Trying to stop Europe from sucking me dry

After my reality check with the prices of traveling in Italy, I’ve decided to go back and make a more realistic estimate of what I’m hoping my budget will be for the first leg of my journey: England, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Morocco + any pre-departure costs like vaccines, passport, backpack, etc, travel insurance.  I’m calling it SPIFEM for short. Not the best acronym in the world, but it’ll work. My initial estimate, which also included the flight from Europe to Australia and my Australian visa, was around $5000. Here’s a breakdown of what I currently think it’s going to cost me, given my new knowledge about Italy, free accommodation for about 10 days in Spain, and the Moroccan tour I want to take.

  • Pre-departure costs = $500 flight to london + $200 travel vaccines + $130 passport renewal and photos + $250 travel insurance for first 3 months + $125 for backpack + $150 for other travel necessities = $1355
  • England for 4 days =  free accommodation + $250 for food, travel, and activities (i’ll be doing a lot of free things) ($62.50/day)
  • France for 10 days = $750 ($75/day)
  • Italy for 14 days =  $1000 ($71/day)
  • Spain for 21 days = free accommodation for 10 days + $130 accommodation for 11 days + $1120 for food, activities, travel = $1250 ($60/day)
  • Portugal for 14 days = $750 ($53/day)
  • Morocco for 15 days = tour is 800 pounds + 200 pounds for food not included + transportation to/from Marrakech from Spain = at least $1500 USD ($100/day)

My grand total for 68 days of travel + pre-departure stuff is estimated at $6855 and I left out the flight to Australia and the Australian Visa, easily another $1300. This is why it’s important to have a contingency fund.

If I wasn’t a travel ninja, I would be distraught. However, previous long-term travel experience coupled with a can-do attitude assures me that I can make this work.   I have a plan to get this down closer to $5000 while still getting all I want out of my vacay.

  • In Spain and Portugal, I’ll take the cheaper $20 overnight buses, thus saving $12-13 for a bed/night and another $10-30 off a train. (I took many overnight buses in Central America, so I know it’s something I can easily handle)
  • In France, I’ll make an effort to use hostels with communal kitchens so I can make a lot of my meals and will limit my travels to Paris and the south of France (using Nice as a base).
  • I’m also looking into trading some volunteer work for free room/board for a few days, could be any of the countries I’m going to (except Morocco)
  • I’ve found a couple of hostels in Spain that offer an exchange of sorts…if you have a travel blog, write something on your blog about their hostel and they’ll give you a free night of accommodation
  • I’ll be taking advantage of my corkscrew…why not buy a bottle of wine and make a couple new friends at the hostel? Much cheaper than drinking at a bar and just as fun!
  • I found an overnight bus from London to Paris on the date I want for 18 pounds…saves me money 2 ways: don’t have to pay for a hostel and the bus is cheaper than any train I’ve found.
  • I might be able to “pay” for my flights from RDU-LON and Spain or Morocco to Australia with the miles I’m getting from travel hacking…then I’d just have to pay for taxes/fees…this has the potential to save me about $1400 USD (I only counted the RDU-LON flight in the above budget breakdown, so this would knock off about $500 in terms of that budget)
  • I’m hoping to couchsurf in Paris and Venice, 2 of the more expensive cities I’m visiting, saving me between $120-200 USD, depending on how many days I decide to spend in each city

Using these tips, I have confidence that I can easily get my budget down to $6000, if not lower. I’ll keep looking for ways to save and pass them on to you as I find them. Until then, stay strong and travel on!

Categories: Travel | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Trying to stop Europe from sucking me dry

  1. Pinay Flying High

    All the best! 🙂

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