— travel inspiration for small budgets and big dreams —

travel inspiration for small budgets and big dreams



This is the question I get asked most often when I talk or write about traveling. Of course, the answer depends on a lot of variables — how many cities you plan to visit, what sort of hotels you prefer, whether you are able to get plane tickets on sale, and so on — but even a ballpark figure would be extremely helpful if you’re planning your own trip.

My usual answer is this: PHP 10,000 per person per day.

Again, this is just an estimate — something to help you put together a budget plan for your trip — and it’s a fairly generous estimate.

(If I had to describe my travel style, I’d say it’s frugal but comfortable. There are travelers who like to compare trip costs — the cheaper, the better — but I don’t. My personal goal is not to have the cheapest vacation, but to have the best vacation within a reasonable budget, and I tend to be willing to pay a bit more for something if it means I would be happier during my trip.)

Also — in addition to itinerary quirks and personal preferences, your daily budget would also vary with how long your entire trip will be: a longer trip would mean a smaller per-day average but a bigger total budget, and vice versa.

Those disclaimers said…PHP 10,000/day should already include:

  • Airfare. This is if (a big if) you are able to get those tickets on sale.
  • Accommodations. You can get low- to mid-range hotels on this budget. Staying in hostels would bring the cost down.
  • Food. One good meal per day, with (hopefully) a free breakfast at the hotel, and a simple sandwich or food from a grocery for the other meal.
  • Transport. Plan on high-speed trains or sleepers between cities and a lot of walking within.
  • Souvenirs. Nothing fancy, just the usual fridge magnets and key chains, but at least.
  • Tickets. Places of interest, museums — just the main tourist spots, really, and angle for free entrances whenever possible. (Click here to get a quick look at the entrance fees to the most popular spots in Paris.)


Obviously, a European vacation isn’t exactly something you can do on loose change, but with a lot of planning and DIY-ing, you can put together a much more cost-efficient and personally meaningful travel experience than when you get one of those one-size-fits-all tour packages from travel agents. Create a travel fund now, so you have cash on hand when a travel opportunity strikes. And start planning your dream itinerary. Luck favors the prepared!

How to afford your dream vacation

  1. Create a travel fund — start now!
  2. Make it grow — take a look at your current expenses and see where you can save.
  3. Force yourself to save by following the golden rule: INCOME minus SAVINGS minus TRAVEL FUND equals EXPENSES.


If you’re the type of traveler who doesn’t mind pinching pennies and putting in the time and energy to scout for good deals on airfare, accommodations, etc., this budget might work better for you:

One week in Paris for only PHP 50,000*

How Much Does A European Trip Cost?
Created by LSS for travel site Small-Town Girls, Midnight Trains. All rights reserved.

29 Responses

  1. There is no one price to European trips, because there are big differences in the prices across Europe. Only some European countries use euros. If you mean 10 thousand PHP then in Poland 1 person can spend even up to 3 days (in one city, like Warsaw), depending on hotel or hostel. For 300 PHP you can eat a lunch (set of: soup, 2nd dish with meat/vegetables and a drink). For European prices, use numbeo.
    If you want to travel by train through various countries, Eurail is a good idea. There might be special fares on weekend trains.
    In Poland probably all the museums have one free entrance day a week (for example free Sunday) but often can be closed on Mondays. It’s important to schedule! There should be also a lot of free events, concerts included.
    In some countries, long distance buses may be cheaper than trains, tho they often take longer. A lot of walking isn’t always possible in the cities, and it’s not exactly the best idea in an unknown place, so it’s better to use public communication.

    1. Kama, thanks for the links and all those helpful tips! Very true that there is no one price for European trips — that’s why I put all those “it depends” in my article. The ballpark figure of PHP 10,000 is really just mean to give a traveler who is planning a trip an idea of how much he/she can expect to spend. I haven’t been to Poland but I would really, really, really love to go someday. I’m still saving up for another trip. 🙂

      1. Yes, you wrote it depends. But you didn’t wrote it depends on a country, just how many cities. And I know well that the prices in various European countries are different. What kind of food you can eat for 500 PHP varies depending on countries. Food was much more expensive in Oslo (Norway) than it’s in Warsaw (Poland).

        I also have another blog, Dwelling in Here, , where I write about life in a given city, currently – Warsaw, Poland. A lot of cultural stuff, but I’ll also post about prices, transportation and so on.

      2. Uh…Kama…you probably missed the phrases “depends on a lot of variables,” “and so on,” and so on, as well as the point of giving the ballpark figure, but thanks for checking back in and giving us a link to your blog. 🙂 Much appreciated.

  2. I enjoy reading your blog. Like you, i enjoy planning for a trip myself instead of just letting the travel agency plan the trip for me. Though sometimes it does not come cheaper ( compared to ready-made tours), but definitely the experience is more memorable. Getting lost is normal, but is part of that experience that you will remember forever.

  3. We chose SE Asia primarily for something different but second because the budget we set out was way easier to attain. Budgeting is no easy task! Many friends ask where you’ve been…

    1. Oh, definitely, the cost of living here is so low. One time, I was so excited to be traveling to Paris in time for their winter sales, and I ended up buying nothing because I couldn’t help comparing the prices to similar stuff in my country. Have you been to the Philippines? You should come if you get the chance. 🙂

  4. The cost will actually depend a lot on how long your trip is. A longer trip would be cheaper per day, even without taking transportation into account. I estimate that it would cost a budget-aware traveller around 50 Euro per day for food, accomodation and sight-seeing, airfare not included. So personally, I think 10 000 PHP is on the high side, but as you say, it depends a lot on where you go and what you do.

    1. Agreed! The airfare definitely skews the per-day average upwards, as a return trip usually costs around 600-900 euros and that’s still a lot even if distributed over, say, 2 weeks. Also, I tend to favor low to mid-range hotels over hostels as I like privacy when I can get it, and that factored into my estimate too.

      (By the way, I have about 5 tabs open right now, all posts from your blog. I can’t wait to read more!)

  5. Yes, a lot depends on air fares. Keep looking out for the promos.

    Having found really good, comfortable, SERENE accommodation through on our trip to Italy last year, we ‘grabbed’ a Qatar airlines promo and will return in May. Budget for 10 days – including fare to Milan and flight to Prague on Easyjet is approx Euro 1150 – 1200.

    The two nights in Prague Monastery Hotel are most expensive @ Euro 196 per night Triple room w b/fast but overall cost is REALLY good. and includes Turin to see the Holy Shroud, provision for museum and opera tickets etc but without souvenirs.

    I fully recommend in Italy and WOULD LOVE TO HEAR if there are similar places in Europe.
    BTW – train fares in Italy drop considerably in mid-day although our budget provides morning peak fares.
    Hope all travel dreamers get lucky with special fares to their dream destination.

    1. Thanks so much for those tips! I really appreciate them and I know lots of people will find them useful.

      I’m looking forward to trying monasterystays the next time I visit Italy, as I’ve heard great things about them from you and other bloggers, and a monastery sounds like such a cool place to stay in.

      1. Yes .. the ambiance of monastery stays is just my cup of tea.
        I should have mentioned another SUPER site that I use for planning
        It gives you everything to travel from any one city world wide to another – airfares, trains, buses, routes and schedules etc. Wealth of info to plan your trip from your desk. We got super low Easyjet fare by checking options Milan/Prague on this site.

  6. Thanks for this entry. I am taking down notes! I travel by DIY as well since Agency is too pricey for me and could also be very limited.

    1. I’m glad you found it helpful, and thank YOU for all your Japan posts! I’ve just scanned through most of them but I’m bookmarking them because I’m hoping to go to Japan later this year. I love your blog design! Happy travels. 🙂

  7. “(If I had to describe my travel style, I’d say it’s frugal but comfortable. There are travelers who like to compare trip costs — the cheaper, the better — but I don’t. My personal goal is not to have the cheapest vacation, but to have the best vacation within a reasonable budget, and I tend to be willing to pay a bit more for something if it means I would be happier during my trip.)”


  8. We’ve been to europe last year and so i’ve read a lot of blogs before… Personally, i admire yours, very helpful and informative but at the same time, simple and direct to the point. The readers will get what they need right away. I guess i’ll be following your blog from now on.

  9. Hello!

    I’ve been reading most of your Europe blog posts for the past two days and that really pumped me to kickstart my Europe backpacking trip plans for Feb 2019. I intend to do London, Paris, Frankfurt and Brussels over a 10 day period for my first trip. Scary but I might do it as a solo female backpacker though.

    With regards to the budgeting, safe na kaya ang daily budget na 100Euro/GBP per day? Separate pa siya sa airfare, accom and inter-country transfers budget ko. It amounts to around 100K sa estimates in total pero mas maganda sana kung mapababa ko pa.

    And would you think the French embassy be strict for someone like me na employed solo female backpacker kahit na may Japan and Australia visa/stamps ako for the past three years. It’s my first trip outside Asia and kahit in two years pa siya kinakabahan ako. SInce I still have at most two years to prepare for it, can you give me any tricks to beef up my profile?

    Again, thank you in advance for the insights.

    1. Hi Tin!

      I’ve been feeling really guilty because I still haven’t had the chance to do extensive research on Frankfurt and Brussels so I could answer your questions. And then — I was rereading your comment right now and I realized that the 100 euros/GBP per day that you mentioned was actually SEPARATE from your budget for airfare, accommodations, and inter-city/country transfers. All the while, I was thinking the 100 had to cover those things, and that’s why I resolved to do research before I answered.

      So…definitely yes! 100 euros or gbp per day would be quite sufficient. You’ve got the more expensive stuff covered already so you’ll just be spending the 100 euros on food, attractions, and local transport. Unless you’re aiming for the high-end restaurants, you can already get a good meal for 12-15 euros, 7-8 euros if you don’t mind fast food, and even cheaper if you buy your food from supermarkets. And breakfast will be cheaper than lunch/dinner. For local transport, as long as you use public transportation and not rely on taxis, you shouldn’t have to spend too much either. Attraction costs will vary but, again, the total for everything, including food and transpo, wouldn’t be likely to go over 100 euros.

      I’ve sent you a copy of a 2018 budget and itinerary that I made that includes Amsterdam, Paris, Geneva, Rome, and Barcelona. They aren’t the exact cities you mentioned but hopefully they will give you an idea of current costs over there.

      As for visa, my advice would be just to be really meticulous with your documents. It’s great that you’re employed because that’s one proof of your ties to the Philippines. In the unlikely event that you don’t have a bank account, I suggest you open one right now. Also, one of the things I do to try to prove my financial capacity is to make a really detailed itinerary and budget, so the consul can compare it with my bank balance and see that I do have enough to pay for my trip. The documents I sent to your email includes a detailed budget so you can check it out to see what I mean.

      I hope this helps and I’m so very sorry it took me such a long time to reply! (If only I had re-read your comment earlier, I wouldn’t have waited till I could do extensive research on those places I hadn’t visited yet.)

      Wishing you the best of luck for your trip!


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