I want to be open and transparent in what I post because my goal really is to help my friends and family travel more. In my Japan Trip Cost Breakdown post, I showed how much a trip can cost when you’re not using any points or miles, yet traveling on a budget. The cost of this trip is a little different. In Japan, while I didn’t use any points or miles, I did stay in hostels and didn’t spend much on entertainment. On this trip, we were mostly in a small group, staying in either Airbnbs or hotels and traveling during the high season. We also went to a lot more attractions that required ticket purchases, so this post will show a different travel experience.
We started in Italy, then some flew home, some went to Paris, then some flew home and some went to London. Because of that, all costs are going to be listed per person. I’ve been writing about my travel costs because there is a common misconception that it’s astronomically expensive. While it easily can be, it doesn’t have to be. I hope you’ll see that in this post.
The number in parenthesis is how many people the cost is split among. The number on the right is what it comes out to per person. Under each table, I’ll explain some of the costs.
Like I’ve said before, the two biggest costs on a trip are going to be transportation and accommodation. Some prices have been converted from Euros to US Dollars.
|drive to Toronto Airport YYZ (gas + tolls) (4)||$39|
|parking at Toronto Airport YYZ for one week (4)||$18|
|Air Canada economy flight Toronto YYZ – Rome FCO then London LHR to Toronto YYZ – paid with Chase Sapphire Reserve points||$0|
|Eurail trip reservations (additional cost per trip on some routes)||$38|
|2 rental cars for 4 days (6)||$58|
|local transportation around Rome (estimate)||$12|
|two-day travel card for local transportation around Venice||$34|
|easyJet Venice Marco Polo VCE – Paris Charles de Gaulle CDG||$133|
|Navigo pass for local transportation around Paris||$30|
|Ubers and taxis in Paris (4)||$22|
|Paris to London on Eurostar train||$97|
|local transportation around London (estimate) (2)||$19|
|taxi from hotel to airport in London (2)||$41|
|rental car from Toronto + gas (2)||$50|
We drove to the Toronto airport, which is a pain but also means a huge savings in points for us and money for my parents, and had direct flights both ways. We bought Eurail train passes because we figured out that we would either save or come out basically even compared to buying each ticket separately on this particular trip, but that’s something that really depends on available passes and what you’re going to be doing. The more you travel around a country, the more likely a pass will be worth it.
As far as local transportation goes, things varied throughout the trip. We bought local passes in Venice to ride the vaporettos, which are pretty much water busses, and our transportation from the train station and then to the airport was included in that pass.
We also bought local passes in Paris but then ended up taking Ubers a couple of times because we were there during a heat wave, so we were extra tired and sweaty. One time, we actually went down to the metro during rush hour, kept saying we’d get on the next train, then decided we couldn’t stand the thought of taking the metro (included in our passes) during rush hour in that heat, so we left and got an Uber. All of our city accommodations were in very convenient places so we could take public transportation as much as possible, but the extreme weather changed things.
In London, we mainly used the red double-decker busses, which are the public busses. They’re very convenient, and with Google Maps telling us which busses to take, very easy to use. They’re also great for just seeing the city, as several routes go through the area that everyone wants to see (Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, etc.).
This is the other big cost when it comes to travel. Accommodation costs can make or break your budget. Other than in Perdifumo, our first place, we could easily have spent $200+ a night for an average hotel room for two people, but as you’ll see, we spent a lot less. (Check out more of my tips on accommodation costs here.)
|Perdifumo: Airbnb – 4 nights (2)||$89|
|Rome: Airbnb – 2 nights (6)||$100|
|Venice: Airbnb – 2 nights (6)||$106|
|Paris: Marriott Le Meridien Etoile – paid with Marriott points – 5 nights||$0|
|London: Residence Inn London Bridge – partially paid with Marriott points – 2 nights (2)||$107|
We used Airbnb everywhere we stayed in Italy and had great experiences with it. However, Airbnb is hurting the local housing market in popular areas and is even illegal or highly restricted in some cities, so make sure you look up the cities you’re staying in before you go.
In Paris, we stayed for free using Marriott points. Almost all of them were my mom’s (with a few transferred to her account from us), so I really lucked out there. We also took advantage of Marriott’s 5th night free for redeeming points. This saved us hundreds of dollars each and we probably wouldn’t have stayed in that hotel without paying in points. In London, we paid for the first of two nights with points.
|Capri day trip by boat (6)||$143|
|Colosseum, Pantheon, & Roman Forum ticket||$23|
|Eiffel Tower summit||$29|
|Windsor Castle ticket||$27|
|London Eye ticket||$50|
|London Skygarden (free!)||$0|
On this trip, I spent more on entertainment than usual. We went to a lot of big tourist areas with landmarks we didn’t want to miss. Almost half of what we spent on entertainment came from one boat trip, but it was probably my favorite thing we did and I would definitely do it again. Consider entertainment costs when you book your trip. Are you going to be sightseeing in a lot of places that will require entry tickets, or are you mainly going to be relaxing?
(See more on our Versailles day here.)
|Food in Italy||$223|
|Food in Paris||$118|
|Food in London||$63|
I know our food costs are crazy low, and I’m going to explain that. These are also approximations from after the trip. I thought I’d keep up with things as we went, but let’s be real: I’m not that organized. Mom and I went back through our trip after we returned home, talking about every single meal. I’m sure this total isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty close.
First, in Italy, we didn’t spend anywhere near what we thought we’d spend. In Perdifumo, things were crazy cheap, including wine. We were constantly amazed at how little wine costs in Italy! I also expected to pay a lot more than we did in Rome and Venice since they’re so touristy. We were sure to eat a little ways away from popular attractions, which I’m sure saved us some money, so I found meals usually cost around what they would for a similar restaurant in Ohio (except that wine was always less). Here is a post with more of what we ate there.
We stayed in Paris for five days, but the cost is a little bit skewed because of two factors working together. The first was the heat wave. It was all over the news and it was miserably hot! We usually only paid for one meal a day because we were constantly going back to our hotel to cool off and shower. The second part of the low Paris cost was that Mom has good status with Marriott so we were able to get into their lounge. We got free breakfast there every day, then we would usually sight see and come back for showers and have a free dinner in the lounge, too.
The cost in London is so low because we were there for less than two days. We had free breakfasts in our hotel and we had one cheap fish & chips meal that brought down our average meal cost. The other meals were great, but we just didn’t have to spend that much!
|Bethany: Perdifumo – Rome – Venice – Paris – London for 15 nights with free flights||$1928|
|Greg: Perdifumo – Rome – Venice for 8 nights with free flights||$1120|
|Mom: same as me + flight||$2700|
|Dad: same as Greg + flight||$1756|
How We Saved Money
How did we save money? Mainly by booking Airbnbs and using points for hotels and flights. If we had stayed in hotels the entire time, we would have spent $1500 or more per person, just for average hotels.
We also saved by using public transportation. It’s there for a reason, and I prefer it when I’m in cities. Renting a car for the full trip would have cost significantly more in rental fees, gas, and parking, not to mention what a pain it is to drive in foreign cities you’re unfamiliar with. This is why we only rent cars when we’re going to be outside of cities. Instead of rental cars, we also could have opted for taxis or tour busses, both of which will destroy your budget.
A third thing we did to save money was that we rarely bought breakfast. In Paris and London, our hotels included breakfast. On the other days, we did a few different things, including going to cafes, buying things at grocery stores the night before, and eating granola bars we had packed.
How We Could Have Saved More
A few things could have saved us more money. For one, we traveled around a lot. We were in five cities in two weeks, which means booking plane or train tickets for each move. I definitely don’t recommend visiting more than five cities in two weeks, and even this number could have been lower (I prefer closer to one per week when I solo travel).
We also could have done less attractions. That’s something you have to consider when you’re booking things. We really didn’t set ourselves up to skimp on attractions because we were visiting popular, historic cities that most of us had never been to. If we had stayed in our first place, Perdifumo, for a few more days, we certainly would have relaxed more and spent less. In the end, you have to decide what’s worth it to you.