One of the most common questions we get about our time travelling is how much did we budget for travelling in Europe or simply; “How much did you spend?”. Whilst I would like to answer with some words of wisdom from Lil Wayne (“Too much money ain’t enough money”) his advice isn’t quite right in this instance. In fact our budget for travelling around Europe wasn’t anything crazy and it surprised us how long our money lasted.
We were out of the UK for eight months and during that time we stuck to a budget of 200 Euros a week. This may seem a lot or a little depending on who you are but to put this into perspective, this money included: fuel, food, drink, activities/days out and any souvenirs etc. Obviously accommodation is free because we sleep in the van.
This budget served us fairly well and we tried to keep it the same in each country. In countries such as France where fuel and food are more expensive this meant cooking for ourselves and travelling small distances. But in countries like Poland where both food and fuel were cheap, we ate out more and could drive further (if we wanted). In Poland and other Eastern countries, we could even stay in hostels for the whole week, buy food and drink and still be within our 200 Euro budget.
A Sample of our Budget for Travelling in Europe
An example of a week’s budget for travelling in Europe in Western Europe (Spain, France etc) would have been something like this:
- 60 Euro Diesel – We would either use this to continue on our route or for exploring the area, either way we would use about 60EUR a week.
- 50 Euro food – We would not do our weekly food shop in one go, but 50Eur would last us a week in terms of buying our own food. One tip for making your food shop go further is to embrace local eating habits: in France we ate a lot of fresh read and cheese!
- 30 Euro Drinks and snacks out – In Western Europe we didn’t eat full meals out very often but tended to have coffees or beers with cakes or tapas. If in Spain, the Menu Del Dia (Menu of the Day) is a great way to eat a full meal for cheap: usually about 7-8 Euros per person for three basic courses. It is worth noting that much of the time, coffees were essential as we needed to be in a spot with wifi for good lengths of time for work purposes!
- 30 Euros Activities – Anything from museums to tourist spots were covered by this amount. We tended not to do more than one or two “touristy” activities per week but they are expensive and should be budgeted for.
- 30 Euros Misc – Miscellaneous may seem a bit of a cop out in terms of a budget but when travelling around it is very important. This amount would have been used for all sorts including replacing things in the van, buying fishing tackle or bike parts, vignettes and or toll roads and even items of clothing. You should always include a “cushion” like this in your budget because there will always be extra unexpected costs such as a toll bridge that would otherwise throw you over budget.
A Sample budget for travelling in Europe in Eastern Europe would have been more like this:
- 40 Euro Diesel – Diesel is less than 1 Euro a litre in most of Eastern Europe, meaning less money can get you further.
- 40 Euro Food – If you buy the right things i.e stuff that the locals would eat, food is far cheaper in Eastern Europe too.
- 40 Euros eating out – Eating out is cheaper too but we would go out for more full meals in Eastern Europe. A three course meal in a fancy restaurant in Krakow for my birthday cost us about £30 with drinks. Just a main course each with drinks can come in under a tenner in some countries.
- 80 Euros Activities/Misc – As mentioned above. In some places though we used this money to stay in a private double room in a hostel and use the shower etc. Poland was very cheap for this sort of accommodation and we could stay somewhere like this without spending more than our budget.
As you can see from the examples above, your budget will get spent differently depending on where in Europe you are. Some weeks we just parked on a beach and spent nothing apart from on food and beer! This is when you really feel smart about living in a van 🙂
Have any questions about money whilst travelling? Ask us in the comments below.