There are families that love to revisit the same place year after year.  They find comfort in going to the same hotel and eating at the same restaurants.  We are not that family and you shouldn’t be either!!  The world is a spectacular place with so many variables to figure out.  We have traveled all around Europe and have found everyone to be welcoming and kind towards us (on the few occasions people were less than kind we just laughed and it became a family giggle).  The food was amazing everywhere we went and we didn’t speak any of the languages and did just fine.

Airfare

Total – $2,800 for a family of 4

We find airfare is the most expensive part of the vacation, so as long as you are paying it, might as well stay a while.  We usually fly out of NYC because it has the lowest airfare and we have family in the area who we love to visit and we can park our car there instead of paying high fees at the airport.  We stayed for 6 weeks in Europe and it took us 1 week to travel back and forth to NYC and visit family.

Lodging

We travel with my parents and split accommodations with them, so we only pay 50% of the cost.  You could also travel with family or like-minded friends.

We always books AirBNB’s.

Total – 1,500€

6 nights in Prague, Czech Republic – 360€

4 nights near Munich, Germany – 450€

5 nights near Salzburg, Austria – 450€

5 nights in Budapest, Hungary – 410€

7 nights near Bruges, Belgium – 285€

10 nights in Paris, France – 760€

6 nights in Colmar, France – 310€

Transportation

We always use the cheapest transportation available.  Sometimes that’s a bus or a train or a plane, so make sure to check all your options.  We did rent a van in Germany because our accommodations were in the countryside rather than in an area where public transit was available.  We often book car service to and from the airport because the cost is similar to public transportation with 6 people and the stress is usually less.

Total – 1,600€

Car hire from airport and then to the bus terminal –  25€ (50€ total)

Bus from Prague to Munich – family of four – 76€

Rental car – 300€ (600€ total)

Train from Munich to Budapest – family of four – 156€

Car hire to airport – 20€ (40€ total)

Flight from Budapest to Brussels, Belgium for family of four – 238€

Train from Brussels, Belgium to Bruges, Belgium for family of four – 60€

Eurostar from Brussels to London for my husband only – 97€

Thalys train from Bruges to Paris for family of three – 75€

Train from Paris to Strasbourg for family of three – 52€

Train from Strasbourg to Colmar for family of three – 30€

Train from Colmar to Frankfurt for family of three – 58€

Miscellaneous city transportation – 400€

Food

I didn’t keep very accurate details about the money we spent on food.  We ate out more in low cost areas like Prague and Budapest and cooked more in expensive places like Germany, Belgium and Colmar, France.  Paris was by far the most expensive, but also our least cooking friendly apartment so we packed a lot of picnics and ate take-out for dinner rather than eat at restaurants.  We often ordered meat and cheese plates for everyone to munch and then split meals.  We never got any complaints, although it may not be common in Europe to do this.

Next time we go to Europe, we have vowed to cut our airfare in half, stick to each location for at least 7 nights (cutting down on transportation costs), not rent a car at all (we do so well without vehicles and they are difficult), and keep better track of our meal costs.

Let me know if you have done a budget trip to Europe and how you kept your costs down.