The Cost of a European Summer

If you’ve made it to this page, you might be wondering, “How much does it cost to spend a summer in Europe?”

Prior to leaving for a two month trip to Europe, I had no idea how much to budget. There are thousands of blogs on how to travel for less than $20/day. Most of them require complete flexibility, and some form of couch-surfing, house-sitting, staying in a bunk in a hostel, or crashing with friends in order to save on lodging expenses. They also often don’t include destinations like Norway and Sweden, commonly sited as the most expensive countries in Europe.

A few months before I left, I attended a seminar where a couple spoke on travelling the world for ~$14/day. While this sounded enchanting, their calculus didn’t quantify their expenses covered by paid sponsorship from their seasoned travel blogging site.

I left thinking, “So what if you’re not sponsored to travel the world, and you’d prefer to stay in Airbnbs or private hostel rooms, instead of couch surfing or sleeping in a bunk with your suitcase locked to your bed? Maybe you also don’t have complete flexibility because you’re going to be meeting up with friends and family along the way.”

I had no idea what to expect.

Now that I am back from my trip, I want share the details!

My goal with this post, is to provide additional data points to reference in planning for your trip. Even though you won’t have the same travel schedule, I hope it will at minimum help you gauge your potential expenses.

In one of my first posts, European Summer 2018, I map out the route of our Eurotrip. As you can see, we did not optimize for transportation, a simple way to cut costs. We also mainly stayed in Airbnbs, renting either the entire place or a private room with shared common spaces.

Average Nightly Lodging Expenses Per Person

Our average nightly lodging expense came to ~$50 per person (~$20 more than I had hoped to spend per night). The figure below plots our average nightly lodging cost per person.

Graph of Average Nightly Lodging Costs Per Person

As expected, we found destinations like Italy and Sweden to be more expensive than the Baltic states, even though our accommodations were similar in quality.

Overall Expense Summary

In total, our 70 day Eurotrip cost $8,425.36 and 97k frequent flyer points per person.

The 97k frequent flyer points consisted of:

  • 40k points for BOS –> DUB (flight from Boston to Dublin)
  • 12k points for a rental car in Provence
  • 15k points for BUD –> VNO (flight from Budapest to Vilnius)
  • 30k points for AMS –> EWR (flight from Amsterdam to Newark)

I would estimate the monetary value of these points to be ~$1500 – $2000.

Expenses are broken into four categories: Lodging, Entertainment (museums, city bikes, etc.), Transportation, and Food. Lodging accounted for our greatest expense (>40% of our expenditures).

Trip Economics Table.png

Despite the summer costing more than we anticipated, we wouldn’t have changed our accommodations, as we found coming home to a place with a kitchen, where we could cook breakfast and occasionally dinner was important.

Pie chart of 2 month Eurotrip expenses

We always tried to book the cheapest transportation, and our dinners rarely exceeded $30 (meaning we didn’t frequent Michelin star restaurants), and ate every breakfast in our room.

I hope this information helps prepare you for your upcoming adventure! Enjoy your time in Europe!