Yesterday I asked for some advice for traveling abroad on a budget. Kacie at Sense to Save is a genius, and she suggested that I post my budget breakdown to see if anyone can offer tips for cutting back.
I looked into airfare and hotel costs for two people for 12 days. Then I made some rough guesses for food and entertainment costs. I want to save enough to avoid stress on the trip (and to account for any price increases between now and next year). Of course we’ll spend as little as possible so we can put the leftover money toward debt and savings.
The numbers I found are based on a May 2009 trip instead of May 2010, so they are subject to change in the next year. Here we go:
We’ll apply for passports and take care of that this summer.
Right now, tickets to London with a return flight out of Paris this May are about $750 a ticket. We considered a round trip in and out of London because I thought it would be cheaper, but it’s about the same price.
Travel in Europe: $400
Travel from London to Amsterdam and Amsterdam to Paris by train costs about $400. Please weigh in if you’ve ever traveled Europe by rail. Is it fun, or is it a big old hassle? Would we be better off hopping on a plane?
Hotels were the hardest thing to estimate. There are so many factors involved (including where we want to visit in each city and which areas are the safest/best places to stay). I searched for hotels in each city with low prices and high traveler ratings. I found several hotels for about $125 a night with 4 stars from other travelers. Sounds good to me.
Kacie asked if we’d consider staying in hostels to cut back a little. If I were traveling alone or with a friend, I would love to save by staying in a hostel. However, as a married couple we want the privacy of a hotel room. Nothing fancy, but definitely a place where we can be alone. ‘Nuff said.
This is one area where I’m purposely WAY overestimating. I’m married to a foodie, and I know he’s going to want a considerable food budget to taste everything he can. Me too. I don’t want to spend the trip fretting about how much we’re spending on food, so I’m budgeting about $100 a day. I hope we don’t spend anywhere close to that.
This is another very rough estimation. I’m still not sure exactly what we want to do and see, and how much everything is going to cost. I think $50 a day for museum admissions, tours, etc., is a reasonable estimation. I’d like to say that we’ll stick to cheap/free things while we’re there, but I know London and Paris are tourist traps. I want to have enough money available in our budget to see the things we want to see, even if they charge for admission. That said, I hope most of this money ends up back in our savings account.
I’m open to suggestions/advice. Be kind. This is just a preliminary budget plan, and I’ve never done this before. :)