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Does $200/day sound thrifty to you? Extravagant? Moderate?

Suppose someone said they were budget planning for a solo trip and were assuming $200 per day to cover everything except the flight there and back. Does that strike you as reasonable, or as thrifty?

Do you have this kind of a figure in mind when you're following your travel dreams, or do you do something more like lodging up to X/night and leave the rest to whim and circumstance? Or at the other extreme, do you have a detailed budget for each expense at the planning phase?

Posted by
203 posts

You need to specify where you want to travel? $200 could range from being reasonable to out of the question!

Posted by
595 posts

Travel costs vary immensely according to the destination, season, and your spending habits.

Posted by
3518 posts

I don't think it is possible to have a generic figure because costs vary so much between locations and the personal choices made by the traveler. I do have targets that I aim for. I love it if I can get my lodging at around $100night but that is not always practical. I will pay what needs to be paid for location and to feel good about where I am staying.

If you have gone to all of the work/expense to get to Europe, then you need to spend what you need to spend to make the most of the trip. That will mean different things to different travelers. Gourmet Dining is a must for some travelers. I am happy with some bread and cheese from the shops. I want to stay in a location that is central near public transport links, in a hotel that feels clean and safe. Others want nothing more than a hostel bed somewhere.

I think the key to budgeting isn't "X $ per day" but to think about what is important to you when traveling and what isn't. Then pay attention to the costs in the region. The costs in Portugal are not going to be the same as the costs in Switzerland. You need to know the average costs of an area which can usually be determined by looking at a few tour books or looking through some listings for lodging.

Finally, you will need to make decisions when traveling about costs. There are moments and places where it is important to look beyond just the cost in money to analyze the value of the experience for you. If you have dreamed of doing something for years, don't let cost hold you back. If you really don't have any interest in a place or experience but others have said, "Must See",go with your gut and spend your money on things that actually interest you.

Edited to add: I thought I should mention that one of the most effective budgeting tools for me has been to have a separate travel account that I put a consistent amount in every month. When I travel, I know that I have the money saved in advance and that frees me to choose based on my interests and needs.

Posted by
875 posts

You can do $200 a day, but you will have to work at it. If you visit Switzerland or the Scandinavian countries, it will be difficult. Keep in mind you have to think about transportation, trains, metros, car, taxi, buses, etc. They add up. Food, snacks, drinks. Admissions to sights, etc. Hotel prices are increasing due to business losses during Covid last year. In most cities, the $100 hotel room wouldn't be some place I would stay.

Posted by
81 posts

As others have noted impossible to say. Everyone travels differently. Discounted on sale basic coach lite flight and hostels..sure it can be done. Would I do it...not a chance in hell. Now...when I first started going to London in the early 1990s sure I could do it at $200 a day but that was a long time ago (I could even tolerate coach seats back then). My standard 'budget" - I really don't have one- it is just the number I try to stay under in general planning terms is $500 per day plus air fare. Have I done it for less...sure, off season London or Rome for about half that...but again, off season when I scored a hotel deal and I'm revisiting old haunts, which I can do cheap. Some place new...that gets costly. I'm not about to spend $10-15k on a long trip and then get cheap and skip an event or attraction to save $30.

Posted by
452 posts

Your profile says your an experienced traveler….with some envious adventures under your belt. Certainly you haven’t made it this far without learning something?

Forty years ago I flew to Singapore with 30 days vacation available to me and enough money to survive. I figured I would go as far as Bangkok and either turn west and continue around the world to my home at that time, in Japan, or go to Australia and lay on a beach. With a Lonely Planet Guide and a newspaper I researched airfares and my “dream” became heading west because the air fare was cheaper.

Spending money doesn’t get sidestepped….ever. So $200 a day is pretty arbitrary and in the context you offer up kind of hard to answer. Good luck though, you’ve already done a lot!

Posted by
124 posts

Over many years - travelling as a couple ie sharing a hotel room or similar, I've basically found my rule of thumb is that whatever I pay per day for a hotel room we will pay the same of meals and the same again for local transport, tours, entries and similar. Note we don't do a lot of expensive tours, or drink excessively (though we do drink).

So in NZ say if I'm paying $200/day for a hotel room it will be $200 for meals (for 2) and $200 for things like petrol, entries, day tours.

That's local $s but that's the principle. This works pretty well unless we go luxury for the hotel. Note we eat out almost all the time though sometimes we will self cater breakfast.

Posted by
6680 posts

It completely depends on the destination.

There is no meaningful answer that can be given without reference to destination/location.

Posted by
676 posts

Easy to do the research. If you know where you're going, you search the web for the hundreds of blogs and videos about low-cost travel in that region. You can also visit tour operator sites like RS, find the widely published package prices, and simply divide by the number of days. After adjusting down for what you think is a reasonable profit margin and then adjusting up for personal preferences and style and tastes, you quickly and easily arrive at an average daily expense. Just takes a little effort.

Posted by
4941 posts

I might not have said this when I was younger, but there is no particular virtue applicable to "thrift" by itself. There's a durable story about "old money" New Englanders wearing corduroy jackets with frayed elbow patches despite being worth millions of dollars.

Of course, it is inappropriate to spend money you don't have and won't have soon. But that doesn't make it wrong to save up money for an objective and then ... gasp! .... SPEND it.

My aunt was an urban social worker in the 1970s, and she said her worst problem was that many of her clients did not understand that money spent with a (then, new to them) credit card was the same burden as taking dollar bills out of their wallet. My point is that your trip should be one that you can afford and that seems like a good value to YOU. Virtue is not an appropriate planning tool. (Note that I am not haranguing or abusing you. I'm giving one possible response to your question. It's your money and your trip.)

Posted by
5362 posts

For a single person, traveling in continental Europe, I would say it is on the thrifty side of moderate if you are including everything. My concern would be transport, if you are staying put, or traveling in a small area, then no problem, but train tickets can add up fast if you are moving 3-4 hours away every couple days.

But, you can still get decent $100/night rooms, cheaper if you want, but those would be thrifty, not moderate (A Hostel is thrifty, small B&B moderate), I can get by on $50 for meals and eat well, again, thrifty would be skimping on meals, eating from the grocery store aisles, a pizza slice for lunch, and another $50 would cover a few entrance fees, metro tickets, a beer or two. Basically, at $200, you could travel and not compromise too much, some could do it for $100, others would need $400 to feel they are getting a worthwhile experience.

Location of course matters, harder in some of the metro areas, easier as you go South, West to Spain and Portugal, or East to former Soviet Bloc Countries.

As for planning, I target about $100/night for rooms (for my wife and I), I go more if I see something attractive, less if I can. Meals, I spend what I want, I enjoy food, but I tend to enjoy local and homey, not Michelin starred places. I do enjoy different beers, some can be pricey, but most of the wine we drink is just house wine or a moderate priced bottle. We go to fewer museums, partly due to the fact that we have already been to most of the major ones, as we get older, and just fewer activities in general. We also tend to stay longer in an area, being able to get cheaper per day housing, and lower average transport cost. Overall, the two of us can do under $200 most days in some place like Italy.

Posted by
1614 posts

Easy for me in Germany. Probably impossible in Iceland

Posted by
1135 posts

I think avi’s question may have had more to do with how we plan for our travel costs than an arbitrary $200/day figure. That’s the question I will answer.

No, I don’t do a per day estimate, but I DO do a lot of careful research. I tend to start with a per night lodging budget, which has to be adjusted based on country or city vs village sometimes. I aim for an average per night lodging cost for the whole trip. Then I get a feel for how much food will cost and aim for an overall average amount. I do usually price out other expenses (transportation, entrances, etc) but that is just informational. And obviously, sometimes I find my spending goals are not realistic and have to change them.

All of this just helps me know ahead how much I might expect to spend. But my line items are by category, not per day. And once I get there, it all goes out the window anyway……and I do whatever I want. 🤣

Posted by
12592 posts

I would say thrifty, Avi.

But as said above, country, season, amount of transport, and personal interests come into play.

I don't think anyone has mentioned currency exchange rate yet? Assuming we're talking mostly Western Europe, $200 US dollars is about 172 euros today. In Canadian dollars, $200 = abt. 139 euros. Austrailan? $200 = abt 128 euros. Big difference. It's even tougher in UK Pound Sterling: $200 US = 145 pounds, Canadian = 117 pounds, and $200 Australian = 108 pounds. Ouch. So on the thrifty scale, it can also depend of where you're from?

Posted by
6059 posts

I would think its reasonable for one person, while recognizing that you can live down to whatever level you feel comfortable in. You can be so focused on staying on budget, that you dont fully enjoy the trip.

We dont really budget anymore, even domestically. We have a certain groove we travel in, knowing our preferences, and while not extravagant, we travel at the level of comfort to which we are used to. So a daily budgeted amount is not the controlling factor for us. We will pick hotels based on location and convenience, and not look back once we've made those decisions. We're not obsessed with high-end restaurant experiences so food is one area you can completely control, not assuming that you need three restaurant meals a day, for one thing. Its the unplanned expenses and little sundry items that eat away at your budget.

Posted by
875 posts

You can also visit tour operator sites like RS, find the widely published package prices, and simply divide by the number of days. After adjusting down for what you think is a reasonable profit margin and then adjusting up for personal preferences and style and tastes, you quickly and easily arrive at an average daily expense. Just takes a little effort.

Good idea above. I have found RS tours to average about 25% higher than I can travel solo without losing any comfort or miss any sights. So, knock off about 25% from a RS tour, add in the single supplement amount and divide by the days of the tour and you will get a ballpark average of a per day spend. As many have said, you can always be more thrifty on hotels, food, take buses, etc. It is all about your comfort and enjoyment level.

I also still contend that a decent $100.00 a night hotel room in season is fading away quickly, unless you are in a very small village. Use booking.com and put in the parameters. It is enlightening.

Posted by
1904 posts

My comment was going to be similar to what Stan wrote. We just do what we want to do and don't worry about cost. Having said that we're not the types to want first class hotels or seat upgrades for more legroom, I'd rather focus my money on what I want to see.

But to answer the question, I think $200 is doable to still travel well. Here's a comment I made on a post from a couple of years ago when I was comparing different styles of travel;

I just did a quick calculation and the RS tour cost us about $735/day
or $367 per person. This does not include flights but does include
incidentals and food not included during the tour plus 3 extra nights
beyond the tour. The cruise came in at about $430/day or 215 per
person. This included an extra week in Rome post cruise. A ground trip
to London/Bath/Cotswolds 16 months ago was about $330/day or $165 per
person. Definite savings, but from a cultural and educational
standpoint, the RS tour still wins for value for money.

Posted by
2641 posts

I have a target of an average of 100 euro or less per night for lodging and then let the rest fall where it may. The biggest expense for me is tour guides. I really, really like having a local guide who can offer insights and activities I otherwise would not know to do. Like the guide in Slovenia who led me on a hike up a mountain to a medieval mini-castle, built above Begunje's castle ruins, that purportedly imprisoned a devil during medieval times. Or the guide in Berlin who took me into Soviet bunkers that stored nuclear weapons.

Posted by
1286 posts

Interesting topic, especially since I will be making reservations after the first of the year for next September’s trip to London, France and Venice. This will be my first solo trip.

I’m budgeting $300+/day inclusive of air fare, trains and insurances. I’m also planning an additional 10% “just in case”. I’m not really looking at the per day cost except for hotels but at the total cost of the trip. What I save staying at a cheaper hotel or monastery stay in a couple cities, I spend on activities and souvenirs.

$200/day would be too thrifty for me. Believe me, I’ve looked at my budget every which way. I don’t want a budget that’s too tight that I can’t do the day trips/sightseeing/tours, horseback rides, etc that I want.

Posted by
3518 posts

The question was about solo travel which is a little bit different in terms of budget and costs. Lodging is the key factor that impacts a solo traveler's budget vs two people traveling together. Sadly, the hotel room costs just as much for a solo traveler as it does for people traveling together most of the time.

There may be some savings in solo travel to found in food costs (perhaps a little less likely to eat at fancier places?) and admissions because a solo traveler only goes where he/she wants while when you travel with someone else you have to compromise.

Posted by
1655 posts

Thanks to travelmom, Allan, and a few others who understood that I was starting a(n Allan-style) conversation about how we think about budgeting and weren't sidetracked by the early comments that thought this was a request for beginner travel advice :-) [I know I've been on both ends of this variation on mansplaining many times over the years, no worries]

The role that budget plays in trip planning is complex - of course we want to be guided by our interests more than we want to be constrained by our limits, but in the Marxist sense that all relations are reducible to economic relations, the bedrock truth that he who has the gold makes the rules means that what we are open to considering is itself already partially determined by our particular financial situation. A parallel illustration in my own trip-planning is that when I pick up old RS travel books again now, I see so many things listed that I never even noticed when I originally bought them as planning tools, not least because I knew right off that I was not going to be renting a car -- it means I excluded right off the bat anything inaccessible by train from my planning. Isn't this so with budget issues, too? The opera at La Scala is a non-starter, ditto high tea at Fortnum & Masons, when you know you're not one with moneybags. (I think this is mirrored by the way RS talks up traveling 'close to the ground' when his audience is one with money, one that wouldn't automatically think of using public transit or going to a local produce market.)

So, thanks to those who are responding to the question I asked. The responses are interesting. It is leading me to more self-reflection and closer consideration of my own id/ego/superego balance.

Posted by
12592 posts

LOL, I knew you were FAR from a beginner but am guilty of missing the second part of the question.

No, we don't have a detailed budget in advance, I just keep a running sheet of what's being spent as I go. That doesn't mean we have endless funds or don't look for good values but the priorities are, in order, sightseeing (museums tickets and whatnot), room (location, comfort, cleanliness, no amenities we won't use but essentially pay for), and transport (we're fine with 2nd class). Everything else - food, shopping, etc - is dead last. We don't spend a lot on those things to begin with so we don't worry about breaking the bank, even with the occasional splurge. Is that sort of what you were looking for?

Spontaneous spend for champagne, macarons and live jazz in Paris some years ago; THAT was a hefty bill for us at the time but wouldn't have missed it for the world! A trip up the Eiffel or a seine cruise wasn't a gotta-do for either of us, thus the splurge funds for cookies, bubbles and Basie. :O)

Posted by
18021 posts

My first trip to Europe was paid for my the medical products company for which I and my co-worker, were employed, in order for us to become familiar with how certain procedures were done differently over there. The majority of our nights were in hotels that are today, and probably were then, four-star hotels. I found the experience of staying at those accommodations to be culturally sterile. I once remarked that we could have just as well stayed in the Holiday Inn in Peoria, Illinois, and had them put up pictures of Germany in the windows. Everyone spoke English to us. The food was basically American. Everything seemed to be arranged so that we would not have to experience the foreign culture.

A year and a half later, I went back on vacation on my own dime. I couldn't really afford four-star hotels. I got Michelin Guide and wrote, using my high school German for the first time, to one star hotels in town for reservations. All of my travel was by train, and a few taxis. I ate local food in the local restaurants. I loved it. At that time I paraphrased my own version of Rick's "Wall" statement as, "if you stay in small, family run hotels and Gasthäuser, you'll have a better cultural experience, and you'll save money in the process.

I have always kept an accurate, detailed accounting of my German travel expenses using a spreadsheet similar to the forms I had to keep when companies were paying my travel expenses. In five solo trips between 2002 and 2012, I spent an average of 65 to 70 euro/day, solo, on- the-ground expenses (not including airfare to get there). That was less than $65/day when the euro was less than $1, close to $100/day when it was $1.40/€, but it was still an average of 65 to 70 euro per day. Of that I spent about ~45% (30€/day) on accommodations w/ breakfast, ~30% (20€/day) for meals, ~20% (15€/day) for in-Germany transportation, and ~5% for miscellaneous.

I never stayed in a hostel, always in a small hotel, Gastaus, Pension, or Privat Zimmer, almost always with ensuite bathroom. I never dumpster-dived. I often had one meal of a sandwich at the Bahnhof when on the go, but usually one sit-down, restaurant meal per day. I usually picked accommodations that were within walking distance of public transportation.

But most of my nights have been outside large cities. Again, I think that way provides a better cultural experience. Over half of the nights I've spent in Germany have been in towns under 10,000 inhabitants; 85% in towns under 20,000. This, I believe, keeps my expenses down.

Since 2012, for health reasons, I've only made two, three week trips, this time with a partner. Because we share a room, our accommodation expenses have been less than twice what I paid solo, but because we were more likely to splurge on dinner, our meal expenses were more than twice what I spent solo. Still, our daily expenditures, over 41 days, have about 70€/day/person.

I agree with Avi's not including air fare in his calculations, since someone flying from the east cost to Ireland would have less fare than someone flying from the west coast to, say, Greece. But, I don't agree with expressing the expenses in dollars. I've seen the euro/dollar exchange rate vary over 50% in the last 20 years. I spent a lot less when the euro was 90¢ than when it was $1.40, but that didn't mean I was smarter then.

Lastly, don't let the advertised number of days fool you. On every one of Rick's tours, the first and last days are partial days, less than half a day each. His "13 day", BO Germany tour is actually only 11 full days and two partial days that don't add up to a full day, so less than 12 days - I'll say 12 days, because it actually includes 12 overnight accommodations. Because I spend almost half of my daily expenses on overnight accommodations, I actually figure the nights of a trip, when I'm figuring cost/day, as days.

Posted by
5078 posts

Unless you’re a starving student, staying in hostels or crashing in a train terminal, $100 a day would be a basic rate for an economy (not cheapskate) trip. Spending $200 a day per person would be more comfortable, with nicer meals and fancier lodging, but not extravagant.

Posted by
535 posts

For solo travel, I would budget $50/day for food.. Roughly $8 for breakfast, $17 for lunch and $25 for dinner. I don’t drink coffee or alcohol or eat red meat or frou-frou meals, so I can eat relatively cheap! Then $100-150 for hotel. That leaves $0-50 for the days activities, transportation aside from flights, shopping. So that wouldn’t work for me. I would budget $250/day and be happy not to spend that much, but not stress if I did. Also, it depends on the destination. $200 goes a lot farther in Slovenia or Spain than in Switzerland or Sweden.

Posted by
3518 posts

I think a good rule of thumb is that if a poster wants to start a discussion vs. ask a question, make sure to specify that you want to start a discussion in the original posting so people don't have to guess. People who respond here generously give of their time to answer. Help make it easier on them by stating your purpose clearly upfront.

Posted by
535 posts

Excellent point Carol. Not all of us have time to wade through every response to decipher the intent of a post.

Posted by
1655 posts

@Carol in Lynnwood, you're right -- we / I take it for granted that the forum members know what wavelength I'm on when oftentimes it isn't obvious. The forum gets used for a lot of reasons, and practical advice is high on the list, but other kinds of discussion and schmoozing are also common here.

I can't help but be reminded once again of ex-participant Emma -- she and I disagreed more often than not, but I appreciated her point-of-view and how she stood up for it. There are other regulars that I seek out and some that I try to avoid, but the overall mix is really special here at the RS Travel Forum -- we can gain from it whether we're in the single-digits or a five-figure poster. Same with travel styles and budgets. I'm vehemently opposed to burgers/pizza/kebabs in Europe but I still enjoy reading items from those who do those only when they talk about what matters to them, and I hope that readers who don't want to spend 10 minutes in a library or archaeology museum still get something out of reading my contributions.

Posted by
6059 posts

Although I think its come up before, an interesting tangent to the original question is, how does your planning (budgeting) change when you have a travel partner. I know my wife and I had very different ideas of what to spend money on when we first started traveling. I was very much in the "not wasting money on frivolous things" mode, mostly because I thought it would enable more frequent travel. She wanted to enjoy the experience to the max. It took a while to find that middle ground where we are now. It's too easy to settle into a rut if it's just solo.

@Tom, I think one of the non-monetary values that drives people to tours and cruises, is that it helps you avoid having to hammer out compromises when you're not of the same mind.

diet soda drinker stan

Posted by
1655 posts

I just want to briefly say that on a stuck-indoors rainy day there's a silver lining when I get to read comments from folks like Lee and stan and Tom.

Posted by
595 posts

I would say that, with the adoption of the Euro, many destinations that were once affordable are not so any longer. $200 per day, even excluding air fares, is challenging for most destinations.

Posted by
428 posts

Well - I'll add to your rainy day reading. We don't necessarily have a $/day budget, but try to keep costs to a reasonable level. In high season, $200/day would be pretty thrifty. We travel in off season, so costs are often lower. We want a clean, safe and comfortable apartment or hotel room, so costs will vary depending on where we are - big city vs smaller town. We usually rent a car for part of our trip, and those costs have been pretty similar for most of our trips. We've learned that the two of us can dine, on average, on about $75 CAN/day. This includes snacks, B/L/D and liquor. Some days are cheaper than others, but this is on average. If we have an apartment, then our costs for food/booze will be a bit lower. Given our experiences, interests and wishes, I've now felt safe to say that our expected travel costs, excluding airfare, would be around $250-300 CAN/day for us. When younger we used to penny pinch a lot more. Life is too short right now, so be comfortable, have fun, and enjoy.

Posted by
6745 posts

For Western Europe, I would say $200/day is thrifty. But it would be totally doable in Ukraine, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Turkey, etc.

I don't see anything wrong with budgeting - it's just a way to set priorities in your spending. The opposite is mindless spending. At least budgeting makes you more in tune with where your money is going and hopefully aligns it with the way you value things.

Posted by
663 posts

$200 per day according to your way of thinking, is under-budget based on my past trips to Europe.

When I go to Florida in December of this year, for 8 nights, I estimate that my whole trip including plane tickets, will end up costing approximately $2,300 to $2,500 max; I will be renting a car, there is gas for the car, and the hotels cost more than in Europe. Others are right that trip costs vary wildly depending where you go.

I am a man solo-traveler. When I went to Greece in 2018, I spent $2,774.54 total - that's everything including plane tickets. I prefer to think in terms of total trip cost including plane tickets. I didn't remember these numbers. I wrote them in a journal and then just now I checked my journal. Anyway you want to see if $200 US dollars per day not including flights there and back, is reasonable. 2774.54 minus round trip plane tickets costing 1485.21 = $1,289.33 US dollars. $1,289-33 /13 days = $99.18 or just under $100 US dollars per day.

In the Netherlands and Belgium, I spent a total of $3,062.64, minus plane tickets costing $1,392.43 = $1,670.21, divided by 13 days = $128.48 per day.

Going to Italy, I spent a total of just under $3,100, but that figure would have been about $200 to $300 less if I had not taken some expensive guided tours and bought some souvenirs I could have lived without.

For me, unless major inflation happens, a 2-weeks trip cost me approximately just under $2,800 to just under $3,100.

I am not trying as hard as you might assume to save money. My original reason for buying food from grocery stores was because I am afraid restaurant food is too high in sodium, fat, or otherwise unhealthy. My original reason for staying in hostels was to increase my chances of having minimal contact with other English speakers, sort of to compensate for traveling alone. So far I In Europe I have avoided renting a car.

If you do expensive guided tours, eat restaurant meals, stay in mid-to high-end hotels, rent a car and/or take taxi rides, and/or buy expensive souvenirs, your costs per day will be more, and maybe a lot more than what I spend.

Before a trip, I roughly estimate how much my whole trip will cost including plane tickets, to see if I can afford the trip. I don't think in terms of cost-per-day not including plane tickets.

Posted by
18021 posts

So, Avi, to answer your question - I guess I didn't really answer it in my previous post - for me, in Germany, $200, 170€, per day does not sound thrifty. I won't say extravagant, but I would certainly call it on the high side of moderate. If I couldn't bring a solo trip to Germany in for less than $200/day(night), I'd be ashamed of myself.

I don't know when I'll ever see Germany again. With the pandemic, I'm not going to push it, but when, if, we get to go back, I have several trip roughed out. One of them, I would call extravagant, for me. Robin wants to see Zürich, an expensive city, and spend time at one of the harbor side hotels in Lindau; I'm fascinated by a scenic 4* resort in the mountains above the Inn river down from Innsbruck. The trip would be for 19 nights, starting in Zürich (3), Lindau (2), then to a 4* resort in the Mangfall Mtns of Germany (3). I'd finish following the Alpenstrasse, Reit im Winkel (3), 5 nights in an apartment across from Salzburg, Hallstatt (2), then home. The first eight nights I would call extravagant - 3 in Zürich near the Bahnhof, 2 in Lindau in a hotel overlooking the harbor, and 3 nights in the 4* resort. I've priced out the accommodations, know the cost of rail tickets, and I'm estimating meals on the high side of what we spent on our last trip. Still, my total expected expenses for 19 nights comes to a little over 4400€, or $140/Pers-nt. That's at today's exchange rate and prices.

I really don't know how I could spend more without being what I would call wasteful.

Posted by
1655 posts

Lee, when you do these trips in Germany, are there organizations or institutions that you expect to visit or attend?
For instance, I like to see if a place has an athenaeum or similar subscription library association or a historical society / preservation group that I can make contact with -- or how about some club or fraternal organization like masons or a religious order. I've found that these kinds of things can be another way to hear local performances besides buying tickets to a show or dropping in on religious services.

Posted by
12543 posts

1) I go to Budapest a few times a year and on those trips I usually make at least one side trip.
.
2) Outside of the big ticket locations like Switzerland and he UK you could budget:
$75 a night for an AirBnb as that will buy a clean fairly well located place most anywhere ("most")
$50 a day for food, but again, staying away from the high dollar locations, food will be the same or less as what you spend in the US, so you decide
$5 a day for city transportation, using public transportation (part of the fun and experience of the trip)
$15 for museums and entrance fees.
.
3) Out of $200 that leaves $50 for the beer hall, or pool some of it for:
$75 transportation between cities (half day train trips) including public transportation at each end and be way comfortable (but this is a solid number so you can research it)
$175 for a discount air trip between cities including public transportation at each end (again, a solid number so plan your trip and research it)
.
4) In broad terms if you saved half the $50 left over for travel between destinations and your trip is 21 days, then you would have $525 or enough for one discount flight and 4 or 5 train trips.
.
5) With those figures:
If you go to Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia and a few others you will have money left over to party
If you are going to Switzerland or London you will be eating beans.
If you go to Budapest or Paris you will be doing fine
.
6) So, yes, it works on $200 a day, but it all depends on where you go, but do balance Quality and Quantity so you enjoy it.

Posted by
3830 posts

I traveled solo to Italy for 3 weeks in September (not this year) and averaged $155/day. So my initial thought would be can be reasonable, depending on location, time of year and travel style.

When I’m planning, I don’t begin with a budget. I start with where do I (or we if husband coming, too) want to go and what do we want to be doing there. I look at lodging sites such as Booking.com and look for the sweet spot of customer reviews vs. price of hotels only located in the center of the historical section of the city. Since we’re not spending a lot of time in the room, I’m looking mostly for comfortable, safe. My aim is to have 1-2 nice hotels or B&B’s per trip in the smaller cities where it’s memorable for a little more money.

I heard once from Rick that we shouldn’t skimp on the “Activities” budget category, so I will actually look for more ways to spend money in activities, I’ve attended festivals, cooking classes, operas, ballet, city bike tours, concerts, etc. besides museums or outdoor activities. And these have really made for some fantastic trips! I’ll eat cheaper and ride the trains (which we love!) with cheaper reservations and spend the money where it counts for us.

So my philosophy for us is not to lead the planning with a budget in mind, but don’t waste money, either. I could never pay for first class flights with that philosophy. We stay and eat at comfortable spots with a couple of splurges and enjoy the opportunities of activities. And for me traveling solo with that travel style, I end up between $130-$170/day.

Posted by
18021 posts

when you do these trips in Germany, are there organizations or
institutions that you expect to visit or attend?

No

I don't buy tickets to shows or drop in on religious services.

Concerts, operas, ballet? I don't do those things at home, why would I bother to go to Europe to do them?

My interests are mainly in natural things - mountains, lakes, forests. I don't really do museum, not art museums, but I have done the Deutsches Museum in Munich, and the city museum, twice each. I've been to Nymphenburg twice. I finally went to Dachau after many years. I've enjoyed lunch in Marienplatz, watching the Glockenspiel and street performers. I've visited the Hofbräuhaus multiple time. Never been interested in any of the Pinakotheke. Saw the Frauenkirche, Viktualienmarkt, and Isartor. I climbed the tower at Peterskirche.

At Rothenburg, for example, I walked almost the entire wall, visited the museum in one of the towers, toured St. Jakob Kirche, Burggarten, and Spitaltor, looked in briefly at the Christmas shop, never saw the Crime and Punishment Museum (not my thing).

I've visited at least four of Germany's national parks, cruised Königssee in Berchtesgaden (2x), hiked the Wimbachklamm, went up to Kehlsteinhaus (3x) and visited the Dokumentation Zentrum.

On the Rhine I took a cruise from Bingen to St Goar, toured Rheinfels and Marksburg.

So that's the kind of things I like to do.

Posted by
1655 posts

Thanks for filling in the picture, Lee! I do like to walk the walls of old towns and get a little time in the woods or by the water, but I will focus on culture more than nature. Within the thread topic, it probably is easier to spend little doing walks, whether urban sauntering or away from built-up areas, than it is to consume cultural goods. (I'm generalizing, I know)

Posted by
317 posts

We dont really budget anymore, even domestically. We have a certain groove we travel in, knowing our preferences, and while not extravagant, we travel at the level of comfort to which we are used to. So a daily budgeted amount is not the controlling factor for us. We will pick hotels based on location and convenience, and not look back once we've made those decisions. We're not obsessed with high-end restaurant experiences so food is one area you can completely control, not assuming that you need three restaurant meals a day, for one thing. Its the unplanned expenses and little sundry items that eat away at your budget.

This is how we basically operate as well. We know there are places we want to go and things we want to do, so we just figure that in. Often, I spy a mistake fare or some such thing (it's why we went to France recently, although it was supposed to happen a year and a half ago). If I mention it to my partner because I'm interested, and he's interested too, we usually just do it. This year, we knew that we'd been hankering to get back to Alaska, so when airfare dropped super low, we bought tickets. I will say, we have plans kind of laid already, so we have an idea of how long we want. Most of the time. Sometimes we just pick dates and work with it.

I guess we try to think about our overall budget, in terms of the year and other living expenses, etc, but not so much when we travel. It helps as someone said, to have a person who is in your groove if you're traveling with someone else. I think I'd probably be about the same amount spent if I soloed more, based on prior trips. I was going to do a solo trip to London in January of 2020, but then some family said they were flying to visit from the east coast. They did not, and I still regret that missed trip.

If I want to go to an "expensive" country, I do try to find ways to mitigate the cost if I need to though. Iceland is a good example- and the Faroe Islands. Ireland is a country I found to be extremely affordable, by contrast.

Posted by
2 posts

I can travel on $200 a day or less, solo. I usually budget $100 for a hotel because I am picky, but then spend very little on food. I can live on croissants, so for me that is not a problem. I also get food at a grocery store. As a challenge and for fun, I spent 93 cents on my dinner one night in Avignon. It was difficult, but I did it. I love to do museums and sights, but I also find every single free thing to do like parks and monuments. And I do find ways to buy souvenirs on that budget. Of course, I do not buy expensive stuff.

Posted by
875 posts

Elena, don't keep us in suspense. What in the world did you eat for 93 cents for dinner?

Posted by
18021 posts

According to Oanda, £5.29 is equivalent to $7.09.

Cod, chips, and a pint of beer sound good, but is "mushy peas" derogatory or is that the way you like them?

Posted by
2907 posts

Mushy peas isn’t derogatory it’s a real thing. You can stand in an aisle of any UK grocery store and see tins of mushy peas. They are often on menus with beef and gravy entrees. They look like what they say they are.

Posted by
317 posts

I fondly remember a delicious Irish fish dinner on Achill Island with mushy peas.