Travelling Europe On A Budget

europe budget

Only a few mornings ago I was waking up at the ungodly hour of 5am in a very tiny and quirky boutique hotel room on the Damrak to the quack of my iPhone alarm. I had to force myself to pack up and take the Intercity (with all the kids that were just heading home from a night out on the town) to the airport so I could head back home to Toronto.

I’ve been to Europe before, quite a few times, but never really worked out a budget a head of time like I did this time around (mostly because my boyfriend demanded it). I even uploaded a spreadsheet to google drive so we could nerd out and make live edits. Since I have everything documented I thought it might be helpful to put it on the inter webs and hopefully help out another gluten-free, budget-friendly traveler.

OK, first I’m going to tackle the budget and get that out of the way so we can get on to the fun stuff (all the gf snacks and restaurants). I’ve separated this into two posts because it was so long.

Items that swallow up your cash:

  • Flight
  • Accommodation
  • Transportation
  • Food
  • Day Trips
  • Fun-Having/Drinking (this will vary depending on how fun you are)

TRANSPORTATION:

Flight Toronto-Amsterdam Flight Network $975
Flight Amsterdam-Berlin Edreams $120
Train Berlin-Prague DB $65
Train Prague-Munich České dráhy $30
Train Munich-Zurich DB $65
Flight Zurich-London Edreams $140
Train London-Amsterdam Euro Star $160

 

The 7 hr flight to Amsterdam is a bit pricey but actually I purchased it about 3 months in advance (my research told me any earlier might actually be higher in price) and the price didn’t go down since the purchase date. Flight Network lets you monitor this and will honor the price drop with a credit. Edreams had some really bad reviews on line which I didn’t read until after my purchase so I was very nervous but in the end I didn’t have any issues with them. And YES you can take a train from London to Amsterdam! (I’m suprised that not many people know this, it goes underwater and you transfer in Brussels to another train).

Transportation Total: $1555

ACCOMODATIONS: (per person, based on 2 people – no. of sleeps in brackets)

Apartment Amsterdam (5) Air B&B $350
Apartment Berlin (3) Air B&B $150
Budget Hotel Prague (2) Hostelworld $105
Budget Hotel Munich (2) Hostelworld $130
Apartment Zurich (2) Air B&B $215
Apartment London (2) Air B&B $180
Hotel Amsterdam (1) Flight Net $40**

 

Ok, So let’s go through this one at a time, there’s lots to say. This is my first time using Air BnB and while it is nerve racking for me to depend on regular people to meet me for check in, I have to say Air BnB is amazing. I only booked apartments that were entire units where we would have the whole place (bathroom, kitchen and bedroom – no sharing). All three places were great. When I booked “hostels” they were actually more like hotels, we had our own room and bathroom but no kitchen. I did book 1 night in a real hotel as a treat and the reason it says $40 is because I used my TD Canada Trust travel rewards to pay for the majority of it.

Amsterdam Air BnB: Entire home/apt · Amsterdam, North Holland 1053, Netherlands.
For 5 nights the total was $700. This apartment was great, I would definitely stay here again in the future. The apartment was a little out of the downtown core so you would probably take the tram however we walked most of the time because we’d rather save money so it is possible. This unit has a Kitchen with a stove top (no toaster oven or microwave) and fridge, a full bathroom and a big comfy bed.
**Note: The stairs are very tiny and there are lots of them! I needed assistance to carry my suitcase down because I thought I was going to topple right over.

stairs

Berlin Air BnB: Entire home/apt – Kreuzberg
For 3 nights this unit was $300. This apartment was very large, with a full bathroom, large bed, washer (clothes) and a toaster oven & stove top in the kitchen. The location was great, no complaints except you can hear your neighbors. It was great to be able to freshen up my suitcase with clean undies.
**Note: You thought there were lots of stairs in the last unit, well this one has more! Thankfully they are regular sized.

Attractive Penzion, Prague: Standard Double Bed, Private Ensuite
I booked this through Hostel World because I’ve had a good experience with them through my backpacking days. This hostel was more like a hotel without the cleaning service. They did have a breakfast served in the morning which was bread, cheese and cold cuts. The room is $45/night per person. It’s a good size, nice and clean and has a little lounge area where you can make tea and coffee and relax on the couch. The location is great, it’s right across the Charles Bridge and only a few mins walk to downtown area. It was a bit weird to check in because there wasn’t a person waiting for you but it got sorted quickly.

Hotel Achterbahn, Munich: Standard Double Bed, Private Ensuite
I’m not sure I’d recommend this place because I had a bad experience checking in. This establishment is more like a hotel, they have a tv and cleaning service however no where for you to make tea etc. I had to check in on a Sunday in the afternoon but their check in was closed (in the cafe) at noon. The poster by the main door asks you to call them, since I didn’t have a hundred dollars to spend on a cell phone call I had to look for a pay phone. After given instructions on where to find the key I realized I was given the wrong room and had to wait for someone to come and straighten out the situation. It’s pretty cheap, $60/night per person. It’s only a few mins away from the central train station which was perfect for what I needed it for.

Zurich Air BnB: Entire home/apt – Zurich, Canton of Zurich 8037, Switzerland
This was the cutest apartment I’ve seen and the host was so great! I wish I could live here all the time. Definitely give this place a try if you’re in Zurich!

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London Air BnB: Entire home/apt – Camden Town, London
I picked this place because of the location and the spot was perfect! Only a couple mins from Camden Town on the tube. The apartment was newly renovated and had everything you need. Only set back was at night you are basically living in a night club, the music from the bar is SO loud.

Hotel Exchange, Amsterdam: 2 Star Room
This was a treat, the only hotel on the trip and I paid for it with points. This was exactly what we needed for our last night, it was so close to everything and really cool inside. The whole place is decorated by art students so each room is unique. It’s 175 Euro a night, but worth the price. The room was really small but I was expecting that. If you don’t have points to spend and want to keep around $40 try out a hostel, I’ve stayed at the Flying Pig and really enjoyed it!

hotel-exchange

Accommodation Total: $1170

DAY TRIPS

Zurich/Mt. Titlis Viator $200
Amsterdam to Brussels Viator $100
Prague/Bone Church Viator $50
Munich/Castles Viator $65

 

Mt. Titlis – This was supposed to be amazing however the weather was crap so all we see up on the mountain was white. If you’re going to check this out wait to buy your tickets until you know you have a clear day.

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Amsterdam to Brussels – Not a memorable trip, if you want to save some money you could take the train there yourself and it would be almost the same experience.

Bone Church – Definitely a must see. I meant to take public transit myself and save money but was too tired to figure it out so I took a bus. I would still recommend doing it yourself because the other stops on the bus tour weren’t that great.

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Castles – Loved this trip, we got to see one other castle and stop in a Medieval German town and of course saw Neuschwanstein Castle. The tour guide was great and having a bus take you around was perfect.

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Total Day Trips: $415

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION:

This is optional because you may not want to take transit all day, but these are the prices for day passes in each city.

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Amsterdam:

5 days – 120 hours $ 40.00

 

Berlin:

Day Ticket $ 10.00

 

Prague:

24-hour pass $ 6.00

 

Munich:

24-hour pass $ 9.00

 

Zurich:

3 zones 24   $ 16.00

 

London:

Day Anytime Zone 1 $ 18.00

 

I purchased a day pass in Zurich, London, Berlin and Amsterdam. Spent about $100.00.

FOOD:

I eat cheap.. I buy most stuff at the grocery store and cook at home when I can. Most places we stayed were air bnb full apartments so we were able to cook at home 50% of the time. I budgeted about $25 Euros a day or $25 pounds per day which came out to about $700.00.

FUN:

I went on 2 pub crawls, one in Amsterdam and one in Berlin which was mainly all the money I spent on drinks. I did one street art walking tour in Berlin as well. This total was $65.00.

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17 DAYS, 6 COUNTRIES
GRAND TOTAL: $4005.00

This may not seem like a low budget trip but Europe is expensive! Stay tuned for how to be gluten free while traveling Europe!

 

 

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Sarah T