Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

how does one budget for a trip - to Austria or anywhere else in europe for that matter?

how does one budget for a trip - to Austria or anywhere else in europe for that matter?

Feb 16th, 2007, 01:19 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 367
how does one budget for a trip - to Austria or anywhere else in europe for that matter?

O.K. so this is broad - but I got to thinking - most travel starts with a "what if"? or a "wouldn't it be fun to...." then moves into the planning phase. But there is a difference between our dreams of travel and the reality of our pocketbooks. When you've decided you'd like to go on a trip to Europe, what steps do you take to determine that it is actually financially possible - without wasting a ridiculous amount of time searching guidebooks and websites? Is there a rule of thumb for the various levels (luxury to budget) european travel?

I hope to travel to Salzburg with my family(of 4) for next Christmas and plan about $250-300 per night lodging - then I've used Ira's 45pp per diem for food. does this seem reasonable? This was just after briefly viewing some hotel websites.

Since the Euro - has the cost of travelling in Europe become similar from country to country or would one still find a difference in the cost? say would Austria be pricier than Ireland?

forgive me if I seem obtuse - I am genuinely curious what others with much more travel experience than I have observed.
jujubean is offline  
Feb 16th, 2007, 01:22 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 236
You can spend less than that per night in Salzburg.
celfan is offline  
Feb 16th, 2007, 01:22 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 721
Not sure what you're asking exactly. I don't know, I don't really stress out about it.

I usually have several trips (domestic and international) "in the works" at one time. I don't wait until I have all the money saved up to book it--but I do make a little list of when I should purchase airfare by for each trip.

I'm horrible at saving money, so this usually ends with me realizing two weeks before I leave that I don't have nearly enough money, and then working like hell to save it in that short amount of time

ah well, i'm still fairly young, give me a few more year's to be irresponsible.
MissZiegfeld is offline  
Feb 16th, 2007, 01:25 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 236
I condider three places when I'm looking for travel information. First, this forum.
Seriously. Put out any question and it will be answered. Then I check hotels
at Karen Browns website because she and I have the same taste in hotels. Then I go to the tripadvisor site for hotel reviews.
celfan is offline  
Feb 16th, 2007, 01:26 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,159
Hi J,

$300/nite for 4 is very generous for Salzburg.

Add to that about 50E pp for food, and you should have no trouble.

Have you budgeted for airfare?

Will you need a car?

>..would Austria be pricier than Ireland? <

The reverse.

Hope this helps.

ira is offline  
Feb 16th, 2007, 01:38 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 91,389
My trips usually cost similar amounts per day, regardless of destination. Since I usually stay in cities, use public transportation, reserve a centrally located 3-star hotel, and have modest tastes for food and entertainment.

I have found Switzerland and Venice a bit more expensive, Amsterdam and Paris a bit less... but just a tad.

I travel solo or with another single friend, so I'm not sure my method or figures would necessarily apply to a family situation.

Basically I think (within reason) you can make a trip cost whatever you want.
suze is offline  
Feb 16th, 2007, 01:48 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 46,077
I don't really budget for trips. Travel has been such a big part of my life for so many years that as long as my business doesn't take a major downturn or something I know I'll be able to afford the trips I take. I'm not a big shopper any more, either - my house does not need any more contributions from my European travels - and on a 2- or 3-week trip I'm not likely to splurge on more than one or two fancy meals. I stay in modest lodgings, tend to spend most of my time in rural areas rather than cities, and I just do pretty much what I want to do without worrying about costs. If I come home and find I've spent more than I'feel I should have, well, that's when running your own business is a boon - I just put in extra time, take on extra jobs, and pay things off.

There are definite differences in how costly it is to travel to various European countries. Austria IME has always been expensive, like Switzerland. The UK's a lot more expensive than Bulgaria. So if you are on a tight budget, it does make sense to gravitate to countries where your dollars will go the farthest.
StCirq is online now  
Feb 16th, 2007, 01:49 PM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 137
I usually start with a plan to use frequent flyer miles when I know we will have enough to fly business class (we use a mileage plus Visa to accumulate miles). Then I ask a friend who travels a lot for hotel recommendations. Some cities aren't too expensive and others are super expensive, so require more research to find an affordable room. I have kept track of recent trips in Quicken, making a separate category for each trip. For 15 days last summer in Austria, my husband and I spent $8809, which didn't include airfare (used miles), but did include the usual expenses and a rental car, plus misc. things like travel books and photos printed back at home. We had a few expensive meals and stayed in nice, but not outrageously expensive hotels. We stayed at the Freisacher just outside of Salzburg (in Anif) in a junior suite for 175EUR incl. taxes, breakfast, and parking. I would recommend it! Have fun planning!
meo is offline  
Feb 16th, 2007, 02:00 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 367
Interesting comments. As far as my planned trip to Austria, when we travel, we try to balance a bit of splurging with a bit of economizing. On our last trip to Italy after a big splurge on dinner, the next day we had wine/cheese/salami and then pizza for dinner. Same thing with lodging - we may splurge in one city but then stay in the countryside outside of another for cheaper rates. As I have 2 little girls for whom Santa is still central to the holiday, I plan to splurge a bit on lodging in Salzburg for the holiday. We have very few FF miles with any particular airline, as we generally go for the best flight deals and haven't built a track record with any one - but we are considering looking into getting a credit card with miles and using it to buy virtually everything!

On our last trip we way overspent - or underplanned. And I hope to not repeat that mistake again! I like the idea of using a spread sheet as I go along to track expected costs. Here's another question - has anyone ever cancelled plans for a trip due to second thoughts on the cost? or perhaps changed destinations?

jujubean is offline  
Feb 16th, 2007, 02:20 PM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 169
Another way to save on both lodging and food is to rent an apartment. That way you don't have to eat in restaurants for every meal. It also makes keeping snacks easier when you have a little kitchen.
bubblywine is offline  
Feb 16th, 2007, 03:08 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 367
Interesting bubblywine - I have been researching apartments - some will permit just a few nights stay. I think that I may take advantage of this while in Vienna. Agree wholeheartedly on the kitchen cutting down on food costs. but it hurts to cut out "local" foods in a restaurant -my family gets my mediocre home prepared meals everyday!! everything is a trade off isn't it?
jujubean is offline  
Feb 16th, 2007, 03:27 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,008
I think it's better to decide how much YOU can comfortably afford to spend and make your trip fit that budget -- not the other way around.

If you can afford to spend $5000 for a vacation, and you know you can find accommodations for $150 per day (not a problem in Austria or Germany), plus the cost of food, airfair, car, etc., then you can determine if you can afford a vacation that will last 1 week, 10 days or 2 weeks. And then plan accordingly.
bettyk is offline  
Feb 16th, 2007, 03:33 PM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 8,379
LOL about mediocre food at home juju. I'm certain though your cooking in Vienna will be superb. And I think absolutely as long as you do your planning and keep tight reins on the wallet you have a good budget. You will love Austria, so beautiful at Christmas with the markets and churches -- it's wonderful.

And yes, you could save a few bucks in Poland or Croatia, but since you have a plan for the holiday I say go for it! There's so much good info stored on this site, all you have to do is access it and compare and you'll find the best deals. I enjoy shopping in the markets when I travel and eat pretty simply (don't forget when you shop you have to bring or buy the bags and pack it yourself).

I too am shopping hotels in Vienna for November and am seeing decent rates. But like MissZiegfield and StCirq, I am going no matter what with maybe not so much cash available, but that's okay. Happy planning juju.
Fidel is offline  
Feb 17th, 2007, 03:41 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,911
I would start with deciding what level of travel you prefer. Your review of hotel sites hasn't been wasted.

Is that 250 - 300 dollars intended to cover the cost of 2 rooms (since you are a group of 4) or are you looking for a quad room? What hotel websites did you peruse? It will make a big difference.

There is little point stressing how little you can spend here or there, if the places at those prices don't meet your desired level of accomodation. On the other hand, you may decide there is little point paying the overhead for services of a hotel that you won't use (e.g., meeting facilities, etc. etc.)or even a lovely view that you will only glimpse for a few minutes each day. (On the other hand, sometimes those views are very memorable. It's not an easy decision!)

45 euro per person for food would be high for us, although perhaps only by a bit. But if one really enjoys food and wine, then it is unwise to plan on spending less. You don't mention the ages of your children: this could squew things considerably. Are you trying to fill the stomach of a 3 year old girl or a 16 year old boy?

Best of luck, budgeting is a real art form.
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Feb 17th, 2007, 05:10 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 6,047
In Salzburg, you will find several centrally located 3-star-hotels for 80 or 90 Euros per double room including breakfast.
Feeding your family.
You can save a lot of money if you don't eat in restaurants twice daily. Instead, you can provide yourselves with food and drinks in a supermarket and have a picnic on your hotel room.

Or you can feed at fastfood places. Try regional fastfood - Austrian sausages, fish varieties at Nordsee, Turkish Döner Kebap, Asian noodles, sandwiches - your kids will love it.

In Austria, the Beisls serve good and inexpensive restaurant-style food.

One of the most effective ways to save money is to buy your drinks in supermarkets and have them in the hotel room (if it is cold outside).
traveller1959 is offline  
Feb 17th, 2007, 05:16 AM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 8,379
The Christmas Markets always have at least several food stands with excellent dishes and drinks -- Salzburg had a whole row of stands as well as one like a deli where you could buy sliced cheese, meats, etc. I don't think food will be a problem.
Fidel is offline  
Feb 17th, 2007, 05:41 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 367
I found bettyk's response a direct hit - figure out how much you can spend then plan according to that - so simple - yet so difficult to do! My husband and I did just that last night - we decided on our annual travel budget. I HATE budgets... Sue xx yy - I have two little girls - 5 (tomorrow) and 10 years old. Both are generally sustained on a combination of PBJ sandwiches, macaroni and cheese and the frequent frozen pizza. I could make the most delicious meal and I would hear -"mom, what can WE have"? We generally love street/vendor food. While I may not be brave enough to try it in some countries - my impression of Austria is that the street food would be very good and safe. Fidel - I have seen that the markets at Christmas have food stalls and am counting on them to help us with our food budget! With kids, you need to take lots of sit down breaks - so I thought we would take advantage of our visits to churches to have some "quiet time" and rest a bit. Rather than sit in a cafe all the time. Many of the beauties in a hurch need to be savored anyway.
I have researched hotels and have found on in Salzburg that offers 196E a night for a family room - it has a separate sitting room and sleeping quarters. It seems a bit steep, but when you consider that a double is about 90E and we have 4 of us it seems all right. Plus in Salzburg, we were planning a bit of a splurge - we need room for the christmas tree! I think we'll go into the countryside afterwards and stay in a B&b for a bit less money and some fun in the snow.

As our trip has evolved it has gone from a 2 week blitz - that might include side trips to Prague or Venice, to a much more leisurely, focused trip - thanks to the advice fromposters here! Now we plan to just take our time and stick to Salzburg and Vienna. Even with this scaling down - I'll bet that we'll still feel rushed!
jujubean is offline  
Feb 17th, 2007, 05:55 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,136
As a general answer to your question about saving, here's how we do it.

First, I realize you are young, but do be a bit cautious about being "irresponsible" ( I am not saying you are, the fact you are trying to fiugre out how to afford tells me you have good sense).

Spending habits early on can spell trouble later, so just be a bit wise here.

In any event, here is how we've afforded to travel so much.

Granted we are very fortunate to have very high incomes, BUT all of our trips are paid in CASH. I set up a travel fund at the bank yrs ago and have money taken out each week and deposited into this account. It's virtually painless. Decide what you can afford to tuck away and have it automatically taken out for you. Then what I do is actually charge everything on my Starwood AMEX ( as much as I can, there are times only Visa or MC are accepted,) get my hotel points ,then when the bill is due, the money saved pays the the bill!

When we return from a trip, the money is always there, no need to worry about that we've spent too much, etc. This system is the best. I will add in all fairness that we travel luxury, mostly high end hotels, the best restaurants and I do shop. But all the money again is allocated for this. This money does not eat into our other expenses due or any retirement or any investments. And what also helps is we travel mostly on frequent flyer points as well( DH has a ton on AA).

Anyway, Salzburg is just lovely and as others have stated, your budget is quite generous for this locale. so I'd trim it a bit and save the remainder for another trip.

you will love Salzburg, enjoy!
tripgirl is offline  
Feb 17th, 2007, 06:08 AM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,336
Another general answer. People can afford it. Many don't budget in the true sense of the word. They want value or bang for their buck but ultimately they have the income to support expensive travel.
highflyer is offline  
Feb 17th, 2007, 06:34 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 367
tripgirl - I am giddy - you said I'm young!!! a thousand thank yous - and I'm not being sarcastic! actually, while we have young children, we are the "older parents" at our kids schools!
Your tip about paying cash is an excellent one. As I mentioned on our last trip we overspent - largely due to putting things on credit card - so easy to say "charge it". And I hate paying those nasty interest rates - even for a few months!
This trip we are determined to pay cash all the way and we will be fortunate enough this year to be able to do that.
As i mentioned my husband and I developed our annual trip budget. The hard part will be fitting in the trips that I want to take this year within that budget amount. The more economical i can be on each trip, the more trips we can take!! - or the more we can splurge on little luxuries along the way!! In my opinion, it's all a matter of priorities - what matters most.

However, the air travel is a killer - they're showing around $650pp round trip into Munich! In the blink of an eye $2,600 is spent!
jujubean is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:33 AM.