Traveling in Western Europe on 100€ a Day

Traveling throughout Europe can actually be quite cheap if you do your research and reserve/buy certain things in advance. Here’s a rundown of the costs for my two week trip. We spent 3 nights in Brussels, 2 in Amsterdam, 2 in Köln, 3 in Munich and 4 in Strasbourg. I paid for one hotel and all major train tickets in advance to take advantage of lower prices and special deals.


Hotels: I try to stay in apartment or residence hotels that have a kitchenette, mostly because I hate eating in restaurants all the time, but also because it is much, much cheaper to buy your own groceries. For example, we stayed at Citadines in Brussels for €39.50 per person per night and at Citéa in Strasbourg for 37.50€. If you can’t find any apartment hotels, you can always try private rooms in hostels that have access to a guest kitchen, like at Flying Pig in Amsterdam, or book private accommodation at regular apartments owned by individuals. Staying in dorms at hostels is obviously a cheaper option (some places are only 8-10€ for a bed), but not such a good idea when you have severe insomnia and are a huge germaphobe (that would be me). Couchsurfing is of course the cheapest option of them all (free!)

Total price for hotels for 14 nights = 575€

Trains: Buy long-distance train tickets 3 months in advance for the lowest price. This means you have to be prepared and know your exact dates, but it is worth it. For shorter trips on regional trains, the price doesn’t change so you can just buy it at the station (such as a day trip to Bonn from Köln). I made sure to buy all of our train tickets as soon as I possibly could and these were the prices:

Chambéry-Paris: 22€
Paris-Brussels: 25€
Brussels-Amsterdam: 25€
Amsterdam-Köln: 21.50€
Köln-Mannheim: 29€
Mannheim-Paris: 39€
Paris-Chambéry: 22€

We also rented a car in Mannheim to use for a week while we were in Munich and Strasbourg and the price was 111€ per person, plus we both paid around 70€ for gas and NOTHING for tolls since Germany does not make you pay to drive on their roads (unlike France, or Switzerland or Austria with their stupid vignettes). I think we paid around 75€ for other trains for day-trips to Bruges, Bonn, Düsseldorf and public transportation in Brussels, Munich and Strasbourg.


Alternatively, I could have met Michelle in Brussels instead of Paris since there’s an Easyjet route from Geneva for as low as 25€. But I would have to factor in another 18€ for the trains to Geneva airport, whereas my train to Paris was 22€ and I could take as many liquids as I wanted. Not having to deal with other air passengers, metal detectors and the liquid ban is worth an extra 4€ to me.

Total transportation costs = 440€

Food: Because of the kitchenette, we always ate breakfast and dinner at the hotel and a few of the places actually had free breakfast included. For lunch, we would usually just buy something light, like sandwiches, especially on days when we would be on the train heading to a new city. Every once in a while we did have an actual meal at a restaurant, but I never spent more than 10-12€. Buying breakfast and dinner at grocery stores was incredibly cheap and I would say we never spent more than 8-10€ for those two meals each day.

Total estimate = 250€ (this is probably a bit high)

Admission: Admission to Mini Europe was 13,10€ and Europa Park was 35€, which were our biggest expenses. Anne Frank House was 8.50€, the waterfalls in Triberg were only 3.50€ and Dachau was free. The rest of the time we stayed outside since we’re more into architecture and nature than museums.  We did do a bus tour when we were in Köln (because I had blisters!) for 11€ but normally we walk everywhere.

Mini Europe

Total = about 75€

Souvenirs: Stamps to the US from Germany are 1€, from the Netherlands 0.92€, and from France 0.85€ so I’d recommend mailing your postcards from here unless you really want stamps from other countries.  I didn’t buy too many things to bring home because my suitcase and backpack were already full.

Total = about 60€

…which brings us to a grand total of about 1,400€ for 14 days away from home.  I basically saved 115€ per month for the year to pay for the trip. We got to explore 12 cities in 4 countries (sorry Luxembourg, maybe next time) so to me, it was definitely worth it.

I’ll be updating my Contributions on TripAdvisor with all 5 hotel reviews and my Travel Tips page with information on traveling around the cities I visited in a few days!

France is Distorting my Childhood Memories

I don’t watch much TV in France, and I certainly don’t like to watch American shows dubbed in French, but since Michelle and I were both sick last week we often returned to the hotel early and watched The A-Team. In French it’s called L’Agence Tous Risques and it’s like a completely different show because […]

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It’s good to be home in France, but I miss Germany. And what is happening to Belgium???

I returned home from my 2 week trip yesterday with a cold and over 800 photos. Getting back into a routine is a little hard because I’m so exhausted, but I have managed to upload Dutch, German and French realia as well as several new photo albums. We went to Brussels, Bruges, Amsterdam, Cologne, Düsseldorf, […]

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Traveling through Germanic Languages and History

I’ve been traveling for the past week through Brussels, Amsterdam, Cologne and Munich. I have been trying to listen to as much Dutch and German as possible and collect all sorts of realia to learn more vocabulary. Of course I’ve also been going to educational places like Mini Europe, which I highly recommend for learning […]

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Jennie en France #2 in Top Language Learning Blogs 2010! announced the winners of the Top 100 Language Blogs 2010 today and I was very surprised to see that Jennie en France was #2 in the Language Learning category and #3 in the overall top 100 blogs! Thank you to everyone who voted and a special thank you to Benny at (who ranked […]

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Multilingual Goodness of the Eurovision Song Contest

The Eurovision Song Contest is going on this week in Oslo and even though I’m not watching it, I am using the unofficial website to learn languages through song lyrics. It is called the Diggiloo Thrush and it includes the lyrics and translations into English of almost all of the songs ever performed for the […]

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Common Slang Verbs in Informal Spoken French: New Video

The 4th video in the informal French series: slang verbs with their standard/written counterparts, with sample sentences to illustrate their use. Don’t forget! Voting ends today at 11:59 PM French time / 5:59 PM Eastern Standard Time!

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Using Realia Resources in Language Teaching & Learning

Realia is everyday, authentic objects, such as photographs, menus, brochures, receipts, maps, movies, television shows, commercials, etc. that are used to teach and learn languages. Some researchers include any items that can be used to prompt conversations or role-play, such as telephones, but those are generally meant to be employed in the classroom with other […]

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København, Danmark

Denmark was lovely. Even with the awful weather – I should have brought my winter coat and gloves! – everything just was so pleasant. The people were nice, the food was good, and the museums were interesting. My pictures don’t do Copenhagen justice because of the dark, cloudy sky but the city is so beautiful […]

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Copenhagen for the Weekend

I am leaving once again. This time I’m off to Copenhagen to meet up with one of my oldest friends from Michigan. The weather forecast looks gloomy but I’m definitely looking forward to seeing Jessica (she just got her PhD, so it’s Dr. Jessica now!) and being in Scandinavia for the first time. We might […]

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Why is Jennie no longer in France?

I created this blog in September 2006 when I moved to France from Michigan to teach English. Many of the earlier posts are about my personal life in France, dealing with culture shock, traveling in Europe and becoming fluent in French. In July 2011, I relocated to Australia to start my PhD in Applied Linguistics. Although I am no longer living in France, my research is on foreign language pedagogy and I teach French at a university so these themes appear most often on the blog. I also continue to post about traveling and being an American abroad.


The 2nd edition of French Language Tutorial is available as a PDF book. It has been updated with much more vocabulary, sample sentences, and cultural information, plus extended vocabulary lists, cross-referenced topics, and an alphabetical index.

Visit the Store to buy the PDF e-book for $14.95 or paperback book for $29.95.