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Daily Budget

I really did a great job budgeting my trip to Italy the following ways:

1) I planned everyday and bought my tickets ahead of time via TrenItalia. That way I stuck to my schedule, but when I bought my tickets, also provided myself with some flexibility in when I returned, etc. Buying tickets in advance actually proved to be cheaper than abroad. A round trip ticket to Naples was 9 euros pre-trip but out of curiosity I looked at the prices at the station the day of and they were significantly higher.

2) I looked up prices for places I wanted to see and set that money aside for each day. Each day had it's own envelope with money including some spending money for fun. it also included meal cash. While this seems like it'd be a bit frugal, I made sure to make sure my daily amount was fairly generous and I often had cash left over. I always took my card with me, just in case. I also liked having money in it's own envelope because it's not obvious what is in it, so if a pickpocket got into your purse it wouldn't be obvious it's money, so they'd be less inclined to steal it. (Yes, I had an incident in Pisa) and it also keeps you from spending past your means. Always always keep a separate stash for emergencies.

Posted by
2081 posts

Welcome Laruaiesue,

I have bought my train tickets in advance where possible since i plan my trips out to how long i will be in a place, i can do that. If i were to "wing it" it wouldnt be possible. also on my last trip, in Belgium, the ticket conductor mentioned i could have saved about 10 Euros since they had a special that week. I had bought my ticket 3 months out or as soon as possible so it wasnt possible.

I also did as you did and look at fairs at the station and noticed the same - buying there is more expensive.

Since i plan my trip down to the days and daily activities i can budget my time better and therefor my cost. I dont budget my cost per day per say, but i do it to calculate my expenses as in lodging stay, laundry, souvenirs and attraction costs.

Im sure others will have different methods, but for now this is how i do it and its working okay for me.

happy trails.

Posted by
11613 posts

Back before the Euro, I used to use the envelope system, but for countries, not days. When the envelope was empty it was time to move on. It could work for cities as well. I've been on a budget for so long that now it's just automatic. Like Ray, I research the costs for museums and sights in advance, as well as hours of operation, so putting aside money for the day is easy. Keeping the budget...

Posted by
5697 posts

Never used envelopes, but my money-control method is writing every expense in a notebook and reconciling my remaining cash every night or two. This way I can determine when I need to hit the ATM.
However, while planning the trip I make a daily spreadsheet of hotels, train reservations, city passes, car rental (if any) so I can see the total trip cost of the big items and I add an estimate of food and extras.

Posted by
6950 posts

I never budget spending money for travel in Europe or anywhere else--other than knowing what the rooms will cost ahead of time.

My wife and I travel rather frugally. But we do take in most popular tourist sights, and don't miss much.
We charge transport tickets, restaurants, gasoline and rooms, and we payoff the charge card statements upon our return. Funny how the bills will often beat us home. We really don't spend that much local currency.
We really don't enjoy eating in expensive restaurants, as they're not important to us.
And we don't buy anything we don't just have to have--like souvenirs and gifts. We seldom see anything we cannot buy cheaper in the U.S.
What's amusing is seeing us allocate spending cash when leaving a country--trying to have no foreign currency leftover. Next month, we'll be having to get ATM withdrawals Hungarian, Euros and Czech. I forgot how spoiled we were on recent trips just having to deal with Euros.

Posted by
5 posts

I try to pay for as much as possible before I leave home. Hotels and train tickets are easy. Sometimes one or two sight seeing items. To track spending better we deal in cash and only put the expected amount in our pockets each day (the rest in a money belt). We enjoy eating cheaply but will go ahead and pay a little extra to rest in an open air café, also we're not shoppers. The last trip I budgeted 40 euros per day for food, incidentals and local transportation in France and Italy, we came home with almost 400 euros after a 15 day trip so we stayed well under budget.

Posted by
2 posts

All of the information has been very helpful and insightful.
I have been trying to pay before we go abroad for anything and everything, but I am a bit confused with the different train companies in Italy. I have looked on TrenItalia for tickets (as the blog above suggests) and those are one trip each, right? We will be traveling between seven different cities in Italy over a month's time in the summer and don't know if this line or the rail pass line (which it seems is the public line?) is what I want to book?

If anyone can offer any advice or clarify the differences in the lines I would greatly appreciate it.

Posted by
2081 posts


you may want to post this in the Italy or transportation board. you will probably get more results.

just trying to help to ward of any unwanted comments by others.

also, i try to pay for things ahead of time. It save me the issues of cash or using my credit cards more than i have to.

happy trails.

Posted by
1204 posts

For planning/budgeting purposes I prepare a spreadsheet identifying the cities, sites, hotels, and means of transportation we're going to visit/use and the expenses for each. This gives me a good idea of my "fixed costs" for the trip. I can then generally estimate my "variable costs" for food, drink, entertainment, spur of the moment fun, etc. During the trip I'll track the "variable costs" and make adjustments as necessary (i.e. spend too much for a couple of days will cut back later in the trip). I'm always willing to go over budget if the experience will be worth it - you only live once!

Posted by
48 posts

Lauraiesue, if you don't mind me asking how much in euro did you a lot for a day? I like your envelope idea I think I will use it! Thanx Bonnie