How much does a 9 week road trip cost?

In 2018 we went on a 9 week road trip through Europe. We took the car and just drove with a rough route in mind. We booked an apartment for the first few nights, and did the rest “from the hip”. How much does a 9 week road trip cost? That is what’s up next!

Want to see what we did? Check out these posts:

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: Pisa
9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Pisa

How much does a 9 week road trip cost?

So, how much does a 9 week road trip cost? Not as much as you might think! Albeit it’s still a fair amount of money. Just to make sure you have the facts straight, this is what we did:

  • We used our own car (a Prius) to haul 3 people around + luggage
  • We only used booking.com and Airbnb to find places to stay
  • These placed always need to have a kitchen, wifi and a fridge (so no hotels)
  • We (try to) primarily eat a whole food plant based die and rarely go out to dinner (plus, Miss CF cannot sit still anyways!). We primarily cook our own food. During the 62 days, we went out to dinner a whopping 3 times
  • We HATE parking fees, so we rarely stayed in places without their own parking spot
  • To make things more interesting, we included our 4,5 year old kid for the ride
  • We included fuel, accommodations, cost for excursion/admissions, travel insurance, food and ferry expenses
  • Not included are health insurance (didn’t need any additional coverage) or car depreciation

Accommodation

We travelled for 62 days, thus needed 61 nights with accommodation. We never booked more than about 3 days in advance via Airbnb and Booking.com. We ended up paying €3.454 om total or €56,62 per night on average. This also included any booking fees.

https://twitter.com/CheesyFinance/status/997479657762181120

We stayed in vacation rentals, people’s extra rooms/studio and entire houses/condo’s. We stayed at the beach, in the mountains, in both disaster and dream locations. It was really all over the map.

Experiences were generally good, couple of misses, but northing major. In general, the more you pay the better it gets. Not really surprising. We ended up staying in places for just €40 per night all the way up to €85 per night (private beach access!).

Food and Groceries

Since we rarely went out to dinner and cooked most of the times, we managed to keep the food expenses at €1.231 or €19,85 per day (for 3). Honestly, we though we were doing it pretty luxurious! Lot’s of fresh stuff, fruit, luxury breads and baked goods, etc.

Transport & Ferries

The fuel, parking and ferries totalled €908. Fuel was about 60% of this. The ferry across from Italy to Croatia was pretty expensive, but we needed to take the car across obviously (driving around was no option). We drove a total of about 6.800km, a bit more than we planned (~6.500km), but not much. Fortunately the Prius is not very thirsty (and fuel is cheaper than in the Netherlands!).

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 3: Boat
9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 3: Boat

Anyhow, expenses were about €14,65/day to move us around in relative comfort.

Excursions and Admissions

All of our excursions, admissions, city bus tours, etc. totalled €723 (€11,66/day). This could have been much worse, but we just refuse to pay certain entrance fees. We, for example, didn’t enter the tower of Pisa because of the fees (over €20 p.p. on average), same with the Colosseum in Rome and some other attractions.

We did however went into Pompeii, several musea and the walls of Dubrovnik for example. We made a calculated decision on what we believed was worth it and what wasn’t. Also the waiting times/available time slots played into the equation.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 3: Dubrovnik from north wall
9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 3: Dubrovnik from north wall

Other Costs

We had several other random expenses (including travel insurance) and a couple of issues, including getting screwed at an Italian gas station due to a faulty pump. The person behind ended us got free diesel and we didn’t get fuck all (we didn’t realize this until a week later). Tried to correct this with the bank (our car does not even use diesel!), but to no avail. Still pissed about this, but we tried everything to fix it and failed. Have to let this go (and next time in Italy use a credit card and we will never, ever, visit an Eni again in life!)

Total other costs were €225 (€3,63/day).

Grand Total Damage

For those not great at math (or lazy), the total damage was €6.541 (€105,5/day). See also the following pretty graphs with the distribution:

How much does a 9 week road trip cost? Expenses overview
How much does a 9 week road trip cost? Expenses overview
How much does a 9 week road trip cost? Expenses overview in percentages
How much does a 9 week road trip cost? Expenses overview in percentages

Our budget was about €9.500-10.000 (we were aiming for €150 per day maximum, with room for one “oops” during trip). We did pretty good here and didn’t have the feeling we were on the cheap at all! Oh, no travel hacking here anywhere either. We wanted maximum flexibility in how we moved around.

How much do you normally spend on a holiday on a daily basis?

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14 Comments

  1. That’s less than I spend on my 4-week road trip to the US three years ago for just me. I spend about € 6,700 in the US. I did go eat out a bit more often, oh and spend about € 2,000 on business class. Was a wonderful experience though also only crazy expensive experience (so far). Well done keeping it so low with three incl. a small child.

  2. Well done. We once went to the US with our 4 children. Turned out to be very affordable since we planned everything ourselves instead of using a tour operator or travel legacy.

  3. great numbers!!
    You know, 9 weeks holiday on a year – I never had. I am a little jealous (a little more, ok 😀 )

    1. So you are telling me that for about €15 a day we could sleep in a nice bed and have a full sized kitchen available? I’ll take that 😉

      P.s. we are considering going camping for the summer! In peak season it is one of the better ways to keep costs in reign!

  4. Lol that you monitored the financials in such detail! Great!

    We started last month with our 6-months Eurotrip. Our budget is about 60€ a day, but are always staying at camping ( with playgrounds for the kids )

    Were there large differences in expenses in different countries? Can we expect lower expenses (food/entrance fees/ etc) in East European countries ?

    Summer is approaching. Are there already any crazy plans for this summer?

    1. Hey Willem, you know us, bunch of crazies 😉
      We did see lower cost of housing the further south we went, with the exception of some touristic area and placed close to the water. Food and stuff didn’t change much, neither did fuel or activities.

      No definite plans for the summer, probably not a road trip as the little one doesn’t like the driving much. Will see!

    1. Going the Airbnb route is definitely more expensive than camping. We thought about taking the camping gear along, but decided against it as we wanted to keep it more luxurious 😉

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