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What Will An Extended European Stay Cost?

I am researching taking a trip to Europe by watching and reading as much Rick Steves as possible! I want to spend a month or two and see as much as I can. A major importance for me is the Republic of Ireland, specifically Cork. I want to take several days and travel throughout all of Ireland including Northern Ireland. I want to see much of England and Scotland and Wales as well. I was thinking of maybe making a couple places in Ireland my home base and going on day trips. I then could maybe do the same in other countries. While I am in Europe I want to see Germany including Stuttgart, Berlin, and Munich. I want to go to the Alps, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, Norway. I’d like to see the Northern Lights. I also want to Venice I also want to visit several parts of Italy, France, Monaco and Spain. Well at these places I would like to look at the significant historical destinations. I know there are many very experienced travelers on this forum. Would you please give me some insight on to what you think a trip like this may cost. i’ll plan on staying in Airbnb type places and small hotels/B&Bs like Rick suggests. Thank you.

Posted by
16591 posts

The places you are interested in seeing cannot be covered reasonably in one or even two months. You would be spending all your time on trains, buses and airplanes and very little time with your feet on the ground in the places you want to see. The result would be a very high cost per hour of actual sightseeing. You should assume you'll make more than one trip and narrow the focus of this trip to a reasonable number of places. It will be most efficient to do this geographically. Although there are ways to reduce transportation costs, more miles = more cost.

Of the places you list, I suspect the most expensive will be Switzerland and Norway. Within every country, it's likely that some cities will be more expensive than others. London, Paris and Venice are more expensive than most other cities in their respective countries. Time of year is important, too. Better weather and children out of school means lodging costs are likely to be higher.

To get an idea of lodging costs is different places, you can use the website booking.com. It lists some apartments as well as hotels.

Posted by
3080 posts

Although you’re asking about costs, I haven’t pulled out the calculator yet. First, a couple things to determine, are you considering g renting cars during any of this trip? Especially on Ireland, we found having a car to be a great way to get to places on our own schedule, as although we were on the move a lot, working our way around both the Republic and Northern Ireland. We had 3-night based a couple times, but the rest were 2 night stays. Buses are available, and trains in stown me places, and you can also take guided tours, where they do the driving. One potential catch to driving in Ireland is t gf at they festive on the left side of the road, which takes some getting used to if you normally drive on the right. Many roads are quite narrow, and can have a stone wall just off the side, so precision driving is mandatory.

Regarding Northern Lights, remember that the Aurora Borealis happen year round, but are generally only visible from late fall to early spring. Many parts of Italy/France/Monaco/Spain are warmer than much of Scandinavia/Germany/Ireland, especially on those colder months. So are you prepared for the climate when it’ll be colder, and ready to pack clothes for both warmer and colder weather, and lugging around all of it, even in places where you might not be wearing it?

If you’re staying in a single room, and not doing hostels, you’re likely looking at the equivalent of at least $60 per night, considerably more in some places.

Posted by
5017 posts

It's impossible to give any reasonable estimate for the costs of such a trip, for two reasons:

First, the trip (as described above) is so general as to be meaningless.

Second, the cost of traveling and being somewhere varies so much that the range of costs start at nearly nothing and go up to infinity.

Remove the list of place names and substitute in 10-20 places in your own country (presumably USA?). You could spend a little in any of those places, or you could gold-plate everything. The same is true in most places. While it's true that there are some places that tend to be more expensive, even in those places the cost of being there will vary tremendously based on what you choose and how you travel. As a very general rule, the further north you are, the more expensive things are, the further south (or east) you go, the less expensive things are, but this too is a very general and imperfect guideline.

You really need to get more specific. And, as pointed out above, what you describe can not be accomplished in "a month or two". You can't see all of North America in a month or two either, but that's kind of what you're asking. I would suggest the first thing you need to do is to prioritize your list of places you want to go (make a list of them, and number them 1 through N, in order of their importance to you). You can't get to them all on one trip (you never can), you have to make hard choices (you always have to). Without prioritizing them, you will go crazy and turn your trip into a miserable deathmarch.

Posted by
12084 posts

Hi,

I would suggest dropping some of the places in Spain or Italy for logistical reasons. With 2 months you can do this trip provided you use all the travel options, discount airlines, night trains, ferries. There is night train between Munich and Berlin you could take advantage of, saves on the hotel and extends your traveling time too. What about night train option in Norway if that applies?

Key to getting the max out of a packed itinerary as you propose is good planning and the discipline to adhere to the itinerary or be willing to amend it , eg, dropping a city here or there.

With some tweaking your propsed trip for 2 months is doable but you have to set the priorities first, which places are you most desperate in seeing?

Posted by
6036 posts

As it sounds like its just you, my stab at an estimate is, for food- lodging- local transport and admissions, $175-$250 per day. Exceeding that would not be real hard to do.

Getting from one place to the next and the cost of getting to/from Europe would be additional.

The range of your desired travels looks more like a 3-4 month expedition

Posted by
1499 posts

We are traveling from May-Aug 14 from Italy, Sicily, Cristina, Budapest, Prague, Belgium, Amsterdam to Scotland/England before heading back to US. We have most of refundable lodging booked, and good handle on transportation costs. As others have said it’s much less inexpensive in the south, Sicily and Italy and as we head west and north becomes more expensive. Likewise big cities can be double small towns. We are mostly staying in apartments (use booking.com), but as I research Belgium and Netherlands, apartments were either not available, or above our budget.

We have 5 stays that are at least a week duration, 3 of which are very inexpensive <€60 a night. Our nightly average for 100 nights so far is $101. Transportation including trains and 4 ferries for 2 of us, plus our dog, Barley, is around $2000. Assuming we mostly eat in during our extended Apartment stays, and pay attention to how much and where we eat out, we are estimating an average of €60 a day for everything else. So the 3 1/2 estimate is at least $20,000.

Since we will will be traveling nomads during this time, we will have no household expenses.

Hope this helps.

Posted by
3945 posts

Seeing the northern lights means a trip in the middle of winter, which is a miserable time to be in Ireland, when it’s dark before 4pm and most likely wet.

Not only will the accommodation budget vary depending on the quality of the place, but also how many nights you are staying and the time of year. School holiday times could be double the cost of the weeks either side.

Venice is never cheap nor is Monaco or Switzerland. Staying in capital cities will be significantly more expensive than in smaller towns.

In London, you will be lucky to find anything other than a Premier Inn for less than £100 a night and unless you book in advance, even those are likely to be more expensive. I recently paid £30 per night for a double room at a PI in Harrogate, Yorkshire.

For a trip of 1-2 months, I would assume one base per week.

Posted by
2297 posts

Sorry to be Debby Downer but even if you're in the right place at the right time of year, seeing the Northern Lights is not guaranteed. Two months is not enough time to see most of Western Europe and Morocco. You need at least a month of that time just to see Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales.

Posted by
589 posts

My last 3 extended trips to Europe (80 days per) ranged from $225-$255 per day excluding airfare. I had a rental car for 7 days, 5 days and 11 days respective to each trip. Train passes as well as single tickets. Hotels were 3 and 4 star hotels, a couple of AirBnB types and a few apartments for longer stays in a region (e.g. Tuscany). I was a solo traveler. Lodging is your biggest expense. Food is the most flexible and depends on your eating choices. Mine was a mixture of all. Breakfast, if not included in the room rate was very light, lunch was either street food, sandwiches, picnic type food from grocery stores or a sit down. Dinner mostly depended on lunch. If i had a sit down at lunch, light fare was in the evening. I did about 7 guided tours altogether. The rest on my own and paid entry fees. (Book in Advance where you can).

As far as time to see all you listed, it is your call. If you want to do highlights of cities it can be done, but you will be traveling a lot every couple of days. If your are looking for an in depth experience of the culture and a feel of the countryside, you won't have time to do it all. Some areas like Norway, Denmark and Finland take a little longer to travel to and between. I would save those for another trip.

Look at travel tour operators and scan their "Best of Europe" plans and you will see the amount of time you will need to see the highlights of cities. Germany, Switzerland, France and Spain are all doable in your time frame. It just takes a lot of planning and research. Enjoy whatever you choose.

Posted by
1065 posts

My niece is a Nanny. She had a 6 month job in Paris. Part of the time she was with the family on a sailboat on the Med. She rotated with another Nanny so they both had time to flyaway on their days off. They both had accumulated many air mileage points. She also got a Diver's Certificate, so she can teach classes at Beach Resorts. She's made many friends all over the world...so now they just stay with and rendezvous with each other. If you are addicted to travel, there are ways to do it. You can find less expensive lodging at some Universities throughout Europe. If you have any other affiliations such as military, or church group, or clubs check out what they might have available. Meanwhile look at any money saving transport and admissions passes. I have heard of some people using day tours and leaving further down the road towards places that are harder to get to. You can go to the street and large covered markets for picnic supplies. I often eat lunch at Museum Cafes which also usually have decent toilets. Bon Voyage!

Posted by
5 posts

I knew I could get excellent advice and perspectives here on this board. Thank you so much everyone for helping me. You’ve given me a lot to think about. There will be two of us - maybe three and I do plan on renting a car. I am going to narrow down my itinerary and get more specifics figured out and I will most likely have more questions for you. I sure appreciate being able to ask you all!

Posted by
3214 posts

Recent RS guide books have a great pie chart showing Average Daily Expenses Per Person. It's on p.23 of my 2020 Ireland book. The expenses do not include flight costs, car rental or train fares.

Keeping in mind that these are averages and that the in-country costs could be higher or lower for your group, here's what's listed, verbatim.

Total $185 -- applies to cities, figure on less for towns.
Lodging $75 -- Based on two people splitting the cost of a $150 double room (includes breakfast).
Meals $60 -- $20 for lunch, $30 for dinner, $10 for snacks or Guinness.
Sights and Entertainment $40 -- This daily average works for most people.
City Transit $10 -- Buses or taxi.

If you do a Google Images search for "Rick Steves average daily expenses per person" you can see images of the same page with details for France ($195), Italy ($175) and Iceland ($250). As you might expect, the detailed numbers for each are also different.

Back when my husband traveled with me, the daily costs per person were consistently $150-$185, no matter where we were. His last trip to Europe was in 2014. My daily expenses for solo, non-tour trips since then have increased a bit primarily due to the lodging costs which are rarely discounted.

You can do the math for your group for the number of nights you'll be in Europe. And add in the additional costs of car rental or public transportation in Europe like trains, ferries, coaches or airlines.

My last non-tour trip was to England and Scotland for 6 weeks in May-June 2016. I'd been in those 2 countries twice before and it still wasn't enough time.

The advice to seriously prioritize what you want to see and do and where you want to go is spot on. My advice is for the 2 or 3 of you to each and separately make a list of your top 10 or 20 "musts." That will require research on everyone's part. Then compare notes. Hopefully some musts will be the same.

BTW, if you are planning this trip for this year, you not only need to get busy, but you also need to keep in mind any places you might want to not even consider due to the coronavirus. There are lots of threads about that. The easiest way to get to them is by clicking on the All Topics forum link.