Europe on a Budget: 4 Countries in 21 days for Less Than Php85k

Aside from how I got a Schengen visa, another question I often get is how much I spent in Europe. While I wouldn’t exactly say Europe is affordable, going to Europe on a budget is definitely not impossible. You just have to know where and when to go.

So, how much do you need?

Here’s an infographic that’ll give you an idea how much you need per day depending on where you want to go. It ranks European cities from 1-56 (cheapest to most expensive) for your convenience.

Infographic by simplyholidaydeals.co.uk reposted in Matador Network and Daily Mail UK
*This is not a sponsored post*
As you can see, Western European cities are twice to thrice more expensive than the Eastern European ones.

Personally, I chose to just concentrate in Central Europe and Italy. I allocated at least €90 per day during the planning stage, but actually spent only about €75 per day on average.

It’s also important to note that I went in October-November, autumn, which is the shoulder season so accommodation prices were lower than if I went in summer.

As for my actual expenses, I religiously logged them using the app, TrabeePocket. No expense was spared – not even the €0.20 I paid for printing.

If you’re not traveling solo then you might want to consider the app, Splittr. It’s perfect for tracking those “Ikaw na muna magbayad.”/abono moments. :p

Again, this is not a sponsored post. I just find the app really useful.

The total amount above is equivalent to almost €1,900 or Php98k+, but that’s because the amounts above include shopping. Yes, I went a little overboard with shopping. Don’t judge me. It was my birthday.

If we take that out of the equation, then here’s a detailed breakdown of my expenses by country and type of expense:
Yes, it’s possible to travel to Europe on a budget!

I traveled for 21 days and went to 4 countries (5, if you include Vatican City), and spent less than Php85,000 (USD1,700)
Exchange rate: 1 = Php54.00

 

LODGING/ACCOMMODATION

I stayed in hostels with female-only dorms since I was traveling solo.

Czech Republic

Austria
Switzerland
Italy
  • Hostel Gallo D’oro, Florence – 4 nights in a 6-bed female dorm with breakfast, all-day snacks, and toiletries. BEST. HOSTEL. EVER. Highly recommended = €130.60 (inclusive of 10% VAT and city tax of €1.50 per night)
  • Freedom Traveller, Rome – 5 nights in a 4-bed female dorm with breakfast of croissant/pastry and coffee = €137.50 (inclusive of 10% VAT and city tax of €3.50 per night)

FOOD

If there’s one thing I won’t scrimp on, it’s food! In fact, my food budget is €30 per day.

I often eat in restaurants and pay more than €10 per meal, but it’s okay because of the hefty serving. Sometimes I’ll only eat half of my lunch then have the other half as takeaway (aka dinner).

NOTE: Restaurants in Italy have something called coperto or cover charge. This is added on top of your total bill. Think of it as a service charge or tip. The coperto varies from place to place. Based from experience, it ranges from €1 to €3. So while you’re there, take advantage of the free WiFi (the password is often written on the menu booklet) and use of WC (toilet). Yes, you have to pay to use the toilet in Europe so always prepare loose change.

If you’re staying in a hostel with self-catering kitchen, then hit the supermarkets or farmers’ market and cook your own food to save some Euros.

Going to Switzerland? You might want to bring your own water bottle because you can drink water from the tap or from fountains.

I remember asking the hostel receptionist in Zurich if they sell bottled water and she said “Oh, you can drink the water from the tap. It’s the best in the world!” Well, good to know that at least drinking water is free in the most expensive city in Europe!

TRANSPORT

I only used public transportation on this trip.

The transpo cost breakdown below are only within the respective countries. For cross-border train costs, please refer to the table above. If you don’t have a tight schedule, you can even take cross-border buses because it’s cheaper than taking the train.

Czech Republic

In Prague, I use the 30-minute (CZK24) and 90-minute (CZK32) single-trip tickets. It can be used in the metro, buses, and trams.

You can buy it from the yellow ticket vending machines in the subway station or from the tabak (tobacco/newspaper) stalls.

Don’t forget to validate your ticket before boarding the train or as soon as you get on the bus.

Austria

I barely used public transpo while in Austria because I often walked.

In Vienna, my only transpo cost was the €2.20 metro ride from Schönbrunn to Westbahnhof. I walked from the hostel to Schönbrunn because the hostel staff said it was just ‘walking distance’. 2 kilometers talaga sya bes eh! -_-

In Salzburg, my hostel was just 600 meters from the station and about a 20-minute walk to the Old Town.

Another transpo cost was the train ride from Vienna to Salzburg for €19.90.

BUDGET TIP: If you’re more flexible with your time, you can get discounted train tickets at certain times of the day e.g. when I checked out from my hostel in Vienna (before 10:00am), I found out from the receptionist that I can get a cheaper train ticket if I take a train that leaves later than 11:00am, but I would have to buy it in advance. So I went to a tabak and bought a ticket for only €19.90 instead of the buy-on-board one that starts at €26.50. Take note that the prices I mentioned are for trains operated by WESTbahn and not OBB. The latter is much more expensive.

Switzerland

I barely spent 24 hours in Zurich. My only transpo cost is the train to Interlaken (CHF69 (€64.17)).

My hostel in Interlaken gave me a stub so I can take the free bus. However, it runs on a 30-minute to an hour interval so I just walked to the train station.

My transpo expense in Interlaken were:

  • CHF22 (€20.46) Interlaken Ost to Grindelwald (RT)
  • CHF7.20 (€6.70) Lauterbrunnen (RT from Zweilüschinen)

Italy

I’ve used both buses and trains extensively in Italy.

In Florence, the public bus is operated by ATAF. A 90-minute ticket costs €1.20.

Rome, on the other hand, has ATAC. A 100-minute integrated ticket costs €1.50. Unlike the ATAF ticket, this one can be used on buses, trams, and the metro.

You can buy the tickets from a tabacchi (tobacco/newspaper stand) or from a biglietti (self-service ticket machine).

I also took a number of Regionale trains for day trips from Florence, and from Florence to Rome:

  • Firenze S.M.N. to Pisa Centrale (RT) – €16.80
  • Firenze S.M.N. to La Spezia Centrale (RT) – €27.00
  • Firenze S.M.N. to Roma Termini – €21.45
  • Roma Termini to Fiumicino Airport – €14.00

NOTE: Always validate your tickets before boarding a train/as soon as you get on the bus in Italy. They impose a hefty fine once caught with an invalid ticket.

SIGHTSEEING/ACTIVITIES

I’m not a museum kind of girl, so I felt like getting a city pass (i.e. Vienna Pass and Roma Pass) would be impractical. I just bought tickets for the sights I wanted to see.

Czech Republic

Prague is a walkable city. I could easily spend hours aimlessly wandering its streets on my own. However, I realized that I know very little about this country so I decided to join one of the ‘free’ walking tours.

I joined NEXT City Tour‘s Prague City Tour and Prague Castle Tour. I highly recommend it because it gives you a deeper appreciation of the country’s past and its culture.

The term ‘free’ is loosely used here as you are expected to give a tip based on how much you think the tour was worth.

Austria

In Vienna, I only went to Schönbrunn Palace (summer residence) and skipped Hofburg (winter residence). I took the Grand Tour (tour of 40 rooms with guide) for €19.40.

In Salzburg, I explored the Old Town on my own, but I joined a Hallstatt Tour with Panorama Tours for €55.00 because I was too lazy to commute. haha

Switzerland

I went to Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen (see transport cost above).

I would have gone to Trummelbach Falls, Jungfraujoch or gone paragliding had the weather been great. Alas! It rained the whole time I was in Switzerland.

Italy

In Florence, I went on day trips to Pisa and Cinque Terre.

I just took pictures of the cathedral and the tower in Pisa. Didn’t want to buy a ticket to go up the tower.

The Cinque Terre 1-Day Pass (€16.00) allows visitors unlimited train travel from La Spezia to Cinque Terre (Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso) to Levanto as well as access to all trekking paths, and WiFi connection at each train stop. Don’t forget to write your name at the back of the card, and to validate it in La Spezia Station before jumping on the train.

Of course I couldn’t miss going inside the Colosseum (€14.00) and the Vatican Museum & Sistine Chapel (€20.00) in Rome! I bought both tickets online because I didn’t want to waste my time falling in line.

MISCELLANEOUS

Miscellaneous expenses includes use of WC (toilet), laundry, printing, tip/gratuity, and postcards.

WC

  • Prague – CZK20
  • Vienna/Salzburg – €0.50
  • Zurich – €2
  • Italy – €0.70-€1

Laundry

  • Prague – CZK 100
  • Vienna – €6.50
  • Interlaken – CHF10
  • Florence – €9

You may have noticed that the Php85k does not include airfare, and that’s because I only bought my tickets after I got the visa – a week before I left. Obviously, it was kinda expensive. I also don’t mind paying more for comfort and convenience. It was a 17-hour flight after all.

If you don’t mind flying long haul with a low-cost airline then be on the lookout for seat sales to Dubai. You just might catch ridiculously cheap fares like we did last year. From Dubai, there are plenty of low-cost airlines that fly to Europe.

However, flying with different airlines mean these are non-protected transfers. If your first flight is delayed and you miss your connection, you’re in big trouble. Additionally, if you have checked-in baggage, it means you’ll need to clear immigration to get it, hence, the need for a transit visa. Alternatively, you can book a baggage transfer service from Marhaba.

If you need more information about traveling to Europe on a budget that I haven’t already mentioned in this post, please leave a comment below.

0 thoughts on “Europe on a Budget: 4 Countries in 21 days for Less Than Php85k

  1. Nice, I love seeing other people’s budgets. I think this is very useful when working out the finances for future trips. Oh have you ever considered using Couchsurfing? I used it a lot when I was a solo traveller, I think it’s a fantastic way to meet people and to save money.

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