The Money Series: Interrailing around Europe for 1 month

PLEASE NOTE: This post is long, and detailed!

When you think about travelling around Europe, you will likely read that it is bloody expensive. Whilst, yes, it is by no means cheap, it is certainly not as expensive as some people like to make you believe. Unless, of course, you want to dine out 3 times a day and have a private room. If that’s what you’re after, this blog will be useless to you.

Whilst we like to travel cheaply, we also do like the place we stay to be clean and location is super important. When you are only staying put in a place for a few days, it makes sense to pay a little more to stay near the action. Otherwise, you may well end up spending the difference (and some) on public transport getting to where you want to be, not to mention wasting valuable time.

We are also big foodies. Which is far from ideal when travelling on a budget. Though, we made sure to make the most of the cooking facilities at the hostels and make scrummy meals, and would treat ourselves to food out every now and then, even if it was just some beautiful brie, a fresh baguette and some local tomatoes ate on the grass.

Interrailing across Europe was an absolute adventure and so worth the money. We travelled from late August – late September 2013, for 1 month.

So, let’s talk figures. Here is what we spent (all figures are in English pounds are are per person):

  • Interrail Pass: £235
  • 1 month in Europe: £783.86/£28.00 per day
  • Insurance: £15

And now for the more interesting stuff, the breakdowns.

The breakdown of the total figure – £783.86

  • Accommodation: £270.06
  • Food and Drink: £259.82
  • Sightseeing: £99.29
  • Transport: £64.99
  • Other: £89.70

Note: Other is made up of pretty much everything that doesn’t fit into the other 4 categories… laundry, purchases of shoes, clothing, things that we needed etc.

The city by city overall break down

  • Paris, France 5 nights: £163.55/£32.71 per day
  • Sion, Switzerland5 nights: £120.88/£24.18 per day
  • Munich, Germany 2 nights: £69.33/£34.67 per day
  • Salzburg, Austria1 night: £21.68
  • Vienna, Austria – 1 night: £29.55
  • Budapest, Hungary4 nights: £101.73/£25.43 per day
  • Bratislava, Slovakia2 nights: £48.09/£24.05 per day
  • Prague, Czech Republic3 nights: £79.74/£26.58 per day
  • Berlin, Germany3 nights: £71.12/£23.71 per day
  • Warsaw, Poland2 nights, 3 full days: £79.01/£26.34 per day

The detailed city by city breakdown

Paris, France

  • Accommodation: £79.80
  • Food and Drink: £41.05
  • Sightseeing: £2.96
  • Transport: £28.35
  • Other: £10.60

Sion, Switzerland

  • Accommodation: £0.00
  • Food and Drink: £36.40
  • Sightseeing: £31.80
  • Transport: £18.40
  • Other: £27.85

Munich, Germany

  • Accommodation: £26.70
  • Food and Drink: £25.40
  • Sightseeing: £8.45
  • Transport: £8.45
  • Other: £0.00

Salzburg, Austria

  • Accommodation: £10.55
  • Food and Drink: £7.20
  • Sightseeing: £0.00
  • Transport: £0.00
  • Other: £0.65

Vienna, Austria

  • Accommodation: £12.15
  • Food and Drink: £11.01
  • Sightseeing: £0.00
  • Transport: £1.80
  • Other: £0.00

Budapest, Hungary

  • Accommodation: £45.00
  • Food and Drink: £37.27
  • Sightseeing: £41.63
  • Transport: £2.83
  • Other: £0.00

Bratislava, Slovakia

  • Accommodation: £21.30
  • Food and Drink: £13.05
  • Sightseeing: £4.25
  • Transport: £0.96
  • Other: £8.85

Prague, Czech Republic

  • Accommodation: £25.80
  • Food and Drink: £36.79
  • Sightseeing: £2.60
  • Transport: £1.30
  • Other: £13.25

Berlin, Germany

  • Accommodation: £22.40
  • Food and Drink: £24.90
  • Sightseeing: £7.60
  • Transport: £1.80
  • Other: £3.40

Warsaw, Poland

  • Accommodation: £26.36
  • Food and Drink: £26.75
  • Sightseeing: £0.00
  • Transport: £0.80
  • Other: £25.10

Our month in Europe mostly consisted of staying in dorm rooms in hostels. We tried to go for ones with free breakfast, and would usually cook in the kitchen facilities, with a few meals out here and there. In certain places, though, like Prague, there were amazing vegetarian restaurants which we simply couldn’t say no to! We are not huge drinkers, so if you are, definitely be sure to factor in quite alot more into this section.

Looking at the figures, you may be surprised by a couple of things. Firstly, Switzerland! Whilst I would love to be able to tell you that accommodation is free country-wide, we stayed with dear family friends. Though Switzerland is famed as being a very expensive country, I would not let that put you off as it absolutely beautiful!
Secondly, you may be surprised by how low some of the sightseeing figures are. This is partly because in places like Paris, being under 25 and from the UK meant we could go into all the best museums free of charge. It is also due to the way we like to travel – we do not need to go to a zoo or a theme park or something rather unrelated to the place we are in. Instead, we like to take to the streets by foot and explore, with a whole lot of people watching thrown in for good measure.

Paris rolls in, quite unsurprisingly, as the destination with the highest priced accommodation, and Berlin the cheapest. As we travelled east, eating out got less expensive. In smaller cities we avoided using public transport which saved a few pounds here and there. Costs within the ‘other’ section include things we needed (and didn’t need) to buy including walking shoes, a watch for Ed, a few magnets for my Mother’s collection, a jumper and a few other bits of clothing we forgot to pack, and other silly bits and bobs.

Travelling Europe is not as expensive as you may think! It is definitely possible to do it cheaper than we did – we didn’t opt for the cheapest accommodation, instead the best available within a fair budget. If you cooked everything in the hostel and never ate out, and only walked, again you could save money. But, after all, there was no point leaving home to travel the world, only to do nothing for the sake of a slight bit of penny-pinching. Enjoy yourself!

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