I guess this is one of the most awaited sharing that you have been dying to hear from me. Many of my friends, will like Wah, Very Rich hor! How did you managed to spend so much! Let me first clear your doubts, I am not rich, just a very normal guy that is very willing to spend on my travels neither is TRAVELLING TO EUROPE VERY CHEAP! Frankly speaking, expenditure in Europe is much cheaper in certain places like Japan, USA. If you would like to spend even lesser money, head to Eastern Europe, they are much more cheaper but definitely not lacking in their culture and heritage! To put a point of comparison, using Singapore as a base, since it is my home, I frequently see promotion tickets to Europe getaways at around the 900 SGD mark for a return ticket, compare that to probably 600 that you will spend on a ticket to Japan or Australia. Heck it is even cheaper than promotion tickets to New Zealand! I will share on the amount that I spend on this post!
Let me first say that Europe will definitely not be cheap if you wanna get some Prada, Gucci and etc, so that will definitely not be covered in my post below. Here are the main things that you will probably spend on when planning a trip. Transportation, Accommodation, Food and Attractions. Let me first touch on Transportation.
Two main portion. First the flight from your country to Europe. Which in my case was from Singapore to Frankfurt. Frankfurt being the my main gateway in Europe. While I travelled in style in Singapore Airlines Suites using the miles and points game. There are plenty of promotions available for flights to Europe. I frequently see round trip tickets around the 900 dollars region on airlines like KLM, Qatar, Etihad or Turkey. The down side is the transfer you have to make. If you would like to travel on our national carrier, which is the best in the world. Singapore Airlines currently have promotions for tickets going to London at 998 SGD, which is such a bargain!
For me my ticket cost me 120,000 Miles and around 300 plus in taxes. What a bargain, for tips on it you can refer to this post. I will take it as I spend 1,000 SGD for my flights to Europe, taking it as I just bought a Economy ticket.
Then comes the second part, all you travelling around the countries and cities you are going to. This can be quite pricey in comparison, so rely on your legs, one of god greatest gifts to us. This is also a reason why I totally recommend people to go during the cooler season, you will want to walk everywhere you go and in fact, you get to see more things, so that is the perks, you will save a lot. Travelling in the city can be expensive in some places, like London where a tube ride cost like 2.40 Pounds, THAT IS LIKE A WHOOPING 4 SGD! In fact, I walk to most of the places in the city, since most of the sights are in the city centre! Some places are quite affordable. Like I got a two day ticket in Brno to ride on the trams for only like 3 Euros. P.s I should probably not tell you this, but in many places it is sometimes possible to ride without a ticket, since most are base on the honor system, the metro have no gates and you can board on all doors on train and trams.
Then you also have to cater some money for emergencies, like for example some of my most expensive wasteful money is spend on like a 5 min taxi ride 6am in the morning to the train station that cost 10 Euros. Ouch! Then there are travels that you have to plan between cities. I went to around 21 Cities in the continent so I took numerous trains and also bus to get around. While train are recommended, bus are the ones that are much cheaper. Book early to find promotion tickets! I took many trains in and out, they all range around 20 plus to some that cost 80 SGD. A tip would be to book early, especially high speed train, you can really save a lot.
Then there are the travels that you do to get to the place of interest. Some are pretty far away and simply relying on your legs would be tough to get by. For example I went to the alps while in Austria, I took a bus from Hallstatt to the base of the mountain and it cost me 2.10 Euro each way.
All in total, for my travelling of 44 days in Europe, all the internal flights, trains, bus around the cities and also the metro, local bus, an unexpected taxi ride. I spend a total of 1,400 SGD.
Bed and Breakfast
Of course, everyone would want to travel in First Class and stay in 5 star luxury hotels and of course not everyone can do so! I am thankful to say that my accomodations are pretty not bad this trip around. I mainly stayed in Bed and Breakfast or Pensions which they called it in some of the places that I went to. They are nice, small and cosy, similar to hotels but at a much lower prices. Some of them even have breakfast included so that is something you can save on actually. If you wanna go cheap, just get hostels, you will definitely save a lot. I stay at many of them, one of my favourite and the more expensive one would be the City Pension Stephansplatz it is nice and expensive, but Vienna is an expensive place. This cost me around 130 SGD a night.
Then I had really cheap ones and still pretty okay, but still pretty manageable one. I stay in Pension Danny at Cesky Krumlov which only cost me like 35 Euros night or like 55 SGD.
Then you have the options of Airbnb also which I took the opportunity when I was in Florence. I stay at a gorgeous room right in the heart of the city for just 56 SGD a night. Check out online for promotions. In this case, I found one from Citibank, where there is a 50 dollars off when you check out with their card.
Then the last options is also something very fun, especially for the solo travellers! You get a local experience and the cost is free. Although it will be very nice for you to buy them a meal, a drink or even cook for them. Do remember, you are here to make friends and memories and not to just leach off them for a free stay. I will share more on this on a post later on so, yea. I did a couple of these, including in Brussels, Brno and Munich. It was such a great experience and I made so many friends. I did this for about 10 nights! Here is my host cooking a home cooked meal for me in Brno!
All in all, I spend a total of 2,400 SGD on my accomodation for 44 days, or 43 nights as it would be. That will be around 55 bucks a night! Some of them are good for 2 pax, so if you travel with a partner, the cost will be lower!
Now for one of the greatest activity when travelling. When travelling, there is only two main thing on your mind, Attractions and Food. Everyone who knows me, know that I am a foodie, if you saw me, you will have probably thought so as well. While I am all down for saving, and travelling on a budget, I will never scrimp on food and my local experience. I believe in trying new things, and enjoying the most authentic cuisine! Michelin Restaurant? Hit me up! Currywurst in Germany? Let’s go! I am definitely not one that will buy a bread and eat for the whole day just to travel on a budget. Travel is definitely a time where we should just spend the day without worries. Eating in the popular typical European City is pretty pricey. Such as having mussels in Brussels, it is never less than 20 Euros.
Michelin Set lunch in Rome? At Guida Ballerino for 39 Euros! What a Steal!
Sometimes, I also do eat on a budget, like 2 slices of pizza in Lucca, which cost me only 4 Euros. They were delicious and authentic too!
Grabbing a currywurst to chew on while strolling around the street! Checked and done!
Having a Gelato right in Rome! For around 3 Euros. It is not only a delight, but an experience!
Having a seafood platter while facing the view in Vernazza! I will never have any qualms on it! 25 euros? I will just order. Never leave with regrets, who knows when will you ever be back here again!
I spend a total of 1,870 SGD on food during my travels. This is around 42.50 SGD a day!
This is of course another part of your expenditure during your travels. However it is something that you can also control, most of the places have some attractions that are free to do. There are many walking tours, places or simply checking out the city that will not cost you a gem to do so. There are many blogs and websites that have these information. While some are free to enter, but then cost a little to take a bus or train to the place. Like the Zaanse Schans that I went in Amsterdam to check out the Winds Mills. The place is free to enter although I had to take a train that cost me about 4 Euros.
Another important point to take note also is free days in attractions or museums. For example the Prado Museum in Madrid, which is one of the top three museum in the world have free entrance in the evening on Sundays. Similarly in Rome, where on the first sunday of every month, you can enter the Colosseum, Roman Forum for free. You save a lot. At least 12 to 19 euros which is otherwise needed for a ticket. This is something that I took the opportunity to do so. I have shared my tip for doing so in a post earlier.
Another one to take note is the concession prices that is usually available at many of the attractions around Europe. So if you are a student, never forget to bring your student card. Yes, even a Singapore student card is accepted. Usually they will just want to see that you are a student and not mind where you are from! Most of the places that I went to are free, although I still do pay for some. Like the Fortress Hohensalzburg in Salzburg, Heineken Experience in Amsterdam, the Dachstein Alps while I was in Hallstatt! Pompeii!
This is in fact the aspect where I spend the least since most of the places are free to check out! Natural need no cost! In total I spend approx around 400 on my activities and attractions that I visited.
Here is a summary on the amount of money that I spend during this trip:
Transportation: 1, 000 SGD on flights and 1,400 SGD on internal transportation
Accomodation: 2,400 SGD for 43 nights, One night for 55.81 SGD
Food: 1,870 SGD for 44 days, One day at 42.50 SGD
Attractions: 400 SGD
All in all, I spend a total of 7,070 SGD for the whole of my trip. Keep in mind that Europe is perfectly doable. I did took some first class train rides, splurge on Michelin food, dine in fancy restaurant. Stayed in Bed & Breakfast and Hotels. So if would like to keep it down, go hostels and take second class you will probably spend much lesser than that! 7K for 44 days isn’t too bad. I have heard of people spending 5K in Japan, so that is for you to judge yourself! Hope this would help in your planning. Hit me up if you have any questions! While not the cheapest, neither is it the most cost efficient way to do it. It is certainly the most worth it trip for me!