Backpacking is a rewarding, educational and memorable way to spend parts of your life. It offers the chance to break from the comfort zone of nine-to-five living and a steady apartment in a city or town you know inside out for the ultimate freedom of being out on the road. And where better to roam than the continent with as many different languages and cultures as countries? Europe.
Before you head off to your nearest travel agent and book a flight, you ought to be aware of the cost of backpacking Europe. Read on, intrepid traveller, as we outline the range of costings for various aspects of your trip, to help you better gauge how far your money will go.
And who knows, after this trip, you may want to move to Europe and become its citizen.
Due to Europe’s broad spectrum of economies, depending on where you are visiting (even within specific countries) will affect how much you should be expecting to pay for products and services. Eastern Europe tends to be much cheaper than Western Europe, and capital cities, tourist destinations and Scandinavian countries tend to end up being the most expensive.
Hostels are still the number one for budget accommodation, with rooms per night, per person starting from as little as $5-$7 in Eastern European cities, to more expensive options in cities such as London or Paris ranging from $20 all the way to $50, depending on quality and amenities.
HostelWorld is our favourite site for checking everything about a place, including reviews, pictures and prices for rooms, HostelWorld like everything nowadays is available in App form on both Android and iOS.
Europe is famed for its refreshments. From beers, wines and coffees, to breakfasts, snacks and dinners, its eclecticism of edibles is something that has helped it stay on the map as the continent for taste for centuries.
Travellers expecting to sample everything the continent has to offer for each of their days on the road should expect to part with quite a lot of cash. Particularly in the more developed parts of Europe, a simple breakfast of croissants and coffee can cost $7-$10. As for more hearty meals, the range can vary from $15 to anything into the hundreds for the most fanciful dining. In lesser developed nations the food is more economical, but can still set you back $3-$5 for a breakfast and $10-$15 for a dinner.
For drinking out, different parts of Europe very much vary depending on whether it’s a native drink to the region you’re in or whether the country’s tax on alcohol is high or low. In some areas with lesser taxation and a stronger focus on local brews and spirits, you can pay as little as $1.50-$2 for a beer or liquor. In larger cities in more tourist and tax heavy nations a beer can cost up to $8 and cocktails can be as much as $20.
One thing Europe is very good for – the mainland in particular – is rail travel. On occasion there are also very good air fares, with a number of budget operators in the continent’s varying countries.
For rail travel, the best bet is to buy an Interrail pass. Their website allows you to enter the number of days you’re likely to be travelling the continent for and will offer you advice on the best pass to buy based on that information. This can then be used on travel across the continent and even stretches to islands off of the mainland such as Great Britain. For use every day over a month, the cost of a pass is roughly $552.
The list of must-see sights in Europe is endless. From natural wonders and historically important sites to world revered art galleries, there’s something to see no matter your interest.
Luckily, this also means there’s something to see no matter your budget. Some attractions are completely free to visit and some require an upfront cost or a membership. Those that cost can range from as little as $4 or $5 per visit to the hundreds for anything from tours and hikes to concerts.
As Europe is so diverse, a specific cost for an individual trip will depend on where you plan to visit. If you want to understand a bit more about what each country or city you’re visiting might cost, Price of Travel.com has put together a handy list of 56 European cities from cheapest to most expensive for backpackers. Sofia, Bulgaria comes out as the cheapest at a little over $24 per day, with Zurich, Switzerland as the most expensive at just over $124 per day.
If you have any thoughts on cost saving options as a backpacker in Europe, why not let us and our readers know in the comments section?