This is the question many of you have asked and I bet many of you wanted to, but didn’t want to invade our privacy. How much did your European Road Trip Cost? Don’t worry, if you have a question for us, just ask! We are sharing our experiences, stories, budgets with all of you.
Not only to keep a record for ourselves, but to show you it can be done. We want to share it all with you for inspiration, to help you prepare, plan or even think differently about your dreams and desires. So ask away, don’t be shy. Okay, so now let’s get into the 6 week road trip cost as we traveled around Europe, the ride of our lives.
Just FYI, I love spreadsheets and analysis! So we are going to get into some pretty boring stuff for some of you. Just look at the pictures and you will get the general idea. If you are a number cruncher like me, read the text. I researched each location and did the number crunching in advance. I first “estimated” cost of living and mapped out the miles to guess the fuel and toll charges for our road trip.
Going into this, it was a family agreement that we didn’t make this into a “how cheaply can we do this” holiday. Alan requested that I give on the budget so we can have a comfortable and fun holiday. I agreed and
hate it love it when he is right! That said, he was a little more budget conscious than usual, so it was a great compromise.
My rough calculations put us at about €7000 for 6 weeks. I guessed on average we spend about €500/week for accommodation, €1000 for fuel and tolls, €1500 for food, €1000 for activities / public transport and an extra €500 miscellaneous or anything I just forgot.
I was in shock that it came out to just about that. I have 2 different spreadsheets for estimates vs. reality. I didn’t even look to compare until a week before returning home. I guess all of the hours of researching and estimating paid off.
Where did we go?
In 43 days we covered Spain, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, France, Andorra and back to Spain. Here you can see the detailed map and summary of our 6 week European Summer Road Trip.
Total Road Trip Cost of our 6 week (43 days) European Trip €6,627 ($8,682)
- This is for a total of 43 days for a family of 4 during the high season of Summer 2013. We left June 24th and returned Aug 5th.
- We drove our own car 7,658 km (4,758 miles). The total for our car fuel, parking and auto tolls is in purple above with a total of €1159 ($1518) 18% of spend.
- The Euro to USD exchange rate during our trip June 24 – Aug 5 varied from $1.28 – $1.33 to one Euro. For these calculations I am going to use $1.31.
- Food – Eating out and Groceries were separate line items in blue, as we wanted to see cost of eating out and eating in. Total for these 2 line items together €1621 ($2124) or 24% of spend. The groceries also included any items we would purchase for daily living (i.e. shampoo, toilet paper, plastic dishes as well as food).
- Communication – We purchased SIM cards in Italy and some of our accommodation choices didn’t include free WiFi, so we had to pay per hour or day.
- Accommodation – Our priorities were 2 bedrooms, AC and WiFi. Then it was location, and sometimes pool was a requirement as there was a crazy heat wave hitting this part of Europe at the time. See where we stayed on our 6 week European Road Trip. We share the cost of each and every hotel, campground, guesthouse, apartment.
- Average total costs per day is €154 ($202). We counted everything from a tube of toothpaste to a new pair of shoes for Lars. Every toll, activity and gelato is in here as well.
Fuel Costs Each time we fueled up, I made note of the price per litre.
(1 Gallon = 3.785 litres)
Price of gas in Europe as of Summer 2013
Now Let’s Get Into Cost by Location
This is a rough guide as it includes our travel day to that location. On travel days, we tended to eat out more often and included fuel and auto tolls as well. You can view the breakdown below to see how it would cost out per category. I will try to call out any anomalies. As you will see the fuel is random and really should be taken out of the location, but I guess I was just lazy.
It was roughly a 9 hour drive from Almuñécar to Barcelona. We decided to stop just short of Barcelona and stay at a hotel. This also includes our ferry trip from Barcelona to Italy (1 car, 4 passengers and 1 exterior room with 4 beds). Travel days are highlighted in BLUE
We actually went camping in Montopoli as well with a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom mobile home with AC. Montopoli is a small town between Florence and Pisa. We took day trips to Pisa, Florence and Cinque Terre from this location. The activity on our travel day was the beautiful waterfalls of Marmore and we stopped for lunch in Perugia.
We stayed one night in a hotel in Bologna and 4 nights at a 2 bedroom apartment with AC in Reggio Emilia. We took day trips to Modena for the Pagani and Balsamic Vinegar tours, to Carpi for the Cheese tour and to Verona for the Opera.
We spent 3 nights camping at Lake Garda in a 2 bedroom, 1 bath mobile home with AC. Also a day out on the lake in a boat rental. We met up with our cousins in Lake Como and Sandi allowed us to crash with them, so this really helped the accommodation budget! Thanks Sandi!
We stayed 3 nights in a very spacious 2 bedroom 1 bathroom apartment in Oriago, Italy. (15 min city bus ride to Venice). Loved this place! We will write about it sometime soon and place a link here.
This was a very last-minute decision to go to Austria and we are so glad it was. We fell madly in love with this place! The free tourist card was a dream as the gondolas, city bus and swimming pond were all free! I am sure there was more free, but we were only there 2 days. I love saving money!
Switzerland was crazy expensive! It may not show here as we landed a great deal with accommodation. It was very difficult finding anything even close to our budget. I was in communications with several apartments, campgrounds, hotels and hostels. Even the hostels were going to be above our budget. One campground in Interlaken (Manor Farms) had a mobile home 2 bed, 1 bath no AC, but it was €460 for 4 nights, and our budget was closer to €240 for 4 nights.
Switzerland just wasn’t going to let us find anything close to this price. Then the day prior to leaving Austria I received an automated email from the Manor Farm Campground. It stated that they sent me a price quote the day prior and it was going to expire after 24 hours. There was a survey asking me why I had not yet responded or booked. I replied with “Your accommodation looks very nice, unfortunately it is nowhere near our budget. We were hoping to find something all-inclusive for about €60/ night (including cleaning fees etc.)”. I sent that email off not hoping for anything and within 1 hour I had a reply from the owner. He said we could stay there for the price we desired! Score! I guess it pays to respond and be nice and honest sometimes.
We moved around France a bit and stayed one night in an apartment in the mountains, 3 nights camping in a 3 bed, 1 bath mobile home and 3 nights in a 2 bed, 2 bath apartment.
Ah back in Spain! Oh it feels good to be home. We stayed 3 nights in a hotel with kitchenette and one bedroom, 1 night in Madrid at Novotel and then HOME!
I was a little leery of sharing the costs, but I keep thinking of what we spent on vacations in North Carolina. We would easily spend $2000-5000 for just one week away in Utah, California, Florida, Jamaica and here we were gone for 6 weeks in Europe! I think we did great. Of course costs will always vary by season and your choices of accommodation and eating out. I just hope this helps you with planning any road trip you may be thinking of in your future. Do let us know if this is helpful to you, so we can be sure to share again in future travels. Also Walking on Travels has detailed out several Family Travel Budgets.
We hope by this has been useful for you and I think we have answered the question, “How much did your road trip cost?” This is only meant as a guide for you. We provided prices in Euros as well as US Dollars, as the exchange rate can fluctuate. We will eventually write about all of our accommodation and experiences, so you can see where we stayed and what we did. If you are curious about something just ask in the comments.
If you want to learn more about the reality of traveling Europe with kids, you can read all about it here or just click on the image below.
While writing this post, I listened to the full Phantom of the Opera double-disc twice! Love it! I even found myself singing aloud at times and had to catch myself. It is just addicting. Oops sorry to the neighbors, as I was sitting outside on the terrace. Not sure Alan and the kids noticed as they were watching Lord of the Rings inside with volume up.
Other Road Trip Info:
- 11 Tips and Tools For The Road Trip Planner
- Road Trips In Europe! – 6 Weeks Of Accommodation Reviewed
- Driving On Our Summer Road Trip Through Europe
- When Our 6 Week European Road Trip Took A Hairpin Turn in the French Alps
- Summer Road Trip Europe – 2013 “The Reality”
- Our Summer Road Trip Begins
- 6 Week Summer Road Trip Europe – 2013
- Are we there yet? 5 No Prep Travel Games for your Family Road Trip!