Money & Budgeting
How Much Does It Cost To Travel Europe?
Budget travelers should estimate that they’ll spend an average of €50-€80/day in Western Europe (Eastern Europe will be a bit cheaper). This does not include transportation between locations or your airfare to/from Europe.
However, you can easily spend more or less depending on your travel styles.
Do I Need Travel Insurance?
It’s not a necessity but it’s a pretty cheap way to give yourself a piece of mind — which is why we recommend it. We use World Nomads because they’re geared toward budget travelers.
Do I Need To Get Cash (Euros, Pounds, Etc.) Before I Leave?
You can get foreign currency at your local bank before your trip… however, you’ll get a very poor exchange rate from your bank so it ends up being a pretty bad deal. If you want a little starter cash, then get around €100-€200 but you should get the rest of your cash from ATMs once you arrive in Europe (every airport will have ATMs).
Remember, withdrawing cash from ATMs in Europe will give you the most accurate exchange rate. Learn More About Using Money In Europe.
How Do I Get Cash When Traveling? What About Exchanging US Currency?
ATMs are everywhere in Europe and they give you the most accurate exchange rate — so they’re the best/cheapest way to get cash. The main thing to consider is how much YOUR bank charges you to withdraw money from a foreign ATM.
Some banks will charge you a small percentage of the withdraw and/or a flat service fee. For example, some banks will charge 1-3% of the total amount withdrawn. Other banks will charge something like $2-$5 per withdraw. Some charge both. If you’re lucky, your bank won’t charge you anything at all.
If your bank charges you a flat fee, then it’s best to withdraw larger amounts of cash so you pay fewer charges.
Exchanging US currency for Euros (or other currencies) at currency exchange businesses is expensive so it should be avoided. Stick with ATMs.
What Is Better — ATM/Debit Card or a Credit Card?
We use both kinds of cards when we travel but they should be used in different ways.
- ATM/Debit Card: ONLY use your debit card in ATMs. That’s it. Don’t use it to make purchases. Why? Becuase if your Debit card gets skimmed/copied (which is very common), then you’ll have to cancel it… which means you won’t be able to withdraw any cash from the ATM. Even worse, money stolen from your debit card will be taken from your bank account so you’ll have to go through all that hassle of getting your money back (which can take weeks)
- Credit Card: Use your credit card whenever you need to make purchases (or you can use cash). If your credit card gets stolen/copied then you just have to cancel it. We usually carry a few credit cards just in case.
What About Travelers Cheques?
No one really uses them anymore. Don’t bother.
Do I Have To Tip?
Each country has its own customs when it comes to tipping. In general, the tip is included in the bill already (look at the receipt) so you don’t have to tip in that case (feel free to add in an extra Euro if you feel like it). In other countries, it’s customary to add an extra 5%-10% if it’s not included in the bill.
Are There Student Discounts?
The cut off the “youth” discounts seems to be around 26-years-old. In many cases, you need to be a student but sometimes you have to be enrolled in an EU university.
But it doesn’t hurt to try asking about a student discount because sometimes the ticket sellers don’t really care. So bring your student ID — even if it’s old.