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Non-rich solo travel

This is why I like to say my budget for a 2 week trip to Europe is under $3,500. I could be wrong.
$1,500.00 plane tickets
$270.00 food
$780.00 hotels and hostels
$180.00 taxis to and from Detroit Metro airport
$250.00 long distance ground transportation in Europe
$120.00 local ground transportation.
$80.00 "free" guided tours
$100.00 other expenses
$325.00 museum and sight entrance fees
$3,605.00 supposed maximum trip total

Past trips cost me just under $2,600 to just under $3,100 US dollars. Some costs are wild guesses because my budget isn’t as strict as I make it seem. My actual final cost could be up to $800 or more less.

Explanations: If I can help it, I try to spend less than $1,500 on plane tickets. Food isn’t a strict budget. My original reason for buying food from grocery stores in Europe was because I was afraid restaurant food was bad for you. I still am not a fan of fancy restaurants with table service. Cost is based on about $45 per week at home and a wild guess of 3x that amount while traveling. I try to spend under $60 per night on logging. I will stay in private rooms if I don’t see an appealing hostel room in a town I am visiting. Actual cost per any given night could be as little as about $20 or more than $60. Yes I realize that in the USA you can’t get a decent hotel for under $75 a night but Europe has cheap rooms of a kind absent in the USA. Yes I do have a Michigan drivers license. I own a car. I think I would be too tired to drive home from the airport in Michigan. I have never rented a car. I plan to not take taxi in Europe. But in Greece I took 4 taxi rides. “Free” tours is based on a wild guess of 4 tours x $20 tip for each. I believe I may be over-estimating the costs of ground transportation in Europe just to make sure I come in under budget. Cost of museums and sights is based on my wild guess of $25 on average x 13 days.

Posted by
6171 posts

Is Detroit Airport dominated by a certain airline or very little competition? $1,500 plane tickets are very expensive, especially if you fly economy and off-season. Why so much? Does Turkish Air (or similar non-legacy carrier with better pricing) fly to Detroit? If so, give it a shot (although who knows what airlines will be around in the future and what their networks will look like).

"$3250.00" (typo?) museum and sight entrance fees...I think you mean $325, right?

Is two weeks literally 14 days on the ground? You run a tight ship, that's a true budget trip. Congrats for being able to stretch out your funds like this.

Posted by
4820 posts

I can't argue one way or the other, your preferences and costs will be different from mine.

My take, based on some of my preferences?

First, you do not really say where you will be or how much travel. Costs in Scandinavia would be waaay more than bumming around Portugal.

$1500 for a plane ticket from Detroit is a safe number, to the high side.

$270 for food, just under $20 a day is tight for me, but I like trying different things, probably would never resort to eating from a grocery store meal after meal if it meant cheap ready to go items.

$180 to get to and from the airport seems high, but no experience for Detroit.

Other Transport, I can't really say, not sure where or how much you are moving around.

Not sure which museums you are going to, but $3250.00 seems really expensive, and if my math is right the total is way more than $3600. (I know, a typo)

Posted by
424 posts

I fixed the typo.

I have traveled to England, Italy, Greece, the Netherlands and Belgium. Tickets for each trip were between about $1,200 and just under $1,490, from Delta or American airline. Yes I could have taken Turkish airline to Greece, for under a thousand dollars, but the trip would have taken about 20 hours total, with three flights each way versus two each way with American airline.

Prepared food is typically high in sodium. Foods I have bought from markets or grocery stores in Europe were fruit that didn’t need cutting or preparation, banana, dates, fig, orange, and so on; prewashed and precut lettuce, canned tuna or sardines – although that can be high in sodium too, rice cakes that didn’t have a lot of salt listed; in the Netherlands a few times I bought a bar containing just fig or date and nuts, and puffed quiona – I am not a foodie. I mainly just care what is healthy and what is not so healthy. There is obviously nothing blatantly gross about this food. I think it just is too bland or salt-lacking for most people. Not to be too insulting but if you get un-addicted to salt, food that now taste too bland to you would start tasting much better. Obviously if I cared about the taste of food, I wouldn’t be able to tolerate this kind of diet, which would mean eating mainly restaurant or prepared food when traveling.

The last time I flew to Europe, I paid $75 for my ride to the airport, $87 for my ride home.

Posted by
6171 posts

Does Lufthansa or Air France charge that much out of Detroit? I'm really surprised even at a $1,200 fare in, say, October because it's not peak period travel. Maybe Detroit is just more expensive to fly from/to than I imagined. Caveat: I have flown Turkish Air and stayed overnight in Istanbul if I needed to because, even with the hotel costs, it still was hundreds of dollars less than any competitor (and I actually enjoy the layovers and make use of them). Some of their itineraries have very decent connections (others don't, it just depends).

Your budget is so tight, it's a shame that such a high percentage of it is just for the flight and for getting to and from the airport. I am really, really cheap when it comes to transport (because I don't put much value on it or the experience, so I try to minimize all transport costs) but will spend on everything else which I value so much more.

Posted by
424 posts

Lufthansa does fly to Detroit. But to get to Spain, at the same dates as my current tickets - yeah I realize My trip might get cancelled or postponed if the pandemic and/or conditions in Spain don’t improve - the cost is more than what I paid from American Airline.

American Airline raised its price for my same ticket since I bought mine.

Air France does not fly to Detroit. Air france and Delta are partners; it is possible to buy a ticket from Detroit to Madrid, from Air France, but the non-stop flight would be provided by Delta, the flight with a stop would be provided by Delta for the first flight, Air France for the second flight. Listed prices are approximately half or less what I paid for my flights. But obviously Delta has reduced their prices for the same dates after I bought my tickets and after the pandemic started spreading out of China.

Better than Air France would be just to buy a ticket from Delta. But only if the details versus cost is objectively better than a ticket from American Airline.

I am reluctant to fly on a non-United States of America based airline on a future trip. I could be wrong. It is possible I could be persuaded to change my mind.

Advice from somebody else was to travel to Toronto and fly on Canadian Airline. I judge that to be too inconvenient or time-inefficient. I guess in theory I could get driven to the airport in Windsor, but the extra driving time and getting through boarder security, is not worth it.

Edit: for example, if I can get tickets with only one stop for any price under $1,500, but there is a cheaper ticket but with more stops or a longer total travel time, I will pay more for the trip with the fewer stops or shorter time. If the better flight is a lot more than $1,500, I am likely to consider the objectively worse but cheaper ticket. If I can get a flight on a Friday evening or a Saturday, for any price under $1,500 versus a cheaper ticket on a weekday, I probably will pick the Friday night or Saturday tickets. If the Friday night or Saturday tickets are much more than $1,500, I will look at weekday tickets. For example, most tickets to the Netherlands for last July were over $1,900, but then I found flights leaving Detroit on a Tuesday, returning to Detroit on a Tuesday, for just under $1,400. I took the Tuesday tickets. Every other trip I took left on a Friday night or Saturday and returned on a Saturday or Sunday.

Edit: My personal plane ticket budget is $1,500. Obviously, this amount may have to be adjusted upward in the future due to inflation. I try to buy the best tickets I can find for under this amount, rather than just taking the dirt cheapest tickets just for the sake of saving money. Obviously if I can find what I judge to be good enough tickets for a lot less than $1,500, I will choose them, but I am willing to spend up to the budget if “necessary”.

Posted by
6412 posts

$180.00 taxis to and from Detroit Metro airport

You consider that amount Non-rich solo travel.
We pay $2.25 a person to take a bus and transfer to the subway to Chicago O'hare in 45 minutes
$5.00 from Ohare Airport using the subway then transfer to a bus to get from the airport to our home on the south side of Chicago near the University of Chicago

Posted by
1170 posts

I'm usually a solo budget traveler.
I've always considered using taxis to be cheating and generally avoid them, but if they could save me an hour that could be put to better use, or if I am at a moment of such diminished capacity (delicately put, huh?) that I can't find the right bus stop, I will splurge for a ride.
The dining arena, though, has a very different priority for me, Mike L. In my early trips I was happy to grab a banana and a baguette for breakfast and a wrapped sandwich in whatever museum cafeteria I was in for a 15-minute lunch break and just do a sit-down dinner at a pub or bistro. But over time the value of good dining experiences has risen to the top of what I want to get out of travel. Every trip needs to have several special meals, not forgetting the last dinner before leaving for home. I'm forever grateful to a travel partner who had thumbed through a guidebook and realized that in the same time it takes to get through the line at the British Museum food counter we could be in a historic pub five-minutes walk away rubbing elbows (pre-corona) with the local gentry over a warm beer and a savory pie. The meals are about so much more than healthy ingredients! Spending dining money and time wisely takes some savior faire.

Posted by
1123 posts

This is one of those areas where you really can't lump all countries together as "Europe" since cost and transportation options will vary a lot depending on where you are going.

Lufthansa does fly to Detroit. But to get to Spain, at the same dates
as my current tickets - yeah I realize My trip might get cancelled or
postponed if the pandemic and/or conditions in Spain don’t improve -
the cost is more than what I paid from American Airline. American
Airline raised its price for my same ticket since I bought mine. Air
France does not fly to Detroit. Air france and Delta are partners; it
is possible to buy a ticket from Detroit to Madrid, from Air France,
but the non-stop flight would be provided by Delta, the flight with a
stop would be provided by Delta for the first flight, Air France for
the second flight. Listed prices are approximately half or less what I
paid for my flights. But obviously Delta has reduced their prices for
the same dates after I bought my tickets and after the pandemic
started spreading out of China. Better than Air France would be just
to buy a ticket from Delta. But only if the details versus cost is
objectively better than a ticket from American Airline.

Through code shares smaller European airlines will also offer flights from Detroit. It might add a stop depending on where you are going, but it might save you money.

I am reluctant to fly on a non-United States of America based airline
on a future trip. I could be wrong. It is possible I could be
persuaded to change my mind.

Why? The general consensus seem to be that European airlines offer better service than North American airlines. And flying a European airline means that both your trips across the atlantic will be EU261-protected.

I would not recommend Turkish Airlines though. Flying them between Europe and North America means quite a lot of backtracking, and since they are not an EEA-airline the flight to Europe will not be covered by EU261. (Flying Turkish also means supporting a state that is getting more and more authoritarian.)

Posted by
693 posts

I am too old and I guess have too much money to want to keep this tight of a budget. But I wanted to comment on the reactions to Mike's airline budget. I live between Cleveland and Columbus. (one hour to Cleveland and 2 hours to Columbus). You can't get cheap airfare from some parts of the country unless you are willing to take long, multiple stops (time is money) or fly on separate tickets (too risky for me). I like to fly economy plus (more leg room, early boarding, better service), but on my recent trip to Turkey I flew economy. I know a lot of folks here state that economy on Turkish Airlines is great, but after 12 hours of my knees being jammed into the seat in front of me, I don't agree. You can fly from Atlanta or Chicago to Istanbul for $800 or less, but when you add the flight from Cleveland or Akron the price doubles. I paid $1600. I could have taken a cheaper flight from home to these two cities on a separate ticket, or stayed overnight, but neither option appealed to me.

I have stopped reading threads on low cost airfare, because it used to make me green with envy.

I do think that the day to day lower cost of living makes up for the higher airfare. My modest 1700 sq foot home on five acres would cost at least 3 times what I paid for it within an hour's drive to Chicago or Atlanta.

Posted by
27 posts

If your budget works for you, then that is all that matters.

Regarding flights, for us, Syracuse is an hour away, and the price is around $1200 to get to Ireland/Amsterdam/etc. I know I'll have a connection, probably in a NYC airport with a long layover.

If we drive 3.5 hours to Montreal, or 4.5 hours to Toronto, it's down to around $700, if not less. Plus it'll be a direct flight. I'm traveling with my spouse, so that's worth the drive. I really miss Norwegian out of Newburgh...I flew to Ireland RT for $300 once, $400 when I splurged and checked my luggage.

Food: We do eat from supermarkets about 50% of time. Most have great sandwiches pre-made, or your can buy the fixings. An apple with a hunk of cheese is a great snack. My diet isn't healthy like yours, so the other half is usually street food.

One big expense for us, that you don't mention, is coffee and booze. I love the coffee in Europe; that and a cake mid-day are heaven to me. In Ireland, the pub and trad music are a big part of the trip. Gotta have a Smithwick's or three for that. My wife will have Guinness; there's 25 euros right there for us both. Other places, a cheap bottle of wine from the grocery is enough.

I'm weird and like public transportation (because I live in sticks in US and we have none), and use to think taxis were cheating as well. I've recently come to accept the cost over time savings/convenience, sometimes it's just worth it. Last November I had my adult kids with me in Portugal; Uber is amazing. My daughter handled that part and I was praising her wizard skills in being to summon a car in minutes, to take us somewhere directly, for anywhere from 4-6 Euros in town. I would then tip the driver directly. Great service to me.

Posted by
27 posts

Oh, and here's a comparison...a co-worker loves to go to Disney with their spouse and one child. They'll stay on resort, maybe 5 days Disney, and a few days at Universal. Their airfare is $300/person with Allegiant.

They spend more than my wife and I on a 2 week trip to Europe.

Posted by
77 posts

Mike,
Congratulations you're planning a trip to Europe! I made a 20-day trip last summer including Germany, Austria (day trip), Switzerland, France, and England for $3,718.85 per person. I have a spreadsheet with all the cost, as an Architect, I'm a fanatic on numbers and planning. There were 4 on this trip me, my wife, and 2 teenage daughters. So we saved a bit per person on lodging since we shared a room. We took public transport, no taxis, and no car rental. We purchased all our train tickets online ahead of time for saving funds. We ate about half our meals from the grocery with breakfast including at all hotels. Eating out each meal will burn through your funds quickly. We still got to eat at the Hofbrauhaus, our one nice meal out, and street food/markets can be inexpensive. I think you can do this! I don't feel like we missed out on anything except souvenirs, which wouldn't fit in our one bag per person to take home anyway. Here's a link to our trip report if you are interested: http://www.artway.today/2019/08/21/the-grand-tour-germany-austria-switzerland-france-the-united-kingdom-july-2019-trip-report/
I say go for it, you'll have a great time, experiences are not always about how much you spend.

Posted by
1217 posts

Detroit is a Delta fortress hub, which typically makes it on the expensive side.

Posted by
205 posts

A couple of notes on traveling from Detroit:
Airfares are high sadly. Now that we're retired and can be a bit more flexible on days, we've been able to do better but you might get stuck paying as much as $1500 🙄
We have no mass transit option to get to the airport. We always drive there and park, but it's around $11 a day for off-site parking so that's not cheap either

Posted by
951 posts

We are budget travelers, perhaps to a fault. We have had several experiences where we say to ourselves "omg never again. Next time we'll spend the money!", and then we do the same thing the following year. Thrift is a hard habit to break apparently. In general, I aim for an average of $500 per RT ticket, and $125/nt for lodging. The bargain tickets are usually one stop on major airlines, but we do drive longer distances to the airport that offers this price. We have the time, and with 5 of us, its obviously worth that time. We eat on a budget, mostly because we tend to enjoy street food more than sit down restaurants, and we dont like eating out all the time. We rent cars and take trains, but for us rental cars are often far cheaper than trains, although we much prefer trains. Once we've made all the big purchases on a very tight budget, I dont keep track until the end, because at that point I want to enjoy myself and not worry about every gelato.

Posted by
6171 posts

Mike, give driving to the airport and parking in some kind of cheap(er) long-term economy lot a try. I bet it will be a lot less expensive than the cabs. Driving home after your trip may not be as bad as you think (it depends when you arrive back and whether you're open to having some food and caffeine to get you through). Many, many people (probably most) have to do that out of necessity because they live in the suburbs, which I presume is the case with you. My parents always drove 1 hour or so to LAX and back even after long trips to Europe and New Zealand - but parking was pretty inexpensive per day if you get a coupon. Where I live, I can park for ~$7 per day if I need to at BWI airport.

Posted by
424 posts

Suppose I am in Europe. Suppose I wake up at 7am on the day of my flight home. Suppose I don’t get to Detroit metro airport until 10 pm. That would be at least 21 hours of being continuously awake. I feel like my 24 hour biological clock would reset too slow if I sleep on the plane on the way home. The risk of me being too tired to drive home from the airport is unacceptable to me. Technically, there is a way to take busses from near my apartment to the airport, but the journey would involve 3 bus lines and 2-1/2 to 3 hours versus 35 to 40 minutes driving, under good traffic conditions; the safety risk would be significantly higher than the taxi. It is illegal for uber or lyft drivers to pick customers up from Detroit metro airport. I did drive myself to the airport for a solo trip to Washington DC.

Bottled water is included in my supposed food budget. That is the only thing I drink.

European Union rule 261 does make taking a European airline more appealing, although there may still end up being reasons I stick with Delta or American airline.

I flew from non-stop from: Detroit to London and London back to Detroit, Detroit to Amsterdam (on the way back, Brussels to Atlanta, Atlanta to Detroit), nonstop from Detroit to Rome and from Rome back to Detroit. To get to Greece was Detroit to Philadelphia, Philadelphia to Athens, Athens back to Philadelphia, back to Detroit. To get to Spain my tickets are Detroit to Philadelphia to Madrid to Granada, the return flight being Madrid to Philadelphia to Detroit.

There seems to be non-stop flights from Detroit to only a selected few big European cities. For all other major cities in Europe, starting in Detroit seems to require first flying to Chicago, one of the New York area airports, Philadelphia, Charlotte-Douglas, Atlanta, or Miami; Toronto or Montreal if taking Air Canada; Dallas or Houston might be possible but irrational - too out of the way from Detroit. It is not legal for a non-USA based airline to transport passengers between cities in the USA if the 2nd city is the final destination. For any trip from Detroit to a city in Europe that doesn’t have a non-stop flight to it from Detroit, at least the first flight would automatically be on a USA-based airline. I won’t rule out the possibility of buying tickets from a foreign airline, but there would have to be some objective advantage to the foreign airline other than just saving money.

Posted by
838 posts

Mike, safety is important. I agree with spending a few more bucks if you’re concerned about falling asleep or just being a bit too bleary. I’ve driven an hour from Dulles to get home and that’s about my limit. Drove on I-71 for over an hour after landing at CVG from Paris several years ago. Looking back, probably not the smartest to do by myself!

Posted by
174 posts

My 3 week European trip last year came to a total of $2585.27. That includes airfare from AK to Germany and back from Portugal to AK. I stayed in nice 3 star hotels and apartments. I was in Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Hungry and Portugal. I used trains between the first 4 countries and flew between the last two. Most of my meals were eaten out. Did buy some food to fix in the apartments. Travel doesn't have to be expensive nor do you have to be so cheap about it you don't enjoy the trip. Spend what you can afford.

Posted by
156 posts

It has been an interesting diversion to read your original post and follow the replies- instead of wondering when we will even be able to travel again and working on cancelling my own August overseas trip.
I am a solo traveler, too. That certainly helps with keeping within your budget and preferences!
I hate eating in restaurants alone and have some specific dietary restrictions, also. But I try to find hotels that include a well- reviewed and extensive breakfast buffet. I eat that enormous breakfast, skip lunch and often for an early "dinner" just happily eat some of the snack mix baggies I make myself and scatter throughout my suitcase for a 2- 3 week trip. I also happen to love browsing local food stores.
On the other hand, I have paid more for flights with a longer connection time than the cheapest option because the worrying stresses me out excessively.
I think we all prioritize- given the same hypothetical $3500 budget we would all divvy it up according to our preference.
I will note you say " wild guess" a couple times. Food and museums/ sights? Online info would help with your careful budget planning. For example, the additional expense of a timed entry to a famous museum vs regular rate. You can also find out when or if there is free admission, and arrange your itinerary accordingly...stay healthy and safe travels, when they happen!

Posted by
1123 posts

The risk of me being too tired to drive home from the airport is
unacceptable to me. Technically, there is a way to take busses from
near my apartment to the airport, but the journey would involve 3 bus
lines and 2-1/2 to 3 hours versus 35 to 40 minutes driving, under good
traffic conditions; the safety risk would be significantly higher than
the taxi. It is illegal for uber or lyft drivers to pick customers up
from Detroit metro airport.

Glad that you're taking road safety seriously. And I agree that you shouldn't drive if you don't feel it's safe to do it. But if Lyft or Uber can't pick you up at the airport, can you take a bus from the airport a stop or two to somewhere they can pick you up?

Bottled water is included in my supposed food budget. That is the only
thing I drink.

Give tapwater a try. It will save you a bit of money.

There seems to be non-stop flights from Detroit to only a selected few
big European cities. For all other major cities in Europe, starting in
Detroit seems to require first flying to Chicago, one of the New York
area airports, Philadelphia, Charlotte-Douglas, Atlanta, or Miami;
Toronto or Montreal if taking Air Canada. […] For any trip from
Detroit to a city in Europe that doesn’t have a non-stop flight to it
from Detroit, at least the first flight would automatically be on a
USA-based airline.

Not necessarily. The first flight could be Air France to Paris or Lufthansa to Frankfurt or Munich and then on to your final destination. That will allow you to reach a number of cities with a one stop trip that would otherwise require two stops. Or as you say, to Chicago or New York on a code share flight and then to Europe with another airline.

I won’t rule out the possibility of buying tickets from a foreign
airline, but there would have to be some objective advantage to the
foreign airline other than just saving money.

Like better service?

Posted by
424 posts

When I visited Nafplio, Greece, in October 2018, the tap water was a brown rust color. I feel like it is safest to drink bottled water.

I doubt I am able to distinguish the difference between good and bad service on a plane flight. It is possible that my (current) bias toward flying on USA based airlines is irrational. When buying ticket I try looking at how rational looking the flight path seems versus total number of stops versus length of each layover - the duration of a layover should be long enough to comfortably get through security but not too excessive. The times of the day my flights are leaving has to be good too. For example, I could have taken my trip to Washington DC for free because I had enough miles from Delta, but the flight would have left at 5:30 am. I paid $209 for a flight from American that left at 11:15am.

The safest way to get home from the airport is to take an official taxi ride leaving from just outside the terminal building.

Posted by
407 posts

If you stay in places with breakfast included, that will help to keep your food budget in check. I'm not sure what you mean by "healthy" food, as what is deemed healthy for one person, is not healthy for another. One of the many reasons we travel is to savoir the cuisine or food from the country we're traveling in. Like you, we also buy many snacks and mid-day meals in grocery stores. We stay away from the fancy restaurants as well, but we love enjoying meals every other day or so, in the small bistros/restaurants on our route. They all have been very healthy meals - can't remember anything that came from prepackaged containers or high in sodium. Depends on what you order. Live a little! Life is to be enjoyed and so is food.

Posted by
951 posts

We have the ability to travel for several weeks (overtime during certain busy months means the choice of fewer shifts during less-busy times), so our aim is to be in Europe for as long as we can. Thus we are willing to "suffer" some by taking flights at whatever time, or driving long distances to the airport (again, also made possible by how much time we have to travel). The less we spend on airfare and lodging, the more days we travel...
I realize that this is not the case for most, so maximizing time in europe is worth more expense and less travel time

Posted by
2427 posts

I think your budget figure is good for solo travel. I can do a lot with that amount of money...granted I am on the East Coast. We all have different things we splurge on. So Mike, pick your own splurges like flight, taxi and bottled water or whatever. I splurge on flights and taxis. I don't do Lyft or Uber as I prefer a vehicle and driver that has gone through screening and has bothered to pay for the right to drive me. My choice, of course, is not others' choices. I live near easy public transportation, but as my flight is early morning, I do take a taxi to the flight, but not always when I arrive home because my arrival is during the day. I prefer British Airways over American airlines for flying internationally, but, again, just my taste. I think it is very important for me to have very easy transportation so that I'm not tired or jet lagged when I have arrived at my destination.

For cost examples: I found I could travel just as inexpensively in Sweden as I could in Britain and France, but Greece cost much less. In my experience Sweden and France seemed to be about the same as Boston, but Britain in the London urban area cost a bit more, as compared to Northern England...so location is important, country to country and city to town, etc.

Posted by
1878 posts

I am a solo traveler myself. I gather that your destination is Spain. Of course where in Europe, and how much ground you are covering, makes all the difference. I think in Spain you could do this. I might add a few hundred if it was my trip, but it's your trip. In particular $55 per night for lodging per might be on the low side. For an extra $30 per night you might be able to find a lot nicer places to stay.

As a frame of reference, I spent about $4,200 on a solo fifteen-night trip to northern Italy in May of 2019. This included three nights in Venice which obviously is one of the more expensive destinations. I averaged around $85 per night for lodging. The flight from SFO-Venice/Milan-SFO was $1,288, and this was booked only about five weeks before departure. Countries and regions within countries vary a lot in the level of expense. Northern Italy is probably on the moderate side and Spain will be cheaper than that. You will probably want to opt for the fast trains in Spain, and you'll be covering more ground that I did in terms of distance. Especially if you include Barcelona. I spent less than $150 in two weeks of train travel in Italy. Depending upon your itinerary I think you'll spend more than that, but you'll save on lodging, especially if you go super-budget as you indicate. Barcelona will be on the more expensive side of things compared to the rest of Spain, if things get back to normal that is.

Posted by
424 posts

I am skipping Barcelona, at least on my upcoming trip - my trip is in October - yeah I know if the sights like the Alhambra are closed when advance tickets are supposed to go on sale, I will knowingly miss getting advance tickets, in which case I will know I will have to reschedule my trip even if the airline is going to run my flights, at which point all I am waiting for is to see if the airline is cancelling my flights or whether I have to do it myself.

Current costs:
$88.00 3 nights, hostel in Granada
$35.00 2 nights, hostel in Cordoba
$56.00 3 nights, hostel in Seville
$36.00 1 night, hotel, Toledo, private room
$80.00 4 nights, hostel, Madrid

$270.00 food (wild guess)
$1,223.00 plane tickets
$180.00 taxis to/from Detroit Metro airport (last time I paid $75 to get to the airport, $87 to get home)
$100.00 max supposed other expenses (wild guess)
$325.00 museums and sights, supposed max cost (wild guess, probably an over-estimate)
$250.00 3 long distance and 2 semi-long distance bus and/or train tickets (wild guess, plan to purchase in advance)
$80.00 "free" guided tours

$2,723.00

I could probably afford all private rooms. Should I switch to all private rooms if the hotel rooms will mean much less risk of catching a communicable disease? I didn't think to worry about the possibility of getting a disease before the last times I stayed in hostels. I have not gotten sick while traveling yet. I have stayed in (private) hotel rooms when the town I was visiting did not have an appealing hostel room. I don't have travel insurance.

Posted by
1123 posts

When I visited Nafplio, Greece, in October 2018, the tap water was a
brown rust color. I feel like it is safest to drink bottled water.

Don't judge a continent because of the water quality in one place. Just ask the people living 90 km northwest of Detroit. In many European countries, tap water is the safer choice. (Not to say that bottled water is a bad choice, but the standards for tap water are much higher.)

I doubt I am able to distinguish the difference between good and bad
service on a plane flight. It is possible that my (current) bias
toward flying on USA based airlines is irrational.

You can't be sure until you've tried!

Posted by
16826 posts

I've traveled widely in Europe (though not to all countries), and I've encountered just three places where it was recommended that visitors not drink the water:

  • The Greek island of Skiathos (water brackish as of the 1980s, so unpalatable, but supposedly not unsafe)

  • Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), Russia (presence of giardia parasite)

  • Ukraine (I'm unclear on the specific problem, but even locals seem to depend on bottled water, which is widely available in large bottles and cheap)

I am not suggesting water in all other European locations is fine, but water-quality issues are not at all common in the countries most commonly visited.