Have you ever wondered how much does it cost to go to Europe? The good news is that regardless of what your budget is, you can have an epic trip in Europe as long as you manage your expectations.
Yes, the country can be done cheaply if you’re staying in hostels and slow travelling, but that only appeals to a certain demographic. If you’re planning a trip to Europe, you’re better off using average costs as an estimate to help you plan your trip.
If this is your first time heading to Europe, I don’t recommend visiting more than three cities/countries. Sure, go ahead and take day trips, but you want to limit the time you spend on planes and trains.
My budget below is based on average costs for a two week trip which is a good amount of time. It likely won’t be enough to see everything on your list, so just choose the destinations that appeal to you most and save the rest for your next trip.
Europe trip cost for 2 weeks
|Food & drink||$560|
The above estimate is in American dollars. Please use xe.com to find out the average costs in your home currency.
Let’s be clear. It’s impossible for me to answer how much does it cost to go to Europe? There are just too many variables. To be honest, I’ve never spent the above “average” cost during any of my trips to Europe. It’s really not that difficult to save money while in Europe, but I wanted to give you some numbers so you don’t underestimate your trip costs. My estimates are based on a single traveller. If you’re travelling as a pair, double all the costs except for your accommodations.
Doing Europe for much cheaper is possible, but I don’t recommend it. One of my biggest regrets is not spending more on travel. Can you believe I didn’t try tapas when I was Barcelona? I was so focused on spending as little as possible that I didn’t think about the experiences.
That said, finding cheaper accommodations so you can spend more on food and experiences is definitely a good way to stretch your budget.
I like to estimate $650 for the cost of a Europe trip when it comes to airfare. If you’re flying from other parts of the world, it may be more or less than what I’ve estimated. It’s also worth noting that when you fly and where you’re flying can make a huge difference in price. I’ve seen flights to Amsterdam and Ireland much cheaper compared to other parts of Europe. Of course, flying in the summer will likely always be more expensive than in the spring in fall.
Being fully flexible is the best way to find cheap flights. However, there are a few other tricks you can use to save. Booking a multi-destination ticket – that’s where you fly into one city and out of another is often cheaper than a direct ticket. To get to your final destination, you can use trains or a low cost airline.
If you’re Canadian, you may want to consider applying for one of the best travel credit cards in Canada to help offset your costs by collecting points. For example, the American Gold Rewards Card gives you a signup bonus of up to 30,000 American Express Membership Rewards points which have a minimum value of $300 (potentially more if you transfer your points to Aeroplan or Marriott Bonvoy). There’s also the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card that has no foreign transaction fees, a sign up bonus worth $250 and it comes with airport lounge access.
As you can imagine, your Europe trip cost will vary greatly depending on your style and where you visit. I recommend budgeting $150 a night for your hotel, which works out to $1,950 for 13 nights. From hostels to luxury hotels, Europe gives you a lot of options so you can easily find accommodations that fit your budget.
If you’re backpacking through Europe, then hostels will probably be your choice of accommodation. If you decide to go that route, you should be able to find a good hostel for $15 – $20 a night Alternatively, there are a lot of great boutique hostels out there that cost more but offer a better experience since they’re competing with hotels and Airbnb.
For those who think $150 is expensive, I would argue that it’s on the cheaper end. The reality is, hotels are expensive these days, so getting one for $150 a night is a pretty good deal. Remember, this is just an estimate. In some European countries, some hotels will cost you more while others will cost you less. You can also follow my guide on how to save money on hotels.
Regardless of what city you’re visiting, there will likely be luxury hotel options. If you like the experience or don’t mind spending the extra money, you may want to budget another $200 – $300 a night. Your Europe trip cost will obviously skyrocket if you’re going for luxury stays.
Depending on the city, I sometimes prefer to use Airbnb. I’ve been able to find private apartments in good locations for about $100 a night. If you’re travelling with kids or family, Airbnb can be a great deal since you should easily be able to find a space that fits your entire party. I do admit that Airbnb has become more expensive over the years, but it’s still a good hotel alternative. If you haven’t used Airbnb before, use my invite and get a $45 credit towards your first stay.
If you have the right credit card, you can save a fair amount of money on hotels. For example, Canadians should consider the BMO World Elite Mastercard since it typically has a sign up bonus of $250 when you charge $3,000 to your card in the first three months of card membership. This card does have an annual fee of $150 but it’s normally waived for the first year so you’re getting $250 for free. There’s also the Marriott Bonvoy American Express which gives you 51,000 Marriott Bonvoy points when you charge $3,000 to your card in the first three months. That’s enough points for up to five free nights at some hotels which could easily have a value of over $650.
Since I’m assuming you’re doing thee cities during this trip, you’ll need to factor in flights and/or trains to each destination. I’m also assuming you’re booking a multi-destination ticket, so you don’t need to backtrack. Realistically speaking, budgeting $400 for location transportation may be a bit high, but remember, you also need to pay for trips to/from the airport, day trips, and any other public transportation you use.
Generally speaking, if you’re in Europe for just two weeks and visiting three cities/countries, getting a Eurail pass won’t be worth it. If you’re going to neighbouring countries or taking day trips, buying tickets as you need them is fine. That said, buying your train tickets well in advance (even before you depart) is usually worth it as you’ll get better prices and a confirmed seat.
This is where things can get tricky. Attractions aren’t expensive, but if you keep going into them, you’re naturally going to spend more. First off, always do the free things in every city you visit. That means checking to see if there are any free museums, art galleries that have no entrance fee. Note that even museums with an admission charge usually have a free day so you need to see if the timing works out.
Parks are always free, and quite often simply walking around neighbourhoods is the best way to see a new city and that doesn’t cost you anything. In Europe, there are also many free walking tours – well you need to pay a tip – but, that’s a cheap way to learn about the city.
Finally, check to see if there are any museum passes that will help you save money. Many cities offer something such as free entry into a bunch of attractions for a fixed price for a set period of time e.g. 24, 48, or 96 hours. You would need to do the math to see if the cost of the attractions you’re interested in makes up for the cost of the pass.
If you plan to pay for some attractions, check to see if Klook sells tickets. By buying your tickets in advance, you can usually get a small discount and skip the lines when you arrive.
Food and drink
Food and drink budget will vary by person, but a rough estimate for a meal including drink is as follows:
- Breakfast – $5
- Lunch – $10
- Dinner – $30
That works out to $45 per person per day which some people will think is too much while others will think it’s too low. What I personally try to do is balance eating street/fast food with restaurants. I also go to grocery stores to get breakfast and snacks which I find saves me a lot of money. Cutting back on food will help you see Europe on a budget.
Every city and country you visit will have some kind of local delicacy which I highly recommend you try. To this day, I’m still mad at myself for not having tapas in Spain because I thought it was too expensive. I’m not suggesting you blow your budget on food, but it’s okay to splurge now and then.
Many people forget to include shopping when planning their vacation budget. It’s silly to think that you’ll spend nothing on random things; you’re going to buy gifts for people right? Plus, there will be plenty of souvenirs you’ll want to pick up for yourself regardless of how tacky they appear to be. There’s nothing wrong with buying gifts for yourself or friends, you just want to make sure you budget for it.
As you can imagine, some cities have better shopping experiences than others, so you need to think about where you’re going and budget accordingly. For example, you may be headed to Italy and have every intention of buying a leather purse. There’s nothing wrong with that, just make sure you’ve set aside some money for that purchase.
So how much does it cost to go to Europe for 2 weeks? You know the answer – it depends! But, a good estimate is about $3,960. One time I spent just $2,300 because I focused on doing it for as cheap as possible. Another time I spent closer to $8,000 (for 2 people) when visiting just 3 cities. The cost of a Europe trip really depends on you. For more tips on how to save money on flights, hotels, food, and currency exchange; refer to my cost of travel series.