and thanks for a really helpful post! I’m hoping to take a year off but I’m not sure I can afford Europe for that long – do you know if it is possible/easy to pick up casual or seasonal work in Europe these days? I do have an EU passport but I know there is the financial crisis going on… Got any advice for me?
Thanks for a very handy breakdown of your travel costs. I spent a few months in Europe way back in 1999. I’m planning a return trip in 2013. After having spent the last few years exploring South East Asia for my holidays I think the cost in Europe are going to come as a bit of a shock. I better start saving.
Europe is a great place to travel and I have done so extensively over the past 35 years. Looking ahead consider giving the West Coast of Canada a look. It has some of the nicest scenery in the world combined with hospital people. Vancouver Island has been regularly rated by Conde Nast as one of the top islands in North America
Mate, thank you for this blog. I’ve been aching for a Euro trip for years, but haven’t had the time, with university being really full on. This blog really has me revved up, as I graduate at the end of next year.
Do you have any advice for a WINTER trip? Sadly the only time I can travel is Jan and Feb 2013. I am spending Christmas and New Years in NYC, and will be flying directly to London from there.
I was planning on a 6-8 week trip, and was hoping to keep my costs down to about $8000 (excluding flights). Thanks for the info!
Ryan I’ve not travelled much during the winter to be honest. Last year London was rather cold so I chose to stay inside and where it was warm 🙂 This year am looking to try and make it to at least Belgium or France for part of that to see Europe in the snow.
Guess you have to work out what you want to see, do you ski etc and then pick places that fit with that.
I went to Europe during December and January and loved it. The positives are that once you have you Eurail pass, you don’t need to worry about booking trains – just jump on and you’re guaranteed a seat (excluding the days surrounding Christmas). The cold wasn’t a problem – everywhere has heating – and I may have been lucky to experience hardly any rainy days. We booked a great deal in Innsbruck for a hotel with meals and the train up to the ski slopes and lift pass so just keep an eye out and book around any ski trips. Also you get a chance to spend the big holidays overseas – I spent Xmas browsing markets and ice skating in Berlin and nye was spent lighting fireworks in Prague and drinking cheap beer. I budgeted $1000/week excluding flights and the train pass but this was when €1 = $.60 aud and I still came under budget.
holy fucking shit balls this is just what i needed. so so great mate thanks heaps
Thank you very much for great post.
It will for sure help me to figure out money to backpack in Europe.
Just came across your blog mate, this being the first post that I’ve read thus far. I must say, I am really looking forward to exploring the rest of the posts on your site! Your information here will go towards the planning I have for my trip to Europe at the end of 2012! Thanks again, and safe travels!
erm im a totally broke 21 year old girl and i really wana travel europe before i get to old. i jus dont kno how to go bou it
I’m a painter and I love traveling places..this august I gotta backpack for Paris and this blog is great to begin with…Thanks to The Aussie Nomad 😀
I’ll look out for more infos.
This is a great tool for anyone who wants to backpack Europe!
I’m gonna go Paris to stay & work, travel comes along. I need guidance to find an accommodation for couple of weeks maybe more …paying guest or girl’s hostel preferably.
This article is a great starting point for me, thank you!
Amazing. Is that all of the cost? I couldn’t believe it’s kind of less than expected. How did you manage to save some expenses? I you’d provide some alternatives so you’d be able to save while traveling.
This is so helpful! I’m planning a 60 day trip through Europe and was having a lot of trouble solidifying my budget. It looks like our exchange rates are similar, as are our itineraries.
Thanks for being so thorough! Really, very helpful.
Great article mate. People don’t realize how cheap backpacking can be. Nice work with the breakdowns
thats pretty insane u kept it that cheap… i’ve never been to europe but we want to go backpacking for 17 days and we’ve calculated it to be out to 5,000 USD at LEAST… London – Amsterdam – Paris – Lisbon – Lagos – Seville – Barcelona – Ibiza. we’re also going in the most peak times of the summer july 27 to aug 12… im from California but a couple of my friends already have been to Europe or are from there. i hope we’re OVER estimating our expenses…
to be honest, USD 5000 for 17 days is insane. Are you staying at hotels?
Great info you provided about the costs involved with Europe. I’ve done it many times myself and now run my own website with the emphasis on making travel cheaper for the backpacker.
Would love your input and any ideas yourself or readers might have.
I leave it up to you to publish the details of my website as I don’t want to be known as a spammer.
Once again great info… cheers The Baldman
Im actually surprised by how much you spent, especially in prague!
Izy, I travelled for me and wasn’t looking to save as much as possible or spend a fortune, just enjoy what I was doing and not worry about money. I took tours (one in Prague) that increased my cost and also drank well in many places which could have been reduced.
This isn’t by any means a definitive guide just one guys experience to help others who have never travelled find a middle ground of sorts.