How do I keep costs low while travelling in Europe?

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    Oct 29, 2011 6:22 AM GMT
    I might be backpacking to Europe with 2 other friends of mine.
    Approximately mid-Jan to end-Jan next year (too short, I know icon_sad.gif)

    We're thinking of starting in the UK, then Germany and moving further down (avoiding the very expensive France). If we had a budget of about 3000 USD inclusive of travel accomodation etc, how realistic do you think this route + duration would be?

    I know it depends a lot on what we do there and where we stay, so to pre-empt that we're trying to go for as cheap as possible and ANY tips at all would be very much appreciated icon_smile.gif
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    Oct 29, 2011 1:01 PM GMT
    I highly recommend http://www.couchsurfing.org.
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    Oct 29, 2011 1:09 PM GMT
    19c79 saidI highly recommend http://www.couchsurfing.org.


    Yes its the best!! did it few times, and Doing it on my next trip to Asia!! Its fun, and you meet a lot of people!
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    Oct 29, 2011 1:13 PM GMT
    ^ same as the both above....
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    Oct 29, 2011 1:44 PM GMT
    Consider adding Croatia, or other less expensive countries to your list.
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    Oct 29, 2011 1:57 PM GMT
    Never ever eat, or buy anything to eat/drink, in the inner city of any european city. (You should make an exception if you're going to travel to Italy cause you'd kill for their food)
    In every bigger cites are hostels in which you can sleep really really cheap, but the quality is also bad.
    If you are a student, you should take your student-pass with you. A lot of our museums etc. are free -or at least way cheaper- for students.
    I would try to get an interrail ticket, it costs about 300 € for two weeks and you can take every train in europe. But you have to reserve a ticket about a day before and I think you're not able to travel through two countries (one of them is germany :/ ). But you should google that I'm not quite sure anymore...
    3000 USD are about 2000 Euro. That should be enough.

    P.S.: Cities I can highly recommend: London, Berlin, Munich, Vienna, Amsterdam, (Kopenhagen, it's in the North of Germany though), Rome!!!, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona

    Enjoy
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    Oct 29, 2011 2:00 PM GMT
    Ohhhhh and even though you're avoiding France (which will be quite hard, if you want do move down from Germany). You should really stop by Paris... Nothing is more amazing than Paris in winter...
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    Oct 29, 2011 2:27 PM GMT
    When I backpacked around Europe 30 years ago I bought one of those Inter Rail passes mentioned above. I'd never heard of it before and Eurailpasses were quite expensive... Check out their website and look at the Global pass, different prices for different amount of days. .. Still looks like a good deal. I joined the Youth Hostel organization so those are where I stayed mostly.. Couchsurfing didn't exist then. Some of the hostels were quite nice, the one in Paris as a recall wasn't.. but that didn't matter and it may not be the same one now.. you're only there to sleep. As for food I basically lived on sandwiches.. I'd buy bread/baguettes etc almost daily along with cheeses as well as spreads in tubes..
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    Oct 29, 2011 2:47 PM GMT
    Hmmm I just looked at the Inter Rail website and it says it's only available to Europeans otherwise you have to get a EurailPass... they must have changed the rules or something since my time.. I bought mine right at the train station in Manchester, there was no such thing as the interweb way back then.
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    Oct 29, 2011 2:50 PM GMT
    Just got back from there. Restaurants are real expensive, though those off the tourist routes are cheaper. We usually have a sit down lunch, and just grab a sandwich or snacks from a street vendor or deli for dinner. Avoid any place that offers a "tourist menu"
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    Oct 29, 2011 2:52 PM GMT
    3000 $ is way enough for 2 weeks... enjoy, welcome to Europ icon_biggrin.gif
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    Oct 29, 2011 2:58 PM GMT
    How fun Chris! Post pix! icon_biggrin.gif
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    Oct 29, 2011 3:00 PM GMT
    Shawnathan saidOh, you're from Hong Kong? Is the price of the flight to EU included in the $3000?

    I was wondering this. It's also not clear to me, when you say "If we had a budget of about 3000 USD" do you mean 3,000 for each, or 3,000 total for the three of you?
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    Oct 29, 2011 3:47 PM GMT
    19c79 saidI highly recommend http://www.couchsurfing.org.


    OMG YES i've heard about it! Excited as fuck to try this out. Thanks for the reminder!!
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    Oct 29, 2011 3:48 PM GMT
    19c79 said
    Shawnathan saidOh, you're from Hong Kong? Is the price of the flight to EU included in the $3000?

    I was wondering this. It's also not clear to me, when you say "If we had a budget of about 3000 USD" do you mean 3,000 for each, or 3,000 total for the three of you?


    Nah each of us. But after discussions I think the budget each of us got is only about 1500 :/
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    Oct 29, 2011 3:50 PM GMT
    Btw, thanks A LOT guys! I am reading through every single post and they will all be very helpful to me. Thanks for the tips and hope there'll be more!
    Haha reading these make me sweat in anticipation... I'm SUCH a greenhorn.
  • germanguy888

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    Oct 29, 2011 3:53 PM GMT
    germany is very expensive too. Also avoid primary cities like London and go for secondary cities like Edinburgh and Manchester
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    Oct 29, 2011 3:55 PM GMT
    Yeah inclusive. I've checked them they are about 500 for the cheapest, But it's down to 1500 not even 2000 so it's going to be a real stretch I think!
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    Oct 29, 2011 4:03 PM GMT
    I didn't find France to be particularly expensive- especially if you count the fact that you can eat awesome, simple, and cheap French food from les boulangeries on the street. I also found their trains to be faster, cheaper, and more reliably on time than the German trains, lol.

    In general, eat out of grocery stores. Most European countries have great little corner stores where you can pick up simple items like yogurt and muslix for breakfast, or breads, cheese, and bags of salad for dinner. This method is super cheap. I traveled around with napkins and a spoon/fork/knife on a ring and did just fine.

    If you must avoid France but you are on your way from the UK to Germany, you will still have to go through Paris unless you fly. If this is the case, from Paris, take a train into Germany that will allow you to stop in a city called Strasbourg. This is a great city, right on the French/German border, and has some of the best qualities from both countries.
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    Oct 29, 2011 4:14 PM GMT
    westanimas saidI didn't find France to be particularly expensive- especially if you count the fact that you can eat awesome, simple, and cheap French food from les boulangeries on the street. I also found their trains to be faster, cheaper, and more reliably on time than the German trains, lol.

    In general, eat out of grocery stores. Most European countries have great little corner stores where you can pick up simple items like yogurt and muslix for breakfast, or breads, cheese, and bags of salad for dinner. This method is super cheap. I traveled around with napkins and a spoon/fork/knife on a ring and did just fine.

    If you must avoid France but you are on your way from the UK to Germany, you will still have to go through Paris unless you fly. If this is the case, from Paris, take a train into Germany that will allow you to stop in a city called Strasbourg. This is a great city, right on the French/German border, and has some of the best qualities from both countries.



    Thanks for the tips!! Yeah we were thinking of passing through paris anyway since it would be sinful to not stop by on the way by train. Even if it's just to ogle and continue. Will take note of and read up on Strasbourg!
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    Oct 29, 2011 4:16 PM GMT
    Shawnathan saidSo you're talking about like $75 per day?


    Looks like it's about there... What do you make of it? I have no idea if it's a lot or too little.
  • BuddhaLing

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    Oct 29, 2011 4:19 PM GMT
    Buy a Eruorail pass, stay at bed and breakfast
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    Oct 29, 2011 4:22 PM GMT
    Have you considered Eastern Europe? Common living expenses are much lower compared to Western Europe and EU countries. However, certain things like clothes, electronics, etc, are actually more expensive in Eastern Europe than in Western Europe or North America.

    Besides, Eastern Europe is quite adventurous, haha. Not to mention knowledge of English is quite limited there compared to the rest of the Europe. It will be one hell of an experience for sure.
  • omatix

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    Oct 29, 2011 4:25 PM GMT
    Eating at restaurants is generally more expensive than in the US, but most city centers have plenty of good grocery stores, and groceries can be relatively cheap compared to the US. A cost-effective way to eat when you're traveling is to buy bread and sandwich fillings (or fruit, or whatever) and put together sandwiches as you go. Lots of people do it.
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    Oct 29, 2011 4:40 PM GMT
    TheChrisGuy said
    Shawnathan saidSo you're talking about like $75 per day?


    Looks like it's about there... What do you make of it? I have no idea if it's a lot or too little.


    I think you could pull it off for $75 a day. Back when I was traveling in Germany in 2002 I would spend that much money on a "luxury day" that included a gift for a friend, a nice meal at a restaurant, or a phone card to call home. The $75 range would include averaging in everything from food, nights at dormitory hostels, museum and train tickets. To be safe, I would bring two credit cards (two in case one gets stolen or lost) and count on an emergency budget that would allow you to spend $100 on some days. You never know if you are going to run into a necessary or unforseen expense... like getting sick and having to go to a doctor.

    Don't go *too* cheap. Be sensible, but eating out at a decent restaurant is part of enjoying the culture. If you're going half-way around the world, remember that it's not something that can be done all the time, and you should enjoy yourself while you're there. You will not regret that, even when the bills come due after you're home.