Today’s post is the final post of my series about my two week trip to Europe. Part One was a general overview, Part Two was sharing the lessons I learned on the trip, and Part Three is allllll about the numbers. We dive in deep to every dollar (and Sterling Pound and Euro) I spent for two weeks. For ease of tracking, everything has been converted into US Dollars. Let’s go!
Roundtrip from Chicago to London: $467
Flight from London to Amsterdam: $70
Flight from Amsterdam to London: $243
Rebooking fee for missing my flight to Atlanta: $301
10 nights near London with my sister: $134 (10 pounds a night)
2 nights in the Amsterdam Crowne Centre: $589
Way too much to separate into line items. This includes money given for Costco runs, meals out in London and some food to bring back with me.
Hop On, Hop Off London: $99
Punting in Cambridge: $46
Cash spent: $30
London Transport: $55
Tickets to/from Amsterdam City Centre: $12
Bus ticket to/from Chicago: $70
Hoodie in Cambridge: $32
Outlet converters for Europe: $32
Not bad for 14 days in Europe! That equals out to $175/day! (roughly).
I really wish I hadn’t had been forced to fork over $300 on a stupid rebooking fee to Virgin for missing my flight in London. Considering it was basically a miracle I only got charged a booking fee and didn’t have to buy a whole nother last-minute one way ticket home from London, I think I got off pretty easy. Other than that, I’m thrilled with the amount of money I did spend. I didn’t go over there with a hard limit that I could spend, instead trusting myself to be judicious with my spending.
No surprise that flights and accommodations made up almost 3/4ths of my total spending. However! I got a screaming deal on my round trip flight to London from Chicago at only $467. I also only spent $134 on 10 nights in London (ok fine in a suburb outside London), which is pretty much amazing. I think the only way I could come close to that is if I had found a seedy hostel. Then I would’ve been surrounded by strangers with no kitchen instead of having a great flat with a kitchen and my sister.
Having that kitchen really helped us keep the cost of food down. We could buy bulk from Costco and make our own cheap, delicious, gourmet meals at home. That meant not only did we eat better than I normally would on vacation (ok, I ate better with them than I normally do on my own as well), but we could pack lunches and snacks with us to take on our excursions. The picnic we packed for lunch in Cambridge was eaten in a gorgeous park called Christ’s Pieces and didn’t cost us anything extra. #frugalwin
The touristy transport stuff we did was great. I would highly recommend them to anyone. The Hop On, Hop Off tour in London not only included getting driven around London in an iconic double-decker red bus; we also got to take a guided boat ride down the Thames. The guide was hilarious and was able to share a lot of knowledge about the landmarks we floated by. That was also the intent of punting around Cambridge, but the guy we got didn’t seem to be able to remember a whole lot of information as we went on the tour.
One final thing I need to mention. Being a member of reward programs really pays off. My spending could’ve easily been several hundred dollars higher if it weren’t for the fact I’m an IHG member and a Prestige Pass card holder. Since I have a Prestige Pass through my Chase Sapphire Reserve, I could pop into any lounge and get free snacks, drinks, wi-fi, and nice bathrooms. I used the lounges in Amsterdam, Atlanta, Chicago and London. I was fortunate to have flights in the right terminals to be able to use them (unlike in Las Vegas, when I wasn’t in the international terminal. Boo). I booked the hotel in Amsterdam through the IHG program and ended up getting a Club Level room. I was treated like an all-star. Free chocolates upon check-in, club access (free snacks, drinks, and a continental breakfast), two free drink tickets to the bar, and free champagne sent up to my room in honor of my birthday. In the future, I will be better prepared and will pay for fancy hotels with points and free night vouchers instead of cash. Much cheaper that way!
Thanks for reading! How much do you spend on vacations? What’s been the best trip you’ve taken?
The only trip that I know the specific financials for is the one that I blogged about — Europe in winter a couple years ago, which was roughly $3300 for almost a whole month. I feel like everything is cheaper in the cold? Except for winter sports like skiing and snowboarding.
The best trip I took was easily Australia/New Zealand, but I’m a little afraid to go back and calculate the total cost, but I’ll go ahead and say that it was worth it.
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Mustard Seed Money says
Wow $175 a day is awesome!!! I think my wife and I spent about that each when we spent 17 days in Europe a couple of years ago. We had a whirlwind trip of 8 cities in those 17 days so the transportation costs added up. But now that we have a child, I can’t imagine doing that type of trip anytime soon. So with that said, it was definitely worth it. Congrats on the awesome trip!!!!
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Thanks MSM! I plan on traveling and exploring more now when I’m younger and not tied down for exactly that reason. Sleeping on a mattress on the floor is fine for now — definitely would be harder on an older body!
Mrs. BITA says
That was a really good flight deal you got, and the Club level room sounds fancy. The last time I was in London I was 3 years old, but I visit Amsterdam pretty often. What did you think of it? I am a big fan, it is one of my favourite places to visit.
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Amsterdam was absolutely gorgeous. The architecture, the canals, hearing Dutch (and other languages), the food.….. all of it combined into one amazing city. I definitely intend to go back when I have more time to explore the city in depth!
Mrs. BITA says
Yeah, the city definitely deserves more than one visit. I also love how compact it is (especially compared to the sprawling suburbia where I live). My sister is based there, which is why we’ve visited so often, and it is definitely on the short list of places we might move to once we FIRE.
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Dang, Gwen — that’s a fantastic daily average at all for a trip like this! I know the scale isn’t linear, but when I plan a trip for my family of six, you can basically multiply your daily total by 6 (gulp). It gets expensive fast!
What would you say was your single favorite thing about the trip? What will you remember most 15 years from now?
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My top 3 favorite things:
1. Harry Potter play. It was simply incredible.
2. Amsterdam. An exotic city to explore on my birthday? Yes please!
3. Carisbrooke Castle. It’s 900 YEARS old. So much history in every inch of the place!
Penny @ She Picks Up Pennies says
That’s incredible! I’d love to make it to Europe one day. Sounds like an incredible rate! And I really love the line item for the sweatshirt 🙂
You should go! It was incredible! As for the sweatshirt, full transparency when blogging and all that jazz 🙂
Maggie @ Northern Expenditure says
Sorry about the missed flight! We had a B&B in the lake district that didn’t let us in after 8pm and we had to find a last minute hotel! This stuff happens. At least you only had to pay the rebook fee! And it sounds like an awesome trip otherwise!
Ouch 🙁 I am very grateful I only had to pay $300 instead of $1k+. It was one of the only bad things to happen on the trip so I refuse to let it shadow the whole trip and ruin it. I’d do it all over again if I could!
Tabitha Wolff says
Wow, great deal on the flight to London! Definitely less than I spent when I went there in May!