How Much Should You Budget for a 3-Week Trip to Europe?
Do you fantasize about wandering Italy's charming boulevards, tasting Rome's exquisite gelato, or losing yourself in Berlin's electric nightlife? If a European getaway is on your horizon, you're likely pondering the essential question: What budget is necessary for a three-week adventure across Europe?
Firstly, Let’s Talk About Transportation
Your major expenditure will be transportation. Intercontinental flights from the US to Europe can range from $600 to over $1,300 depending on the season, point of origin, and how far in advance you book. Continental flights will cost cheaper but again, it will depend on the season, and other factors. Once in Europe, consider regional low-cost airlines, trains, or buses for intercity travel. Moreover, if you plan to visit several countries, check every option a few months in advance. From my experience, I can assure you that bus tickets can increase slightly but not so much as train or flight tickets. If you need more ideas about budgeting transportation - check our previous blog post How To Afford To Travel.
Moving within cities via public transport, taxis, or ride-sharing services can add up. Budget around $150 to $300 for local travel. Miscellaneous expenses like phone data plans or laundry services should also be factored in, say another $100.
Accommodation costs can vary wildly. Hostels, budget hotels, luxury hotels, and Airbnb offer different experiences at different prices. Assuming a blend of these options, a nightly stay could average $50 to $210. For 21 nights, this totals approximately $1,050 to $4,410.
Naturally, living in hostels may not be for everyone, but it’s the cheapest option. If you want to find a better hotel but at the lowest price - I recommend you check the RatePunk browser extension. It’s free to use (unless you want to have a RatePunk membership and have access to RatePunk hotel deals - this way, a yearly subscription costs $11.88), and it is easy to navigate. The tool has many useful features: price tracking, rebooking, highlighting the hotel’s most mentioned words from reviews, showing safety index, wifi & hotel quality, shows the lowest price providers, etc.
If you've got Europe in your travel plans, be sure to know these must-have travel apps. They're designed to maximize your time, minimize your expenses, and have the best travel experience.
Meals || The Flavor of Europe
Food is both a necessity and part of the cultural experience. From $15 a day for budget-conscious, supermarket-sourced meals to $60 a day indulging in modest restaurants, your food budget could range from $315 to $1,050.
Attractions and entertainment will add to your costs. Museums, guided tours, and experiences can cost about $10 to $30 each. Allocating $300 for attractions seems prudent. Of course, it depends on your age: if you are less than 26 years old, many museums, galleries, and attractions are free in Paris. The same goes for other cities, but you must check it before traveling.
Unforeseen Splurges and Spontaneity
It's Europe; there will be temptations. From a spontaneous gondola ride in Venice to that irresistible French perfume or wine tasting, setting aside an additional $200 to $400 gives you the freedom to indulge. Moreover, sometimes you can arrange tours and do some sightseeing independently. Yes, you can, but after visiting Porto, I understood that sometimes there are better options than this one. Sometimes, paying more for guided tours is a way better investment than doing everything yourself, spending slightly less but missing opportunities to visit hidden places or experience local activities.
Putting It All Together
A well-planned budget for a three-week trip to Europe should range between $2,500 and $6,000. This is a ballpark figure and having a buffer is wise. Factors such as personal travel style, destinations chosen, and current exchange rates will greatly affect the final total. Planning and early booking are crucial in getting the best deals.
To ensure your trip is both memorable and financially manageable, start saving early, monitor travel deals, and set a daily budget. Remember, Europe is not going anywhere, so if costs seem daunting, consider a shorter trip or visiting fewer destinations. After all, it's about the quality of your experiences, not just the quantity of stamps in your passport.