Europe OverviewOne of the most popular overseas destinations,
Europe is a unique continent worthy of all the hype it receives. With 50 separate countries, all offering its own unique culture and landscape, Europe is a dream destination for many.
Europe is set up for travel, with the ease and simplicity of getting from one country to the next. Whether it’s the every popular Eurail or number of budget airlines, Europe is a great place for beginning international travelers to get their feet wet.
Europe has a vast history and plethora of different cultures to jump into. The birthplace of democracy in Greece, the history of Rome, the beauty of the Alps, and the friendliness of the Irish are a just a tiny glimpse into what Europe has to offer for travelers.
What to Expect
The beauty of Europe is simply the number of different countries in such a small plot of land. FIFTY different options await travelers to Europe, with rich, unique, and varying cultures within each of the fifty countries. The EU has made travel around the continent a cinch, and even if you’ve never been out of your own country, Europe is a great place to start.
It’s a massive place, and we’ve only been to a tiny part of it: Ireland, Holland, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Italy, and England were on our Europe itinerary, so for now, that’s all that will be covered in these pages.
How to Get Around
Perhaps the best part of travel within Europe is the ease of travel. The Eurail is the most vast rail system in the world, whisking travelers between several different countries in a matter of hours on its high speed system. Budget airlines, rental cars, and buses also get into the mix, so options are seemingly endless.
Train- The Eurail travels throughout 22 different countries in Europe, offering single tickets and all manner of passes. Travel is posh, and options abound. While convenience of the Eurail is great, and prices are fair, particularly for those under 26 years of age, always be sure to check the various budget airlines.
Air- There are so many low budget airlines throughout Europe that it would be difficult to name them all here. Ryanair, Easyjet, Air Berlin, and Air Baltic are just a few. It’s possible to find fares for ridiculously low prices, some under $10 (taxes bring them up, but it’s still possible to find airfare for some routes for much cheaper than the train).
Bus- Bus travel might be a better option for those on a more tight budget. Companies like Eurolines and Busabout offer all types of different passes at varying prices.
Because of the variety of countries throughout Europe, putting an overarching per-day costs on the region is next to impossible. Some countries (Switzerland and Scandinavia) are more expensive than others. As a rule, Eastern European countries are cheaper than Western European countries, but some are quickly starting to catch up. Some (Croatia) are gaining momentum fast as far as very popular travel destinations, while others (the Czech Republic) are now just as expensive as many western countries.
NOTE: For American traveling to Europe, so much depends on the strength of the dollar against the Euro and Pound. It has fluctuated quite a bit in the past 5-10 years, and it’s ever-changing, especially in the past few years of global economic crisis. Always keep an eye on exchange rates, as they really can change the cost of a trip.
Here are the per day budgets you can expect for the European countries highlighted on this site:
- Ireland- In Dublin, it’s going to be difficult to survive on much less than about $70US/day (50 Euro) per person. Accommodations run the gamut, but if you’re looking to stay on a budget and still get a private room as a couple, then you’re going to be ponying up at minimum $40US/night, but I’d figure $50-$60US if you want something decent. Dorms can obviously be had for cheaper, but not much. Expect to pay at least $15-$20US for ONE bed. Food is expensive, and you aren’t going to find many meals out for less than $14US/person (10 Euro). Throw in some beers and transport, and that $70/day can go quickly. It gets cheaper outside of Dublin, but as long as you’re in tourist hotspots like Galway, for instance, don’t expect much of a dropoff.
- Holland- The best of the budget travelers are going to spend at least $55US/day (40 Euro) traveling in Holland. Add about $5-$10US if in Amsterdam. That’s only going to get you dorm beds, chips and self-cooking for meals, and minimal transportation. If you’re looking to stay in a private room and eat out at restaurants, you’re looking at closer to $100US/day (75 Euro).
- Czech Republic- Unfortunately the world has caught on to what an awesome place the Czech Republic is, and prices have soared because of it, particularly in Prague. In most of the Czech Republic, you’re going to find a budget probably somewhere between Ireland and Holland at about $65US/day per person. Expect these to be close to $75-$80US/day for Prague.
- Switzerland- Switzerland is amongst the most expensive countries to visit in Europe. It has still kept its Swiss Francs as currency instead of switching over to the Euro like much of the rest of Europe. Staying in dorms, eating very modestly, and traveling as cheaply as you can will still cost upwards of $100US/day per person. Add about $50US more to that if you want to try staying in a private room and actually eating out here and there. Be prepared, Switzerland is expensive, and there aren’t many ways to travel on a budget here.
- Italy- Costs in Italy are also rather high, but they vary greatly depending on where and when you travel (Rome, Florence, Venice, and traveling on the coast in August are expensive!). Plan on at least $70US/day per person for bare bones, backpacking-type travel. If you’re a couple wanting a private room, bump it up closer to $100US, and if you want to actually enjoy all the great food and see the historical sites, make it $150US.
- England- If planning a trip to London, good luck doing it on a budget. It’s one of the most expensive cities in the world, period, and the exchange rate for us Americans doesn’t help out. Luckily there are some tips to get those costs down a little bit. Planning ahead is your biggest asset when trying to stick to a reasonable budget in England. The most seasoned backpacker can get by on about $80US/day (50 pounds) in London. The capital city is also not the place for private rooms, as the cheapest doubles will still run about $100US/night. $150US-$200 is more realistic for couples who want a private and also want to actually do some things while in London. Prices get a little more reasonable outside London, but don’t expect a massive drop off.
Countries/CitiesAs with the other regional pages, more and more information will become available in the coming months for each of the countries and cities. Once a page or post is published, links will become live below.
- Cliffs of Mohr
- An American driving in Ireland
- There’s more to Amsterdam than getting stoned
- Czech Republic
- Getting medical care in a foreign country
- Did that guy just escape from the hospital?
- Skydiving over the Swiss Alps
- Cinque Terra
- Hiking in Cinque Terra
- When good times go bad-F’ing up your reservation in Cinque Terra during high season
- A whirlwind tour of London in a day
- Big Ben, The London Eye, EPL, public transport hassles, The Globe