Backpacking Europe Cost? (My 4-month spending breakdown) (2024)

In the summer of 2022, I ventured on a 4-month backpacking trip across Europe. I made it my mission to keep track of my spending so I could report back to you just how much backpacking in Europe ACTUALLY costs. You see, there are A LOT of guides online estimating ‘the perfect budget’ but the problem is many of them are using figures from pre-2019. AND…well…we all know the years leading up to 22′ haven’t been exactly normal. We have since seen a drastic rise in prices of fuel, accommodation, and everyday living expenses. Now, the good news is, it is still possible to backpack Europe on a Budget but it is also important to be realistic about that budget. That is why I am going to break down step by step just how much I spent on each ‘category’ as well as giving an estimated budget for those who want to spend a little less, and those who want to spend a little more. I will be spilling the beans on the real Backpacking Europe Cost!

What kind of backpacker are you?

Now, before we dive deep into the budget, it is important to determine what kind of backpacker you are because it is pointless for me to tell you how much I spent when in reality, we have completely different spending habits. I have made a little table down below explaining the different types of backpacking styles, a shoestring backpacker, a mid-budget backpacker and a high-budget backpacker. I suggest you read the table and see which one suits you the most.

I personally fall into the mid-budget backpacker, I will travel on a budget when it comes to accommodation, food and transport with the occasional splurge, however, I am very experience led, in other words, if there is something I really want to do, whether that is parasailing, white water rafting or a guided tour I won’t let money get in the way. Later in the post, I will divide my spending into 6 different categories, accommodation, food, transport, alcohol and others. For each category, I will give examples of how I spent my money to help you calculate if you a likely to spend more or less. Yes, I could give you the final figure and call it a day, but the reality is everyone’s final figure is going to be different depending on their spending habits.

Type of SpendShoestring BackpackerMid-Budget BackpackerHigh-Budget Backpacker
AccommodationLargest Dorms
(10-21+ beds)
Mid Size Dorms
(4 – 10 beds)
Private Rooms
TransportMostly WalkWalk, Bus, TramWalk, Bus, Tram, Uber
ActivitiesFREE Walking ToursFREE Walking Tours,
Some paid activities
FREE Walking Tours,
& paid activities
FoodCook all of your own mealsCook most of your own meals, occasionally eat fast food, food trucks & restaurantsEats in restaurants most nights
Average Daily Budget€40-€55€55-€80€150+
Backpacking Europe Cost? (My 4-month spending breakdown) (1)

The PERFECT banking card to keep on track with your backpacking Europe budget!

One more thing I want to mention before breaking down the cost of backpacking Europe is banking cards.

Of course, you can go the old fashion route of keeping track of your spending on a spreadsheet every night, but… let’s be honest…that is incredibly time-consuming. And odds are you will lose track of your budget!

I personally, would have been lost without my Revolut pay-as-you-go card. I used it for literally every purchase and it never let me down.

Basically, you add money onto the card as you need and can pay by using your phone or a Revolut debit card. I used to add €500 every Thursday onto my card and that would be my spending money for the week. It felt so good some weeks when I was under.

Revolut is currently running an offer for a FREE card and an additional €10 once you make your first purchase. So, it’s a win-win really. If you are in the market for a Travel banking card then I recommend getting your Revolut card today.

I have highlighted down below some of Revolut’s travel-friendly features.

One of the nicest features of the Revolut mobile app is the budget tracker. Revolut tells you how much you spend each day. I have attached a screenshot above as an example, on the 9th of July, I spent €43.26. The app notifies you each time you make a purchase with your total spent so far that day. Of course, you can turn it off, but I liked it on as it kept me aware of my spending. It also allows you to set a monthly or weekly budget. When you are set to go over that budget the app notifies you! Therefore, you can track your spending while travelling without having to physically think about it.

Another travel-friendly feature of the app is the categories. When you pay for something Revolut automatically stores that payment under a suitable category. Therefore, you can keep track of how much you are spending on accommodation, transport, food etc..

Finally, I want to talk about Revolut’s currency features, it is easy to exchange currencies back and forth through the app. If you are in a country with a currency different to your own, Revolut automatically exchanges your purchase into your home currency. Making it much easier to keep track of what you are spending in a currency you might not otherwise understand. An example of this can also be seen in the screenshot above, I was in the Czech Republic on the 9th of July and all my spending has been converted back into Euro. It’s a super handy feature.

If you are in the market for a travel-friendly banking app I’d highly recommend Revolut. And with my link, you can order a FREE card straight to your home + avail of the extra €10 offer.

Backpacking Europe Cost? (My 4-month spending breakdown) (2)

Backpacking Europe Cost Breakdown: Accommodation

The first category I am going to break down is accommodation.

Now, it is important to take into consideration what part of Europe you will be travelling through. In peak season, nightly prices in hostels can vary greatly depending on which country you are travelling to.

Below is a breakdown of the average nightly cost of each country I visited. If you are looking for my honest opinion of each hostel I stayed in then check out this post.

Generally, I stayed in 6-10 bed dorms with the exception of a week’s stay in a private room in Krakow Poland.

The table down below shows a big range of the average nightly cost depending on the destination.

CountryAverage Nightly SpendMonth
Croatia€19 a night May
Italy€36 a nightJune
Poland€9 a night (dorm), €36 a night (Private)July
Czechia€28.60 a nightJuly
Hungary€21 a nightJuly
Slovenia€34.75 a nightJuly
Austria€42.80 a nightJuly/August
Germany€26.30 a nightAugust
Switzerland€50.85 a nightAugust
France€30.30 a nightAugust
Total NightsTotal SpendAverage Nightly Spend
114€3,388€30 a night

Backpacking Europe Cost Video Guide

Before we continue, I wanted to mention that I do have an intensive video guide version of this blog post. So, if you prefer to watch rather than read this is the guide for you!

Backpacking Europe Cost? (My 4-month spending breakdown) (3)

Backpacking through Europe Cost Breakdown: Food

The next spending category I want to highlight is food. While I was away I made the majority of my food in my hostels with the occasional splurge on fast food, street food and restaurant meals.

Again, the cost of food varies greatly depending on what country you are visiting. However, it is possible to keep costs down by making your own meals.

I purchased this collapsable lunch box on amazon and it proved to be very useful throughout my trip. If I was staying somewhere for longer than 3 days I would make up a big dinner the first night, then store the leftovers in the fridge for the remaining days.

I would usually do a breakfast and dinner shop for 3/4 days which would range from €25 to €35 euros. Which meant I could be spending as little €8 per day on food.

Now, that is not to say I do not recommend splashing out from time to time, it’s nice to try some of the local foods too. Whether that is eating in a boulangerie in Paris, or taking a food tour in Munich.

CountryAverage Daily Food CostEating Habits
Croatia€13.3My own meals & Street Food
Italy€21My own meals, Street Food, restaurants
Poland€11My own meals & Street Food
Czechia€13Streetfood & Resturant
Hungary€15.80My own meals, Streetfood & Restaurant
Slovenia€22.9My own meals, Streetfood & Restaurant
Austria€21.30My own food (It was more expensive than expected)
Germany€10My own food
Switzerland€17.80My own food (Literally lived on pasta, tomato sauce and bread 😂)
France€32.50My own meals, Streetfood & Restaurant (Had no kitchen in Paris)
Total DaysFood Total SpendFood Daily Average
114€2,044.36€17 a day
Backpacking Europe Cost? (My 4-month spending breakdown) (4)

Backpacking Europe Costs: Drink/Alcohol

Another thing to consider while researching the cost of backpacking in Europe is Alcoholic Beverages.

Drinking is a common way to socialize and make friends in hostels, where you’ll likely be staying on your trip. Whether it’s grabbing a beer at the hostel bar or going out with fellow travellers, alcohol is a big part of the social scene.

It can also be tempting to buy a drink while you’re out and about, trying new foods and exploring new cities.

But, trust me, those little purchases add up quickly and can take a big bite out of your budget. On my trip, I didn’t drink a ton of alcohol, so my budget for drinks was lower than the average traveller.

But you may notice, that Croatia is considerably higher than the rest of my trip. That is because it was my first stop and I got sucked into the ‘hostel lifestyle’. But once I added up how much the alcohol cost I quickly reevaluated my spending. Don’t get me wrong, I still took part in the nighttime ventures but I didn’t feel the need to drink every time.

However, I still made sure to set aside some funds specifically for drinks so I wouldn’t be caught off guard. It’s always better to be prepared and budgeting for drinks is a small but important part of the overall backpacking experience, especially if you want to fully immerse yourself in the social scene and make new friends along the way.

CountryTotal Alcohol Spend in Each Country
Croatia€109.52
Italy€57.3
Poland€12.64
Czechia€11
Hungary€26.31
Slovenia€15
Austria€14.00
Germany0
Switzerland€6.76
France0
Total DaysAlcohol Total Spend
114€238.53 (avg: €2 a day)
Backpacking Europe Cost? (My 4-month spending breakdown) (5)

Cost to backpack Europe: Activities

However, if you are planning on taking part in day tours, visiting national parks, or booking into adventure activities, then I recommend putting some additional funds aside.

One of the more expensive elements of backpacking in Europe is activities and tourist attractions. Of course, there are plenty of things to do on a budget.

It means that you can try everything you want to do in a destination without feeling like you are spending too much money. The last thing you want is to regret not visiting places like the fairytale setting of the Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany or the taking part in the iconic Boat Tours in Budapest.

Personally, I am very satisfied with how much I spent on tours and activities. Yes, some things were expensive like day trips through the Julian Alps or Rafting in Croatia. But I have many amazing memories from these experiences.

CountryTotal Alcohol Spend in Each Country
Croatia€221.06
Italy€266.23
Poland€55.29
Czechia€23.4
Hungary€10.12
Slovenia€149
Austria€89.4
Germany€5
Switzerland€49.65
France€169.2
Total DaysFood Total Spend
114€1038.35 (avg: €9 a day)
Backpacking Europe Cost? (My 4-month spending breakdown) (6)

How much does it cost to backpack Europe: Transport

There are many convenient ways to travel across Europe, the main ones being train, bus and ferry. The continent is well connected and it is easy to get from A to B.

Many people will argue that using busses is the most budget-friendly option while backpacking Europe. And this may be true to some extent, I believe travelling by train is a much better option.

If you purchase a continuous interrail pass you can travel between most destinations without needing to pre-book your tickets. Meaning you’ll have full flexibility when you decide to move on from each stop. It also allows you to make use of the convenient night train services.

If you want to find out more about how the Interrail Pass works you can check out my Youtube video here.

It is also important to keep a bit of money for transport set aside, many European cities have great Uber services, like Rome, while others like Budapest only have traditional taxi services which will cost a fair bit more. In saying that walking and public transportation is a much cost affective way of getting around.

For my first month of travelling (Croatia), I made my way around by bus or ferry. I then activated my 3-month interrail pass for the remainder of my trip. Below is a breakdown of how much I spent on transport over the 4 months.

Related Post: The Ultimate Travel Playlist

CountryTotal Alcohol Spend in Each Country
Croatia€114.06
Italy€328.60
Poland€103.71
Czechia€58.55
Hungary€39.62
Slovenia€69.58
Austria€133.10
Germany€19.8
Switzerland€64.40
France€88.20
Total DaysFood Total Spend
114€927.22 (avg: €8 a day)
Backpacking Europe Cost? (My 4-month spending breakdown) (7)

Backpack Europe Budget: Other Expenses

The next category covers all other expenses, these are the little things that you need to buy throughout your trip that you never really thought of adding to your predicted budget.

For example, washing your clothing tends, this price vary’s from place to place with it costing around €8 in places more eastern/central cities like Split and Budapest. And €10/12 Europe in more northern countries like Italy.

Trips to the pharmacy really add up, especially if you are away for a long period of time. Hygiene products like shampoo, tooth paste and deodorant.

Cash withdrawals where you can’t quite remember what you spent the money on 🤣

And clothing, I DID NOT pack right for my trip and ended up spending a lot more money on clothes than I wish to admit. I did not account for this in my original budget.

CountryTotal of ‘Other’ Expenses
Croatia€75.82
Italy€134.16
Poland€120.93
Czechia€10.20
Hungary€0
Slovenia€148
Austria€210.58
Germany€0
Switzerland€0
France€0
Total DaysOther Total Spend
114€699.69
(Average of €6 per day)
Backpacking Europe Cost? (My 4-month spending breakdown) (8)

The total cost of backpacking Europe

And now, for the grand total of how much I spent while backpacking Europe.

Drum roll please…

I spent a total of €8,336 over the course of 114 days in Europe which equals to an average of €73 per day.

Now, if you are planning your own Europe trip, please take this as a rough guide as there are many circ*mstances that may lead to that price being higher or lower.

For example, accommodation types, certain countries, activities, eating habits and backpacking style.

I have broken down below the total spend of each country to give you an ever-deeper understanding of my spending.

CountryTotal of ‘Other’ Expenses
Croatia€1,231
(€56 per day)
Italy€2327.07
(€86 per day)
Poland€712.40
(€59 per day)
Czechia€311.97
(€62 per day)
Hungary€258
(€52 per day)
Slovenia€829
(€100 per day)
Austria€1,330.73
(€95 per day)
Germany€135.79
(€45 per day)
Switzerland€326.68
(€108 per day)
France€822.07
(€91 per day)
Total DaysOther Total Spend
114€8,336
(€73 per day)
Backpacking Europe Cost? (My 4-month spending breakdown) (9)

Tips on how to travel Europe on a Budget

1. Bring a reusable bottle:

This may seem like a simple concept, but not only is it environmentally friendly you will also save yourself €1 to €4 every time you need a drink. Most major European cities have free and safe drinking water. I recommend this reusable bottle. I love that it has a clip so I can add it to the outside of my bag.

2. Do NOT withdraw cash from just any bank machines

In Europe, there are ATM machines EVERYWHERE. Every time you turn a corner there are at least 3 machines BUT… these machines tend to have the largest withdrawn fees. I recommend finding an ATM that is attached to a bank as it will be a lot more affordable to withdraw money.

3. Walk as much as possible!

Avoid taking busses, taxis and paid modes of transport. A lot of European cities are walkable and while a simple bus journey may only cost a couple of euros. Using them repeatedly can really add up. Walking will save you some extra cash and you may come across a hidden gem or two as you stroll.

4. SIM Cards

If you are visiting from outside the EU, odds are you will need to purchase a sim card. I was lucky, as my phone works as normal in most European countries. However, I made friends with fellow backpackers who were stung by high prices when purchasing sim cards and phone plans from shops in train stations and airports. My advice would be to wait until you get into a city before shopping for plans.

5. Travel in the off-season

It can be tempting to plan your trip in the summer months but the reality is this is when Europe is at it’s most expensive. Considering travelling the shoulder season between March-May or September – October. You will still have mild to warm temperatures in most countries but accommodation and activities will be a fraction of the price.

6. Plan your route ahead of time

Plan your Europe Route before starting your trip, I don’t mean you need to prebook everything but have an idea of where you want to go. This way you will avoid travelling back and forward and ultimately spending more money on transportation than needed.

So, for example, say you plan to visit Budapest, have a look to see what other destinations are near by before jumping to say Lisbon which is on the otherside of the continent.

7. Eastern VS Western Europe

Eastern Europe is considerably more affordable than Western Europe. So, if you are trying to have your money go as far as possible try to stay out of the West. The Balkans is also a budget-friendly spot to travel around and is completely underrated. You will pay a fraction of the price in the likes of Poland, Slovenia and Croatia, compared to the likes of Lisbon, Rome or Dublin.

8. Make friends to share the budget with

If you plan on staying in hostels you will find it easy to make friends with fellow travellers. Odds are one of them will want to take part in the same activities whether that is renting a boat, going on a day tour or taking part in an experience. Generally, there a group discounts, its best to take advantage of this as much as possible.

9. Shop around for you flights

Ok, so I didn’t actually include the price of my flight in this final cost breakdown because this expense will vary from person to person depending from where you are travelling from. For example, some may be starting from a country in mainland Europe, therefore, no flights would be needed.

Where as me, I travelled from Dublin, which tends to be rather expensive compared to other European destinations.

Then you have backpacker coming from different continents, they will need to factor in the cost of flights as they will be considerable more.

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10. Don’t skip out on the hidden gems

Ok, so it can be easy to want to visit some of Europe’s top travel destinations while backpacking but do not sleep on the off the beaten path locations. Like Hallstatt in Austria or Lauterbrunnen in Switzerland.

This also applys to cities, like did you know that one of Rome’s top hidden gems in a pyramid, or that Budapest has a underground cave system that you can take an adrenaline tour through?

And yes some of these experiences cost money but I highly recommend keeping some cash aside for them as they will leave you with a life time of memories.

11. Don’t let expenses get in the way of your saftey

It can be easy to decide to walk somewhere at night alone because it is the more cost effective way of getting there. However, even in safe cities such as Budapest or Rome, I would not advise doing so. Yes, hopping in an Uber may eat a little bit into your budget but it means you get to you hostel safetly.

Backpacking Europe Cost? (My 4-month spending breakdown) (2024)

FAQs

What is a realistic budget for backpacking Europe? ›

Backpacking Europe can be as affordable or lavish as you wish. On average, a comfortable backpacking trip, considering all expenses, can cost you between $50 to $150 per day.

How much money do you need to backpack for a month? ›

How much money should I save for my backpacking trip? Teaming up with another backpacker can save lots of money on hostels. As an approximate guide, I generally allow about $2,000 (£1,000 / €1,500) a month when backpacking around the world.

What is the backpacking story in friends? ›

Joey : [Teaching Ross the "Europe story" to help him end his "dry spell"] Years ago when I was backpacking through western Europe I was just outside Barcelona hiking in the foothills of Mount Tibidabo, I was at the end of this path and I came to a clearing, there was a very secluded lake and there were tall trees all ...

How much does a 1 month Europe trip cost? ›

If you want more luxurious options such as five star hotels or private tours then your costs will increase significantly. On average, a month long trip to Europe could cost anywhere from $4,500 -$7,500 depending on how extravagant your vacation is!

How much does it cost to backpack in Europe for a month? ›

The cost of backpacking in Europe for one month can vary greatly depending on your travel style, destinations, and activities. On average, budget travelers can expect to spend around $1,500 to $2,000 for a month-long trip, while those looking for more luxurious experiences can spend upwards of $5,000 or more.

How much money do I need to save for 2 weeks in Europe? ›

However, a general rule of thumb is to budget around $100-150 per day for transportation, accommodation, food, and activities. This means that for a two-week trip, you should plan to have at least $1400-2100 set aside for your expenses.

How many clothes do I need for a 4 month trip? ›

For extended travel – you only need a week's worth of clothes. Don't forget that you can do laundry! I am normally guilty of over packing. If I thoughtlessly throw clothes into my suitcase at the last-minute instead of making a list, I always end up with both too much and not enough.

What is the 20% rule for backpacking? ›

Pack Weight for Backpacking and Hiking

A loaded backpacking pack should not weigh more than about 20 percent of your body weight. (If you weigh 150 pounds, your pack should not exceed 30 pounds for backpacking.) A loaded day hiking pack should not weigh more than about 10 percent of your body weight.

How big of a backpack do I need for 3 months? ›

I would suggest you bring a bag between 50-65L, which I found is the best size for me. I loved my 60L backpack because it was big enough to fit all my stuff in it, and there was always extra space. It wasn't too big to be uncomfortable or impractical to carry.

What is Joey's body count on Friends? ›

Yep, over the course of ten seasons, Joey only has sex with 17 people. Not surprisingly, only four of these people were while in a serious relationship since he was the only Friends character to never get married.

Can you still backpack Europe? ›

We have since seen a drastic rise in prices of fuel, accommodation, and everyday living expenses. Now, the good news is, it is still possible to backpack Europe on a Budget but it is also important to be realistic about that budget.

Is 3 months enough for Europe? ›

Yes, three months can be a reasonable amount of time to travel in Europe, but whether it's enough depends on several factors: Travel Goals: What do you want to achieve during your trip? Do you plan to visit a few major cities or explore a wider range of destinations? Your goals will determine how much time you need.

What month is cheapest in Europe? ›

The summer season, which runs from late May or early June through the end of August, is when many American families can travel. As a result, it's the most expensive time to visit Europe. The late fall and winter months—from mid to late October through middle-to-late March—are often the cheapest time to fly.

What is the cheapest month to travel to Europe? ›

The Cheapest Time to Fly to Europe is from October-March

For budget wary fliers the European winter is prime time for travel, with connections from the United States between October and March ebbing to a mouth-watering average low of just $942 round trip.

How much money should I take to a 3 week trip to Europe? ›

A well-planned budget for a three-week trip to Europe should range between $2,500 and $6,000. This is a ballpark figure and having a buffer is wise. Factors such as personal travel style, destinations chosen, and current exchange rates will greatly affect the final total.

How big of a backpack do I need for a 2 week trip to Europe? ›

Plus, fitting everything in a backpack means I don't have to check luggage and pay the accompanying fee, or feel the anxiety of whether it will make it to my destination. For this trip, I used a 32-liter backpack, the largest one I own, to hold everything I needed for two weeks.

How much money should I expect to spend in Europe? ›

How much does a European vacation cost?
ExpenseEstimated cost
Local transportation$0 to $30 per day, depending on whether you walk, drive, or use public transportation
Food & drink$25 to $100 per day, depending on whether you are cooking or eating out
Attractions$0 to $100 per day
Spending money$0 to $100 per day
2 more rows

How much money do you need for Travelling Europe? ›

Here is an estimate of what 2 weeks in Europe might look like for a traveler with a mid-range budget: Accommodation: 40 Euros per night for 14 nights = 560 Euros. Food: 40 Euros per day for 14 days = 560 Euros. Transportation: 10 Euros per day for 14 days = 140 Euros.

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