It’s a question I get a lot from friends and family, “So how much does it cost to actually backpack through Europe?” – the answer is obviously as subjective as you want it to be. Everyone travels differently, and people like to do various things – with some of those things being more expensive then others. This should give you a pretty good idea though.
The final figure will be an absolute complete sum, that means it includes the flights over from Australia to London, and every single expense incurred on the trip – from chewing gum to train tickets and hostel beds. I’ve combed over my credit card statements and our cash passport card accounts to ensure I haven’t missed anything.
If you would rather not read all my enlightening points below, then feel free to go straight to the action using these handy internal page links:
Now, the first thing to point out is that there were two of us (duh), so whatever the final figure comes to – remember that’s for two people. Dividing by 2 will still give you an accurate solo traveller figure.
We spent most of our acommodation in hostel beds (so we still had to book two seperate beds) and there were no other couple benefits that came to mind in terms of budget savings. We still had to buy two train tickets, two museum/art gallery tickets etc. Hostel cooking is a slight advantage with two, but if you use your brain and just rally up some fellow backpackers then split the grocery bill and make a big pot of food – it’s exactly the same if not better (in fact we did that even as a couple anyway).
We enjoyed eating out, but definitely did not do it for every meal. There was lots of supermarket food and cooking at hostels. We only stayed in a hotel once on the whole trip, and that was in Paris for 5 nights. I’ll give some more significant points for each place in the cost tables below – so you understand what we were doing in each place so you can see how the final cost figure came about.
Both of us feel that we got to do lots of things that we wanted to do – by no means was this ‘an epic budget backpacking adventure’ – we didn’t camp or sleep on the streets, we ate out a bit, we went to cafes/pubs, we went to museums and art galleries and we had lots of fun!
Let’s get on with it, shall we?
Total Trip Length: 73 days which = 2 Months and 12 days.
Countries Visited: England, The Netherlands, Germany, Slovenia, Croatia, France, Spain.
|Flights – Gold Coast to London||$AUD|
|Gold Coast to Kuala Lumpur||$454.00|
|Hotel for Stopover in KL||$41.60|
|Expenses in KL||$68.94|
|Kuala Lumpur to London||$607.67|
That’s right, those prices above are for TWO people. Those flights were crazy cheap, so we got a pretty great deal there. Unfortunately, Air Asia have now stopped their Europe routes, meaning you can no longer fly from Kuala Lumpur to London or Paris. This is a real blow for budget backpackers and travellers, as their flights were by far the cheapest option available (as you can see by how much it cost us to get to London!).
This table will take you through each country and list the amount of days spent, the total cost and the average cost per day. I’ll list a few important points relevant to the costs below the table. Remember, these costs were for two people travelling as a couple.
|City/Country||Days In||Cost $AUD||Avg. Cost P/Day Couple||Avg. Cost P/Person P/Day|
Total Trip Expenses As Couple: $11,003.47
Total Trip Expenses Per Person: $5,501.735
Mean Average Per Day As Couple: $168.20
Mean Average Per Day Per Person: $84.10
London and The Netherlands had relatively low costs, due to the fact that we were staying with my family in both places. Free accommodation and some free food definitely helps the budget.
Germany is a good indicator of prices when hostel backpacking with lots of drinking, eating and exploring.
Llubjlana costs were quite high as we stopped through and had to organise our travel tickets and trip down to Croatia.
Croatia is also relatively high as we purchased a Busabout Croatian Islands trip – which was a boat trip through the Dalmatian Islands for 7 days. There was also quite a bit of drinking of the local brew and eating out at restaurants.
Paris is already quite expensive, but we decided to stay in a cheap hotel instead of a hostel for a change, and this was in conjunction with a few nights eating out and Trudy did a bit of shopping. So you can see the per day price inflate there.
Paris isn’t that cheap when it comes to accommodation, especially for backpackers (although it is well worth the cost). Hostel beds will easily cost €25 (often more like €30). One good budget tip is to camp at the campground that is quite close to the city via metro (I’ve done it in the past and it was fine) – but that does mean having your own tent and so on. If you’re travelling with that special someone you would probably prefer a hotel (like we did on this trip), but it’s important to get the best price so make sure you compare Paris hotel prices and reviews online so you have a clear idea of what’s available and ensure you save as much as possible.
Spain has got to be the best example of average costs when staying in hostels, doing lots of stuff, eating out a bit and having lots of fun. There was also lots of cooking in the hostels whilst in Spain which always helps the budget.
|Carrier||Flights From||Flights To||Cost $AUD|
European Flights Total: $725.87
The flight prices in the table above are for two tickets, and it’s the final prices (meaning it includes baggage & taxes etc). We didn’t actually end up taking the flight from Porto to Eindhoven as we were having too much fun in San Sebastian, so that flight money was completely wasted. Ah well, that’s travelling sometimes – you need to weigh up the pros and cons of booking in advance and how much it will actually cost you ultimately to get to that destination. We found based on where we were at that point in our trip, it was more beneficial to fly from Madrid instead of Porto in Portugal.
|Total Expenses||Total Flights||TOTAL|
|$11,003.47||$1,172.21 + $725.87||$12,901.55|
This means that our costs of backpacking through Europe can be broken down in the following ways:
At the current exchange rate, our trip cost 10,575.59 EUR and $13,870.15 USD.
Per person, our trip including all the expenses and flights cost $6,450.76 AUD each. This equates to 5,286.19 EUR.
This is an average of $176.73 AUD per day as a couple and $88.37 per day per person.
If you are saving for a backpacking trip, whether you’re from the US or Australia, I would recommend aiming to save for about $80 – $100 per day of your trip.
Of course you can do it much cheaper than this, on my first trip through Europe and Asia with my best friend when I was 18, we did it extremely cheap – and I think I spent about $6,000 – $8,000 for about 10 months on the road. We did a lot of camping, WWOOF’ing and hitch hiking. This trip was quite different to that, still quite low budget but with more trains and hostels and eating out at local restaurants.
Hopefully this article gives you more of an idea of how much it costs to go backpacking in Europe so you can start saving for that next big adventure! Whatever you do, don’t put it off 😉 Travelling and backpacking is always worth both the time and the money.