Backpack Europe eiffel tower

Budgeting and Money Matters

Because your trip will be specific to your needs, Jana Olutola of World Class Travel recommends seeing a travel agent to help calculate all of your expenses, but here I will give you some basic tips and an overview of important costs to consider. Plus, some tips about how to keep your money safe.

The very first thing you must do in preparation for departure is to figure out how much money you have available for your trip. Then, you can separate “before you leave expenses” from “while you’re there expenses,” and calculate how long you can stay.

Before you leave:

Passport: $75 to $100

Any visas. You may need a visa if you plan on visiting Belarus, Albania, Macedonia or Russia. See helpful links for more information

Plane Ticket: $500 to $1500 depending on when and where you fly and what type of ticket you purchase.

Rail Passes: anywhere from $150 to more than $1000. Again, this depends on where you travel. See the transportation page for more information regarding Rail and Plane ticket information

Backpack: $85 to $250. This is a good thing to ask Santa Claus for.

Other travel accessories, such as a sleep sheet and towel for hostels, umbrella and toiletry case. You may already have some of this stuff, but travel odds and ends will enhance your experience immensely. You don't want to be uncomfortable during your trip, you want to enjoy it!

While you’re there:

Unfortunately, traveling isn’t cheap. According to guideforeurope.com you should budget at least $60-75 US dollars per day for eating, sleeping and leisure. You want to aim for $75, but do not budget less than $60.

After you subtract the "before you go" expenses from what you have. Divide your remaining funds by 75 (to be safe), and that will give you an idea of how long you can afford to travel. Like I said, traveling is not cheap.

It is, of course, up to you how you spend your money. There are many ways to get more bang for your buck while traveling. You don’t have to eat at restaurants to get a taste for the local flavor. You can save money on lodging if you couch surf (see lodging), but you don't want to get all the way to Europe only to spend your days in a hostel because you don't have enough money to really enjoy the amazing places you're visiting.

Safety

Included in those travel accesories I mentioned earlier is a money belt, which you can order online for around $15. The money belt deserves special mention because it is not just a comfort, but a necessity. This belt with a small, zippered pouch is designed to be worn underneath your shirt and protect you from pick-pockets. As travel guide author, Rick Steves says, your money belt is as essential and secure as your underpants.

You should not be digging in your money belt for every purchase. It is designed to keep hidden important documents, credit cards and extra cash. Keep only the money you need for the day handy and think of the money belt as storage, says Steves.

Travel Insurance is a great idea. Some travel insurance covers medical expenses, while other coverage plans insure you in the event of trip cancellation or lost baggage. Prices depend on what kind of coverage you get and how much your trip costs. Package deals could cost you more than $1,000 whereas just medical coverage could be less than $100.

Student and Youth Discounts

There are several organizations that offer student or youth discounts for people under 26. You buy a membership card with an organization such as ISIC (usually around $20) and get discounts on hostels, entertainment or goods.