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MsWorthy Jan 28th, 2015 12:16 PM

Heading off to our 18day Eurotrip soon - 3000€ for 2 people? Enough?
Hello Fodorites who have been giving me tips and advice for months now--- our journey is about to start and there were some setbacks with our finances.

All Flights and hotels have been booked - WHEW! However, we now only have 3000€ spending money (tours and food/feb/cab fares). My concern is we will be in London for 3 days and I know that's in pounds... so we will have to convert some of our euros to pounds...

Do you have any tips on how we can save for lunch money? I heard that a decent lunch in Brussels was around 25€ including drinks.

Any thoughts? 3000€ for 2 people for 18 days - (2 days Lisbon, 4 days Paris, 2.5 Days Amsterdam, 1.5 Days Brussels, 4 Days in Rome, 2.5 Days in Athens, and then back 1.5 days in Lisbon? Decently doable? Or Tight?

apersuader65 Jan 28th, 2015 12:24 PM

You're talking about 83 per day, per person. Not all days will need 83 euro, not all will be over 83 euro. Given the fact that you will only be in each city for a very limited time, I can't expect you'll have many tour fees, will you?

MsWorthy Jan 28th, 2015 12:32 PM

@apersuader65 - I feel like our budget is doable but I am second guessing myself. For London, we would want to get inside the Buckingham Palace, The Westminster Abbey, St Paul's Cathedral, etc. and the combined cost of those will cost more that any of our tour budgets per country.

Most of my readings, I found that we should budget 10-30 euros per person per meal. However, I am just not sure if there are sudden price hikes or extra charges I am not aware of...

And yes, husband and I are not planning on checking in any luggage so we will do carryons all the way - so that means no more extra costs in the airports.

sandralist Jan 28th, 2015 12:44 PM

If I am reading you correctly, all your core expenses for air travel and hotels are covered and not an issue. You are asking about lunches, dinners, snacks, cocktails, inner city transportation and entry fees to sights. Yes?

Lisbon: Cheap across the board

Paris: Do your homework about getting discount passes to museums and the right kind of transport card. Taxis are not hugely expensive, but better to walk. Food does not need to be expensive, but plan on some fun budget meals like crepes, couscous and an in-room hotel feast from cheese stores and epicerie, plus bread, wine, pastries.

Amsterdam: Soups and sandwiches are Amsterdam's culinary best. Go for frites and pass on pancakes. Look for savings on museum entries.

Brussels: Waffles will fill you up! Mussels and frites are divine and needn't be expensive. Do some research to avoid tourist traps and advice on beers and chocolates.

Rome: Can be surprisingly expensive if you are not careful. Few discounts on museums. You need to be careful with restaurants. Do some research on bargain friendly eateries near the sights and your hotel. Try for big lunches and then pizza for dinner or wine bars. You will get overcharged for everything if you sit in the tourist piazze and drink cappucino or wine. Stand at the bar like the locals.

Athens: Cheap across the board

If you want to shop, do it Greece.

London: Museums and sights are mostly free but you need to avoid cabs, do your homework about getting the right kind of public transport card, and do your homework about where to find food markets and bargain value drinks venues.


apersuader65 Jan 28th, 2015 12:45 PM

If you have the plan of eating out every meal at a sit down, cloth napkin resto, and making this a food tour, you're grossly underfunded. If, however, you're a little more flexible with the type of places you eat, you should be fine. 83 euro will give you 40 for dinner, 25 for lunch, 18 for breakfast. If you can avoid maxing out each meal on those prices, you can easily have 10-15 euros per day for taxis, etc. Also, since 7 of your 'days' will be consumed with travel between destinations, (assuming already paid for) so your ability to have sit-down cloth napkin meals on those days should be limited, so you should have plenty.

hetismij2 Jan 28th, 2015 12:55 PM

I hope you aren't taking €3000 in cash. I just wonder with you talking of converting euros into pounds.

We sometimes picnic in our hotel room to save some money. Have a nice lunch and buy some food at a local supermarket or market. Wash it down with a bottle of wine or beer.
We also often have a big breakfast, skip lunch and have a reasonable meal in the evening.

I know the US is cheaper but we did 5 weeks in California for under €10,000, including airfare, car hire, hotels, everything.

BigRuss Jan 28th, 2015 12:58 PM

Why would you have to convert Euros? Just take pounds out of the ATM.

Thinking a 40E dinner, 25E lunch and 18E breakfast per person is a bit high (seriously - 36E for two for breakfast?) and wouldn't leave much money for touring activities.

flpab Jan 28th, 2015 12:58 PM

Do take away, go to the grocery. Marks and Spencer in London have great take out and deli sections. I could drink that a day but that is us. We love markets and pubs and cafes. Maybe a splurge once in a while but do that in Lisbon and Paris. I would rather have tickets to see amazing things and eat simple. You should be ok. Some of your hotels probably have breakfast included. We like to do a bigger lunch and less dinner anyway. Look for prix fixe menus and you can save a lot.

MsWorthy Jan 28th, 2015 01:00 PM

@Sandralist - Yes, thank you so much! You always give me the best tips! I like the meal ideas for each country.

As for London, from Stansted airport - my husband and I will be using the Stansted Express then tube it to Victoria.

If we can , we would rather do all-walk. If our legs give up on us, we will probably ride the thrice max-- as we have decided the first day we are in London, we will do the Westminter/Buckingham Palace area, and then 2nd day, we will go to the sites right by Piccadily, Covent Garden area and third day will be London Bridge/Tower of London area.

MsWorthy Jan 28th, 2015 01:03 PM

@hetismij2 and @BigRuss-- yes the idea was to bring all the cash divided between me and my husband with our money belt hidden under our sweater/jacket. I've read that bank fees are a lot when we do international transactions so we thought to save money, we'd just bring whatever money we have and when it's all spent that's the only time we will go to the bank.

sandralist Jan 28th, 2015 01:05 PM

Just as a point of reference, even when the euro was worth $1.61, traveling with my husband we seldom spent more than $3000 on food, drink, entry fees, taxis during 3 weeks in Europe. We never shop, or eat breakfast, eat desserts or ice cream, so it is really hard to absolutely fine tune for somebody else what their budget should be. No point in going to Europe and depriving yourself of one-of-a-kind experiences and treats.

But generally you can find ways to even things out if you overspend along the way. Just be careful before you enter restaurants and bars that you have a clear idea of the cost -- especially if you sit down at a table with a view. You won't enjoy your food or the memory of a meal if you are feeling badly about the expense.

MsWorthy Jan 28th, 2015 01:05 PM

@apersuader65 - thank you. Yes we will not be having sitdown dinners all the time. But atleast once per country. ;-) the rest of the meals will be probably be streetfood - but we will buy atleast one "specialty" food per city ie Pizza from Rome

MsWorthy Jan 28th, 2015 01:09 PM

@Sandralist - thank you.. that's my goal atleast, not to deprive ourselves of the one of a kind treats. We may not be getting desserts on a daily basis but we will spend for chocolates in Brussels ...

In terms of Souvenirs, I don't think we will buy any. probably we'll save our entry tickets to the museums and paste it in our scrapbook -- and the pictures would be our souvenirs.

sandralist Jan 28th, 2015 01:11 PM

msworthy, you and I were typing at the same time.

Do NOT carry that much cash. Saving the bank fees is NOT WORTH IT if you lose that money. It will ruin your trip. No joke. You will be traveling through many airports, train stations and tourist venues where pickpockets are just looking for you to make a mistake and you will be distracted and tired a lot of the time. You will inevitably forget something in a hotel, fall asleep without remembering where you left your money --- blah blah. Don't do it. Use the ATMs.

Europe is a very safe place but it has a resident population of thieves that prey on tourists. Be smart.

If you plan to walk everywhere be sure you bring warm socks and leg coverings and your favorite comfy shoes. Neck scarf and completely warm hat or ear muffs essential (you are going in February, right?)

sandralist Jan 28th, 2015 01:20 PM

Also remember it is not just theft that is a concern when two people are carrying 3000e in cash between them. It is that it is just too easy while you are traveling and have so many other things to pay attention to while in unfamiliar surroundings and prone to fatigue for one of you to make a mistake and lose that money.

MsWorthy Jan 28th, 2015 01:22 PM

@sandralist - I can't thank you enough for always giving sound advice... yeah that would be scary if we lose all our money through pickpockets (knock on wood)... We will probably just bring a small amount and just rely on our ATMS. But I want to ask: was there ever a time when ATMS do not work in Europe?

When we were in Sint Maarten years ago, the ATM we went to did not work and I fear that might happen again to us in Europe ( where everything else seems like double the price of what we have here in Canada). That would worry me big time if we can't access our money.

And thank you for tip on how we can keep ourselves warm.I assume weather over there is almost like here in Canada... really cold with the exception of Greece and Rome as they are a lot lower in the map?

Kathie Jan 28th, 2015 01:27 PM

I don't know where you are from, but there are bank accounts that do not charge high fees for foreign transactions. Have you spoken with your bank? Do they charge for the use of a foreign ATM? Do they charge a conversion fee? The worst of the big banks will charge you $5 each time you withdraw money from a foreign ATM plus 3% on top of that. But smaller banks and especially credit unions and brokerages may charge you nothing.

Don't carry all of your money with you - plan to use ATMs even if it means opening a new bank account.

MsWorthy Jan 28th, 2015 01:32 PM

@Kathie - yes, we spoke with our bank. They charge $5 every time you withdraw. My concern is the conversion rate.

A local currency exchange quoted me a rate a lot higher than my bank was offering so when I did my computer I came out with 3000€

MsWorthy Jan 28th, 2015 01:33 PM

*computation* lol computer

MsWorthy Jan 28th, 2015 01:41 PM

@flpab - thank you!!!!

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