Establishing a Realistic Food Budget

Old Feb 2nd, 2009, 08:06 AM
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Establishing a Realistic Food Budget

I guarantee that you are all going to be sick of my posts very soon. I have so many questions in my head and I'm not sure if I should dump them all into one post or if I should create a bunch of little ones with specific titles. Opinions?

As for this post, I'm trying to develop a realistic food budget. Here's the details:

2-3 nights Florence in a hotel, breakfast probably included

4 nights Tuscany countryside, no meals included as far as I know but property does have an organic garden I can use

3-4 nights in Rome, probably in a hotel but maybe in an apartment

2 nights Venice, in a hotel

7 nights in Paris, likely in an apartmental rental, maybe one or two nights in a hotel but only if it's cheaper

Understanding that different days I'll be eating in or out more, or cooking my own food (or taking a cooking class), I know the day to day number is going to vary BUT what is the general consensus on how much one spends a day on food?

I'm female, 5'2 and weigh about 120 pounds. I have a healthy appetite and will definitely be enjoying all Italy and Paris have to offer. I'm thinking mostly 2 star restaurants with maybe a few 3 stars thrown in.

All told would a budget of 40-50 Euro a day. Too high, too low? Any thoughts from past travel veterans?

Thank you for your comments ahead of time.

SmileDarling is offline  
Old Feb 2nd, 2009, 08:22 AM
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when you say 2 or 3 star are you talkin Michelin or the restaurants of 2 to 3 star hotels. \\makes a big difference.

I would do this may.

assume eat out for all meals.

Breakfast about euro 8
Lunch either meal of the day euro 12 or upgrade to tourist and go in at euro 20
Evening meal cheap but chearful euro 20.

Coffees and coke say two sets euro 5

Now this assumes you have a small european woman's diet and there for evening meal would be starter and pudding or just main meal with good wines. If you eat like my experience of Americans then you may want starter, first course, main course and pudding could hit you at euro 30 before wine.

now you can knock of some costs. Eating in appartments will halve these costs and breakfasts included will help
bilboburgler is offline  
Old Feb 2nd, 2009, 08:28 AM
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Hm... I didn't really think too long or hard about my "star" ratings. I suppose I just mean that I'd like to eat in medium quality places most of the time, and a nicer quality place a few times.

As for my appetite, I tend not to supersize anything. I don't drink soda but I imagine I will be having one or two coffees a day. Other than though, I'm all about the water. Food wise, I think I'll eat small to normal portions depending upon how much walking I do throughout the day.

Thank you so far!
SmileDarling is offline  
Old Feb 2nd, 2009, 09:34 AM
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When you say 2* or 3* restaurants what do you mean?

If you mean Michelin starred restaurants - you will need to multiply your daily budget several times. (Expect basic lunches over $100 to start, with decent wines extra.)

Your budget will cover casuale cafes, sandwhich places, perhaps a good deal at an inexpensive tavola calda.
nytraveler is offline  
Old Feb 2nd, 2009, 09:53 AM
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I get the impression from Smile's second post that her 2-3* is based on a total of 5* (not Michelin 2-3*). Much more doable, of course.

Two particular comments - if possible, carry a water bottle, so you don't have to buy bottled water in tourist locations. And when you want a cup of coffee, head down a side street (meaning it'll be less expensive, although not INexpensive, where "regular people" go, as oppposed to, say, an outdoor cafe on the Champs Elysee).
sf7307 is offline  
Old Feb 2nd, 2009, 10:34 AM
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If you are eating in any restaurant with "stars" you will be spending a fortune, even a 1 star restaurant is very expensive.

It sounds like I actually eat similar to you, I don't eat that much, only about two meals a day and in moderate places. But I don't intentionally scrimp (which to me, just means I will buy wine, not the cheapest house always, and I will eat steak and spend 40 euro for dinner without worrying), and I will have several drinks throughout a day which add up (coffee, wine, beer, even mineral water costs in a cafe).

I probably spend around 60-70 euro a day.
Christina is offline  
Old Feb 2nd, 2009, 10:56 AM
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Allow a few Euros a day for gelato.
scatcat is offline  
Old Feb 2nd, 2009, 11:06 AM
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Yes, SF is right. I wasn't really thinking of Michelin ratings when I composed my entry and threw in the stars. I should have been more specific. I was just thinking in general and based on a 5 star rating.

And yes, Christina, I like you don't really eat that much per sitting but I don't like to pinch pennies either. I like quality food but I don't need that much of it.

It sounds like the general consensus is that I'll be spending around 60-70 euro a day which is getting up there after 20 days...

I'm so excited!

Thanks everyone.
SmileDarling is offline  
Old Feb 2nd, 2009, 11:10 AM
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I think 60-70 Euros is reasonable for what you describe, but you could certainly choose to have some cheaper days in there, particularly with a 20-day trip. For example, maybe one day out of three you could stick to food you can buy from grocery stores or delis or cafeterias.
WillTravel is offline  
Old Feb 2nd, 2009, 06:47 PM
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If your breakfast is included in a hotel or B&B or if you are staying in an apartment and fix breakfast in your apartment, then this will help your overall food budget. On days when you are in an apartment, you may want to eat dinner in as well. This helps your food budget considerably - and there is plenty of take out food either in the pastry shops or grocery stores. In fact, we enjoy eating in after so much dining out. Or sometimes, just wine, cheese & bread is enough after a long day of sightseeing. Especially if you have had a nice lunch somewhere. You can mix it up and conserve some days so that you can splurge on others. I think that 40-50E would be plenty if you don't eat 3 meals a day out for the 20 days.
blh is offline  
Old Feb 2nd, 2009, 07:06 PM
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Three years ago we traveled with 3 teenage boys to Italy & Paris.So we are not gourmets - and quantity is as important as quality. The food budget was a concern for us, but we found food to be affordable - if you aren't looking for restaurants with Star ratings.
We rented apartments, but didn't cook. We did buy snacks, fruit and bread and drinks at local grocery stores. Look for local cafes, pubs and tourist menus.
If your breakfast is typical Italian you will have cappuccino and cornet for breakfast which won't come to more than 2-3Euro. Same in Paris.
In Rome/Venice we were skeptical of "tourist menus" that ranged from 10-15 Euros' Most cafes offered 3 price ranges of Tourist menus - there was less selection on the 10Euro menu and more on the 15Euro one. All were 3 courses and included wine and everywhere we went they were excellent.
Pizza is everywhere and very good. Prices ranged from 4Euro-6Euro. They are all "personal" size and equate to a dinner. You can get them in what New Yorkers consider "pizzerias" - shops selling only pizza. And you can get pizza in pubs. You can easily eat well at local places for a lot less than 40-50Euro/day.
meath1 is offline  
Old Nov 25th, 2015, 05:39 AM
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We eat a good breakfast and dinner, maybe a pastry or slice of pizza mid day. You will not be able to pass by little shops with the most yummy looking pizza. Markets are my downfall. Buy vino at the store and have for evening. Our food budget is low but our bar tab is high. We did well in Paris but had an apartment and love picard and the butcher and the bakery. We had a routine at night. Breakfast in everyday. That way you can slurge on a great meal.
flpab is offline  
Old Nov 25th, 2015, 05:41 AM
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For restaurants with any stars your costs will be much higher. When DH and I travel we usually have one special meal in each city and for that we allow $300 to $350 for a couple including wine and water with a multi-course meal. (Be aware that in most of europe portions are typically smaller than they are in much of the US - so you may eat more courses than you usually do.)

The rest of our meals are in pleasant sit down restaurants for dinner (we allow about $50 to $75 per person but typically don;t have desert or share one). For lunch we may do similar or we may eat at a casual cafe or trattoria - and for this we allow about $30 to $35 or so per person - but this is usually just one main dish with shared veggie or a pasta and salad with a 1/2 bottle of wine or water.

One can certainly eat for much less than this if you want to eat street food, make a picnic with food from markets or stop at a sandwich place or grab a slice at a pizzeria. It really depends on what you want to spend.

I know many people say to have your main meal at lunch since it's cheaper - BUT then we feel too stuffed to do much sightseeing in the afternoon. And dinner is our evening entertainment many nights so we expect to spend 2 or 2.5 hours and have a long relaxed meal.
nytraveler is offline  
Old Nov 25th, 2015, 05:43 AM
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The OP traveled six years ago, though this information might be helpful to others.
ellenem is offline  
Old Nov 25th, 2015, 07:15 AM
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I think about 50 eur a day should fit the bill

I skip breakfast and grab a croissant : 1 eur.
Lunch : sandwich on the fly or something light. 6-7 eur.
If you do your cooking you can do a few dinners for 10-15 euros.
If you go out a creperie or a sushi would do about 20 euros.
You go to a restaurant it will be about 35 euros. 45 or 50 with wine.
My exp in france.
pariswat is offline  
Old Nov 25th, 2015, 08:29 AM
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So somebody dug up a necropost just to plug that article? Sheesh!

I mean, I'm really hard up for talking about anything other than current events in Paris, but really...
fuzzbucket is offline  
Old Nov 25th, 2015, 01:05 PM
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I think 40 to 50 euro is too low an estimate for eating in restaurants a couple times a day, especially with a few "nice ones" thrown in.

That amount could work if you're willing to "picnic", grocery store shop, eat from street stalls, and don't drink much.

Do you want to have any wine or beer? That really ups the budget as well.

I think you need more like 75 euro per day for what you describe.
suze is offline  
Old Nov 25th, 2015, 04:29 PM
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Didn't notice the date. Sorry. Another post topped by advertising no doubt.
suze is offline  
Old Nov 25th, 2015, 04:44 PM
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Yikes, fell for that but still a good topic. People can afford Europe on just about any budget.
flpab is offline  
Old Nov 26th, 2015, 12:13 AM
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What tipped me off was the maximum amount of money the OP planned to spend. Not exactly realistic, several years after the fact. Of course, any budget will work, as long as you don't expect haute cuisine, etc.
fuzzbucket is offline  
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