Part 2: Vacation Budgeting: The Nitty Gritty

I mentioned yesterday that we only planned out our travel before we left. That’s not entirely true. We weren’t able to plan the our train travel in Italy from the States because we don’t speak Italian and the website is not meant for English speakers (although we were able to price it) and we did book our first place to stay using AirBNB.

When we left for Europe we had $3200, £200, and € 350. Side note: it is cheaper (and safer) to leave your money in  your bank account rather than carrying cash with you. If you withdraw your money from ATM’s at proper banks and post offices you will get a much better rate than trying to exchange cash. Just make sure to call your bank before you leave and let them know you will be traveling so they don’t put a hold on your card.

We weren’t sure what we wanted to do with rest of our budget. It seemed limiting to commit ourselves into fixed amounts before we knew what we were up against so instead we ball-parked how much we needed for housing and then we divided the remaining sum into 7 to account for the max we could spend each week.

Within the weekly budget, we guessed how much we would need for: food, transport, events, souvenirs, postage, and miscellaneous/emergency costs. We wound up with about $250 each week. Of that amount, we spent about $100 on food, $30 on transportation, $60 on events, $60 on souvenirs, postage, and miscellaneous items.

From there we just lived, we went out and we did the things we wanted to do. We spent an hour or so on google when we got into each city figuring out all the sites we wanted to see and if there were any free days or discounts we can use. A lot of exhibits offer free entry on the first Sunday of the month and most students or people under 25 get in free or at a discounted rate year round. We also looked up fun free things to do in each city (shows, concerts, food truck rallies) and tried to make the most of those.

We recorded our daily spending so we could keep an eye on how quickly we were blowing through our savings. Most weeks we didn’t use all of the money that we had set aside so we ended up with a little pocket of money at the end of the trip that we blew on the Beyoncé and Jay Z On The Run Tour in Paris. Live big, right?

So that is how we did it. That’s how we spent 7 weeks in Europe for $3000 each and still managed to see everything we wanted to see and do everything we wanted to do. We had a wonderful time and recommend the experience to everyone who wants to try it. If $3000 seems steep to you, not to worry. We weren’t nearly as cautious with our money as we could have been. If you are not as worried about staying in the center of the city as we were, are willing to let the cheapest transport dictate your schedule, and are fine with missing some of the smaller sites I can see $2000-$2500 covering the entire trip for 1 person.

I’m not claiming to be an expert but I do think we had a pretty great trip. If you need help or advice planning your own adventure, let me know. I’m happy to try to help.

 

 

 

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