To be able to take time out of the standard 9-5 live to travel full time is something we will forever be grateful for. We wish that we had a never-ending money pot so that we could fit in all of the travels we want to do all across the world.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the case, so we thought we’d do a breakdown of what we spent in our first month of full-time motorhome travels around Europe and the UK, to hopefully help give you an idea of how much a month long trip around Europe costs.
Obviously, the cost will be different for everyone depending on your Europe budget, the things you want to do and how much spending money you have.
For us, we’re on a tight budget, so we try not to over-spend on anything and have been quite careful with how we have been spending our money, as we want our travels to last as long as possible.
Within our first month we travelled France and part of Italy. We travelled almost 2500 miles. We were travelling quite quickly as there was just so much we wanted to see and do, of course if you plan to take your travels more slowly, then you will most likely spend even less.
Our travel costs breakdown is based specifically on van life travel costs, which is the way that we travel. If you are backpacking or travelling in a different way, then the cost may be completely different.
Let’s get into the details of our Europe trip budget.
The Cost Breakdown
When embarking on such an adventure, the first question on your mind is likely to be about cost. Let’s dive in and analyse the key factors that influence your expenses.
While travelling in a motorhome or campervan, accommodation prices are significantly reduced, but not entirely eliminated. You will need to pay for camping sites or motorhome parks, which can vary widely in price depending on location and facilities. The average cost of accommodation is around £20 per night, adding up to approximately £600 for the month.
Food and Drink
Eating out in Europe can range from affordable to pricey, depending on the city or country and the type of restaurant. However, one of the benefits of travelling in a campervan is that you have the option to cook for yourself and make your own meals each night, which can significantly reduce your food expenses. Plan to budget about £10-£20 per day for groceries, making the monthly cost approximately £300-£600.
As you will be covering a lot of miles, the cost of fuel is a significant part of your budget. The price of diesel varies across Europe, but on average, you might expect to pay around £1.20 per litre. If you cover an average of 100 miles per day at a rate of 10 miles per litre, your monthly fuel cost will be approximately £360.
Activities and Sightseeing
Europe is filled with incredible sights and experiences, many of which have an entrance fee. From museums in Paris to cable cars in the Swiss Alps, expect to budget around £10-£20 per day for a day trip and attractions, adding up to £300-£600 for the month.
Considerations for Reducing Costs
Seasonality and Timing
The cost of travelling can vary widely depending on the season and popular destinations. Travelling in the off-peak season, generally between October and April, can help save on camping fees, hotels and attractions.
Being flexible with your itinerary can also help save money. Some countries are significantly more expensive than others, for example Eastern Europe is much less expensive than Western Europe, so mixing up your journey to include both high-cost and lower-cost countries can help balance out the overall expense.
Cost to travel Europe for 1 Month Breakdown
|Monthly Expenses||Month 1 – £|
|Lottie Pet Insurance||10.41|
|Music Subscription (Spotify/Apple Music, Etc.)||9.99|
|Miscellaneous (park fees, gifts, etc)||41|
Overall, our first month spending was roughly where we wanted it to be, which we’re really pleased about. We thought we might overspend as it was our first month, we didn’t know how much things were going to cost so it was unknown to us.
Now that we know more about the cost of things and we learn as we go on, we can use this to help us plan our future travels.
We have split our costs into monthly expenses and changing expenses. The monthly expenses are fixed items that will come out of our bank account and cost the same every month, so we know that these are standard costs.
The changing expenses are things that will change every month depending on where we are travelling and the cost of living in these places.
We use a Monzo travel card to help us budget our travels and we’d highly recommend them to anyone who wants to have a better handle on their finances.
Fuel is our biggest outgoing cost, especially at the moment due to the increased fuel prices following the Coronavirus pandemic, and also, at the time of writing this post (March 2022) Russia are invading Ukraine and that also has resulted in an increase in fuel prices.
The reason for this is that a massive proportion of the world’s fuel comes from Russia, especially in Italy as 45% of their fuel actually comes from Russia.
We always knew that transportation costs would be one of the highest costs for us.
You will see we have spent a very small amount on gas so far. We have a Gaslow refillable gas system, which we have spoken about in our van tour YouTube video if you would like to find out more.
We have found this to be a lot more of a cost-effective option than swapping out gas bottles, and also a more widely accessible option.
We are travelling in off-season so, especially at the start of our travels, it was quite cold so we have used our gas for heating, cooking, our fridge and hot water, so you will see how little this has cost us.
Food is our second biggest outgoing. We have actually only eaten out maybe twice in this month. If you look at the cost of eating out, £93.45, this is quite expensive, but this is because the places that we did eat out were expensive touristy spots, which brings inflated prices.
Our biggest food cost has been our supermarket shops. The cost of food also seems to have increased we feel since the coronavirus pandemic.
We have spent more than we wanted to or expected to on campsites. We didn’t pay too much for campsites in France as there is an abundance of good, cheap or free places to park-up, but we have found this to be different in Italy.
It’s more difficult to find free places to park, and when you read the reviews of free spots, there does seem to be an increase in the crime rates, so we have found ourselves paying for campsites more often, just for the added motorhome security.
Tolls is also something we have spent a lot more on since coming to visit Italy. We didn’t use any toll roads at all in France but used them a lot more often in Italy because for some journeys they save hours and hours of driving time.
When you are travelling and driving as much as we are, some days you just want to save hours where you can.
Also, the roads are not very good in Italy. They are full of potholes and not in good condition. This is another reason we chose to take toll roads as the motorways are the best roads.
The backroads can also be small and difficult to navigate in a large motorhome or campervan, which can make for stressful driving, so this is the reason we spent quite a lot on toll roads in Italy.
We would say our monthly cost increased a lot in Italy compared to France, due to the increase in paying for more campsites and toll roads.
There are also a few other outgoings such as the cost to get the Eurotunnel, our travel insurance and motorhome insurance, which we haven’t factored into these costs as we paid for these transport costs up-front before we started our travels, so it’s important to bear in mind extra costs like these.
In-Depth Travel Tips
Now that we have an understanding of the cost structure, let’s delve a bit deeper into some budgeting tips and how we can make the most of our month-long European adventure in a motorhome.
Navigating Road Tolls
Driving in Europe can often involve road tolls, especially on motorways and bridges. In most countries, like France, Italy, and Spain, you can expect to pay between £1 to £2 per 10 miles. Therefore, it’s important to factor this into your budget, especially if your route includes these countries.
Saving on Food and Drink
While we’ve already accounted for food and drink in our budget, there are ways to save on these costs. Shopping at local markets and cooking in your campervan not only saves money but also allows you to enjoy fresh, local produce. Plus, it’s a fantastic opportunity to interact with the locals and learn about their cuisine and culture.
Getting the Right Insurance
Before you set off, make sure your insurance covers you for travelling abroad. The cost of insurance will vary based on factors like the value of your campervan, your age, and your driving history. However, it is a critical part of your budget, as it can protect you from unforeseen costs due to accidents or theft.
Choosing Free Activities
There are plenty of free activities to enjoy across Europe. From hiking in the stunning national parks to sightseeing and exploring the beautiful beaches of the Mediterranean, these experiences add value to your journey without adding to the cost. Consider researching free attractions and activities in each destination before your visit.
Understanding Local Laws
Europe is a collection of diverse countries, each with its own laws and regulations regarding motorhomes. Some countries, like Germany and France, have an extensive network of free motorhome parking areas, while others may have more restrictions. Understanding these laws and planning your route accordingly can help avoid unexpected costs.
Being Mindful of the Environment
While on the road, we must consider our impact on the environment. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Consider reducing waste by opting for reusable items instead of single-use plastics. Carry reusable water bottles, shopping bags, and utensils.
Follow the principle of ‘leave no trace’ when camping. Dispose of your waste responsibly, don’t light fires where they’re not permitted, and respect the wildlife.
We really hope this post has helped you to understand how much it may cost to travel Europe for a month and hope it has reassured you that it doesn’t have to be too expensive and that it is possible to do on a budget.
We will be doing this travel budget break down for each month of our travels, so that we can see how the cost compares when we travel to different countries.
If you have any questions at all, please do leave a comment on this post, we would be happy to help!
What is the average cost of camping sites in Europe?
The average cost can vary widely, from as low as £10 in Eastern Europe to over £30 in Western Europe, with an average of around £20.
Is it cheaper to cook for yourself when travelling in Europe?
Yes, cooking for yourself can significantly reduce your food costs, with groceries typically costing £10-£20 per day.
How much does fuel cost in Europe?
Diesel costs vary across Europe, but on average, you can expect to pay around £1.20 per litre.
How much should I budget for activities and attractions in Europe?
Plan to budget around £10-£20 per day for attractions, but this could increase if you plan to visit more expensive sights such as theme parks or guided tours.
Can I save money by travelling in the off-peak season?
Absolutely, travelling in the off-peak season can help save on camping fees and attractions, and you’ll also enjoy the benefit of less crowded destinations.
Keep up with our full-time van life travels over on our YouTube channel! If you enjoy our videos, please give us a thumbs up and subscribe to our channel 🙂 – Three As A Bird – Vanlife Travel – YouTube
You can take a look at some of our other van life posts which include lots and lots of hints and tips on all things van life here – Van Life – Travel Information, Hints, Tips and Advice
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I love everything about travel, from seeing new places, learning about new cultures and trying new foods! I believe that travel is one of the best forms of education you can get, I have learnt so much about myself and about the world from travelling all over. Travel is something I feel so passionately about, and I love the fact that we are now lucky enough to have this opportunity to do what we love as much as we can, it’s a dream come true.
Before we started travelling, I worked in local government in administration. I had been in this job for several years and had reached a complete brick wall where I was so fed up, but didn’t know what else to do. The only thing I knew that I wanted to do was to travel, and had wanted to do that for many years.
There were hundreds and hundreds of places on my wishlist that I wanted to go to, and I knew that going on a weeks holiday maybe twice a year if we were lucky wasn’t going to cut it.
After being in lockdown due to the Covid pandemic, and working from home staring at the same 4 walls every day, 2021 seemed like the perfect time for us to take the risk to finally do what we had dreamed of for so long.
It was a hard decision to completely change our lives, but so far it has been the best decision we have ever made!