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7 replies
Please advise on Eurotrip budget
inflowence
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I hope in the future they make a forum for budgeting and monetary purposes, but until then, I this works just fine. I plan on going with two of my buddies to Europe in May 2012 for 37 days, and I’m curious to exactly how much we each need to save up. My budget so far is:

$1400- Flight to Dublin and from Madrid
$800- Eurail Pass
$150- Backpack
$740- Food ($20 p/day x 37)
$800- Hostels ($25 p/night avg. x 33)—-Staying with friends for few days
$700- Spending Money

Total- $4,590

Please let me know if this budget is too high or low so I can begin saving accordingly. Also, any tips to lower the total budget would be greatly appreciated.

I am leaving from San Jose with $3000 for 28 days
Dublin, Glasgow, Manchester, Berlin, Rome, Barcelona, Madrid
I am leaving from San Jose, CA with $2500 for 24 days
Dublin, Manchester, Berlin, Rome, Barcelona, Madrid
Requesting help with Transport, Hostels, Budget
Don
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What are your flight dates, and how flexible are they? A quick peek at airfare turned up a couple dates to Dublin $986 late July staying 35-38 days. You could probably take Ryanair or Aer Lingus back to Dublin at the end of your trip for $100 or less, possibly netting you a $300 or so savings. Depends if your travel dates match up with this fare.

Also… what did Railsaver.com advise for rail passes for this itinerary? I wonder if you could save some more off that $800 rail pass.

augustin25
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If you’re ok with making firm travel plans I think you could probably save some money on transportation by forgoing the rail passes or buying cheaper ones. Booking some of your train trips in advance can yield good deals such as Manchester-London for £17 and cheap Eurostar fares. $20 a day for food will require you to be pretty frugal – not that it can’t be done, but you’ll have to eat street food and from supermarkets quite a bit. Are you going to Zurich for a particular reason? It’s a nice city, and was a good spot for me and my then pregnant wife to relax at the end of our trip last year, but I can think of better (and cheaper) choices for a group of guys.

inflowence
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Thanks for all of the advice so far.
@Don: Airfare has turned up for May/June 2012 already? Me and my friends are looking to get the cheapest airfare, but we’re unsure if we need to use a travel agent since we’re leaving from different cities. We should probably have enough to buy it by August/September, so hopefully the deals will be available then. As for the rail-saver, it said to get the 5 day Eurail youth select pass. I’m sure it would be a little cheaper, but I was jus aiming high for budgeting purposes.

@Augustin: I get mixed reviews on not buying the rail pass. I know it’s more expensive then buying them in Europe, but I guess the value of the rail pass is higher b/c it provides security in knowing you have travel rather than hoping for deals. I also figured my food budget was small, what do you think is a more reasonable number? $30?
As for Zurich, lol, I am a first timer so even though I cut off A TON of cities form my first plan, I still feel somewhat obligated to stop in Switzerland. I probably should jus take it out for budgeting purposes, but i was really looking forward to an engraved swiss army knife haha.

Thanks again and please continue to advise!

I am leaving from San Jose with $3000 for 28 days
Dublin, Glasgow, Manchester, Berlin, Rome, Barcelona, Madrid
I am leaving from San Jose, CA with $2500 for 24 days
Dublin, Manchester, Berlin, Rome, Barcelona, Madrid
Requesting help with Transport, Hostels, Budget
oldlady
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Quote:
@Augustin: I get mixed reviews on not buying the rail pass. I know it’s more expensive then buying them in Europe, but I guess the value of the rail pass is higher b/c it provides security in knowing you have travel rather than hoping for deals. I also figured my food budget was small, what do you think is a more reasonable number? $30?
A railpass does not really provide any “security” other than your ticket is already paid for. You can always just buy a ticket at the train station at regular prices. There is no higher “value” for a railpass, it’s simply a different way to pay for your train tickets. Sometimes a pass saves money and sometimes it doesn’t — you usually don’t really know until your trip is over. In your case, choosing the “right” railpass and/or combination of railpass and point to point ticket can easily save $200. If you’re willing to do some shopping on the individual national rail company websites and are able (some sites won’t take your credit card, others don’t sell international tickets, some require you to pick up the ticket “in-country”) to buy non-refundable tickets in advance, you might save more.

Don
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inflowence wrote:
Thanks for all of the advice so far.
@Don: Airfare has turned up for May/June 2012 already?
Ah no, I missed that detail. Most folks are asking about upcoming summer. For next Spring, I think you could do sub-$1000 if you sign up for sale alerts and depart before the end of May when full peak season airfare pricing begins. Be sure to check student agencies and consolidators too. Check the sticky at top of Cheap Flights forum, and post there if you need more flights help.

Even if a travel agent booked it for you, there’s not guarantee that you’ll meet up. Flights get delayed, canceled, overbooked. Unless you all physically start out at the same airport, you really won’t be guaranteed travel together. (And even then….).

Also, travel agents have very little incentive to book the best price for you. They have lots of incentive to tell you how you couldn’t do better without them, how you won’t save money booking online, how they “service” your ticket, yadda yadda… all while charging you $40+ booking fee per ticket,* then they don’t know you once you’re booked. Call them in trouble—how? How much? With an 8 time zone difference? On a weekend? Good luck. For simple round-trip or open-jaw, I do not think you need a travel agent, unless you’re just not good with details—such as dates, airports, and your name exactly as it appears on your passport.

*(Even more “tricks” — they’ll get you a “consolidator” fare that “the general public” can’t access. BS. I get them all the time, and I’ve yet, in 15 years, have a TA offer something better than I got on my own without them. Post on Cheap Flights and I’ll help point you in the right direction. Their “consolidator” fares with “preferred consolidators” are only preferred because of the additional commission added, that gets hidden in your preferred ticket price. You have to get to first-source consolidators, and not re-sellers, as most TAs are).

TheComish
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inflowence wrote:
Thanks for all of the advice so far.
…I also figured my food budget was small, what do you think is a more reasonable number? $30?

As for Zurich, lol, I am a first timer so even though I cut off A TON of cities form my first plan, I still feel somewhat obligated to stop in Switzerland. I probably should jus take it out for budgeting purposes, but i was really looking forward to an engraved swiss army knife haha.


I don’t know what you are going to be doing, but if you are going to be going out at night n’ having a few drinks then you might want to budget that into the mix too. $20 a day is cutting it cheap, but it can be done. If you take advantage of the many free breakfasts at some of the hostels. Have a light lunch and snack, and don’t go crazy on expensive dinners.

I’ve never really heard anyone say any cool or amazing things about Zurich. If you really want to go to Switzerland then you might want to try one of the smaller cities that are closer to the mountains and lakes. Interlaken is where a lot of people go for extreme sports and adventure. This might be a little more to your liking, or maybe even the small town of Spiez.

I am leaving from Los Angeles, CA, USA with $3000 for 21 days
Frankfurt, Munich, Prague, Bruges, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, London
I am traveling for 20 days
London, Paris, Bruges, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Prague, Munich
I am leaving from LAX and traveling for 20 days
Madrid, Jerez de la Frontera, Cádiz, Gibraltar, Granada, Barcelona, Paris
I am leaving from Los Angeles, CA with $2800 for 23 days
Nottingham, Birmingham, Munich, Stuttgart, Bruges, Dublin, Copenhagen, Tallinn, London

“If you are living for tomorrow, you will always be a day behind” – Bill Hicks

europegrad
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inflowence wrote:
Thanks for all of the advice so far. @Don: Airfare has turned up for May/June 2012 already? Me and my friends are looking to get the cheapest airfare, but we’re unsure if we need to use a travel agent since we’re leaving from different cities. We should probably have enough to buy it by August/September, so hopefully the deals will be available then. As for the rail-saver, it said to get the 5 day Eurail youth select pass. I’m sure it would be a little cheaper, but I was jus aiming high for budgeting purposes.

International transatlantic tickets are usually cheaper from 6-3 months before departure date (except for extremely high season when you should by ASAP, like the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, and the last week of July + first half of August).

You an wait until Oct./Nov. before buying. By then, airlines will start actively marketing and discounting flights.

Quote:
@Augustin: I get mixed reviews on not buying the rail pass. I know it’s more expensive then buying them in Europe, but I guess the value of the rail pass is higher b/c it provides security in knowing you have travel rather than hoping for deals.

That is a misconception. Notice that:

1. Most high-speed trains you’d like to take to travel within your route require reservations, which are paid. There is also no guarantee you will find a seat on a specific train on a specific day that you just showed up at station.

2. Trains maximum fares are set. Many trains have discounts for advance purchase and most railways send tickets online with discounts for advance purchase.

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