Spending money in Paris, London, and Geneva????

My mom and I are trying to book a vacation to London (5 nights), Paris (5 nights), and Geneva Switzerland (4 nights). After hotels and flights are booked, what is a good amount of spending money for us to have for 2 weeks in these cities? I know it's a subjective question, but we are fairly low maintenance and want to see the good sites, but aren't necessarily into doing a lot of tours or anything. Would $2,000-$3,000 be enough for the both of us for 2 weeks in these places? I have been to Europe before but I am asking because I heard these are expensive cities. Any help is appreciated! Also, any suggestions or tips on must-see places in these places would be appreciated as well:) We've never been to any of these places so we're going to have trouble picking and choosing what to do. THANKS!

Posted by Susan
Marin County/San Francisco
3691 posts

I think $2000 - $3000 is realistic. Have fun! Edit: I should have said $2800 ($100 per day per person) is realistic - or at least doable if you budget wisely. I could easily do it in Paris.

Posted by Michael
Griffith, IN, USA
447 posts

You said the flights and hotels are booked. Is your dining coming out of the 2000 - 3000 dollars for two for two weeks?? If it is good luck. Like you said the question is very subjective. You have picked 3 of the most expense cities. I know we couldn't. What about entry fees, transportation, etc.

Posted by Christy
Laguna Beach, CA, USA
270 posts

been to london and paris. i think for the two of you, i would budget closer to $3000 even if you are not being extravagant. food, drinks, entry fee, public/local transportation and maybe a few souveniers. it all adds up. i don't think you want to constantly count pennies (euros/pounds) and doubt if you can sit down for a nice coffee in a paris cafe. you want to enjoy! i think $3000 is doable but maybe just don't eat out every meal (market for lunch?). london must sees - touristy but enjoyed the hop on hop off bus on my first day to get oriented for the remainder of my stay. walk along the thames. british museum was interesting. wish i had made it to tate. drinking a pimms and shopping in covent garden. relax in hyde park. paris must sees - my favorite sites; musee d'orsay and pere lachaise and st chappelle. other things i really like: marmottan museum, marais neighborhood, shakespeare & co bookstore, wandering little streets of montmarte. i think if it's a first trip to paris you have to do things like louvre, notre dame, eiffel, champs elysess, day trip to versailles, sacre couer. oh..great view of eiffel from alexander bridge. happy travels!

Posted by Susan
Marin County/San Francisco
3691 posts

In Paris, don't miss the Luxembourg Gardens, Musee Nissim de Camondo (old home once owned by wealthy family), Musee Jacquemart Andree (another old home), and Ile St. Louis (little island east of Notre Dame). Oh, and Berthillon ice cream! For a wonderful day trip, I highly recommend Vaux le Vicomte (in RS Paris book). I also love Versailles and Fontainbleau.

Posted by Sasha
Bainbridge Island
1952 posts

Why Geneva? I thought you wanted to see the Swiss Alps?

Posted by Selena
Minneapolis, MN
23 posts

Awesome suggestions!! Thank you all I will definitely be writing all of these down to look into! As for why Geneva, I'm not sure actually. The travel agent found it for us. Can you not see the Swiss Alps from there? But now my mom wants to go to Barcelona to visit my sister so it looks like we might be cutting Switzerland out all together and just doing Barcelona, Paris, and London. We might add a very short (day or two) trip to Switzerland though so it's still in the works. It's kind of in the travel agents hands right now for what deals she can find. But if we can't see the Swiss Alps from Geneva, I'll definitely have to tell the travel agent to choose one of the other cities if we go. Thanks everyone!

Posted by Mark
Santa Barbara, CA, USA
164 posts

You do see the Alps from Geneva (mostly the French Alps) but the Alps need to be experienced, not seen from a distance. Go directly to the Berner Oberland or Zermatt.

Posted by Sasha
Bainbridge Island
1952 posts

In February, you may not see anything at all from Geneva. it is cold, cloudy and/or rainy on many winter days. I think Barcelona is a much better option. Or, if you want to see the Swiss Alps and be in a city, go to Lucerne.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
11614 posts

It may be a case that that "travel agent" has never been to Europe, or certainly not Geneve if they are encouraging you to such an expensive city from which you can't see more of the Alps than white pointy things in the far distance.

Posted by Gail
Downingtown, USA
1671 posts

I haven't used a travel agent in years. If you are using one, you need to suggest, if they are booking flights, to get you flights into say London, then onto Paris and onto Barcelona and home from there. That way you are not back tracking and not paying Heathrow departure tax. Switzerland is very expensive, I seem to remember much more than London or Paris.

Posted by Selena
Minneapolis, MN
23 posts

Wow, thank you all for your advice and comments! I definitely have been reading every one of them as they are posted! Taking some of your advice, we decided to move the trip back a few weeks into mid February so we can have a little more money saved! We are officially going to London, Barcelona, Paris, and then ending in Zurich for a few days (since Geneva didn't seem like a good choice). So any more suggestions on things to see would be awesome! We only have about 2-3 days in London, a couple in Barcelona (visiting my sister), about 5 in Paris, and about 2-3 in Zurich. So now the debate starts about what we must-see in our short amount of time! THANK YOU ALL!

Posted by Jim
Dallas, Texas, USA
499 posts

Luzern would make a great day trip from Zurich IF you were going in May,June July. We haven't been there in February. It's nice that you and Mom can do a trip together.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
21416 posts

Selena, You've received some great advice so far, and I have a few thoughts to add as well. Are you firmly committed to Zürich as your destination in Switzerland? IMO, Lucerne is a much nicer city for a few days. It has a great ambience and some interesting sights (including day trips to see the Alps). FWIW, I've been to both, most recently Zürich at the beginning of October. As you'll be visiting Switzerland, you might want to move your trip back to mid-March, so that you can save more money. Switzerland can be dreadfully expensive, something which isn't always apparent just by looking at the exchange rates. The expense can be moderated to some extent by having cheap lunches and perhaps choosing more budget hotels (although I suspect you may not have as much choice in that regard, as your Travel Agent will likely be booking those). You may want to visit your local Library to see if you can find copies of the Rick Steves Guidebooks for the places you'll be visiting, as those provide fantastic information on sightseeing, money saving tips, restaurants, transportation, etc. You could also buy a couple of the books or Snapshot Guides, either in paper or E-book format. If this is your first trip to Europe, reading Europe Through The Back Door would also be a good idea. Good luck with your planning!

Posted by Ron
southwest, Missouri, U.S.A.
1539 posts

Hello Selena. I visited London, three times. There I especially liked the Museum of London, and Saint Paul's Cathedral, and Windsor Castle (a palace of the royal family). Windsor is not really in London. Ride in a train from Paddington station in London to Windsor & Eton Central station (change trains at Slough), that is a 35 minute trip. In the British National Gallery (of art) located at Trafalgar Square in London, I liked seeing paintings by John Constable. When I am at London, I like having my overnight accomodation at a hotel located near the Notting Hill Gate station of London Underground trains, or near the Bayswater station of London Underground trains. Going to either of those stations is a very short ride in an underground train from Paddington railway station.

Posted by courtney
London, UK
68 posts

You should take into consideration that right now the exchange rate for the US dollar to the Great British pound is 1.77 which means 100 USD is only 56 GBP. Which means you would to eat and see tourist attractions on a very small budget. You will have to calculate far more money whilst here in England. For example attractions like the London Eye will cost you 18.50 GBP per ticket http://londonnet.entstix.com/tickets/london-eye or a trip to Madam Tussads is 20GBP http://www.madametussauds.com/London/BuyTickets/Default.aspx?gclid=CKGHlqT9vbQCFXHLtAod3jQAXQ and you have to factor in cost for traveling for instance tickets on the metro for a single cash fare is 4.50 GBP. http://www.ukstudentlife.com/Travel/Transport/London/Underground.htm#TicketPrices2013 There are plenty of free things to do in England but just be aware that if you eat out for all three meals, have a few drinks, see a few tourist attractions and buy a few souvenirs it will get expensive and you will easily spend a good portion of your budget in England alone. In regards to Paris you are going from the dollar to the Euro and again the exchange rate now is a bit better so 100 USD will get you approximately 75 Euros. These are factors you should take into consideration because in USD has been getting weaker against the GBP and EUR.