When it comes to planning a holiday, budgeting is key. Although some people might be stricter than others with their budget, every traveller needs a financial plan to cover everything from food to souvenirs and sightseeing. No one wants to travel all that way only to miss out!
The trouble comes when the little costs add up; the things no one told you to budget for. Throughout my Contiki Europe trip, I noticed there were a few little things that I neglected when budgeting. These are the things I wish I knew to plan for…
Given that my trip was 45 days long, I did have to do laundry a few times. This is something I never really thought about budgeting for, assuming I’d just wash my underwear in the bathroom sink and do the rest when I got home.
The first thing to know is doing laundry isn’t expensive. Your tour guide will be able to suggest budget locations as you go. There are some hotels and hostels with self-service facilities, so depending on how much you have to wash you can go in with another traveller and split the cost.
Some locations, specifically Greece, charge per item, which can bump the price up a bit. My tour group avoided washing at these places. Then there’s a thing called ‘service wash’ where you give the hotel/campsite staff your clothes and they wash and dry, charging per kilo of clothing. When I travelled on my 8-day Croatian Island Escape, I managed to avoid doing laundry, so if you’re only on a short trip, you should be able to get away without.
Tipping is customary in many cultures. As an Australian, I’m someone who lives outside this, so again I never really gave it much thought aside from tipping my Tour Manager and Driver at the end of my trip. Tipping at restaurants can sometimes be mandatory – though his might only be a few Euros. You will also be expected to tip your walking tour guides. In European culture, not receiving a tip suggests the worker has done something wrong, hence it’s encouraged.
On bus days, you’ll stop at service stations either for lunch, a bathroom break or to stock up on snacks for he bus ride. I never even considered this, and in hindsight I should have been more aware given that I bought a lot of snacks. Everyone is different, but I found the people on my tour would buy something at most stops. Be it a bag of chips, a bottle of soft drink or a block of chocolate, I’d suggest putting away €10-15 away per bus day that you have.
Particularly in Eastern Europe, most bathroom facilities require a small payment to use the toilet (only €1 or so). I managed to get away with only using paid facilities every now and then. It’s not too much of a drama, but it’s still worth remembering so you’re not surprised. I’d suggest always having coins on you.
Taxis and Ubers
This was a big one. If you’re heading out and drinking into the early hours of the morning, the only way to get home is to taxi or Uber unless the hotel is in reasonable walking distance. I always shared with 3+ people, so the taxi ride was never too expensive as we divided the cost. The price can vary majorly but I tended to spend €5-10 on taxi and Uber services.