I must apologize for the lack of budget posts, as it has been a busy couple of months. We are now just catching up on our blogging. Did I already mention that June was a really busy one for us? Well, we ended up staying in 6 different cities across Europe, which is very different from what we normally do. Way back in March, we had found an apartment in Italy starting June 22. This meant we had approximately 3 weeks to make our way from London to Italy. We decided to speed up our pace to see several places on our bucket list. Our thinking was something in the lines of since we would be in the area why not just stay for a couple of days?
For the month of June, we stayed in 6 amazing cities: London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Pisa and then Florence, Italy. So how did we do on our budget with seeing so many places? Not so great. Our grand total was $4159.91 or $138.66 per day for the three of us which breaks down to $46.22 per person per day. I knew it was going to be an expensive month, but was disappointed with how much we spent.
Our biggest expenditure for June was lodging. Our total cost for lodging was $1257.05. For the first couple of days in June, we were in London doing a house sit, which would have seriously killed our budget if we had to get central hotels London. After that we spent a week in Amsterdam. The total cost for housing in Amsterdam was $497.80. We then spent 3 nights in Berlin. Our lodging in Berlin cost $204. After Berlin, we traveled to Prague where an American expat family had graciously invited us to stay with them. Besides being able to see the beautiful city of Prague, we spent time with some genuinely nice people that made us feel like part of their family. We also got a small taste of ex-pat life and it was truly an amazing time. Thank you Nicole, Andy and Nate! In Pisa, we spent 2 nights at a B&B for a total cost of $120.60. For the remainder of June, we were in Florence. Our lodging in Florence for June was $434.65.
This is a little embarrassing, but our next biggest expenditure for the month of June was food. Our total expense for food was $1131.86. We spent $818.98 for groceries and $312.88 for dining out. Yikes! Looking back at our expenses, we definitely ate out way too much!
You may wonder how much our transportation costs were given that we moved around a lot. Within the month of June, we flew from London to Amsterdam, took the train from Amsterdam to Berlin, took the bus from Berlin to Prague, flew from Prague to Pisa, and then took the train from Pisa to Florence. Phew! I am now exhausted just listing all the modes of transportation we took!
To be honest I was surprised that our transportation costs were not more. Our total expenditures for transportation were $1131.10 of which $242.27 was for local transportation. Our cheapest transportation cost between cities was from Pisa to Florence. But I think the most comfortable transportation we took was the bus from Berlin to Prague. The bus was like what the airlines use to be: free movies, free beverages and comfortable seats. The bus even had a stewardess. Not too shabby if you ask me.
Our next biggest expenditure was entrance fees. We spent a total of $452.69. During the month of June, we bought 2 cards: the iBerlin card and the Amici degli Uffize card.
The iBerlin card allowed us entry into all the museums (a total of 5) on Museum Island in Berlin and also covered the use of local transportation. The iBerlin card cost $97.09 for the three of us. While in Berlin, we used public transport quite a bit and we also saw all 5 of the museums on Museum Island. Overall the iBerlin card turned out to be a good value for us. However, if you will be staying in Berlin and will not be using public transport a lot and will be seeing all the museums on Museum Island, you may want to just look at the combiticket as it might be a better value for you.
The Amici degli Uffizi card allowed entry into all the state museums in Florence. The Amici Degli Uffizi cost $133.00 for the three of us and is good for a year. This card covers most of the popular museums in Florence such as the Uffizi and Galleria dell’Accedemia where Michelangelo’s David is. The Amici degli Uffizi card is a great value if you are planning to spend some time in the museums of Florence. But what is really nice about this card is it allows the cardholder to skip to the front of the line. Believe me, during summer in Florence with humongous lines and crowds this can save a lot of time and hassle. For example, the wait to see David at 9 am in the morning in the none reservation line was 3 hours!
Our total expenditures for entertainment were $89.76. Entertainment included such things as taking a canal boat ride in Amsterdam, swimming and going to the Summer Festival with our host family while in Prague.
Our total expenditures under the misc. category were $61.79. Misc. items for this month included a journal, a map of Amsterdam, new shoes and clothing for Sydney. Before we left, we unfortunately did not think about budgeting for new clothes. Oops! Sydney seems to be going through a growth spurt and we are now finding we need to replace a lot of her clothing.
Our total cost under communication was $35.66. This was for postcards and stamps.
- Slow travel definitely helps keep transportation costs down.
- Slow travel also helps keep lodging costs down. People are much more likely to give a discount for a longer stay. But that being said, we have found that during the summer our lodging costs have been more expensive, as people are less willing to give a discount even for a longer stay. It is cheaper and less crowded to travel during the off-season.
- I know that I say this every month, but one easy way to cut down on costs is to avoid eating out.
During the month of June, we got the taste of what it would be like to travel at a much faster pace. Jason and I agree that we really prefer slow travel. We really enjoy spending time in a place. The longer we stay in a place, the more we feel like we become less like tourists and more like locals. By the end of June, we were pretty tired and felt like that we needed a vacation from our travels.