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Money & costs


Excluding transport costs, you can get by on about €40 to €80 a day in Western Europe. You might be able to squeak by on less in smaller towns and in Mediterranean Europe, but Switzerland costs at the upper end of the range.

Eastern Europe is the cheapest region, costing a daily total of €30 to €50, although Ukraine and Russia can be more expensive. Scandinavia is slightly dearer than Western Europe (especially when it comes to alcohol).

The quickest way to get cash these days is to withdraw it directly from ATMs in each new place. The best way to track such spending is to set up your account for online banking. Do this before you leave home, and on the road remember to log off properly in internet cafes. International transactions might take a few days to register on your statement.


Buddy up – Finding a travel partner slashes accommodation costs.

Spend more time East – Where the living is also cheaper.

Investigate buying a rail pass – If you’re travelling extensively in expensive Western countries, it will save money. Local fares and deals are cheaper for quick trips and in Eastern Europe. That's an InterRail pass for Europeans or a Eurail pass for visitors.

Take overnight trains – Sleeping in your seat or couchette on longer trips saves on a night’s lodging.

Hand wash clothes – Do your laundry in hostel and hotel sinks; even hostels that forbid it don’t notice the odd item or two.

Invest in a phonecard – The cheaper alternative for calling home or within Europe.

Eat cheap – Buy food from street stalls or eat at informal, self-service places, where tipping doesn’t even enter the equation. Remember: pizza is your friend.

Look up old mates – And don’t be shy about being a (gracious) guest of friends of friends living in the countries you’re visiting. Just remember to wash the dishes and don't bring home any special 'friends'.

Become a couch surfer – Join www.couchsurfing.com, where residents let travellers stay with them for free.

Head for the countryside – Where the living is also cheaper.