Europe trip super low budget: 3 weeks in 2 lakhs! - eNidhi India Travel Blog

Europe trip super low budget: 3 weeks in 2 lakhs!

I completed my 3 weeks Europe trip for about 2.1 lakhs INR, everything included. 17 days in Europe, 2 days in India Europe travel, another 2 days Udupi to Mumbai travel- a total of 21 days away from home.

Before you read further, please understand the following

  • My trip was in the off season. Same trip in peak season (summer) may easily cost 1.5-2x more as flights, hotels, entry tickets etc will cost more. Read this post for pros and cons of visiting Europe in Off Season.
  • I am not saying everyone can explore Europe in this budget-particularly if you have family, baggage, senior citizens, kids or don't want to miss any attraction/experience then most of my practices won’t work. 
  • My trip was not luxurious or most comfortable. I’ve made several compromises to save money. If you can’t do that, spend a bit more.
  • I’ve spent a minimum time in different cities and countries and saw only the most important attractions. You can easily spend weeks in each European city and explore it in detail. But I didn’t have such a luxury of time and money so I chose what I felt was adequate. You can customize as per your choice, priorities and budget.
  • Most of my tickets and bookings were non refundable, non changeable. I took a risk- would have lost 100% if things didn't go as planned. I lost about 3 days to various train, flight cancellations and rain but rest of the trip went fine. (these disruptions can happen all the time irrespective of your budget, planning). Flexible tickets cost a bit more.

Below is the quick breakup of my Europe trip expenses, everything included



Amount in INR



India Europe return flight


Lufthansa-Swiss Air 

No checked bag, booked 9 months advance. Details


Schengen Visa


7500 embassy fee

2800 VFS fee

800 VFS assurance

Another 3500 home to Blr travel cost, document xerox/print out etc


Stay in Europe


Hostels only


Europe local flights


With cabin baggage only




Athens Budapest


Europe local travel bus & trains



Venice to Florence to Rome to Naples

Budapest to Bratislava, Vienna to Paris


Day tours & Cruise



Madrid- Segovia & Avila

Athens 3 island cruise + optional tours

River cruise in Budapest


Food, Grocery, coffee, water/juices, fruits, snacks etc


Cooked at hostel on half the time

Limited restaurant purchases, still had to spend 15-20 Euro/day


City travel


Day Pass/public transport tickets, airport to city, attraction entry fees


Miscellaneous expenses


Toilet usage fee, locker usage fee, laundry expense, other misc expenses and small buffer for anything I might have missed accounting.




Chocolates, umbrella, poncho & few other essentials


India travel expenses


Udupi Mumbai & return trains, Stay in Mumbai, Mumbai local expenses




TSIM Europe, airtel SIM international roaming, travel insurance, gloves etc

Purchase of few items for the trip



My ICICI multi currency forex card cost me some 90.76 INR per Euro, which I have used for above conversions. Had a few Euros which I had bought several years ago when 1 Euro was 72 rupees.

If I had not bought chocolates for family & colleagues, if I was little more careful on food spend I could have wrapped up the trip in under 2 lakhs.

You will also need to understand what all I did in Europe to relate. Mine was a rapid visit focused on exploring most important attractions in key towns. Many spend weeks in one European city- I didn’t have that much time.


Main activities



Udupi-Mumbai train

Night flight to Europe

A twitter friend hosted me for the day in Mumbai



Arrive in Paris, rest

Reached hostel 4 PM


Paris local- Eiffel tower, Notre Dame, War memorial, Louvre, few parks, museums and other attractions in Paris


Flight to Lisbon

Explore Lisbon town main attractions

Night bus to Madrid


Madrid local explorations


Day trip to Toledo from Madrid

25 Euros


Day trip to Segovia and Aliva from Madrid 

51 Euros


Flight to Venice

Venice local explorations on foot and boat bus


Train to Florence, was raining, took bus to Rome

Night Rome local explorations

Couldn’t explore Florence due to rains


Rome local, evening bus to Florence


Florence to Milan, Milan to Athens

Full day lost in travel due to Easyjet cancellation


Athens local, mostly on foot


3 island cruise from Athens

120 Euros + 39 optional tours, most expensive day


Athens’ highest hill

Evening flight to Budapest


Budapest local exploration

River cruise

Night bus to Bratislava


Bratislava local exploration

UFO Watchtower

Evening bus to Vienna


Vienna Local explorations

Got free hotel due to train cancellation


Vienna to Nürnberg, Stuttgart, Stuttgart to Paris

Full day in travel due to previous night sleeper train cancellation.


Paris Air and Space Museum visit

Meeting relatives



Paris to Zurich, Zurich to Mumbai


Arrive in Mumbai, day in Mumbai, evening train to Udupi 

How did I save money on Europe trip?

1 Traveled in the off Season: 

Off-season travel is cheap. Flights, hotel, entry fees etc are cheaper, but visiting Europe in winter has its own pros and cons. Read this post for a detailed analysis. Same trip in summer would have easily cost 1.5-2x more.

2 Managed with one cabin bag. 

My India Europe ticket was Economy light, with no checked baggage. I didn’t pay for checked bags, so this saved lots of money on flight tickets. (Still had to pay a bit extra to RyanAir and Easyjet for the cabin bag) I didn’t have to hire a taxi anywhere and could walk a lot with my bags if needed. Had to spend some money on laundry service to wash, dry and reuse my clothes but that was a lot cheaper. 

I carried only 4-5 pairs, used them for a week, used the laundry service to get them washed, and reused them again for next week.

If you can’t manage with minimum luggage, be ready to pay more. Airline ticket, taxi cost, locker cost etc will pile up to a substantial amount.

Watch this video to see what all I have packed for Europe trip [Watch on Youtube

3 Saved on food:

All hostels had kitchens. So I carried pickle packets from India, bought rice and curd or ready to eat items from grocery stores and made my own food on most days. This helped me have a mean for under 2-3 euros while a restaurant visit would have cost me easily 15-20 euros.

Still my food expenses reached 33k for 19-20 days or approx 20 Euros per day:

  • On a couple of days I spent fairly on Indian restaurants- like Saravana Bhavan in Rome, few other Indian restaurants in other countries and so on. 
  • Had to spend on airport food on 2-3 occasions as I couldn’t work out alternatives. (1 coffee, 2 pieces of croissants, 2 packs of fruit cut was 25 Euros in Switzerland Zurich Airport)
  • A cup of coffee, some apple/banana, a tetra pack of some juice, some croissant or other bread items easily add up to 5-6 Euros. Have it 2 times  a day, 10 Euros.
  • I didn’t experiment a lot on food- tried a slice of Italian Pizza in Venice, tried Veg Burgers in Athens etc -other than these stuck to basic food I was familiar and comfortable with.
  • If you are particular about food, wish to try various local dishes or want to spend generously on food and alcohol you can easily spend 50+ euros per day per person
  • I managed with tap water as much as possible, had to buy bottle water only on 3 times

Saved on travel:

I walked a lot. On an average at least 5 to 6 kms every day, on some days as much as 15-20 kms morning till night. My shoes are all worn out now. Didn’t hire a single taxi. Used public transport all the time. On many occasions when the destination is just 1.5-2 kms away, walking directly makes more sense than going to a nearby metro station, walking half a km till the right platform, waiting for a train, traveling like 1, 1.5km and then walking another 500 meters to the destination.

Lots of times it was not very comfortable experience walking 1 to 2 kms with bags in cold weather. Temptation was high to spend 7-10 euro and take a taxi. But if I keep spending on taxis, even 3-4 per day, over 20 days I would have spent 500-1000 Euros just on taxi. 1000 Euro is the cost of my entire trip to South Korea... If I save here, I can spend on some other trips in future.

If you can't walk a lot your options are

- Buy hop on, hop off tour tickets (20 to 40 Euros)

- Buy city tour package from travel agency (40 to 60 Euros approx)

- Use public transport more

- Spend on taxi, tuk tuk or other modes of transport

- Try hiring a bike/car/electric scooter like lime.

Where possible I took unlimited travel day passes that cost anywhere between 4 Euros to 32 Euros (4 Euro in Bratislava, 7 Euros in Rome, 15 in Budapest (with airport travel), 32 in Venice (with airport travel) etc. This gives me a freedom to board any bus, train or tram without worrying much. 

Saved on flights & local travel

  • I booked an India Europe non refundable ticket for 38k last June, without any guarantee of getting visa, leave and if I can travel. I would have lost it 100% if I couldn’t travel. The gamble paid off.
  • Booked within Europe flights also early.
  • Austria to Paris ticket I didn’t book on time and lost money- what would have cost me 45 Euros went up to 90 Euros as I delayed booking by few days.

Skipped attractions I felt not worth

Gondola ride is a popular activity in Venice- but it costs 80 Euros for 30 minutes (50 to 60 if you can bargain during off season)- but I didn’t see a value in spending on this. I saw others enjoying the ride, decided to skip. Similarly skipped going up Eiffel towers- costs around 2800, long waiting time and with cloudy sky wasn’t very sure of the view.

I decided not to go inside Louvre Museum in Paris due to the huge crowd and waiting time. 

Some of you may think these are must do activities. That would be your call. I didn’t think so, hence could skip and move to the next attraction. If you don’t want to miss anything, then factor more time, more money and plan.

But I did spend where I felt like- took a 1 day 3 island cruise from Athens costing me 120 Euros plus 39 Euro on optional island tours, took day trips from Madrid spending 25 and 51 Euros, visited the Air & Space Museum in Paris, took a few river cruises etc. Without all these trip would have been another 250 Euros cheaper but then what is the point if we can't spend time effectively to our satisfaction?

Saved on Stay

I stayed in budget hostels costing about 15 to 20 Euros per night, one third of what hotels would cost. Hostel prices have shot up after covid. In 2019 and 2017 I was able to get hostels for around 10 Euros per night, now it is 2x more.

Hostels are cheap but I have to compromise on privacy, have to use shared bathrooms and comply with various rules they have.

In one hostel they had see through showers- wasn’t very comfortable so took bath at 3 AM to avoid having to share bathroom with others.

Overall stay was fine.

I took several risks

  • I didn’t have anyone to guide me around- did my own research, plan and bookings.  If I failed to reach right airport/bus stop/train platform on time I might have easily missed the bus/train flight and end up shelling 5x more for last minute ticket
  • I didn’t pre-book local tours etc- just walked in, spoke to people and booked. If a tour had sold out I had to return empty-handed. Again off season advantage
  • I had to manage disruptions- bad weather, flight cancellation, train cancellation etc on my own. Got some help from a relative based in Germany
  • I was traveling solo- if my health went bad, if I got robbed or anything else to happen- I had no one to assist. But luckily nothing of that sort happened. Always had to cross check if my wallet, mobile, passport etc are in place, had to carry bags into the toilet because I can’t keep them out. Couldn’t risk losing my guard or sleeping freely as I had to be mindful of the next bus/train/flight or activity- where to go, how to reach, what time to start, what if bus is not available and so on. It adds to stress and discomfort. But that is part of travel experience for me.

So it is very much possible to travel in Europe in extreme low budget, but you should be prepared for the following

  • Walk a lot and use public transport, instead of spending on taxi
  • Ability to manage with minimum bags
  • Willingness to compromise on luxury stay and book hostels/cheap hotels
  • Better planning to check prices and book India Europe as well as within Europe flights/trains/buses well in advance
  • Willingness to take some risks and handle disruptions like flight cancellations etc without help from a travel agency or anyone else
  • Being ready to travel off season, in cold weather and readiness to skip some attractions that may be closed or under maintenance
  • Put lots of effort into understanding how various systems and processes works and comply. There will not be any human to assist you in most places- if you miss a bus or train because you couldn’t reach on time or couldn’t locate the platform, you are on your own and will have to shell lots of money for a new ticket.

You may not have the inclination to save every penny, undertake lots of hardship and do a trip in extreme low budget. Pick whatever aspect suits you and save, where not possible spend more and go for better options.


Same trip through a package tour organized by a travel agency will cost 3 times more, due to following reasons.

  • Tour packages won’t have hostels, they book hotels which give them commission, so more cost
  • Tour packages won’t ask you to take train or bus from airport-they organize a taxi or van which costs more money
  • First and last day are kept without any plan as they won’t know flight timings. Most of their day starts 8 or 9 AM as people need time to get ready, have breakfast etc. My day may start at 5 AM if needed.
  • While a few tours will be included in the package, lots of things will be optional extra or excluded, so you will still have to spend a fair amount of money for things not covered in the package- like lunch, additional tours etc over and above the package cost
  • When you buy a package, Indian tour operators need to make an earning, their European partner needs to make money, Govt needs 5% GST so the package is always more expensive than managing things on your own
Let me know if you have any questions.


  1. Lot of useful information. Thanks for the post.

  2. So much information. Very useful to many

  3. Excellent Sir, super useful to many. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Good to see you back . Very informative 👏🏻👏🏻😊

  5. Probably spending 40-50k more you would have had easily more comfortable trip as due to price rise bare minimum has increased in europe.

    1. Yes, there is no upper limit to spending. We have draw a line

  6. Really liked the plan of carrying less clothes, pickels and small gadgets like goPro. Also the printed stuff is useful. It's really great you managed it around 2 lakhs.. Very inspiring. Thank you for sharing this.

  7. Replies
    1. thanks. You can try whatever part of it works for you

  8. It is always inspiring how you managed to travel Europe with so much less money and baggage.

  9. Should have gone in a group + booked Airbnb .

    1. Yes. For a group hiring taxi, hotel rooms/airBnB etc might work out

  10. So elaborately written and told in a practical manner, your travel saga would surely help others plan better , save money and think of executing at budget, what we perceive to be a luxury destination, out of bound for middle class Indians. Thanks a ton for all your efforts and dedication .

  11. Any suggestions on reaching right airport or train station and getting to right platform? Did u do all research before leaving or figured it out from locals there.

    1. If a city has lots of airports or an airport has lots of terminals do some research ahead and be sure which one your flight is operating. Tickets usually call out the terminal and airport. gate or Platform you have to figure out after reaching

      Once you know where you have to go Google map is fairly accurate. If in doubt cross check with hotel staff or locals

      Always keep some buffer time in case you were wrong.

  12. The way you restrain yourself from spending money is commendable. It’s not easy for anyone to hold back and cut down on expenses especially when the destination is one of the European cities.

  13. The way you restrain yourself from spending money is commendable. It’s not easy for anyone to hold back and cut down on expenses especially when the destination is one of the European cities.

  14. The way you restrain yourself from spending money is commendable. It’s not easy for anyone to hold back and cut down on expenses especially when the destination is one of the European cities.

  15. hi
    i just only came to know about the article, surely prices have changed by now.
    what is your opinion about cross country bus trip in europe, say land in some schengen countries and travel across. I have gone to UK,Spain and greece, so that i can avoid those countries.
    If you happen to see this in 2024, please opine

    thanks and regards

    1. I have done Copenhagen to Berlin by bus a decade ago..

      This article is less than an year old- but you can factor 10-20% increase in price

      Best wishes


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