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European trip - food costs

We are a party of six visiting London, Dublin, Paris, Cologne and Zurich for 16 days. Would seasoned travelers consider it possible to eat for $80 per person per day?

Posted by
8889 posts

What sort of '$'? Canadian, Singapore, Australian? None of the places you list use '$', you would have to pay in the local currency.

Would that be for 2 meals (midday and evening), and would this be eating both meals in a sit-down restaurant? Or would lunch be a snack? Pub meal or Michelin? And would you want drinks as well with your meals. It all depends on a lot of variables.
London and Paris would be about the same. Dublin and Cologne possibly a bit cheaper, Zürich the most expensive.

I would expect to pay £10-15 for a street food lunch in London, a bit more for a pub lunch. £25+ for an evening pub meal, plus drinks.
Zürich, a restaurant meal would cost CHF 50 minimum, probably more.

This is a very difficult question to answer.

Posted by
26033 posts

This is an international Forum and we have no way of knowing where you are.

Do you mean $80CDN, or $80AUS, or $80US, or ???

Six adults, or 2 adults and 4 teens, or 6 elderly ladies?

Posted by
715 posts

I do t know about England but currently I am in Italy and with a breakfast provided by my lodging I seem to be spending about 30 euro a day for food. This includes a big breakfast included with the room, a fairly light lunch, a late afternoon house wine and snack, and dinner that runs 15 - 25 euro. I al off Always am drinking vino di casa.

Posted by
7607 posts

Hey Guys-- Leah said "per person per day" in her question.

Having a geographical ID would be helpful to know for certain which "$"

Assuming its USD $, 80 per person should be more than adequate. Or, at least it would be for me. If you want a 2 hr sit down lunch and 3 hr dinner, drinks and wine , then you probably would end up spending more.

"Would seasoned travelers consider it possible to eat for $80 per person per day?"-- Yes, as long as you make reasonable choices.

With as many places you are gong in just 16 days, I suspect you will not have time for many expensive sit down meals

Enjoy your trip

Posted by
2486 posts

Yes, you can do this. Beware of ordering fish where the price is listed at X euro's or pounds per 100 g. Be sure the waiter knows what you expect to pay or sticker shock will follow. Your hotel often includes breakfast and, if so, take advantage and fill up. A light lunch will then usually suffice and you can splurge on a dinner now and again (especially in Paris!).

Posted by
11266 posts

If you can manage on a low food budget at home, you can do it in most of Europe. But Swiss restaurant prices really are very high. When I read of 20 CHF pizza (personal size) I thought it was an exaggeration - it isn't.

In Zurich, some budget options include Manora (on top of the Manor department store) as well as getting sandwiches and other prepared food from the Coop or Migros supermarkets. As Chris F said, meals at sit down restaurants with waiter service will cost a lot.

Of course, you can get food from supermarkets in all your cities, to keep costs down for at least some of your meals. I like the idea of alternating "budget" meals and splurges, for variety.

Posted by
2 posts

Sorry, yes, US dollars. We have two teenagers, three adults and a senior citizen. Two picky eaters; the rest of us will eat anything. We're just trying to get an idea in mind to budget for; obviously there may be days where we go over. We're moving around a lot and staying in hotels so I don't think we can do much self-catering, but we will try to eat breakfast cheaply most days.

Posted by
1074 posts

In Germany at least, breakfast is traditionally included in the hotel rates, though some hotel chains have been moving away from that in recent years since they find they can make extra money charging for breakfast and appearing to keep their room rates low (while in fact cutting breakfast).
Check with your hotel.

I would expect the same to apply to Switzerland. Don't know about the other countries.

For Germany at least, I would consider $80 (roughly €70) per day generous, depending of course on your standards and expectations: You should be able to get a decent breakfast - if it's not included - for about €10, and lunch or dinner for €20 each. Obviously this does not mean a five course meal by a three star chef.

Posted by
490 posts

What would you spend on a US day out with family? About the same except London and Zurich much more!

Posted by
79 posts

Except for Switzerland we found that restaurant prices were much like in the US. We have purchased food in grocery stores and picnicked to save money plus eating in restaurants everyday became a bit much for us.

Posted by
703 posts

we are in switzerland at the moment and food is expensive. also be aware that england/wales is not much different. having spent many weeks travelling in both, they are much more expensive than other nearby countries. eg: a hamburger with fries ( at a local restaurant , in lauterbrunnen) is typically 15-18 chf and say chicken and salad 22-24 chf. you can do the conversion. :)
hope this helps.

Posted by
12400 posts

There is also the HK $ in addition to those listed

Posted by
1796 posts

You can eat very well for $80 a day. With a group that size I recommend the hotel breakfast as being the easiest logistically and usually a decent value. I fould hotels seem to be making it difficult to eat in the room with a lack of table space and seating and some have written rules forbidding outside food although I doubt they enforce them. I usually make lunch or dinner a big meal with lunch always being a better value. With a large group you will spend a bit of time deciding where to eat. I use Rick's books as a starting point and avoid places close to tourist attractions if possible.

Posted by
533 posts

On the topic of hotel breakfasts: Check with your hotels in London and Dublin to see what kind of breakfast is served. It used to be that even budget hotels would offer a complimentary full English breakfast (or full Irish, which is similar). These are hearty and may keep you full until dinnertime. But nowadays many London hotels have switched over to serving "continental" breakfasts consisting mostly of toast and cereal and bearing little resemblance to anything you'd find on the Continent. It's worth knowing in advance what you're going to get.

But even if you have to pay out of pocket for all three meals, it's very possible to get by on well under $80/day/person simply by avoiding the priciest restaurants, at least in four of your five cities (I have no experience with Zurich).

Posted by
1074 posts

some have written rules forbidding outside food

They may or may not have written rules about that, but it's generally considered extremely impolite to bring your own food or drinks to a restaurant (unless you have medical issues maybe). Restaurants live on selling food and drinks and providing seating space for those guests who pay for that. So, if you really want to put your foot in it, go ahead and bring your own food.

Another very effective way to make yourself unpopular is to make a nice bag lunch for yourself from the breakfast buffet - unless you are explicitly encouraged to do so by the staff, or have paid an extra charge to do that.

with lunch always being a better value

Good point. In Germany at least (don't know about the other countries), many restaurants have a special weekday lunch menu which is less expensive than the regular dinner menu. You may get a good lunch for €10-15 in many places.

Posted by
2981 posts

Anna, Richard's post was pretty clear that he was talking about bringing outside food into your hotel room to eat, not into a restaurant. And this has nothing to do with rudeness, but with sanitation and pest control.

I would hope that no one who frequents this site is so clueless as to think that bringing outside food to a restaurant is OK. Or that any restaurant would permit it.

Posted by
1074 posts

Oh, I am sorry, I misread. He spoke of the hotel breakfast earlier, and then I must have accidentally skipped a line. My mistake.

Which probably partly has to do with the fact that I have just recently experienced precisely that "clueless" traveler: an otherwise very friendly and sensible American friend bringing his own bottle of water into a restaurant, sort of half-hiding it under the table.

He may simply have been wondering why German restaurants don't, by default, serve free tap water like American restaurants do, not being aware that many restaurants really cannot subsist on the food they sell - they live on the drinks. So, bringing your own water instead of ordering drinks would sort of be comparable to not tipping the waiter in the U.S..

As far as food in the hotel room goes, I have never seen any written rules about that except concerning use of the minibar. And I really don't see what would be more unsanitary about having a meal in a hotel room than eating at my home dining room table. If rules like that actually do exist, I would feel that they are trying to force me into the hotel restaurant.