Author Topic: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?  (Read 5234 times)

OzzieandHarriet

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 304
How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« on: January 27, 2019, 10:18:22 PM »
I have always been so averse to spending money on vacations, but somehow I lost my head here and committed to going to Europe this summer for two weeks (we're in the eastern US). I just added up how much it's all going to cost, and it seems like a lot to me, but I have no idea what's reasonable.

So for visiting three countries in western Europe, major cities, how much do you think it should cost for two people, including airfare?

(It's not a question of not having the money, and it's something Ozzie and I have been talking about doing, but I'm interested in some points of comparison.)

iluvzbeach

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 278
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2019, 10:20:29 PM »
Easily 7-10K, to include airfare, lodging, other transportation, meals out and spending.

v8rx7guy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1402
  • Location: Bellingham, WA
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2019, 10:40:51 PM »
$10k

MrThatsDifferent

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1551
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2019, 11:47:21 PM »
Ok, generally speaking:

Airfares @ $2k each=$4k
Food @ $50/day each=$1400
Hotel/Airbnb @ $200/day=$2800
Activities @ $100/day=$1400
Total $9600

Thatís at the maximum end. Your goal is to enjoy yourself, not miss out, while trying to find the best deals.

Airfares: try to book Wednesday to Wednesday for entering and leaving Europe. Use Kayak.com to search for both deals and work out which city is cheapest. East coast US to London, Paris and Amsterdam will be some of the cheapest flights. When you land, look at flying the cheap airlines or taking trains to the other cities. I love traveling Europe by train and donít have to worry about luggage restrictions. Still though, travel as light as you can.

Travel: Most European cities have great public transport, donít be afraid to use it. Good to google beforehand to know the distance to things and whatís recommended.

Food: Europe often means lots of walking, which is great. Your meals can be: breakfast in your room or something simple on the street, lunch a takeaway sandwich and dinner out. Google cheapest eats in whatever city and youíll get a list of the best and most affordable places. Explore, just donít stuff yourself. Most money will always be spent on alcohol so keep yourselves to 2 drinks a day max and you should be ok.

Hotels: I use Expedia or any service like that for reasearch but I also search Airbnb. Europe has lots of good deals but make sure you know what youíre getting. Youíll want your own toilet and shower. I generally identify where the central train station of a city is and then look for places not too far so I donít have to use taxis. Remember, the hotel is just the place for you to sleep, not live in. Your adventures are outside of the room (well, you know what I mean, lol).

Activities: best things to do are bike tours, walking tours and food. Check out when museums are free and book any other tours, especially to popular things online in advance and avoid lines as much as possible. Again, google best things to do in whatever city and read through the different blog posts. Be adventurous but also, pace yourself. Use cafes for WiFi and always having a battery recharger for your phone with you.

Enjoy!

Zikoris

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3512
  • Age: 33
  • Location: Vancouver, BC
  • Vancouverstachian
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2019, 12:30:08 AM »
We generally do two week trips to Europe every summer and spend 3-4K total.

Airfare is generally $800-$1,200 per person. All of the costs after this are total combined amounts for two people.

We target $50/night for AirBnBs, though it can really range a lot depending where we are. I think the most we've ever paid was $150/night for a hotel in Switzerland.

We typically budget about 60 Euros ($90 Canadian) per day for food and activities, which seems fine so far. Of course, there's a big range depending where you are.

To give you an idea of what our trips look like - last summer we visited Brighton, Prague, Berlin, and Amsterdam over two weeks. We didn't do any sort of cooking except for preparing breakfast ourselves, so lunch and dinner was in restaurants every day. Our activities were things like renting bikes to do the Undercliff Trail in Brighton, visiting Prague Castle, exploring historic districts by foot in every city, doing a day trip from Berlin to visit a concentration camp (Sachsenhausen), another day trip from Amsterdam to visit the windmills, and visiting several nudist places to swim and get out of the heat (one beach, two lakes, and a spa/swimming pool in Amsterdam). We get around by public transit and walking. Neither of us drinks alcohol or enjoys fancy restaurants, so we avoid those. We also do not do any tours in Europe since I find it so easy to navigate out to places on my own, unlike when we go to some other parts of the world.

life_travel

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 165
  • Location: Australia
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2019, 02:21:30 AM »
Similar to Zikoris we spent about 4K for 2.5 weeks on last trip in Spain, Portugal and Morocco , incl tickets plus 2 nights stopover in Dubai .
that's also in AUD so was around 3K USD.
We stayed mostly at upmarket hostels ( private rooms !!) , which were really like small boutique hotels . In Dubai we stayed at a hotel within walking distance to Burj Khalifa.
Plus AirBNB in an awesome cave house in Granada .

Imma

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2038
  • Location: Europe
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2019, 04:19:33 AM »
I am in Europe, so I have no idea what airfare would cost.

We always stay in Europe during holidays and we don't drive, so we get around by bus / train. My rule of thumb is to budget Ä150 per day for everything (for a couple). In more expensive countries (UK, Belgium, NL, Germany, Scandinavia) about half of this goes to hostel / AirBnB and we eat cheaper foods. In cheaper locations, a place to stay is less expensive and we eat fancy food and sometimes have money left over at the end of the holiday.

We don't take tours or do very expensive activities. Usually local museums and tourist attractions aren't really expensive and if we want to see a certain place we just take public transport there if it's too far to walk. We usually stay in airbnb's or private rooms in hostels. We don't mind sharing a bathroom if we have to. We usually eat breakfast in our room, I need food in my body to be able to function. I tend to just buy something simple from a grocery store the night before (I love exploring foreign grocery stores). We either have a sit-down lunch or dinner, the other meal will be simple and cheap and eaten in our room or on a bench in the park or something. If possible, we like to find an AirBnB with a kitchen so we can cook. Otherwise we'll just eat salads, bread and yoghurt.

For 14 days I would say $3000 + airfare, but it really also depends on where you are going - if you're going to London, double the budget for those days. Obviously, if you're looking for luxury accomodations, expensive food, renting a car etc that's going to be more expensive.

Hirondelle

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1425
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2019, 05:04:37 AM »
My best answer is: it depends. You spending will 100% depend on your preferences/expectations/travel style/destinations. I'm a European and a fairly die-hard budget traveler, but I've been to most European countries multiple times and have a fairly good sense of price levels (for all the low cost stuff).

Even for "major cities in western European countries" price differences can be huge. E.g. the cheapest hostel in citycenter Berlin is almost half the price of the cheapest one available in Munich.

Airfare from Eastern US to Europe doesn't have to be expensive. Really, $2k RT per person? I've seen $300 RT from NYC to Amsterdam recently and maybe $500 RT for the summertime (July/August). Go to Secret Flying and see if there's any crazy deals for your airport to Europe at the moment. An additional flight in Europe can be dirt cheap if booked early enough.

I would not book a rental car but travel by Public Transport instead. Depending on your itinary, check out Interrail or Flixbus for multi-trip deals. Also for accomodation it depends on your wishes and expectations. I usually stay either with friends or in the cheapest hostel available, but AirBnb has some very decent options ($25 double room in Verona for example). Also the private rooms in hostels are often nice. 

Most city centers are walkable, so inner-city transport costs should be negligible. Tours are usually unnecessary, though I do like an occasional biking tour or so called free walking tour. Another cool option is to check out Couchsurfing and see if anyone wants to meet up and show you around (so not use it for accomodation, but for meeting up with a local).

Food; if you go to any of the German speaking countries, check out the bakeries. Very affordable breads/sandwiches in the morning.

Total costs will totally depend on what you end up choosing for. I think $5k/person for 2 weeks is utterly ridiculous tbh but the $3-4k estimates of the people above me sound reasonable.

Imma

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2038
  • Location: Europe
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2019, 06:05:02 AM »

Even for "major cities in western European countries" price differences can be huge. E.g. the cheapest hostel in citycenter Berlin is almost half the price of the cheapest one available in Munich.


This is of course true, major cities are always more expensive.

One way to save money on accomodation in more expensive cities is to pick the neighbourhood you're staying in very carefully.  I use Wikitravel and maps a lot to find information about transport links, safe and unsafe neighbourhoods etc. 

For example, we stayed in a very cheap place in Berlin a few years ago near the Strausberger Platz U-Bahn, which is the 'boring' part of East Berlin, not the cool part, but less than 10 minutes from basically everywhere we wanted to go. This probably saved us hundreds of Ä.

kpd905

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1750
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2019, 06:06:36 AM »
We did two weeks in France, Italy, and Switzerland.  However, we were backpacking along the Trail du Mont Blanc.  We stayed in hotels 5 nights (one with points), one hostel, and camped the other nights.  Flights were booked with miles, just paid the fees ($150 each).

Our total cost was $1400, or roughly $50/person/day.  I realize we saved a bunch on the flights and lodging, but the $10k figures seem insane to me.  I think you could stay two months for $10k pretty easily.

2Birds1Stone

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5664
  • Age: 1
  • Location: Earth
  • K Thnx Bye
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2019, 06:48:14 AM »
Some of these figures are giving me anxiety lol!

We love to travel and have done quite a bit of it. Usually end up spending ~$50-100/day per person including all transport/hotel. or airbnb/food booze etc

The trick has been travel hacking flights/hotels, finding AirBnB's creatively, and not being afraid of walking or biking a bit. Avoiding tourist traps and using common sense with food (eat a local breakfast from the grocery stores, eat where/what the locals eat, etc). And we tend to avoid the touristy paid attractions, and opt more for the nature and culture of a place.

We've found that the $50-100/person a day figure holds true whether it's a 2-3 day weekend jaunt, or a prolonged 5 week trip through Europe/Northern Africa.

For domestic trips, moving forward, we want to experiment renting a minivan and camping out of it, while visiting cool places. A planet fitness membership or the many public showers near beaches/water areas make it fairly easy to do.

patrickza

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 546
  • Age: 40
    • The Investor Challenge
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2019, 07:06:58 AM »
My wife and I do 2 to 3 week trips to Europe every year. Not from the US, but still with a 9+ hour flight. We like to keep the big ticket items lower in price and spend more on experiences.
It's possible to do this much cheaper. This is our usual budget:
Airfares @ $500 each=$1k
Food @ $15/day =$420
Hotel/Airbnb @ $75/day=$1050
Activities @ $50/day=$700
Total $3170

We've spent similar amounts in Portugal, Spain, France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, the UK, Chile, Argentina, the Seychelles and a few other places I'm likely forgetting.

In some places we might have to bump up the accommodation slightly, like in London it went up to nearly $100, but I've found with flexibility it's possible to spend less and have a great time.

I'd much rather have a lower budget 3 week holiday than a high budget 2 week one.

OzzieandHarriet

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 304
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2019, 12:34:57 PM »
Thanks for the responses. We are at about $5k for flights and hotels (all hotels have breakfast included), so I expect maybe it will be another $1k or so in other meals and tourist experiences. The reason we're doing the hotels is that for part of this trip, I'll be performing with a musical group (and DH is coming along), and they got pretty good rates through a travel agent. We might have done a little better on our own, but it's probably better to be staying the same place as the group.

patrickza, that's a great price for your flights. Because of the instrument I'll be bringing, we wanted nonstop so were somewhat limited.

Has anyone ever bought trip insurance? I'm thinking about it -- would be about $200. I wouldn't have considered it in the past, but a friend bought it for the first time a year or so ago and ended up having a serious injury the first day that landed him in a hospital for three weeks needing evacuation with a nurse in attendance. Insurance paid for almost all of it.

Hirondelle

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1425
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2019, 12:44:51 PM »
Seems like you had some restrictions (group travel, musical instrument) that drove the price up a bit but $5k isn't too unreasonable.

As I travel a lot I have a continuous trip insurance (90 consecutive days of travel, 180 days of travel total/year). It's been great for the times my phone got stolen and I also know people who got refunded for unexpected flights home due to family circumstances. $200 sounds like a lot for a 2 week trip though, so make sure to shop around (esp at international companies rather than American ones!). As my insurance is Dutch-only I unfortunately cannot make you any recommendations.

Brother Esau

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 495
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2019, 02:29:46 PM »
3 trips to Europe under our belts so far with another coming later this year. All have averaged just under $10k.

Imma

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2038
  • Location: Europe
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2019, 03:31:32 PM »
I have the same type of insurance as @Hirondelle and the reason I have it is mainly for possible medical expenses. It's no big deal if I lose a pair of sunglasses or a camera, I can afford to replace them, and even a last-minute flight home in case of a family emergency is something is something I can afford. But ending up in a foreign hospital, especially as I have a chronic illness which requires expensive medication, is a financial risk I don't want to take. Even as a healthy person, anything can happen to you when you're abroad and medical expenses add up quickly. My travel insurance company also has a phone number you can call 24/7 for support in case of emergency which I haven't had to use yet, but I'm very glad to have it.

socaso

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 546
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #16 on: January 28, 2019, 03:51:11 PM »
There is a free app called Hopper which is very useful for finding airfare. I just used it for a domestic trip this summer and got a great rate. The person who told me about it got an amazing round trip deal to Europe. Basically you just put in your dates and destination and it alerts you when the price drops but it will also let you know if the price is anticipated to drop any lower.

Another service I have used the last 2 times I went to Europe is a website called European Destinations. They give you good deals based on bundling your airfare and hotel. You can also do car rentals and train tickets and some other things. We went to Spain for 9 days in late 2016 and paid about $3000 for two adults (this was airfare, hotels in 2 cities and a train ride between cities).

Jaayse

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 237
  • Age: 32
  • Location: Somewhere on the Ocean
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #17 on: January 28, 2019, 04:01:48 PM »
I did a 2 week trip through Italy, Austria and the Czech Republic with my mom and combined it was around $700 for the travel between cities, and the Airbnbs, we would get local tram/subway passes in each of the cities.  Including food, entertainment and airfare from the states I think around 3-4k sounds reasonable. 

Check with Skyscanner for cheap flights between cities, I got my mom and I $24.50 each airline tickets between Venice and Vienna, and we took trains on the shorter trips.  Airbnbs are great and would save a bunch of money if you don't mind them.  I've always managed to find them in locations close to transport or even in the center of the cities for decent prices.

dhc

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 90
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #18 on: January 29, 2019, 12:10:54 AM »
We did two weeks in France, Italy, and Switzerland.  However, we were backpacking along the Trail du Mont Blanc.  We stayed in hotels 5 nights (one with points), one hostel, and camped the other nights.  Flights were booked with miles, just paid the fees ($150 each).

Our total cost was $1400, or roughly $50/person/day.  I realize we saved a bunch on the flights and lodging, but the $10k figures seem insane to me.  I think you could stay two months for $10k pretty easily.


Agreed. For a forum about frugality, these numbers are absolutely bonkers. Two of us spent a month (reimbursed) in Switzerland (expensive country) including crazy splurges on both flights (on Swiss and direct instead of cheaper on another airline) and lodging (including a week in an apartment big enough for 8 with a picture window view of the Alps) for only $10k. If we were paying ourselves, it could have been significantly lower. Other than Norway, where we split a week between that and a cheaper country to save, we've found it relatively easy to travel all over for no more than $1-2k max per week through a combination of airline credit cards, opting for apartments with kitchens, and being flexible on timing (side benefit: avoid crowds!).

MrThatsDifferent

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1551
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #19 on: January 29, 2019, 02:44:03 AM »
Thanks for the responses. We are at about $5k for flights and hotels (all hotels have breakfast included), so I expect maybe it will be another $1k or so in other meals and tourist experiences. The reason we're doing the hotels is that for part of this trip, I'll be performing with a musical group (and DH is coming along), and they got pretty good rates through a travel agent. We might have done a little better on our own, but it's probably better to be staying the same place as the group.

patrickza, that's a great price for your flights. Because of the instrument I'll be bringing, we wanted nonstop so were somewhat limited.

Has anyone ever bought trip insurance? I'm thinking about it -- would be about $200. I wouldn't have considered it in the past, but a friend bought it for the first time a year or so ago and ended up having a serious injury the first day that landed him in a hospital for three weeks needing evacuation with a nurse in attendance. Insurance paid for almost all of it.

You might have travel insurance with your credit cards.

patrickza

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 546
  • Age: 40
    • The Investor Challenge
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #20 on: January 29, 2019, 03:07:45 AM »
Yeah I always make sure I use a card with free travel insurance.

For flights I use hopper and skyscanner to try get better prices than I can by going straight to the airline websites.

nburns

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 7
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #21 on: January 29, 2019, 11:27:30 AM »
GF and I went to Greece last summer for 10 days and it cost us about 4k to stay at nice hotels and resorts, 4 flights for each of us, tours/activities, and great restaurants.

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 14160
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #22 on: January 29, 2019, 11:33:50 AM »
My happiest vacations haven't required travel outside of the country, and often haven't required travel at all.  When I stay at home, my weekly costs tend to go down rather than up while on vacation.  If I do travel somewhere, I often plan to stay with friends or family, so aside from the price of gas (if driving there) there isn't much additional cost.

Is it too late to back out of this trip?  It doesn't sound like you're all that enthused to begin with.


Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5771
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #23 on: January 29, 2019, 11:44:29 AM »
In 2007 the two of us went to Italy and it cost 10k. We only ate dinner out and stayed at reasonable places. I think airfare is much cheaper now and if there was Airbnb we didnít know about it. 4 years ago we spent 10 days in Poland for 5k. Itís a much cheaper country.

Hirondelle

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1425
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #24 on: January 29, 2019, 12:11:52 PM »
Are rail passes still a good deal? Last time I travelled in Europe I used a Sscandinavian rail pass. IIRC it was for a month (I was there 2 months) and was good for train, bus and ferry routes thru 4 countries. Years before that I had a 2 month Eurail Pass and it was a great deal and could be used thru out most countries in Europe. Anyone do a cost comparison of single train tickets vs rail pass?

100% depends on your itinary. I've done Interrail (covers whole of Europe) in 2012 or so and it was a great deal as I was <26 yo (= discount) and traveled long distances on a few days. However if  you want to travel short distances it's most often better to buy single tickets. Also if you stay in a single country but travel frequent/long distances it might be worth to get some sort of pass, either interrail or a regular national pass. E.g. the cost of a 50% discount pass for Austrian trains (for <26yo, valid for a full year) is lower than the discount you get on a one way ticket from Innsbruck to Vienna :p. So in this case a single train trip would make the pass worthwhile.

I haven't been to Scandinavia in a while and never traveled around so much (only by bike :p) so no clue about passes in that area.

merula

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1289
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #25 on: January 29, 2019, 12:46:12 PM »
This is really going to vary by what cities you're visiting, but here's a breakdown from my trip to Vienna, Prague and Berlin last summer. It was me, my spouse and our two kids (4 & 6), but most of the things we did were free for kids; I've marked where they were an added cost.

Flights:
Actually paid with points, but equivalent tickets were $1,200 per person. I try to pay no more than $900 per person roundtrip to Europe by booking way in advance and going on off-peak times, but since my oldest is in school, that makes the off-season thing harder. (This is the first time I've gone to Europe in summer since a high school trip; all others have been January, April/May or October/November.)

Train tickets:
Vienna to Prague one way: $35 for two adults
Prague to Berlin one way: $85 for two adults
Berlin to Frankfurt one way, overnight: $275 (this was the cost to get a six-bed compartment reserved for the four of us; prices ranged from $50 per person if you were willing to sleep in a seat to much more if you wanted a real private compartment with a sink and stuff)

We looked into rail passes, but buying the tickets individually was a lot cheaper because we booked as early as possible. It sounds like you have a pretty fixed itinerary so you might be able to do the same. I think the real advantage of rail passes is when you're hopping from city to city at the last minute.

Accommodations:
Vienna hostel, 3 nights (family room with a double bed plus bunkbeds): $215
Prague rental apartment, 4 nights (2 bedroom): $390
Berlin 2-star hotel, 3 nights: $365

Food/Activities/Intracity travel:
This is hard to split up, because it was mostly cash, but it was $1,400 total for 11 days. Back of the napkin, I'd say that'd be equivalent to 3 adults, so about $42 per adult per day. We didn't do any really fancy activities like guided excursions, but some of the museum entries were nearly Ä20 each. We took public transit or walked everywhere; no cabs. Food was mostly from grocery stores (we usually had a kitchen available for breakfasts or to pack food), or little cafes or bistros that were recommended. We ate two meals that were over Ä40 total, and one that was Ä80 (but sooooooo good, we still talk about it); the rest were more like Ä15 at a street stand or cafe.

Other:
We had to get three new passports, which was nearly $400. (I was so mad...my passport was good for 5 months 2 weeks from the end of the trip, but Schengen requires 6 months. Also kids passports are only good for 5 years.)

I've never bought travel insurance; I think it's mostly a scam. You can often get refunds from even non-refundable things if you have a sob story.

PoutineLover

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1204
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #26 on: January 29, 2019, 12:55:58 PM »
In general I expect to spend about $1,000 cdn/week when I travel. Depending on the location and length of the trip, it ends up being slightly more or less. My last trip to Europe was 3.5 weeks in 3 countries and cost $3,540. Total transportation was $1,750 (including $1,000 to and from Canada), accommodations $450 (airbnbs, hostels and some free nights) and other spending $1,340 (food, activities, souvenirs, clothes). I didn't have to pay extra for medical insurance because my work plan has it, and I didn't buy trip insurance.
I did get the eurail pass once, but not on this trip. Use Rome2Rio to cost out the travels you expect, and compare to the cost of the pass. Unless you are travelling often or only in a couple neighboring countries, it's not as good of a deal as you'd think.

gaja

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1288
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #27 on: January 29, 2019, 12:56:49 PM »
We travel northern Europe for 4-7 weeks every summer, and our budget per 2 weeks is closer to 2k than 10k. Ok, there is no airfare there, but still.

Wow this is a spendy bunch! I just booked a flight round trip from LA to Stockholm (my starting point for a northern bicycle tour) for the late spring and it was $358 r/t including taxes and fees. Once there I plan to spend approx $1500/month or less with stays in AirBNBs, hostels and camping - although the plan is to rent a small apt by the month if affordable while travelling. Will be biking and using public transit as needed. If I weren't going solo I expect I could reduce my lodging costs by half. $10k for 2 weeks seems very expensive to me.

I think for the OP it's just going to depend on where you stay (hotels being much more expensive in Europe the pensions or AirBNBs) and if you can use inexpensive public transit rather than rent a car. Going in shoulder season will also greatly reduce expenses.

What are your plans for Sweden? Are you biking northwards from Stockholm, or are you heading across the border to Norway or Finland?

I'm a red panda

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8011
  • Location: United States
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #28 on: January 29, 2019, 01:19:28 PM »
It totally depends where I am going, and what I am doing when I am there.

Anywhere from $3k-$15k.

Ocinfo

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 313
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #29 on: January 29, 2019, 01:22:32 PM »
My wife and I spend 2-3 weeks in Europe each year (5th trip later this year). I also travel extensively for work. We typically spend $4-6k excluding airfare as that’s usually paid for via points. This is with very little frugality while on vacation.

My 3 biggest tips, besides responsibly getting into credit card churning and points:

1. Mix in a low cost destination or two. This really helps drop your average daily cost. Krakow, Poland is a good example. We rented a new condo via Airbnb for $75 per night and nice dinners with beer were under $25.

2. Go to the grocery and grab some cold cuts, cheese, wine etc...depending on country, can be under $20 and a great cheap dinner especially if you have a nice patio or balcony.

3. Use Airbnb. We would not travel like we have without it. Many times have rented whole homes / apartments for less than half of what a nice hotel is in the same area. Can typically get a place for under $150 per night in most major cities outside of special events.

I have a 60% savings rate and have never regretted the vacation costs. Only regret is when I stress out about spending while on vacation. So, basically set a daily budget you’re comfortable with and then plan your destinations to fit it. Might mean only taking a 10 day trip or spending a few days in a non-prime city but I’ve found this works better for me than being uncomfortable with my spending and have often enjoyed places I didn’t think I would more than places I had always wanted to visit.



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

I'm a red panda

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8011
  • Location: United States
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #30 on: January 29, 2019, 01:23:28 PM »
We did two weeks in France, Italy, and Switzerland.  However, we were backpacking along the Trail du Mont Blanc.  We stayed in hotels 5 nights (one with points), one hostel, and camped the other nights.  Flights were booked with miles, just paid the fees ($150 each).

Our total cost was $1400, or roughly $50/person/day.  I realize we saved a bunch on the flights and lodging, but the $10k figures seem insane to me.  I think you could stay two months for $10k pretty easily.


Agreed. For a forum about frugality, these numbers are absolutely bonkers. Two of us spent a month (reimbursed) in Switzerland (expensive country) including crazy splurges on both flights (on Swiss and direct instead of cheaper on another airline) and lodging (including a week in an apartment big enough for 8 with a picture window view of the Alps) for only $10k. If we were paying ourselves, it could have been significantly lower. Other than Norway, where we split a week between that and a cheaper country to save, we've found it relatively easy to travel all over for no more than $1-2k max per week through a combination of airline credit cards, opting for apartments with kitchens, and being flexible on timing (side benefit: avoid crowds!).

Is this a forum about frugality? Or a forum about having a high savings rate to reach FI?
Depending on income, you can have a very high savings rate and not be that frugal.

For us, the biggest expense of Europe is airfare. The difference between a 2-week trip and a month long trip wouldn't be that much.
But to me, using rewards = using money; because those rewards points could go elsewhere, so I also budget my rewards points.  It isn't "free".

gaja

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1288
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #31 on: January 29, 2019, 01:50:26 PM »
What are your plans for Sweden? Are you biking northwards from Stockholm, or are you heading across the border to Norway or Finland?
Biking northwards along the east coast then probably south to Helsinki along the west coast and a train from there as far north as I can go by train (Narvik I think) then bike north from there then south along the coast to Oslo. I've done the Copenhagen to Stockholm to Helsinki to Narvik to Trontheim to Oslo to Copenhagen route via train and ferry but never by bike. BTW I'm a huge fan of your blog.

If you haven't been in the far north before; the mosquito season in the inland area is crazy. Those things are larger than birds, and the air can be black from them. In a car it is not a big problem, but I can't imagine biking through the swarms. So if I were you, I would either stay in the coastal region, or time the inland trip before late june, or after mid/late august.

The train to Narvik is really cool. It is a net electricy producer, because of all the ore it transports from the Swedish mines; the cars go empty up the hill to Sweden, and roll back downhill full of rocks (and a few people). The electricity generated through breaking delivers 4000 kWh on the way down from BjÝrnfjell. So it is probably the most climate friendly form for transport you can find.

If you have only done Norway by train before, the coastal route will be a great experience. The west coast with the fjords is as good as people think, but there is one part of your journey that I really envy you, since my kids had run out of patience the last time we were there, and that is the coast of Nordland county: https://www.visitnorway.com/places-to-go/trondelag/kystriksveien/tourist-information/kystriksveien-travel-guide/?lang=usa

BTW: Thank you for the nice words. Maybe this post will be useful, even though it is a few years old? Most of the links are in Norwegian, so just let me know if you need some translation help. I can't recommend the Deaf Association Cabins highly enough - incredibly cheap, and fantastic locations! http://travelelectric.blogspot.com/2015/12/travelling-cheap-in-nordic-countries.html?q=cheap

remizidae

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 218
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #32 on: January 29, 2019, 02:57:21 PM »
I'm going to piggyback on this thread in hopes that someone will help me figure out how using an American smartphone in Europe works. Should I expect a higher phone bill? Contact my cell phone company first? Would it be cheaper to buy a European phone for longer stays? I know nothing...

Hirondelle

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1425
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #33 on: January 29, 2019, 03:00:28 PM »
I'm going to piggyback on this thread in hopes that someone will help me figure out how using an American smartphone in Europe works. Should I expect a higher phone bill? Contact my cell phone company first? Would it be cheaper to buy a European phone for longer stays? I know nothing...

What do you need the phone for/expect to use it for?
A. Data - wifi is everywhere. No need for a special plan.
B. Calls/texts, need to keep your own number - maybe you can get a special add-on plan for international use?
C. Calls/texts/data, no need to keep your own number - get a local pay as you go card and use while in Europe. Price level can vary per country, but card is available in most/all of the EU. American smartphones should generally be able to work with European cards (I had one).
D. Best of both worlds; have a dual sim phone and use both a US and a EU sim card.


MrSal

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 877
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #34 on: January 29, 2019, 03:26:05 PM »
Easily 7-10K, to include airfare, lodging, other transportation, meals out and spending.

What?? LOL

OP you can definitely do it on much less than that.

Airfare you can get 500$ each or even less from a major eastern airport to anywhere in Europe. Rent an apartment airbnb ...  You can definitely do it for 3.5-4k for both of you and living COMFORTABLY.

What cities are you going to travel to?

Never in my life have I ever spent close to what was mentioned above and I have been to 15 european countries.

I travel about 4-5x to Europe yearly and I usually average 400-450 flights if I book them 4-6 weeks in advance. You can get even better rates with more time or if you get a good deal - there are plenty. Good deals are at around 300-350$ RT

Food is cheap in Europe, and going out is also cheaper - of course depends on what city, but it is for the most part.

If you want to be frugal, one of the times I went to Europe, we spent 4k and we stayed there for 1 month! 4k was flights+lodging+food+entertainment+transportation

As an example I just found flights for 275$ RT for low/shoulder season, and for high season I have found them for 395$ on Google flights. (non stop to major cities)

2000 RT is just preposterous
« Last Edit: January 29, 2019, 03:40:48 PM by MrSal »

MrSal

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 877
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #35 on: January 29, 2019, 03:33:54 PM »
I'm going to piggyback on this thread in hopes that someone will help me figure out how using an American smartphone in Europe works. Should I expect a higher phone bill? Contact my cell phone company first? Would it be cheaper to buy a European phone for longer stays? I know nothing...

Depending on what country you go, just buy a PAYG sim card. 10$ will usually give you 30 days with 5-10GB of data. Major players around Europe are Vodafone, O2, Lycamobile and soe others depending on the country.

MrSal

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 877
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #36 on: January 29, 2019, 03:46:15 PM »
Are rail passes still a good deal? Last time I travelled in Europe I used a Sscandinavian rail pass. IIRC it was for a month (I was there 2 months) and was good for train, bus and ferry routes thru 4 countries. Years before that I had a 2 month Eurail Pass and it was a great deal and could be used thru out most countries in Europe. Anyone do a cost comparison of single train tickets vs rail pass?

For an american, eurorail passes are not worth it IMO. They are pricey and you can get cheaper prices by buying point to point. Just make sure you buy them a bit in advance like 5-8 days which you usually can get them at 50% off.

If you have European nationality however, Eurorail passes are worth it because they are so cheap. Last time I did that, my wife paid point 2 point tickets and I had the pass. I paid 300$ for my pass, while she would have to pay 700$ ... she paid about 400$ all in all.

If you are < 28 years old even better since the passes are another 50% off (my 300$ pass if you are <28 then it's just 150$ ... which is a steal)

Use www.seat61.com for information on trains ... all the info is there. Download the Deutsche Bahn train app. It's an app that has all the itinieraries and schedules of all trains in europe. It was a lifesaver. Even though you can buy the tickets from everywhere in the app( i think only Austria and Germany) it's pretty helpful because you have all the connections and schedules for all trains. A lifesaver.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2019, 03:52:33 PM by MrSal »

Lanthiriel

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 801
  • Location: Portlandia
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #37 on: January 29, 2019, 03:51:16 PM »
My husband and I did a Viking River cruise plus extension in December 2017. Our all in total for 10 nights was about $6400 broken down as:

Cruise: $4000
Airfare: $1000 (booked through a Viking special)
Dog sitting: $400
Incidentals: $1000 (super low since other than when we were in Amsterdam, all of our food and activities were rolled into the cruise cost)

We're going to Ireland for two weeks in May. The following is how our ~$6000 budget breaks out, which doesn't reflect three nights in Dublin paid through Hilton Hotel points:

Airfare - $1200
Lodging - $2000
Car - $425
Dog sitting - $600
Incidentals - $2000

Hope that's a helpful point of comparison!

I'm a red panda

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8011
  • Location: United States
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #38 on: January 30, 2019, 06:51:26 AM »
I'm going to piggyback on this thread in hopes that someone will help me figure out how using an American smartphone in Europe works. Should I expect a higher phone bill? Contact my cell phone company first? Would it be cheaper to buy a European phone for longer stays? I know nothing...

We use Google Fi. There are charges for international calling; but texting is included, and data is the same rate as normal.  We just call over wifi.  Calling is one of the least common functions of our phones anyway.

Malkynn

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1688
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #39 on: January 30, 2019, 07:37:50 AM »
How much would I spend?? Depends on the trip.

I just committed to spending 20K on an 18 day trip that really is the opportunity of a lifetime and I would probably pay even more for it if needed. I won't share details because it's an easily identifiable trip.

I'm not generally one to spend a lot on travel, but this one is special. A small group of us will tour with a world renowned chef in his home country, cooking alongside other world class chefs at the major hotels where he first made a name for himself, cooking with his family, and learning how to buy the best foods/spices/wines/etc in the local markets.

I'm a total foodie who used to work in restaurants in a past life. Cooking is one of my great joys, and I figure that I save a fortune by preferring my own cooking to restaurants. This trip will seriously up my game in a style of cooking that I really want to get better at.

I would pay close to this much just to spend a few weeks with him here at home learning to cook from him, so throw in an amazing adventure on another continent and it sounds like a deal to me.

I could have waited to be much closer to FI before spending on a trip like this, but there's no guarantee that this chef will keep doing this. Also, a friend in her late 60s is the one who convinced us to go with her and she may not be up for such a rigorous trip in a few years. Some things are worth delaying financial goals.

So yeah, look at what you are aiming to get out of your travel and spend accordingly. Personally, I have a hard time spending thousands just to see pretty sights and eat restaurant food. There are so many astonishingly beautiful sites within driving distance/cheap domestic flights that I tend to prioritize local travel unless there's something specific drawing me to another country.

Examine your priorities, look at what holds value to you, and invest accordingly.

The better you understand your own drives and the more you are able to assign a dollar value to them, the better off you are in the long run to be able to make really informed financial decisions when it comes to discretionary spending.

It really doesn't matter what other people are willing to spend on a 2 week vacation. It matters what value certain experiences hold for YOU.

What's worth spending on for me is and should be different from what's worth spending on for you.

An anthropologist/linguist may prioritize travel to PNG or the Canadian north, someone with a love of historical architecture may dream of Bruges, my mom is obsessed with seeing the icebergs in Newfoundland, my Aussie friends were determined to see snow, and many Canadians are willing to pay to see the sun on a beach in the dead of winter.

What travel is worth is highly personal. No one should be lauded or judged for how they choose to travel because it's all discretionary spending, which has no rules.

Sure, be aware that there may be cheaper ways to achieve your goals, but that's the whole point of knowing the value of what you want.

Own your goals, valuate them rationally, spend accordingly. Anything else is sloppy math.

chasesfish

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3274
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Texas
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #40 on: January 30, 2019, 10:07:35 AM »
I've spent $10k+ on trips a couple of times in my life.  Its usually been two week trips at peak season.

Europe in the summer would quality.  So does Hawaii in January and February if you don't book the more reasonable accommodations early

OzzieandHarriet

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 304
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #41 on: January 30, 2019, 11:46:08 AM »
Thanks again -- I was just curious to see what other people have spent on this kind of thing.

Reasons for going -- husband and I have been talking about doing something like this ever since we got married 20 years ago, and he retired last fall so now has time for it. I was offered an opportunity to play a few concerts with a group (unpaid) in some interesting cities, with a reasonable group rate on the hotels, and he could come along, so we decided to go. I liked the idea of doing something vs. just being a tourist. It could either be fun or a big mess!

I think we may have missed out on being able to buy trip insurance because it looks like you need to buy the insurance within a short time period after making your first deposit on the trip; I paid a deposit for the hotels last fall. I need to check if we are covered already for anything.

I tend to be a worrier, and I'm trying to push back on that. In the long run, the money spent will not affect our lives.

robartsd

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2478
  • Location: Sacramento, CA
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #42 on: January 30, 2019, 12:47:57 PM »
I'm going to piggyback on this thread in hopes that someone will help me figure out how using an American smartphone in Europe works. Should I expect a higher phone bill? Contact my cell phone company first? Would it be cheaper to buy a European phone for longer stays? I know nothing...

What do you need the phone for/expect to use it for?
A. Data - wifi is everywhere. No need for a special plan.
B. Calls/texts, need to keep your own number - maybe you can get a special add-on plan for international use?
C. Calls/texts/data, no need to keep your own number - get a local pay as you go card and use while in Europe. Price level can vary per country, but card is available in most/all of the EU. American smartphones should generally be able to work with European cards (I had one).
D. Best of both worlds; have a dual sim phone and use both a US and a EU sim card.
Most US cell phones will work on at least 2G networks in Europe. Check out your phone's specs on GSMarena to be sure that your phone's comm bands are compatible with the networks you want to use. Be sure your phone is not locked to your US carrier if you want to use a local SIM card in Europe.

We were happy to discover that our T-mobile plan included unlimited 2G data abroad. That took care of our worry that we might need text based communication on the go. I'm not sure that we actually used any mobile data on our trip (wifi was available at the airport, on some trains, at our accommodations, near cafes/gift shops at most museums, etc.)

marcela

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 685
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #43 on: January 30, 2019, 01:39:19 PM »
My husband and I went to Paris last september for a week. Total cost: $4,800. This includes a nicer hotel, direct flights from the east coast (instead of much cheaper ones with connections) and some spendier experiences. We ate out for every meal and bought too many souvenirs. Could easily been done for at least $1k less. 

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6955
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #44 on: January 30, 2019, 02:07:03 PM »
We are going to head to Denmark this summer for a family of 4.  Haven't booked anything.  But, looking at flights, rental car, AirBNBs (though there is an opportunity to stay for free with family friends for part of it - I'm discounting that for now)... $10k for car, hotels, airfare.

I'm expecting $6000-7000 on flights from the West coast.

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6955
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #45 on: January 30, 2019, 03:33:34 PM »
We are going to head to Denmark this summer for a family of 4.  Haven't booked anything.  But, looking at flights, rental car, AirBNBs (though there is an opportunity to stay for free with family friends for part of it - I'm discounting that for now)... $10k for car, hotels, airfare.

I'm expecting $6000-7000 on flights from the West coast.
Wow that's high airfare. I just googled for mid June and saw flights r/t for around $650/person. That's out of LAX to Copenhagen. Sometimes going one day earlier or later can make a big price difference. I'm not a flier (so much hate for flying) and am flexible so can just check out the low cost calender to see what's available on a day to day basis and chose the lowest price. A benefit of being RE.
I looked LAX to Copenhagen too for 2 weeks, just randomly on Sat to Sat, but in late July (which is when we will probably go).

Though in reality, we will probably also fly mid-week, so maybe I am overestimating the cost a bit.  I am a crappy flier, so if I can pay a bit extra for a better schedule and airline, I'll totally do it.  The question is how much is a bit?  Because its x4.

robartsd

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2478
  • Location: Sacramento, CA
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #46 on: January 30, 2019, 03:55:12 PM »
I looked LAX to Copenhagen too for 2 weeks, just randomly on Sat to Sat, but in late July (which is when we will probably go).

Though in reality, we will probably also fly mid-week, so maybe I am overestimating the cost a bit.  I am a crappy flier, so if I can pay a bit extra for a better schedule and airline, I'll totally do it.  The question is how much is a bit?  Because its x4.
The cheapest I saw for late July was $600 RT but had a stop. A non stop was $745 on Norwegien airlines. That includes fees and taxes but I think baggage is extra (not sure). Of course Aeroflot us probably cheaper but ya might not make it ;-). I think WOW airlines has low cost flights to but not sure about to Denmark.
[/quote]
Yes, Norwegien base price includes seat assigned on day of flight and carry on luggage. Meal, seat selection, and checked bags are available upgrades.

teltic

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 292
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #47 on: January 30, 2019, 05:15:51 PM »
People are paying an outrageous amount for vacations.  Paying over $600 for ANY airfare deserves face punching (even Australia).  Scotts Cheap Flights is a great source to find these deals.

I understand you're on vacation, so treat yourself.. But holy shit you guys. $10k for a 2 week trip?

I travel solo, so I always do Hostels... I've yet to pay over $30 a night.

For food, the hostel makes me free breakfast.  I usually skip lunch, then do a ~$15 dinner.

Public transportation is fairly cheap... Then the rest is visiting museums/sight seeing/whatever else.. Mostly free things (maybe I spend $20 per day on activities).

$50-$75 per day is what I spend, depending which country I'm traveling.

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6955
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #48 on: January 30, 2019, 07:08:57 PM »
People are paying an outrageous amount for vacations.  Paying over $600 for ANY airfare deserves face punching (even Australia).  Scotts Cheap Flights is a great source to find these deals.

I understand you're on vacation, so treat yourself.. But holy shit you guys. $10k for a 2 week trip?

I travel solo, so I always do Hostels... I've yet to pay over $30 a night.

For food, the hostel makes me free breakfast.  I usually skip lunch, then do a ~$15 dinner.

Public transportation is fairly cheap... Then the rest is visiting museums/sight seeing/whatever else.. Mostly free things (maybe I spend $20 per day on activities).

$50-$75 per day is what I spend, depending which country I'm traveling.
Are you traveling with two school-aged children?  (Airfare x4, have to consider timing of flights with sleep, cost of a rental car vs taking the train everywhere, no youth hostels when you are traveling with kids...)

$75/day x 15 days x 4 people = $4500, not including airfare.  Just so ya know.

My last trip to Europe was in 2002.  I've been twice in my life.  My kids have never been.  My husband wanted to go for his 50th birthday sooooo...

Our typical annual vacation budget is about $3000-4000, which covers generally a week or two in the summer including airfare, a week at spring break (usually a driving vacation and a cabin/ airBNB or camping), and a week at Thanksgiving (similar to Spring Break).  Last year we only traveled to visit family in the summer for 2 weeks, and it was probably about $2500 (4 plane tickets to the East Coast, one way rental car between families, one night in a hotel at LAX, and some fun with the nieces going tubing or to the pool).  We staycationed the rest of the time. 

Hirondelle

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1425
Re: How much would you spend on a two-week vacation?
« Reply #49 on: January 31, 2019, 01:14:50 AM »
We are going to head to Denmark this summer for a family of 4.  Haven't booked anything.  But, looking at flights, rental car, AirBNBs (though there is an opportunity to stay for free with family friends for part of it - I'm discounting that for now)... $10k for car, hotels, airfare.

I'm expecting $6000-7000 on flights from the West coast.
Wow that's high airfare. I just googled for mid June and saw flights r/t for around $650/person. That's out of LAX to Copenhagen. Sometimes going one day earlier or later can make a big price difference. I'm not a flier (so much hate for flying) and am flexible so can just check out the low cost calender to see what's available on a day to day basis and chose the lowest price. A benefit of being RE.
I looked LAX to Copenhagen too for 2 weeks, just randomly on Sat to Sat, but in late July (which is when we will probably go).

Though in reality, we will probably also fly mid-week, so maybe I am overestimating the cost a bit.  I am a crappy flier, so if I can pay a bit extra for a better schedule and airline, I'll totally do it.  The question is how much is a bit?  Because its x4.
The cheapest I saw for late July was $600 RT but had a stop. A non stop was $745 on Norwegien airlines. That includes fees and taxes but I think baggage is extra (not sure). Of course Aeroflot us probably cheaper but ya might not make it ;-). I think WOW airlines has low cost flights to but not sure about to Denmark.

I would just like to mention that the bad image of Aeroflot is hopelessly outdated. I've flown with them and a bunch of my friends have too and it's actually a super decent airline. Post-Soviet time they had to renew their whole fleet so most of their planes are pretty new. I think for domestic flights within Russia you still want to be more cautious, but Denmark isn't a domestic destination ;)