Updated: Dec 7, 2018
So you're thinking of traveling to Europe soon? Great!
I'm sure the great question is on your mind, "How much will it cost?" On my first solo trip "Delhi Via-Agra" I learned how to budget out and plan a trip. It came in handy when my friend and I decided to visit Europe in October 2018. On the trip, I made notes to help me come to a ballpark figure on how much you might spend.
Pre Trip Expenses
Visa - ₹7500 / €90 - Depending on how you choose to get a visa (On your own or a visa agent) you will spend an upwards of ₹7500 / €90. If you try to take help from an agent you might spend close to ₹12,000 / €150 which includes their service fees. If you ask me just log on to a VFS Global website and depending on your country of maximum stay, visit that sub-website and you can apply for yourself and save money to splurge on ground. My 12 day plan had the most days in Germany (4 days) so I visited the vfs-germany website filled out my application form online and followed the checklist on the website of German Embassy to ensure that I had all applicable documents and later booked an appointment on the vfs-germany website.
Airfare - ₹38000 / €445 - Fortunately, it's safe to say that you can still book roundtrip flights from europe in about €500, if planned well in advance. I booked my Mumbai - Zurich and Copenhagen - Mumbai flight about 75 days before my actual travel date. You can always find the best time and deals on skyscanner.
Travel Insurance - ₹900 / €10 - Applying for a schengen visa requires you to have a travel insurance with minimum coverage of $50,000. A list of acceptable travel insurance providers will be available on the embassy website of your choice.
Day To Day Travel Expenses
The main cost of any trip are the daily expenses that you bear which include, accommodation, food, public transport, sight-seeing and some overhead costs.
If you're up for living frugal, you can spend as less as €30 per night on accomodation in western Europe. At this cost you can travel comfortably and still have plenty to spend on food and tourist attractions, without having to sacrifice too-much.
Hostels are the best way to meet like-minded travelers, start talking to your bunk or room mates and you'll already know the best places to eat, visit and the places to avoid. Traditionally cheap and with the most basic necessities - bed, bathroom, locker (and sometimes breakfast included)
Check out these popular European cities and the least you will pay per night for a dorm bed.
Paris - €20
Amsterdam - €25
Prague - €5
Zurich - €35
Copenhagen - €15
Hostelworld.com offers the best deals for accommodation on hostels and you can book your stay by paying a minimum fee which can also be refundable if you choose the option. It's a great way to build your itinerary for your visa application and also if your plan changes when you are on ground.
If you ask me, this is the tricky part when travelling to Europe, its full of cheap and shoddy hotels. In Paris, just because a room is closer to the Eiffel Tower but is almost 12x12 ft small would cost you about €30, without a view from the window, that's just not worth it. Check for reviews and traveler photos on tripadvisor.com before you make a payment.
A popular and free way to travel throughout Europe. It's difficult to find hosts sometimes even on Couchsurfing.com and you might not get all your accommodation needs fulfilled.
Visit A Friend
Better than couch-surfing, visiting your friends is a good choice and if they can host you for a few nights, nothing can get better than that. In worst case scenarios, try to find at least a 2nd level connection who you can visit, maybe for a day.
FOOD & DRINK
Food and beverages can kill your daily budget especially if you are on a limited budget. When a small bottle of water costs €3, you might even reconsider staying hydrated! (No kidding, you need to stay hydrated, don't try to crunch there!) A good meal for 1 person is no less than €7-10. So overall per person you need atleast €25-30 or more, depending on your tastes and standards.
Per meal be prepared to spend on cheap/take-away restaurants - €7-10 and at decent cafes or it down restaurants - €10-20
ATTRACTIONS & SIGHTSEEING
Europe is fascinating for its art and museums. While the fees are usually not to high but they do add up to the daily spends. To not miss out and see most of the attractions budget out about €20-30. Below is a list of admissions prices at some popular attractions in Europe so you can get a feel for how much things cost:
Louvre Museum – Paris: €15
Anne Frank House - Amsterdam: €10
Van Gogh Museum – Amsterdam: €17
European public transport is one of the finest there is, with most cities having a single card/ticket for multiple modes of transport - Tram, Bus, Metro, etc. You might end up buying a high-priced city ticket that is bundled up with many tourist attractions. (Honestly, you will never make it to all of them.) Instead, do your research contact your accommodation, see if they can suggest you cheaper options. Some cities have the option to buy tickets that stay valid for as little as 6 hours.ALCOHOL
You are surrounded by good wine and beer, it would be hard to resit the temptation most of the time especially when traveling on a budget. The best way to buy cheap alcohol is to get it at a grocery store. It's a good way to pre-drink with your hostel mates and then head to a club.
Prague - A can of beer is about €2 at a supermarket.
Amsterdam - A big glass of beer is about €4
If you don't cover too many cities together you will save a lot of money, which can be used to explore the cities that you will visit. Travelling through Europe is smooth too, with Trains & Bus Services across different countries, it's no biggie. visit GoEuro to find the best way to travel between your locations. Remember, the less location you visit, the less you will spend.
You might need a few extra euros somewhere along the way, always carry about 1 or 2 days of extra budget. You never know, if you'd miss a train or bus or decide to take an excursion from the city you didn't plan on.
This is just a small part of my experience while travelling my Europe Trip. Which was intended to be Zurich → Konstanz → Giengen → Frankfurt → Paris → Amsterdam → Copenhagen
Well it didn't go quite as planned...