Europe is a hugely popular travel destination. Whether it’s by foot, bus, plane or train, each year travellers flock from across the globe to visit and experience all the wonders of the continent. It's popular, but also pricey. But how much does it cost to travel Europe? Here's a guide to backpacking Europe cost.
Europe is a diverse, fascinating place of romance and intrigue.
With such a long, rich history, and such diversity in people, architecture, culture, food and natural beauty, it’s no wonder it’s so popular among travellers.
Money is always a potential obstacle though.
And, where Europe isn’t necessarily the cheapest place to explore, the question of cost is probably a big one for travellers heading that direction.
As a result I thought it might be helpful to write a brief post about the prices involved with Euro-travel.
But before I go deeper into how much European travel really costs, there are a few things worth considering.
(Check out the best places to travel solo in Europe too!)
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Backpacking Europe Cost Considerations
1) The amount you spend is up to you.
It’s true that some parts of the world are just downright cheaper than others. However, it’s also worth remembering that we have direct control of how much we spend.
Wherever you are in the World, there are ways to travel on a budget.
Cook more, eat out less, hitch-hike, walk, squat- whatever it may be, the travel choices we make overseas have a big impact on expenditure. Generally, if you’re willing to put up with a level of sacrifice, you’re able to keep the cost down.
Of course, the same is true in Europe, so the first backpacking Europe cost consideration is the style in which you want to travel.
There’s no right or wrong way to travel: budget or luxury, it’s totally up to individual preference. Just keep in mind that it can have a big impact on how much you spend on the road.
(Here’s my full piece on how to travel on a budget, if you’re interested.)
2) The Cost of travelling in Europe varies by country.
When people refer to Europe as a travel destination it’s often easy to see it as one uniform location. But, obviously, Europe is a big place with lots of different countries in it.
And each of those individual countries has its own set of prices. Simply, the costs in Europe vary dramatically by country and some are far cheaper than others.
As a result, accurately costing a trip to Europe is never simple; it relies wholly on where you’re actually planning to visit.
A person who plans to move from Oslo to Helsinki, before on to London, Paris and Amsterdam, for example, will need much deeper pockets than someone planning a visit to Warsaw, Minsk and Kiev.
So, if you have a limited amount to spend, it’s worth looking into the cheaper parts of Europe as a means of extending your trip.
3) Keep currency in mind When Calculating Backpacking Europe Costs.
Like all travel, the amount of bang you get for your buck is tied to the going exchange rates.
For instance, since the whole Brexit debacle happened, there’s never been a better time to visit the UK for someone in the US. The Pound has just been stupendously weak, which makes it far cheaper than in the past!
Likewise, for someone travelling to the US (or even some parts of South East Asia (e.g. Cambodia) where the US dollar is now the main currency) from the UK, it’s far more expensive now compared to 20 years ago.
In the same way, it’s now far pricier for a British person to travel around mainland Europe than it was in the past. The pound, though getting stronger, is not what it was.
And this has a massive effect on how far your money goes.
So, depending on where you’re travelling from, make sure to check out the current, relevant exchange rates to really assess how much a trip to Europe will set you back!
These three factors are important as they make it nearly impossible to give an absolute figure for how much travel in Europe costs.
As a result, it would be misleading to try! However, what we can do instead is to go through some estimates, as well as some tips for keeping costs down!
Backpacking Budget Europe
How much does it really cost to travel Europe?
Key Points if you’re in a rush:
- Europe definitely isn’t the cheapest place to travel!
- Average cost: circa £45-70 per day all in.
- If you’re on a budget, spend longer in Eastern Europe.
- Price fluctuates by location so make sure you research the countries you plan to visit before arrival and budget accordingly.
- General cost cutting ideas: supermarket shopping, couch surfing, making use of happy hours, booking transport and accommodation in advance, utilise free activities in cities (museums, art galleries, city tours...).
- Cheapest forms of transport: hitch hiking, car sharing (Blablacar), bus (Eurolines, Flixbus, Megabus), plane (Ryanair & Easyjet; book in advance).
- Accommodation: will eat your money. Couchsurfing is a good bet & in certain places (e.g. Greece in summer) could free camp outdoors. Otherwise, hostel dorm rooms are probably the best bet.
- If you’re a student, remember to bring your student card (just make sure it’s an international one) as it can get you discounts!
Average Backpacking Europe Cost Per Day:
Keeping in mind that these will always be rough estimates, here are some of the suggested daily prices (converted to GBP) for Euro-travel, from travel bloggers around the web:
The Savvy Backpacker: Western Europe: $70-$100 (£50-72) per day (p/d); Eastern Europe: $40-70 (£29-50) p/d.
Lonely Planet: $60 (£43) p/d for budget travel; $200 (£144) p/d for top-end
Nomadic Matt: Western Europe: around €70 (£62) p/d average
Our Big Fat Travel Adventure: Eastern Europe: averaged circa £40 p/d (that’s for two people!)
My funky travel: £43 p/d (based on their £1290 monthly estimate divided by 30 days)
What do these figures look like in practice?
Well, taking the average range of aproximately £45-70, here’s what a 2 week, 4 week and 8 week trip could cost (all conversions as of 22/02/18 and subject to change!):
2 weeks: £630 – 980 ($878 – 1365) (€713 – 1109)
4 weeks: £1260 – 1960 ($1755 – 2731) (€1425 – 2217)
8 weeks: £2520 – 3920 ($3511 – 5461) (€2851 – 4434)
So, not cheap.
However, it’s always good to have a solid idea of how much something might cost you.
From here, you can think about: how much you need to save; a budget for expenses on the road and think on how you might go about cutting costs.
One of the main costs of European travel is getting between places. So, here are a few of the best ways to get around as cheaply as possible.
Cheap transport between European cities:
Bus is an increasingly popular form of transport in Europe. With budget services such as Flixbus and Megabus going to a huge number of different cities and countries, it’s well worth checking it this method of getting from a to b.
Price can be incredibly low. For instance, you can get from London to Paris for £12 on Flixbus. That’s insane!
Obvious downsides include the time it takes and potential discomfort of being sat for hours in a cramped seat. But the price has to be worth it.
Car sharing is a great shout for convenient and cheap travel.
Essentially, people already driving from point A to point B advertise their journey (on BlaBlaCar, or Facebook groups, for example) and then anyone wanting to take the same route can head to the website, search for the journey and pay for a spare seat at a price set by the driver.
The prices are more expensive now than they were in the past, but still far cheaper than most other forms of transport.
Also, by cutting down on the number of car journeys, it’s much better for the environment too!
A hugely popular form of transport around Europe is by train, due to the awesome networks that operate between countries and cities, making the daunting prospect of intercontinental travel straightforward.
An inter rail ticket isn’t cheap (from what I’ve seen, the cost is usually well over £1000 for a few weeks), but will save you money in comparison to buying tickets individually.
It’s also meant to be incredibly convenient. Equally, some people just love train travel and see it as a perfect way of getting from one beautiful place to the next!
Depending on your ticket, downsides can include only having a set number of days in a particular place before having to get the train, as well as the occasional lack of seats and price ‘adds ons’, for certain journeys in particular countries.
Here’s a good thread on thestudentroom about the cost and practicalities of inter railing around Europe, with general info on Europe prices too.
Here’s a great article from Nomadic Matt as well, which breaks down the costs involved and considers the pros and cons.
And finally, an awesome piece from Got My Backback with a 22 day inter-railing route plan, perfect for first time travellers heading to Europe!
As most of us know, Ryanair and Easyjet can be a budget traveller’s best friend.
Coordinate things in advance and you can get crazily cheap flights. However, prices vary dramatically, so get in early to avoid disappointingly expensive tickets.
Of course, this obviously isn’t the best for the environment either!
It might not be to everyone’s liking, but it’s free, so it’s undoubtedly the cheapest form of transport going. It’s true that there’s always a risk involved, but it’s not as high as your mum makes you think it is!
Of course, there are horror stories, but generally speaking hitching is an awesome way of travelling and meeting people along the way.
I hitched through Northern Greece with my girlfriend and along the way met a couple of Grecian guys who later hosted us for free, showed us around Athens and took us out for a meal!
It’s impossible to give an actual figure for how much your trip to Europe will cost, but hopefully the estimates above have helped give you an idea of how much you’ll need.
Remember, those figures are total rough guides and absolutely subject to change through variables such as exchange rates and the style in which you travel.
By taking certain approaches to your trip, you’ll be sure to do it cheaper (here's my guide to travelling the World on a Budget).
Whatever happens though, I hope your future travels around Europe will be out of this world!
I used the following awesome articles to help with this piece! You should check them out for further reading on how much it costs to backpack Europe: