10 days touring London, Munich, Venice, and Rome was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
I wish that it was easier to jump into commitment for travel, but the reality is, a lot gets in the way; taking time off of work, saving up money, and bringing yourself to actually spend that saved money is easier said than done.
Now that we’ve been back for almost two weeks, budget goals of our European vacation have been assessed.
Luke and I didn’t necessarily plan out exactly what we were aiming to spend, but rather we have a general rule: be reasonable 80% of the time, and the other 20% goes to unique souvenirs, spontaneous extra experiences, and at least one fine dining night.
Your splurges are for the delighting surprises that come your way on a once in a lifetime trip.
Did I want to bring back fancy Italian everything in my suitcase? Yes. But I knew to get to Italy in the first place, this practical mentality was the best way to make a dream become a reality.
After we booked our flights, I was researching like crazy on what I should expect to spend. How much was 10 days in Europe really going to cost us? I saw anywhere from $6,000-$10,000, and those amounts were frightening to two young professionals.
If you want an idea of how much it costs to travel to Europe for 10 days, this breakout of what we spent should give you an idea.
Take into consideration that five nights we stayed with friends that we were visiting so we did save on lodging expenses; flying in September is generally cheaper; flying from big international airport to big international airport helps and we drove four hours on the front end and tail end of flying to and back from Orlando; we spread out payments for travel tickets over a period of 3-4 months.
Here’s an outline of our trip costs:
- Direct flight from Orlando to Gatwick Airport in London ~$635 each, round trip =$1,270
- Hotel/Airbnb costs for five nights in Munich, Venice, and Rome ~$370 (hotel for one night in Munich was ~$100; Airbnb in Venice was ~$100 for one night; Airbnb in Rome was ~$75 per night for two nights)
- Flight from London to Cologne ~$20 per person = $40
- Train from Cologne to Munich ~$150 per person = $300 (this was not planned for – we missed our next flight from Cologne to Munich and had to improvise)
- Flight from Munich to Venice ~$50 per person = $100
- Train from Venice to Rome ~$75 per person = $150
- Flight from Rome to London ~$75 per person = $150
Total travel and lodging cost = ~$2,380
If we hadn’t had to buy the extra train tickets after missing the flight due to bad weather and sitting on the Tarmac in London, our total costs would have been around $2,000.
After going back and figuring out all we spent on dining and drinks, shopping, sightseeing admission tickets, getting around on public transportation (the buses, the tube) and all other general expenses, that came out to be about $1,500.
It was about $100 a day with $500 of spontaneous surprises. This includes:
- 4 total show tickets to Harry Potter & Mama Mia
- 2 [awesome] tweed jackets from London
- a substantial amount of souvenirs from a boutique kitchen shop in Rome
- admission tickets to the Coliseum with a guided tour (worth the $15×2 extra!), the Roman Forum, and the Vatican
- a few hours (and liters) at Oktoberfest
- conservative breakfasts, lots of coffee and gelato, moderate lunches and dinners, with the exception of two fine dining evenings
We saved in advance and knew we wanted to be able to do all of these things. However, if you want to just get over there and experience but opt out of shopping and expensive eats, you can get away with $75 a day per person.
It would also be easy to cook if you do have a kitchen at your Airbnb/vacation rental, and just as delicious, as there are many markets with fresh produce and food. We did this when we traveled to Europe in 2013, and the meals we cooked in Aix-en-Provence, France are just as memorable to me as what we experienced in any given restaurant.
So, if you and a friend/significant other want to travel to Europe for 10 days, a general idea of what you can expect to spend would be around $2,500 a person including airfare, lodging for all nights if you are not staying with friends, dining, and activities during your trip.
Our expenses were a good balance of budget and splurge (budget > splurge). I can tell you after coming back and seeing the cost of this trip, I would do it all again in a heartbeat.
There is no price you can put on breathing in fresh air in a place you’ve never been before. I’m still dreaming of the crisp fall air in London, the weissbier of Munich, the reflection of the city in the water of Venice, and the grandeur of ancient history of Rome.