Europe on a shoe string budget

Old Feb 25th, 2013, 06:56 AM
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Europe on a shoe string budget

Any advice on keeping to a true shoe string budget? These sites that suggest a three star hotel instead of a five star hotel are a joke to me. We are trying to keep to less then a hundred dollars a day for a family of four. We will camp and buy food from grocery stores. Any other advice?
Thank you!
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Old Feb 25th, 2013, 07:02 AM
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No, that should do it. (Just kidding)

Where in Europe would you like to go?
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Old Feb 25th, 2013, 07:08 AM
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I rather doubt that you will not be able to feed and house 4 people plus provide transportation and sightseeing for $100 per day. I think you need fewer days in Europe or increase your budget to something realistic.

If you're camping, how will you get to campgrounds and then to grocery stores? Will you have a car? If so, you will definitely not be able to live on $100 per day for four people.
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Old Feb 25th, 2013, 07:10 AM
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$100 a day for a family of four is not a shoestring - it's just really less than you will need.

If you camp you will have to pay not just for that but also for public transit to get you where you have to go each day, plus entrance fees and food.

Not sure where you are going - but there are many major sights that have entrance fees of $15 to $25 per person - so taking you entire daily budget.

You can certainly do cheaper than 3* hotels - but unless you are going to just walk around and look at the outside of things I fear your budget will be insufficient.

Can you tell us the ages of the kids - if they are teens with big appetites that could be another issue.

Whatever you do - make sure you have access to additional funds vis your debit card if you need them. My D and 2 friend went summer before last and in Barcelona ran into a couple of american girls who had underestimated costs and run out of money - with 4 more days before their plane was to depart. My D and her friends lent them money for a hostel and food for one night until they could contact family and have more money deposited in their bank account to draw on.
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Old Feb 25th, 2013, 07:10 AM
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I meant that I doubt that you will be able to...
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Old Feb 25th, 2013, 07:19 AM
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Sorry -
Remember that prices in europe are generally higher than in the US (even in small towns and especially in larger cities) - with Scandinavia and Switzerland at the top of the hit list (meals are twice at least what they would be in the US).

Some areas in southern europe are cheaper - but still - $100 for 4 people just isn;t realistic.
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Old Feb 25th, 2013, 07:26 AM
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Hi M,

$100 is about 75 Euro.

I checked prices for a typical camp ground in the Dordogne region of France. (http://www.campingfrance.com/)

They want 32E pd for a tent site for 4 with electricity.

The smallest, cheapest car available for the Dordogne at www.kemwel.com is about 15E pd.

That leaves you 28E/day for everything else.

Is this what you had in mind?

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Old Feb 25th, 2013, 07:29 AM
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moonlit- I am a true believer that if you really want to do something, you'll figure a way. There are hotels in smaller towns that will fit your budget. You will still need money for transportation and food. In my experience, Germany is the least expensive of the western European countries. And breakfast is almost always included with your room.
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Old Feb 25th, 2013, 07:34 AM
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In all honesty, your budget is lower than shoestring for a family of 4. Perhaps you should save for a few more years, and take the trip when your chidren are older and might even remember/appreciate it more. Just a thought for a more pleasurable and memorable once in a lifetime trip.
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Old Feb 25th, 2013, 08:10 AM
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Even camping $100 a day is not at all realistic. A solo traveler could manage that backpacking, couch surfing in some places, taking buses, few restaurant meals.

But for a family - no way no how. (And I doubt you could manage that in the states either - unless you already owned a motorhome. But the gas/petrol alone would eat up half your budget)

Lets say you camp -- you need to rent equipment (if you take your own gear you'll be hit w/ HIGH airline fees for extra baggage). Transportation from outlying campgrounds costs ££/€€, transportation between cities/countries really eats up $$, every single site/attraction costs to get in (except lots of museums in London - but there one dinner for 4 in a fast food restaurant would cost more almost half your day's budget)

Get serious - decide how much $$ you can spend. Divide that by about $200-$250 --that is how many days you can afford at a low end - hostels/camping/bus travel/etc (air fare would be extra)
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Old Feb 25th, 2013, 08:14 AM
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OMG I just saw your other thread w/ your proposed itinerary for SIX countries! Including Paris, Venice and other expensive places That is a $300-$500 per day plan -- minimum.
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Old Feb 25th, 2013, 08:39 AM
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I read your other thread and I echo janisj's comment - OMG!

Your day of driving from Paris to Cinque Terre puts you way over budget - E128 for fuel.

You really need to cut back your itinerary.
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Old Feb 25th, 2013, 08:48 AM
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Or raise the budget!
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Old Feb 25th, 2013, 08:51 AM
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Thank you all so much for your feedback. I should clarify a few things. We will be leasing a car from Renault and that will NOT be included in the $100 dollars a day. So, I am hoping we can camp, eat, sightsee and pay for gas on $100 a day. We have budgeted for more, but that is the hope. Also tickets are purchased and that is not included in the $100 per day. Thanks again and further advice will be considered.
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Old Feb 25th, 2013, 08:53 AM
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Why not choose 1 city, rent an inexpensive apartment for the duation of your stay, get to know a city or town and the neighborhood, splurge on a couple of day trips and save on food, transportation and housing while having, as I see it, a higher quality experience. Maybe everyone can practice a language, study the history of the place and really make it come alive. Much more, maybe in a different way than you first envisioned, and possible.
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Old Feb 25th, 2013, 08:56 AM
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More clarification...kids are 7 and 9 years old and very used to camping. We will be visiting smaller towns, not big cities.
Also, has anyone tent camped through Europe. I would love to hear from you.
Thanks so much!
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Old Feb 25th, 2013, 09:04 AM
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>

Well, you can hope all you want, but that won't make it possible. A simple campsite with a tent for 4 will be about 30 euros a night. Some of your driving days are going to cost 100 euros or more for gas, and that's not even accounting for tolls or the special sticker you'll need to drive in Austria. So you're already over budget before you even get to the food part, or any sightseeing costs.
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Old Feb 25th, 2013, 09:08 AM
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After reading your other post, what you describe as the trip of a lifetime will be remembered by your children as a forced march from inside a car. I think it is misguided and not a plan that will enrich their lives as you hope it will. I repeat, the best way to have an enriching experience is to stop and make time for the experience. They aren't adults as you were when you camped on your first trip and made the choices you did. I think your children, while "used" to camping, would be far more comfortable and able to absorb the experience sleeping in a bed, not barrelling down a highway for days and weeks on end.
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Old Feb 25th, 2013, 09:09 AM
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Paris and Venice are not small towns, and are definitely not inexpensive. Good luck.
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Old Feb 25th, 2013, 09:09 AM
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"So, I am hoping we can camp, eat, sightsee and pay for gas on $100 a day

Do you realize just the petrol will take a huge % of your $100? How old are the kids - if very young they will get into some sites for free. But as an example -Paris. No camp grounds IN the city so you'll be staying in an outlying area (extra transport costs because if you drive in the Parking will take more than a 3rd of your day's budget), entering the Louvre will cost about $30 (if the kids get in free), a very casual meal will easily cost $40 w/o anything to drink - probably more.

$100 a day is not nearly enough for 4 - especially paying for gas/petrol/tolls.
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