How much should we budget for spending per meal in London & Paris and in Germany(down the Rhine and Bavaria). Just to give us an idea so I start saving. London we will be close to Victoria Station, Paris Marais area. Thanks.
Generally descending prices are: London, Paris, Rhine. Bavaria is too far back to guess. Staying on the low end: Roughly speaking, a hunk of cheese, a piece of sausage, and a stick of bread will cost about five or six bucks anywhere and get you trhough both breaksfast and lunch. Something to drink is extra. A Nero's expresso in London is two or three bucks, a beer a bit out of the way about four. Paris about the same if you stand up to drink. Germany a tad cheaper. If you nose around a bit you can get supper in London or Paris for twenty bucks, including a drink. Hit a kabob place and you can get down to less than fifteen. In any of the Gorge villages you can eat for fifteen. Waving the magic wand, average for the whole mess, a coffee or beer at mid-day, staying low but half-way healthy..............thirty-five dollars per person per day. Going the other way - - in London back in the fall I was eating four dollar baps for breakfast and dropping a couple hundred per head for supper two or three times a week. More usual, running alone, I spend less than twenty, traveling with my wife maybe twenty-five - - but we're good at it and don't spend that much time in the cities.
As Ed is saying, how much you will spend per meal depends on your definition of "meal." If you want a sit down meal with several courses, this is naturally more expensive than getting a take-away sandwich, or going to a grocery store and making a picnic. If you're thinking of a "destination" restaurant, you'll have to pay destination prices (several hundred dollars a person, not including wines). But there's no need to spend a fortune unless you want to. Start by looking at recommended places to eat in Rick's Paris, London, and Germany books. He lists prices, so you get some idea of the range. He tries to list a variety, but you can certainly do it cheaper or more expensive than he lists. Hotels in London and German usually include breakfast, so that's covered. Hotels in Paris usually charge extra for breakfast, and it's usually a bad deal; you can get the same thing at a nearby cafe for much less.
I would plan a min of 50E/person per day.
Acutally in London and Paris, we've already booked into apartments so we can save a little by buying a few things for breakfasts and things like that. But we are travelling in before and just wanted an idea of prices.
In Germany, I have kept meticulous records for the last 8-10 weeks of travel over the last 10 years. Everyplace I stay has breakfast included, so I don't have that expense. For lunch and dinner, I don't buy groceries or picnic. Some of my meals, perhaps a quarter to a third, are a sandwich and a drink at a train station, picked up on the go. The rest are sit down meals, usually my main meal at night, sometimes at noon with a light dinner. My meal expenses average 20€/day, a little less than $30/day, for one person for food, beverages, and tip. I stay mostly in small towns, and food is less expensive there. If you stay in big cities, you'll spend more. I could splurge every night and spend more than that, or find less expensive items on the menu and spend less. In Germany, a lot of dishes are pork. If you insist on beef, it will cost you more.
Do you like eating in sit-down places or buying from local markets? Tesco and Sainsbury (sp?) are local markets in London or you can get stuff from Borough's market. The amounts mentioned here are good guides, but some of it will depend on your dining style.
In Germany, many restaurants have lunch specials which can be a real bargain. If you make lunch your main meal of the day and dinner your light meal of sandwiches or maybe some ethnic fast food, you will save a lot of money. I don't find eating in the city any more expensive than eating in the rural towns. I can sit in a traditional German restaurant over the Klein Markt Halle where no tourists go and have an entire menu that includes soup, dessert and a huge meal for about 9-10 €. (this place gets all of its sausages, meats and produce from the market downstairs, so not mass-produced cheap wares) I can get a burger and fries for 4.90 € sitting in a guard tower built in 1425, smack dab in the middle of Frankfurt, a huge portion of Green Sauce on potatoes for 6.50 €, or a schnitzel with potatoes for about 7-8 € in any number of German restaurants in Frankfurt. Considering this is supposed to be the most expensive city, I find this a bargain. If you are in Berlin, food is even cheaper. Eating in Berlin is an absolute bargain. Even food like a Döner, is at least 1-2 € cheaper than any place else.
Thanks everyone. I've got a good idea now for GB and Germany. How about in Paris?
As others have suggested, this question is really impossible to answer. If you asked; "How much do groceries cost in _____" that question has an answer. If you ask; "How much does a quick sandwich, kabab, or similar street food cost in _" that question has an answer. If you ask "How much does a nice dinner in a service restaurant in ______ cost" that question sort of has an answer. Frank suggested 50euro/person/day and you could easily spend more. But on the other end of the spectrum, our family of five spends only 40euro/day for all of us together by making our own food from groceries when we can and/or eating on the cheap (sandwiches and pizza) when we can't. We almost never eat in service restaurants. In 2007, back before we were smart enough to get apartments in cities, we spent about $90 on a very basic pasta meal in a not-that-special restaurant in London that would have cost $40 in Minneapolis. We generally find that groceries are about 30-40% more expensive than groceries at home with meats being roughly double the cost we see here. Any drink other than tap water will cost quite a bit extra. Be careful here and don't be afraid to request tap water. You may get charged a small amount for it, depending on the location. But don't just ask for water, or you will more likely get bottled water and pay a lot for it.