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How much spending money should I take to Europe?


“How much spending money do I need for Europe?!” is one of our most commonly asked questions. In fact, I’d say it tops our FAQ list! Planning a Europe trip is the most fun, but it can be confusing knowing how much cash to bring with all the exchange rates. Here we’ll break down why we can’t give an exact dollar amount to every traveller, and how you can work out your own spending money.

One size doesn’t fit all

The number one reason we don’t just tell people “oh bring $1000” is because one size does not fit all when it comes to spending money. Some people eat a lot more than others, some want to party all night, some are all about the Uber while others walk, and some are shopaholics (guilty). It’s impossible to give each individual traveller a budget. While your trip documents do give a generic daily budget, we’ve broken down the extras in a trip you can expect to pay for so you can come up with your own travel budget.

A woman drawing a dollar sign on a notebook, symbolizing spending money.

Food (and drinks)

Food and drinks prices vary greatly from European country to European country (Western Europe is more expensive than Eastern Europe generally). For example, big cities like Paris are more expensive, while in Greece you can score a tasty lunch for 2 Euro. A good guide is that cheaper, fast food is around 9-15 Euros, while restaurant prices start at 15 Euro and go up from there depending on how fancy you want to get. Thrifty travellers can head to the supermarket or local bakeries for a cheap feed. Check what meals are included on your Contiki and then figure out how many extra meals you’ll be paying for. A good budget would be between 40 – 70 Euros for food in a day if eating all your meals out (and how much you eat). You should also have some leftover for gelato.

Drinking is a favourite past time for many of us, and for those coming from Australia, the good news is that alcohol is MUCH cheaper in Europe. You can get decent bottles of wine for 8 Euro and beers are around 3 Euro. Cocktails do still tend to be on the expensive side, but keep your eye out for bars that have 2-4-1 deals or happy hours. Again, it’s impossible to give a budget since everyone likes to drink different amounts, but if you want a big night out, 50 Euro should be more than enough (for me anyway!).

A group of people spending money while eating food at a table.


Is H&M calling your name? Do all the souvenirs belong in your suitcase? I for one love a cheeky shop while on holidays and while some people have zero interest, some of us might need to bring an extra $500 or so to cover off their whims. How much you choose to bring is TOTALLY up to you and your tastes. If you want to buy good Florentine leather, prepare to spend 50-200 Euro, and Venetian glassware and jewellery can be anywhere from 25 – 200 Euro. I’d recommend bringing more money than you think you need… just in case.

A group of women spending money on baskets in front of a shop.

Free time add-ons

This is one of the areas where you can figure out an exact budget! Before your trip leaves you’ll get your Trip Documents via email (they’re also in My Contiki) and there will be a list of optional Free Time Add-Ons that you can do on the trip. They vary for each destination (obviously) and vary from cultural activities like a Flamenco show, to thrill-seeking pursuits like parasailing the Austrian Alps. The prices are next to them so you can peruse, choose some, all or none, and then know how much money to bring with you.

A group of people spending money while rafting down a river.

Total spending money

Once you’ve figured out your budget for food (drinks if you plan on having a few nights out), any shopping you want to do and the Free Time Add-Ons, you should have a good idea of what extra spending money you’ll need to bring to Europe. We’d still recommend a buffer of a couple hundred Euros ~just in case~. At the end of the day though just remember you should never feel pressured to eat at a certain place, buy a certain thing or spend money you don’t want to! It’s your trip, and if you’d rather have cute picnics from the supermarket, that’s 100% okay.

A man spending money.

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