Europe honeymoon, 8k, 6 weeks, is this doable?

posted 3 years ago in Honeymoons
Post # 3
Member
5204 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

I don’t know about airfair from your location, but in general it think $6k is doable.  A few recomendations:

 – I highly recomend checking out some of Rick Steve’s guidebooks.  He’ll have great reco’s for cost effective hotels.  Often these can be cheaper than hostels since you aren’t paying by the person.  I’d recomend borrowing a copy of his book “Europe through the back door” about his travel philosophy and tips from your local library.  This will give you a better sense of how to strech your money.

 – Spend some time in Eastern Europe instead of staying completely in Western Europe.  Prices are lower.

 – Choose some smaller towns to visit instead of just big cities.  Prices are lower.

 – consider using a site like VBRO or AirBnB to rent an appartment or room for a week in each city you visit.  Can be cheaper than a hotel.

 – In my experience, paying for admission at sightseeing locations adds up faster than anythhing else.  One the one hand, you don’t want to skimp because you’ve paid all this money to be there.  But don’t hit every museam if you aren’t really interested.  If you are paying 15-20 euros for each admission you’ll blow money fast.  There are lots of wonderful free things to do (think hiking and gonig to the beach) that will give you just as much of a flavor of the city and might be even more fun!

Good luck, sounds amazing!

Post # 4
Member
361 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2013

@minipenguin:  I think it’s totally doable!  I would get a couple Let’s Go guides (awesome for budget travelers) and rip out the pages you need.  By staying in hostels, using Air BnB, and couchsurfing, I’m sure you could afford a decent hotel every once in a while.  Breaking your trip down into into budget chunks (food, gifts, lodging, transport, etc.) should also help make this more realistic.  In case you’re students, there used to be an international student ID that you could get for discounts at museums.  

I highly recommend visiting Eastern Europe.  It’s incredibly beautiful, the people are kind, it’s relatively unexplored by Westerners compared to places such as France and Italy, and I always feel as though I’m traveling back in time (and that’s a good thing!) when I visit Eastern Europe.

I recommend spending some time in Prague, then taking a train to Budapest, then hitching/busing to northern Romania/Transylvania/Maramures (recently featured twice in National Geographic).

You could even make your way down through Bulgaria to Turkey, then hit up Greece at the end!  Just something to think about.  Otherwise, Western Europe can be done on the cheap — I just find Eastern Europe to be more financially accessible.

Post # 5
Member
361 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2013

@minipenguin:  Also, even if you’d rather not Couchsurf, I recommend joining the website for access to locals.  You can start threads on boards (e.g. Where’s the best place for an authentic, off-the-beaten path meal here?), and find people who would be happy to give you (FREE!!) tours of their hometowns.

Post # 6
Member
1464 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

Totally doable!

Stay in private hostel rooms/ air bnb/ small hotels/ camping grounds and save

Prepare your own food, at least part of the time. Some of the best food I ate in Europe was from local, fresh ingredients from supermarkets and markets.

Research – some places are cheaper than others. Some sites have free days.

Travel slowly

make use of nature. I love hiking, and try and do it everywhere. Cheap and an amazing experience in a new place.

Post # 7
Member
634 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

@minipenguin:  I was in Paris, Italy and Barcelona for the last week of July and first week of August with my sister-in-law and over the two weeks I spent exactly $4017. That’s all-in. We stayed in budget hotels and only ate dinner at restaurants (the rest were grocery store meals or light snacks). We took cheap vueling flights from country to country and took the train in between cities in Italy.

So I’d say that if you want to be there for over two weeks you’ll have to either go really cheap or maybe look at some pre-packaged trips so that you don’t have any hidden costs while you’re there.

Post # 8
Member
4513 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

Since you are willing to stay in hostels and eat cheaply, then yes its definitely doable.

Flights should only cost you about $2k to get to and from Europe. I’d do an open jaw ticket – fly into Italy (or France, wherever you want to start) and out of Greece. Within Europe you can fly SUPER cheap. I mean I’ve flown from Spain to Italy for $35 before. I use http://www.vueling.com a lot for those types of flights. Trains are a good option too, but often I’ve found it cheaper to fly.

Where you plan to go in those countries also makes a big difference with price. Rome Venice and Paris are super expensive, whereas Tuscany and Provence are more affordable. It just depends what you want to see. If you’re interested in a less expensive alternative to Greece the Turkish coast is a great option. Croatia is also beautiful.

When I am planning a trip to Europe I start stalking flights as soon as possible. I have flown round trip to Europe for under $600 (including taxes & fees)MANY times. I am located on the east coast of the US though, so that helps with flight cost, too. I saw a round trip flight to Istanbul last year for $450! You just have to be on the look out.

Post # 9
Member
4072 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

I find the most expensive item is food. We try to hit free/inexpensive attractions, but damn food!

Definitely go to the local grocery stores and stock up on items you can use for lunch. We would make a sack lunch and prepare cold sandwiches and bring along an apple or some other handy fruit. That really saved us big money on eating out. It’s also nice because you can eat on the go anywhere! Or just take a nice picnic in a park.

Also, for hotels, don’t be afraid to stay somewhere cheaper. I use TripAdvisor to check out reviews so I know whether the place has bed bugs or is a total dump. It’s doable to find decent thrifty places though. Also, I know a lot of people are put off by shared baths – don’t be! You save a lot of money on rooms for just s slight inconvenience.

Post # 10
Member
9137 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

@minipenguin:  If you hostel and tightly budget, you might be able to make $6K work for 2-3 weeks (4 tops) but I’m not sure about 6 weeks.  The biggest problem is going to be the plane tickets which are usually $1K-2K per person.

Post # 11
Member
682 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

We saved a lot of money renting an apartment for the time we were there. We were able to cook some meals, it was bigger than a hotel, and much cheaper

Post # 13
Member
5421 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2014

@minipenguin:  Originally I thought ‘hell no!’ until you said that the 8k doesn’t include flights; now you’ve clarified, yes, it’s doable; JUST.

You’ve had some great tips above, and the ones I would reiterate are:

Shop around for accommodation; Trivago for example compares prices for you from different websites, and you can save a lot this way.

The big destinations (eg Rome, Paris, London, etc) will usually command higher prices; but, deals can still be found. For example, if you’re prepared to share a bathroom, you can get a hotel with great Trip Advisor ratings in the heart of Rome for just $45 per night B&B, or rooms with private bathrooms in Paris for around $90 (which is super cheaper for Paris). You will however likely need to be flexible. Greece has some very reasonably priced and perfectly lovely accommodation; think prices from $45 per night depending on the area and season.

Check out apartments/self-catered accommodation. This will give you more flexibility in terms of eating, as you woll be able to buy food in and prepare it in your apartment; when I travel to Europe, I always stay self-catered, and I buy food in for breakfast and lunch. Things like water, bread, cheese and fruits are super-cheap, likewise wine (bought a bottle of lovely sparkling wine in Paris for just $1.50 lol). If you stay B&B, you typically won’t have kitchen facilities so it will be harder to save money this way as you won’t really have anywhere to prepare lunch etc.

Food-wise, definitely try to make your own breakfast and lunch as I said above. As far as evening meals go, you should be able to eat decently in most cities for $50 between you, excluding drinks.

Plan your route prior to travel. Check out budget airlines like Easy Jet and Ryan Air for flights (just be aware that luggage isn’t included, so it can look cheaper than it is; still, a single should cost around $90 with luggage if you book early; flights are released 6 months in advance so look out for them), as well as British Airways, which can be reasonable and includes luggage. Also look into rail travel.

Get as many guide books as you can, and plan what you want to see. Some places, particularly in Italy, can be pricey in terms of entrance; plenty of places in France on the other hand can be very cheap, or free, so you can see a lot without spending a fortune.

 

IMPO you’ll likely be looking at around $60 a night on average for accommodation (based on staying as cheaply as possible and not spending too much time in the more expensive cities) or a total of $2500. Food-wise, I think you’d need to budget around $10-15 per day if you self-cater for breakfast and lunch, and around $50 a day for dinner; so, around $2750. That would leave you with around $2750 for travel between destinations, entrance fees, and luxuries like alcoholic drinks.

My personal opinion is that I’d go for 4-5 weeks so I wasn’t scrimping the whole time; while doable, it will be tight, and you won’t be able to enjoy many luxuries, and will likely be constantly watching the pennies. I prefer to be a little more relaxed so would choose to go for less time but not feel so cash-strapped than go for longer but be stressing about how much that glass of wine with dinner might affect our budget.

Post # 14
Member
41 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: May 2014

I did 8 weeks all onver Europe in May and June of 2009 on $10K including 6 flights and a Eurail pass. mind you, this was off season in May, and we stayed in a lot of hostels. I doubt you would want to hostel it on your honeymoon. We did the typical tourist traps. we walked to a lot of places. cheaper and a great way to see stuff.

we stayed in a hotel on a Greek island for €25 per night. for both of us. we got off the ferry and bartered. Because it was off-season, we were told not to pay more then that by the tour operator in Athens. It was clean and close to the beach…perfect!

we NEVER booked ahead, and found our accomadations in a guide book, or by meeting random people in train stations and airports. Yes it sounds sketchy, but no it was never unsafe. Trust your gut.

Rome,  London and Amsterdam were the most expensive places to stay. Prague and Greece were the cheapest. New Europe Free Tours runs daily tours in a lot of cities. they run on tips and they are pretty good. 

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