Backpacking Europe: Budget Tips for Managing and Saving Money – Part 2

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Enjoying one glass of wine (versus eating an entire dinner) with a nice view is one way to save money on a trip. 

There are some things that just can’t be missed, and a good glass of wine on a rooftop bar watching the sun set over the Red Light District is one of those things for me. The last post on budgeting was geared toward determining what is important to you in a trip. This post outlines a daily and weekly budget so that you can enjoy the things that are important to you while making sacrifices on the others.

First, let’s determine the most common trip expenses. Plus, I’ve included a recommended budget PER DAY. This is what I followed on my three-month backpacking trip in Europe.

Accommodations ($20 – $35 per person, per night = $27.50 on average)

Meals ($50 on average)

  • Breakfast: $10
  • Lunch: $15
  • Dinner: $25

Most hostels provided a complimentary breakfast, so roll the allocated $10 for breakfast to the dinner fund.

Entertainment ($15 on average)

  • Walking/bike tours
  • Admission costs (museums, castles, shows, etc.)
  • Museums

Some days it will be significantly more, some days comfortably less, and other days you won’t spend a dime on entertainment.

Transportation ($5 on average)

  • Metro/Subway
  • Bus
  • Tram

This doesn’t include city-to-city transportation on travel days, as those travel expenses will certainly exceed $5. However, on travel days, you will spend less money on entertainment and meals, so at the end of the day, you likely won’t go over your daily budget.

Miscellaneous Items ($2.50 on average)

  • Toiletries
  • Stamps
  • Souvenirs

Daily Travel Budget

Now, it’s important to remember that a budget is simply a guide. I recommend thinking about your travel budget in one-week increments versus one day. A $2.50 miscellaneous budget is low for a day … I mean, what kind of toiletries can you really purchase for $2.50? Instead, look at it this way: $17.50 misc for the week, $35 transportation for the week, $105 entertainment for the week … Seems more reasonable now, doesn’t it?

If you are working off the $100-a-day budget recommendation, you have $700 to spend each week. There are days that you might spend $15 on toiletries and even more than the allocated budget on dinner, so you will just make up for it later in the week by cutting back on pricier dinners and entertainment. Instead of stressing, simply cut back on spending the next day. And at the end of the week, be sure you didn’t exceed your $700 budget.

Keeping track of travel expenses

Download the TrailWallet app, which allows you to track and categorize your travel expenses.

Next up

Now that you have a set daily and weekly travel budget, it’s time to learn ways to cut unnecessary expenses. In the next post, you’ll also learn strategies for saving money to travel (before your trip!).

Or check out these other travel guides to Europe and travel planning tips:

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