Spending Budget while in Europe


Oct 19th, 2015, 06:48 PM
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Spending Budget while in Europe

Hi everyone,

This is only my second post about Europe travels, so forgive me if i am asking a question that cannot possibly be answered! I have been researching for a few weeks now a trip to Europe late next year, but the one thing that i have not been able to find is an estimate on how much spending money will be needed for two people (myself and my partner).

We are going to be spending 25 days visiting Paris, south of France, Prague, Berlin and Amsterdam. Now before we leave, we would have booked flights, all accommodation and all transport between cities.

All i am looking for is an estimate of how much spending money we will need. We are moderate travellers, and will be eating mostly from cafes and street stalls, but would all the same like to go out for dinner a few times. We will also be visiting at least a few attractions in each city. Shopping is not high on our list either.

Is there a standard amount per city (as some are obviously more expensive than others!) for a couple for basics such as two meals a day + public transport + tourist attraction fees?

I am sorry if this is too vague to answer, but i would really appreciate a general amount per city so i can budget how much we need to take with us

Thank you so much
Hannahmegan is offline  
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Oct 19th, 2015, 09:04 PM
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In regard to "how much do we need to take with us"..You will use ATMs in each country to get the cash you need. Use credit cards when and where they are accepted. Get a credit card that doesn't have a conversion fee for each transaction.
Sorry I can't help with the amount of amount you need to budget.
Look at Rick Steves Guide Book for Berlin to learn about less expensive lodging choices and neighborhoods.
HappyTrvlr is online now  
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Oct 19th, 2015, 09:21 PM
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For food I would say to budget about 1.5 x what you would think you'd need for 25 days of that sort of traveling in the states and it will be plenty.
For metro transport in the cities you visit, most of those places are farely walkable so $10pp per day for a few bus and metro rides should be okay.
Tourist attractions should mostly be booked ahead of time online or at least you will be able to check the prices of any tours you decide to take, museums you plan to visit etc.

Kudos to you for starting the planning well ahead of time.
clarkgriswold is online now  
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Oct 19th, 2015, 10:34 PM
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Hi Hannahmegan,

I'll give you some examples of food costs in Garmisch, where I live.

Food stalls generally mean Würst (sausages), and they go for around 4€ each. Add a beer, and it'll be around 8€ for the meal. Meals in cafes are generally very light -- a sandwich or a salad -- and will be under 10€ each. Add a drink, and it'll be around 13€. A restaurant meal in a mid-budget place will be around 15€ to 20€ per person for the main course; in a nice, cloth-tablecloth place, the main course will be between 30€ and 50€. A bottle of wine can be anything -- 12€ or 50€.

Don't neglect the option to buy a meal in a grocery store. You can find prepared salads, prepared sandwiches, or a roasted chicken ready to go -- or prepared meals if you have access to a microwave or stovetop. You can generally get 2 or 3 full meals for under 10€ at the grocery store.

Even when travelling, I usually eat my main meal at lunchtime, when restaurants are cheaper. Then at dinnertime, I eat a picnic from a grocery store (fresh bread, hams & cheeses, chocolate) or a salad or a yogurt drink or some fruit.

Have fun as you plan!

swandav2000 is online now  
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Oct 19th, 2015, 11:23 PM
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You cannot find it, because what you are looking for dependents highly on what you are doing in each city.

It would be far more productive, accurate, relevant, and not difficult, to find the actual admission costs of attractions of interest (rather than treating them as general std amount) in each city. Same for transportation. Point to point, walk, transit pass, transmit-attraction combo, etc.

Moderate travel can mean anything.

Food is highly variable. If you eat what is abundant locally that locals eat, you would fare much better than if you eat mostly items familiar to you at home but difficult to find locally. While many consider soda drinking as a cost saving strategy, in wine producing countries, it would be more expensive than drinking house wines.
greg is offline  
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Oct 20th, 2015, 04:53 AM
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200 euros/day total for two for food, local transportation and entry fees for attractions.
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Oct 20th, 2015, 05:02 AM
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Well you definitely should NOT be taking a lot of money with you. It is not really safe - for reasons of loss as well as theft - and dealing with cash ensures that you will get the worst possible rate of exchange - about 8 to 10% over the Interbank exchange rate versus 1 to 2% when you use credit cards for larger charges) and pull walking around money from your checking account at local bank ATMs. In some places trying to change $ can be very difficult - since local banks don;t want to do it

We assume we will pay for anything $20 or up with credit cards and use cash only for minor items - a drink or ice cream, local transit, anything you buy from a street market. Almost all sights take credit cards (Visa or MC are best, AmEx is accepted by most moderate or upscale places but not by many budget places and discover is not supported at all in europe) as do most restaurants - and obviously hotels, trains, flights, car rentals, etc.

So we typically pull about $200/$300 worth of euros when we land and replenish as needed. Make sure you have at least 2 credit cards and 2 ATM cards - preferably on different accounts in case of any temporary problems with one card.

As for how much total you will spend I can't help since this is not our price point. But you can easily lay out a zero-based budget by googling the cost of sights and local transit and checking guidebooks for cost of budget or modest restaurant meals.

Do be aware that soft drinks are usually very small and very expensive and beer or wine are often cheaper. And expect prices in major cities to be similar or a little higher than those in NYC or SF.
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Oct 20th, 2015, 05:21 AM
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You can look up the Federal per diem rate for government employees traveling abroad at

Though Federal employees are presumably not incurring sightseeing costs on the public dime, it provides a reasonable, non-anecdotal basis for calculating your daily costs.

Since these are per person costs, two people sharing a room and eating street meals will do better.
Ackislander is offline  
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Oct 20th, 2015, 08:04 AM
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Your question as posed cannot be answered. "Moderate" is in the eye of the beholder. The attractions you want to see are unknown to us, therefore so are their prices. The public transport costs vary from place to place, including available discounts and bulk purchase tickets.

As for this: "so i can budget how much we need to take with us" - the answer is you shouldn't bring a gawdang penny. Take an ATM card and if you're American have that card tied to a Credit Union or Cap One or similar account that won't charge foreign transaction fees or high conversion fees (Cap One = 0; most credit unions = 1%) and just withdraw cash. It's not the 1980s - exchanging money is a ripoff and there are too many ways to avoid getting screwed that you should not bring dollars or pounds to swap in the Euro (or koruna) zone.
BigRuss is online now  
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Oct 20th, 2015, 09:39 AM
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I don't think it's that hard to answer that question, just in a broad sense, rather than as an accounting exercise. I consider myself a moderate spender (although some would say cheap, as to me, that does not mean I eat in restaurants that charge over 50 euro per person), but on the other hand, I don't eat from street stalls (which are not common in many of those places, at least not for meals, just snacks or things like ice cream).

So I'd say 60 euro per person.
Christina is online now  
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Oct 20th, 2015, 11:44 AM
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When traveling solo I allow myself $100usd-worth per day and can make that work most places.

So for a couple I would say $150-175usd per day for basic meals and snacks, a few admissions, walking around pocket money, without major shopping or too much alcohol.
suze is online now  
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Oct 20th, 2015, 12:13 PM
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Here's an example - I pulled the US state department per diem schedule for foreign postings, which includes a meals and incidentals schedule. Paris was $143.00 with $29.00 of that in incidentals (tips for service employees where required for Paris. The Toulouse rate was $122.00 with $24.00 for incidentals. I used US state department numbers as I'm from the US. Not sure where you're from, but your state department will likely have a similar rate for its' employees.

Based upon the number given for Paris, and my personal experiences there, the per diem is more than I'd spend on any given day, although I've never spent more than 50 euro pp for a meal at any restaurant. I personally budget, on average, $125.00 per person per day for all my days in Paris, which is on the high end of the spectrum. I have never spent more than I budgeted to spend, and our last trip had several shopping items that are ordinarily not a part of our trip. I'm usually well under budget, but we also don't eat out 3 times a day - and we usually are in apartments.

I'd budget approximately $100 per day for everything and simply keep track of all of it daily so that you know where you are. If you find a splurge worthy meal/restaurant/museum in a place, you simply need to take that into account by reducing your expenditures either before or after the splurge.

If your expenses are for 25 days and no lodging or travel between lodgings, then $2,500.00 per person should be more than ample, IMPO.
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Oct 20th, 2015, 12:13 PM
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I don't know about any other places you mentioned, but if you want to know how much food and drink costs in Paris restaurants, just go to any review site and pull up a menu and check prices. You can always find a meal for 15 - 35 EU, no drinks included. Breakfast costs around 5 - 10 EU depending on neighborhood. Getting off the major boulevards will be lots cheaper.

Truly, you can spend as much or as little as you like, especially if you aren't picky about gourmet food. A sandwich from a bakery or crepe from a sidewalk vendor once in awhile won't kill you, and will only cost around 5 EU. Always drink tap water, which is free in Paris. What is expensive is anything else liquid - alcoholic or not. Wine, beer, soft drinks average 6 EU, cocktails at least twice that.

If you want to go to a lot of museums in Paris, look into the Museum Pass and see if the combined entry fees make it worth your while. Make sure that what you want to see will be included.

There is no other "pass" in Paris that is worth buying, and most are total rip-offs and should be avoided.

A carnet of 10 loose tickets that anyone can use on Metro or Bus would probably be the best choice for you. You can also buy single tickets if needed. Paris is small and safe, so you can walk just about everywhere.
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Oct 20th, 2015, 04:05 PM
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Hi everyone - when i asked the above question, i did not mean how much cash we should take with us, but instead how much money should we take with us on a travel card/in our bank accounts for spending while we are there.

I do understand that this question is particularly difficult to answer, so thanks for your time and advice! We will definitely be wanting to eat as much as we can from bakeries or sidewalk vendors, with maybe one nice dinner/lunch at a restaurant in each city.

Also thanks for the advice that restaurants are cheaper over lunchtime! I was not aware of this
Hannahmegan is offline  
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Oct 22nd, 2015, 12:15 PM
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Most businesses accept debit/credit cards, but most have a minimum requirement for purchase, which varies anywhere from 1 to 15 EU. Some very small shops won't accept cards at all, so it's a good idea to have some cash on hand.
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