Europe on a Budget

Yay! I have finally moved to my new domain: itsmaryanntan.com. So, so happy! 😀 😀 😀

Sadly, I have not blogged in ages. Has it been about 2 months? Oh dear, it is! I was so busy with other errands, work and setting up this domain. It took like forever as I have no idea how it works. Well, *applause* it’s done! 🙂

Another reason why I took so long is because, we went to the recent Matta Fair and bought ourselves tickets to Italy! So the last few weeks (or months! *sweat*), I was doing my research, booking train tickets, accommodation and so on. Wow, wow, wow! I can’t believe it. We are going to Italy!!! I am SO looking forward to all the pizzas, pasta and gelato! *dream* So after all the busyness of preparing for my Europe trip, I was thinking: Why not blog about it? So here you go:

Europe on a Budget!

Honestly, I would have never ever dreamt of going to Europe. I have always thought that it is way too expensive. I would have opted for Korea or Australia instead. However, after speaking to one of my buddies, he revealed that he went to Europe with a budget of RM10k per pax. I was thinking, “Is RM10k even possible?” I always thought it would be RM20k. *ops*

Hubby and I had our first Europe trip together last year and we traveled from Amsterdam to Germany to Switzerland and then to some parts of France and London. So, I do have a rough idea on how much it would cost to have a trip to Europe. I will share a few types of costing right here and I hope this will help you with your next trip.

Firstly, there are many types of budget when it comes to traveling in Europe. Where do you want to travel in Europe? How many countries? How many days? Which season? Are you okay with dorm sharing? Must you have a private room? Are you okay to pick up a juice and sandwich from a supermarket? Must you dine in? All these decisions will determine your entire budget.

(Please note that the rates below are just a rough guide as price varies according to countries and season. But these rates are good enough as a guideline to an approximate budget needed. )

Flight Tickets

How much to fly to Europe? If you purchase during the promotion period, you can actually get pretty reasonable rates and it is not a budget airline. It could be Emirates, Etihad, MAS and so on.

Matta Fair runs twice a year. I would suggest that it would be the best time for you to buy your tickets. Go early on the first day as certain dates will run out quickly. And also, book with the travel agency instead of the website as they can book a promo ticket to and fro different location. Meaning, if your plan to backpack a few countries, you can fly in one country and depart from another. Somehow, if you book online, it is not possible. If it is, please let me know *wink*.

Last year, our tickets to Amsterdam and departing Paris was only RM2474.

This year, our Italy tickets to Rome and departing Milan is only RM2679.

Pretty reasonable considering that we are flying on Emirates. Neat!

 Getting around

After you book your flight tickets, you will have to decide on how you would like to travel within Europe. Budget flight? Train? Bus?

I have been traveling by train so I am quite familiar with the costing. If you would like to know how much exactly, visit www.seat61.com and it guides you with the rates, websites and many other helpful details. In fact, seat61 is my savior to train bookings in Europe!

Do take note that purchasing train tickets is a similar system to our budget airline. The earlier you book, the cheaper it is.

Here is a rough guide on how much train tickets cost:-

Train Tickets

Within country RM50-RM150
Country to country RM200
Night trains RM450 (4 sleeping couch)

You can get more accurate rates through the man in seat61. If you only plan to travel within one country, you will very likely cut your budget quite a fair bit. If you are dying to travel a few countries, try to pick countries that are nearer to each other. If you want to travel country to country that is far apart, you can either opt for the night train (for certain routes) or the budget airline (Ryanair/ easyJet).  You wouldn’t want to waste a day riding on a train for 7-8 hours, right? I took a night train from Amsterdam to Munich for about RM450. I was quite a princess as I selected the 4 sleeping couch. There are way cheaper night train options but could be quite uncomfortable. Well, think about it. You save on accommodation for one night.

Oh! You must be wondering whether it is worth it to take the Eurail train pass. If you do your maths, it is NOT. Unless you are within the age (12-25) to get the discount rate, point to point train tickets are more reasonable.

How about flight tickets? Yes, you can absolutely purchase the flight tickets within Europe. There are many budget airlines. Just take note, most of the airport are pretty out of the way. So you will spend money and time on traveling to the city center. Also, if you have check in luggage (which you better not, but hard to avoid), you will need to pay extra for that.

Other than the risk of traffic jam, you can definitely opt for the bus. It’s cheaper. Way cheaper. If time is not a problem and money is the issue, taking the bus is the way. It will save you buckets load of money. I have never taken that option as time is an issue for me.

Accommodation

Are you a backpacker and dorms are not a problem? Must you have a private room with your partner? Hostel, BNB, Budget Hotel? Here you go:

Dorms RM100
Private Rooms in Hostels (Double) RM200
Budget Hotels/Airbnb (Double) RM250-400

Last year, I stayed mostly with Airbnb. It is a traveling app where you stay in people’s home for a reasonable rate. You can opt for that. There are pros and cons and I will keep that for another post.

Now, booking budget accommodation is so easy. Just visit www.agoda.com, www.booking.com , www.hostelbookers.com and the list goes on. The easiest way to get the most budget rates is to use the filters. What I do is to filter the rates and the ratings. Get the cheapest options with the best services/reviews. It saves a lot of time.

You can absolutely try Airbnb and Couchsurfing. I can’t comment on Couchsurfing but I heard that it can be free. Is it?

Other factors:

Season: Summer is more expensive. Winter is the cheapest to travel.

Country: Eastern Europe would be way more reasonable as most Eastern Europe Countries do not use Euro. Expensive countries could be the Scandinavian (Norway, Sweden, Finland), UK (thanks to Dollars) and Switzerland.

Food: Food is soooo subjective. You can get a hotdog for about €2 and a meal from their supermarket for a few euros. There are also cafes where you can get a meal from €5  up to €10. And you can also dine in pricier restaurants from €20 up to €100 or more.

What hubby and I did was to buy street food on the way. We pick up a big bottle of juice for about €1, share a hotdog for about €2. Pick up something from a bakery. And then we will have a €10 meal in a cafe after we are done with visiting places. At times, we will dine in somewhere fancier for about €20 a person or to share. I guess if you are on a budget, budgeting RM100 per person a day is a good amount but we barely spend more than RM100 a day. We came back to Malaysia with lots of Euros left.

I think I have pretty much cover most of the budget factors.

It is difficult for me to give a budget as there are so many factors involve. You can do your own maths actually but here are a few to give you an idea.

Backpacking Paris in 1 week.

Price (RM) 7 days (RM) Details
Flight ticket 2500 2500 Promo ticket
Accommodation 100 700 Staying in a dorm
Food 100 700
Getting around 200 Public transport
Others 1000 Museums, Eiffel Tower, etc.
Total 5100

Ta- dah! RM5k+ to backpack Paris in one week! And it would probably be about the same for another country in Europe. And you know what? If you try ‘couchsurfing’, you may save on accommodation as well! I have slot in another RM1k for ‘others’ in case you want to do some shopping, dining or paying for museums. But if you choose to save a little here and there, the budget can go to roughly RM4k+. That is the same as what I spent in Hong Kong for 5 days (with Hotel and some shopping)!

Okay? Maybe you don’t want to go backpacking. You: DIVA! And maybe 7 days is so wasted. And one country? No way! Okay, don’t frust. I get you. Let’s try a budget of 3 countries in 12 days. Amsterdam, Paris and London, here we go!

Amsterdam, Paris and London in 12 days

3 countries in 12 days Per day (RM) 12 days (RM) Details
Flight Ticket 2700 2700 Promo ticket
Accommodation 150 1800 Assuming accommodation for 2 person @ RM300
Food 80 960 Assuming that you only budget 20euro/day. It was sufficient for me.
Amsterdam – Paris 268 Approximate train tickets price.
Paris – London 280 Approximate train tickets price.
Paris 4 days public transport 158.4 Approximate train tickets price.
Amsterdam 4 days public transport 100 Amsterdam’s city is small. So you can walk around. Probably need to budget if you are taking a train/bus to nearby town/city
London 4 days public transport 240 Some pay as they go with the Oyster Card, some buy the day card. So this depends
Musical 300 You must watch a musical. There are cheaper rates depending on your seats
Others 1000 Probably to visit museums or attractions
Total 7806.4

So that is about RM8k for 3 countries in Europe.

How about my Europe budget? Mine was a little crazy. I was trying to stuff too much in too little time. And mine consist of more countries which makes it a little more pricier. And I must say, Switzerland is really expensive *sweat* but totally worth it!

Anyway, here it is. I made it really brief.

15 Days in Europe: Amsterdam – Munich – Fussen – Berchdesgaden – Switzerland – Aix En Provence – Marseille – Paris – London

15 days in Europe Cost (RM) Details
Air Ticket 2474 Bought this from Matta fair. Flying into Amsterdam and departing from Paris
Accomodation 1749.83 This is the total for 12days. 2 days in friend’s place. Price ranging from RM250-RM400
Train tickets 2234.6 Total of all train tickets: Amsterdam to Munich, Salzburg to Switzerland, Switzerland to Aix En Provence, Aix to Paris, Paris to London, London to Paris
Swiss Pass 907.44 3 days pass in Switzerland that cost me a bomb
Schilthorn Peak 142.2 Going up the peak is a must BUT expensive
Jungfraunoch 738 This is the highest peak in Europe. Yes. It’s expensive but how can I pass?
Musical 800 2 musicals in London
Food 1200
Others 1000 Transport/ museums/soveniers
Total 11246.07

NOTE that the accommodation price is for one person. So I divided the total price of the room by two.So about RM11k (plus minus) to do all that!

I will share a more comprehensive budget of my Europe trip in another blog. This is taking way too long and too much for one blog (at least, I think).

Now lastly, do you want my Italy budget? Might as well, right?

Italy in 17 days: Rome – Florence – Pisa – Cinque Terre – Venice – Val Gardena, Dolomites – Milan

17 days in Italy Per day (RM) 17 days (RM)
Flight ticket 2679 2679 Matta Fair Promotion
Accomodation 150 2550 Accomodation for 17days. I have divided the price by two for a double room.
Train ticket 580 Train tickets from Rome-Florence-Cinque Terre – Venice – Domites – Milan
Tuscany Tour 300 A day tour in Tuscany
Food 70 1190 Assuming if I spend this little again
Dolomites pass card 240 Going up the dolomites mountain. It’s an unlimited pass card for 3 days
Others 1000 Museums, Colleseum and so on.
Total 8539

Just a tentative budget over here. Assuming that I stay in RM300 double rooms and only dine in for RM70 a day.

RM8k+ for 17 days. Not too bad I suppose. But we will see the real figures once I come back from Italy. I heard it’s really expensive in summer.

Can you beat the budget of the above? You definitely can. Plan early. Book early. There are lots of cheaper options: budget hostels, shared bathroom, location a little further from the city center, etc. And I found double rooms from as low as RM200 in Hostelbookers.com, so I may rebook some of the rooms in Italy.

Before I end, some pictures to share! 😀

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Alps of Germany in Berchtesgaden
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Murren, Switzerland
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Neuschwanstein Castle, Fussen, Germany
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Keukenhof, Amsterdam
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Frozen Lake, Valkeakoski, Finland. If you are wondering how I got to Finland, I was studying in Finland for a year. Great experience.
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Aurora Borealis, Valkeakoski, Finland. This is really taken with my digital camera. I actually got to see it!

Hope you enjoy this blog. I love Europe.

Cheers,

Mary

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6 thoughts on “Europe on a Budget

  1. I used couchsurfing in lucerne. At first, I was wary but turned out much better than many airbnbs that I stayed in. And for free!!

    Italy – don’t skimp on food. So cheap! Half the price of paris.

    • Thanks Anne for the tips! Great. Will try couchsurfing one day. And it’s good to know that the food in Italy is half the price. Awesome! Can’t wait.

  2. Hey Mary!

    Thanks for this post! Now that I’m in the process of planning a week in Italy myself, this one and the itinerary really helps A LOT. Cheers!

    Yan Yi

  3. Hi Mary

    Thanks for your great info. I gonna travel alone for a month+ within few countries, UK, FRANCE, SWITZERLAND, and ITALY.

    Cheers!

    Regards
    Sam

  4. Hi Mary,

    I am enjoying reading your blog about Europe trip. I am planning to have my Europe trip in late April 2018. For 14 days 13 nights and my budgets not more than RM 15k.
    I really need your advice on this. Because for 8 days I will be with my friends and another 6 days I will be on solo tour.

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