I’m writing this at four in the morning. Wrapped in a thick blanket and sipping a cup of tea, I have given up on catching some sleep tonight. I seem to have left my mind in Europe, unable to adjust. Every time I close my eyes, I am bombarded with an endless succession of wonderful memories from our Euro trip. I still can’t believe two months went by that quickly. It feels like it was just yesterday. It’s been a week but I still look at prices and count in euro. It’s been a week but it’s like I could still sense the sweet scent of truffle and waffles. Water tastes like beer. Or wine.

It’s been a week since we wrapped up our two-month backpacking journey around Europe, the first of three Euro trips that we’ve been planning for the next couple of years in an effort to visit all countries in Europe. On this leg, we visited 16 countries. It took careful, meticulous planning because we wanted to do as much as we could within the short time the embassy allowed.

As soon as we announced we were in Europe, our inbox was flooded with inquiries asking for more details. We promised to share our full itinerary and cost in a blog post. Well, ladies and gentlemen, this post is NOT it. Not yet. We’ll share the details of our entire two months in another post soon. In the meantime, we’ll tell you HOW we planned our trip and HOW you can plan yours, instead of simply posting our itinerary. Here are the reasons for that:

  • We all have different dreams and tastes. There are items in our bucket list that may not be in yours. There are experiences we would love to try but you wouldn’t even dare.
  • We all have different budget and time restrictions. We were allowed to stay in Europe by the German embassy for 60 days. Initially, we wanted to stay longer —- our original plan is 3 months! —- but our budget forced us to trim it down to just 2. All in all, we spent around P250,000 for our 2-month stay (including airfare, tours, visa fees).
  • If you have a bigger or smaller budget and your dream destinations vary greatly from ours, there really is no point in simply sharing our itinerary. Besides, planning a trip to Europe goes beyond simply building an itinerary. There are a lot of things to consider. The cost of living, climate, language, and the culture in general vary from country to country, which will all affect your preparation.

Anyway, here’s the method we took in order to successfully fulfill our dream European adventure, presented as a step-by-step guide!

1. Determine your budget.

First things first: How much is your budget?

Your budget will dictate how long you can stay in Europe, where you will be staying, and what places you can visit.

Let’s assume that you have a P125,000 budget for this trip.

Immediately, let’s subtract P30,000 from your budget for your airfare. Trust me, you can find roundtrip fares for many major cities in Europe for less than P30,000.

2. Determine WHEN you want to go.

The summer months of June-August are considered high season (peak season) in most parts of Europe. Because of the sunshiny skies, it is the most touristy time of the year. Hence, prices go up! If you’re on a budget, you might want to avoid this and consider the shoulder months of September-November instead.

But the weather isn’t the only thing you need to take into account. Is there any event you would like to experience but can only be enjoyed at certain times of the year? If you would like to experience Oktoberfest, go to Munich in mid-September (but expect the hotel and tour rates to skyrocket)! If you want to see the Northern Lights in the Nordic countries, visit between mid-September to mid-March but consider the moon’s brightness too for greater chances of seeing the aurora.

If you have events you MUST MUST MUST experience, use it as your starting point and work from there.

If you don’t have any, then you can be much more flexible.

3. List down all your must-visits!

Are there any destinations you’ve always dreamed of visiting? Is Paris something you can’t miss? Did you make a vow to attend the papal mass at the Vatican? Are you a big fan of the Sound of Music and you just NEED to see the locations in person?

For this exercise, let’s call them “must-visits.” These are your non-negotiables. Meaning, whatever happens, you HAVE TO make a stop at these cities. These are the reasons you’re traveling to Europe in the first place.


List them all down. Don’t edit it yet. It’s easy to travel within Europe, so just write them down and we’ll figure it out later.

For example, let’s say that here are your must-visits:


4. Find out lodging costs.

Cost of accommodations varies greatly from one city to another. For example, hotels in Prague are unbelievably cheap while Reykjavik seems like it wants your soul with your money. There are A LOT of cheap lodging options in Europe. It doesn’t always have to be a full-service hotel. There are no-frills hotels, hostels, dorms, and AirBnB options!

At this point, you should already know if you’re traveling alone or part of a group. This will affect your expenses and accommodation choices significantly.

  • If you’re traveling alone and you’re concerned about the budget, consider booking dorm beds. It’s waaay cheaper than booking a private room. (Even single rooms can be pricey.) It’s also a great way to meet other travelers and make new friends.
  • If you’re a pair, you may consider booking two dorm beds or a private room, depends on the situation. If you’re a duo wanting to meet people, the dorm is still a good choice. If you’re a couple on a romantic getaway or a honeymoon, my god, please get a private room (haha!). Note, though, that in many hostels, the bedrooms may be private but the toilet and bath are sometimes shared. Check the arrangement before booking.
  • If you’re a group of three, know that Triple Rooms are not uncommon in Europe. You may also check their policy on extra person on Double/Twin rooms. It’s a great way to save!

Since by now you have an idea of your travel dates, it’s best to go to Booking.com and check hotel rates per night for your must-visit’s. (Why Booking.com? I’ll explain later below.)

DON’T BOOK YET. Just check the rates first. We’re only budgeting at this point and figuring out the allocations.

But to give you an idea, here are the price ranges for some key cities in Europe for a September-December stay.


Decide on how long you would want to stay at each of these stops. Let’s assume you’re staying at each of your must-visits for 5 days and 4 nights and you’re traveling with a friend. That means staying for a total of 12 nights in your must-visit cities, and dividing the room cost by 2.

Using our example above, the following will be your accommodations expenses:


That’s PHP 15,000 per person for 12 nights!

Again, these are just for the purpose of budgeting. You can find more affordable options. (AirBnB provides cheaper options!)

Okay, let’s do a recap:

Airfare: P30,000
Hotels so far: P15,000

Total so far: P45,000

4. Plot your route.

It’s time to build our itinerary!

First, get a map of Europe and mark all your must-visits. In our case, we have marked Paris, Prague and Florence.

Then, look at the nearby areas. Are there any other places that you would want to see? Let’s call these “nice-to-have’s.” They’re not really your must-visit places, but it would be great if you get to see them too if your time and budget allow. If not, it’s okay too. Not the end of the world for you.

I highly recommend considering cities that are along the route connecting your must-visits. For example, if Amsterdam and Paris are in your must-visit list, you’ll find that Brussels (in Belgium) sits comfortably in between! If Copenhagen and Prague are your must-visits, know that Berlin is smack in the middle!

You may also consider going on a day tour to another city. If Vienna is a must-visit for you, it wouldn’t hurt to also check out Bratislava, Slovakia, or Budapest, Hungary. The beauty of this is that you don’t have your bulky, heavy luggage with you.

Let’s use our Paris-Prague-Florence example. To get to Florence from Prague by train, you might want to stop in Vienna, Munich or Zurich! Let’s stay that you spend 3 nights each in Munich and Zurich. And since you’re already in Florence, why not end the trip in Rome? Flights to Manila are cheaper from Rome because it’s a major hub.

Here’s our lodging cost so far:


That’s P29,000 per person!

Time for another recap:

Airfare: P30,000
Hotels so far: P29,000

Total cost so far: P59,000

5. Reserve hotel/hostel rooms.

If you’re happy with your itinerary, it’s time to reserve the rooms. RESERVE, don’t book yet.

This is why I highly recommend BOOKING.COM. They let you reserve rooms for a long time without charging you a cent. (Just choose properties that are marked with FREE CANCELLATION.) Remember, you don’t have a visa yet. This gives you the flexibility to cancel in case your application get denied or in case you change your mind.

During our trip, we made a number of changes to our itinerary and we were able to modify our bookings without additional cost.

When choosing accommodations, always check the location. You’ll be surprised that there are A LOT of affordable options that are in the city center! Of our 12 hotels on our Euro Trip, only one was far from all the action and that’s because we booked too late (Hello, Zurich!). It’s also wise to pick hotels near the train station.

6. Apply for a visa.

Okay, the hard part: getting a visa.

If you’re traveling within the Schengen Area, you will need a visa.

The Schengen Visa itself is a complicated animal. Let me explain: The Schengen Visa is a travel document that allows the holder to enter any of the 26 states that are part of the Schengen agreement. Think of it as an almost all-access pass to many countries in Europe, eliminating the immigration borders within the Schengen zone and the hassle of having to apply for a visa for each individual country. These are the countries who are part of the Schengen Zone:

Czech Republic

But hold your horses. You can’t apply just anywhere. You need to figure out which embassy to lodge your application, and it will depend on the purpose of your trip or your overall European itinerary. The rule is, you should apply at the embassy of the country where you will stay the longest.

In our sample itinerary so far, we will be staying in Italy the longest. This requires you to apply at the Italian Embassy.

All good? Good.

But here’s the thing. The Italian Embassy, along with the Spanish Embassy, is notorious for being extra strict. In my travel circles, the French, Dutch, and German Embassies are widely regarded as the most forgiving and most considerate.

Many applicants would deliberately modify their itineraries in order to stay longer in France or Germany. Do I recommend that? Sure! France and Germany are beautiful countries! It’s up to you if you will follow the itinerary you submitted to the embassy or not, should it get approved. But my personal recommendation is to be honest to avoid any complications. If you’re applying at the French Embassy, stay the longest in France. Bear in mind that you will be interviewed during the application and they will know if you’re lying. Still, if you change your mind after you get the visa, no one’s stopping you from deviating from your itinerary a little bit.

More info about applying for a Schengen Visa below:
via French Embassy
via German Embassy

If you’re visiting countries outside Schengen zone, make sure you have the corresponding visa. Some countries will accept your Schengen visa as long as it allows you multiple entry. Always check with the embassy of that country.

If we stick to our sample itinerary and apply at the Italian Embassy, here are additional fees we need to take into account:

Visa fee: EUR 60 (PHP 3200)
Service fee: EUR 26 (PHP 1400)
Travel Insurance: EUR (PHP 1500)

Sub-total of all Visa Fees: P6,100

Time for another recap:

Airfare: P30,000
Hotels so far: P29,000
Visa fees: P6,100

Total so far: 65,100

7. Book flights, trains, and hotels.

Once your visa is approved, book the flights and hotels that you had reserved!

You might also need to book additional flights. Traveling by air within Europe is cheaper than you think. You’ll find Paris-Rome flights for only P1000 (via Ryan Air), Paris-Barcelona for P1700 (via RyanAir), and Paris-Prague for only P3000 (Czech Airlines). You just need to book in advance.

Consider trains and buses too! In Europe, I prefer the train to the plane for many reasons. First, I don’t need to show up at least an hour before. Second, I don’t need to check in baggage and wait for pickup. Lastly, most main train stations are located at the heart of the city. All these saves me time, effort, and money.

In our sample itinerary, let’s assume that we’re flying from Paris to Prague and then take the train all the way to Rome, making stops along the way.

Paris to PraguePlane57
Prague to MunichTrain15
Munich to ZurichTrain39
Zurich to FlorenceTrain28
Florence to RomeTrain19

Subtotal of additional transportation expenses: 158 Euro or P8320

It’s also time to book some attractions and tours. I say SOME because you don’t need to book everything. Book only those that require advance booking like the Eiffel Tower, Vatican tickets, and food tours. For the others, you’ll most likely find cheaper tours when you get to that destination.

Time for another recap:

Airfare: P30,000
Hotels so far: P29,000
Visa fees: P6,100
Transportation Expenses: P8320

Total so far: 65,100

8. Allocate money for food and tours.

Food and tours will take the biggest fraction of your budget. To keep our expenses low, what I do is follow this rule:

Keep daily FOOD expenses below EUR 20,
and tour expenses below EUR 20.

That’s actually way above our actual cost per day, but it’s better to have a good allowance for possible overspending than to run short.

One of the first things we do when we arrive in the city is hit the supermarket and shop for food: bread, biscuits, fruits, and drinks. It’s so much cheaper than eating out. Your EUR10 here can last for days, even in expensive cities like Zurich, Copenhagen, and Reykjavik. In Paris, there are places where you can buy a whole chicken for EUR5! Yet, we still want to try traditional food! So here’s how we do it:

If you decide to splurge on dinner one day and spend more than EUR20, avoid eating out the next day.

The same applies to activities. The EUR20 per day budget should already include transportation (if any) and miscellaneous expenses (bottle of water, snacks, etc). If you really want to save up, you can skip the guided tours and just do it on your own. There are several city apps that have self-guided walking trails. You may also join FREE walking tours so you only have to worry about the tip.

BUT we like guided tours! It’s the best way to appreciate the sites we visit. We love hearing anecdotes and funny stories about places and important people that we would never have read online or in textbooks. So we follow the same rule:

If you decide to take a guided tour that costs more than EUR 20 one day, do a self-guided walking tour the next day.

This rule has kept us afloat during our stay while still enjoying the best of what the city has to offer.

Again, that’s EUR 20 (PHP1100) per day on food and EUR20 on tours.

So if you’re staying in Europe for 23 days, here’s how it looks:

Airfare: P30,000
Hotels so far: P29,000
Visa fees: P6,100
Transportation Expenses: P8320
Food Expenses: P24,200
Tour Expenses: P24,200

TOTAL: P121,820

That gives you an additional P3180 allowance.

So here’s our final sample itinerary:

0En RouteManila to Paris
1ParisLe Marais to Latin Quarter, Eiffel Tower
3ParisVersailles (Self guided)
4ParisChamps Elysees (Self-guided)
5PragueEn Route, Check in, Free Time
6PragueWalking Tour (Self-guided) and River Cruise
7PragueWorld War II & Communism Tour
8PragueChoose another Tour
9MunichEn Route, Check in, Free Time
10MunichNeuschwanstein Castle (Self-guided)
11MunichDachau Tour
12ZurichEn Route, Check In, Free time
13ZurichOld Town Walking Tour (Self-guided)
14ZurichChoose another tour
15FlorenceEn Route, Check in, Free Time
16FlorenceWalking Tour (Self-guided), Museums
17FlorenceVenice Day Tour
18FlorenceChoose another tour
19RomeEn Route, Check in, Free Time
20RomeVatican Tours
21RomeAncient Rome + Colosseum Walking Tour
22RomePasalubong! (If you have leftover cash)
23En RouteBack to Manila

This is just a sample itinerary to demonstrate the process I detailed above. You can use the same process to come up with your own itinerary based on your own requirements, needs, and restrictions.

More Tips for the Poor Traveler

You can still reduce the cost significantly by pulling a DIY (self-guided) for tours and spending much less on food. But again, we love trying local food and learning from our guides and that’s what we recommend.

Visit cheaper destinations. In general, Northern Europe is the most expensive while Eastern Europe is the cheapest. If you have a much smaller budget, head to the eastern side of the sub-continent!

Download city apps. Like I said above, most key cities in Europe have an app that will help you explore the city more efficiently. These may be subway apps or walking trail apps.

Hit the grocery at least once per stop. Eating out in Europe is expensive. The cheapest is to shop for supplies on your first day to cover breakfast and another meal. Eat out only once per day, at most.

Get a credit card. You’ll be surprised that most transactions in many European cities are done via credit card, although cash is still accepted. Having a credit card not only allows you to do online transactions, it also gives you a backup in case you run short on cash.

Avoid money changers. In our 2 months in Europe, we found that the best way to get local currency is by withdrawing from ATMs.

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Important Reminders

Yoshke Dimen

Storyteller at Yoshke.com
Yoshke is a part-time digital marketing consultant, part-time travel blogger, and full-time dreamer. He has three passions in life: social media, travel, and --- wait for it --- world peace. Yoshke has won 3 PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS and received 9 nominations. Learn more about his personal journeys at Yoshke.com.
Yoshke Dimen


  1. deisolive says:

    Great tips! Planning a trip to Europe on a budget is doable, but you will have to plan much more. Even though, that’s the only way I could afford all the trips. ;)

  2. Jennifer Berroya says:

    Goooaaallss! Haaay its really my dream na makapag travel sa Europe haaay. How long bago po kayo nakapag save ng budget for your Euro trip Sirs?

  3. Jed says:

    Thank you for this guide! Time to make this Europe trip a reality! :)

  4. Grace says:

    Hi, i was wondering if you can recommend any prepaid sims just for data use when travelling around europe? Can 1 sim cover different euro countries?

    • Marielle Olitoquit says:


      Thank you for this info. Very helpful. Im planning to travel Amsterdam – Brussels – Luxembourg. Do you have tips on what to do in Luxembourg? I cant find that much travel blog about this country. Also hpw about the internet? Does Europe have pocket wifi rental service?

  5. ivy says:

    Thank your for this guide. May I regarding withdrawing money from ATMs, do you have any issue using debit card with 6-pin digits only? Thanks. :)

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Ivy, yung saken 6-digit pin. Wala naman ako naaalala na naging issue na pin-related.

  6. Patrick says:

    Hello! Planning to go to Europe Next July 2019.. What is a good time to apply for a shengen visa?

  7. Jessica says:

    Hi Yoshke
    Just new to your channel.Im planning to visit europe for 2 weeks.Can you suggest an itinerary for country Paris,Barcelona,Florence/Venice,Prague,We just want to see the major attractions
    And accommodation you can recommend.Restaurants/cafe.
    You’re video is a lot of help like us traveling first time in Europe.

  8. TJ says:

    Hey Yoshke,

    I’m thinking if I should get Eurail passes. I know this is not the cheapest choice but can you recommend some train carriers that offer the cheapest rides like what you mentioned in the article?


      • Kb says:

        Same question. My main itinerary is France, Belgium, Amsterdam, Switzerland and Italy (Rome and Venice). Any suggestions regarding transport among these countries?

        • Yoshke Dimen says:

          Hi Kb, Paris to Belgium and Amsterdam, Thalys is the most popular choice. It’s high speed and very comfortable, even the standard seats. If you’re going to Brussels, there is a low-cost train called Izy but I haven’t tried that.

          Switzerland to Venice… where in Switzerland? If Zurich, there used to be a direct EuroCity train from Zurich to Venice. But I’m not sure if it’s still operational. Most of the journeys I find make a stop either in Milan or Munich. Travel time from Milan: 1h40; Fare from €9.90.

          Venice to Rome, high speed trains take 3 hours and 45 minutes. It’s usually either Frecciargento or Frecciarossa (Trenitalia). Fares start at €19.90.

  9. Dessa says:

    Hello, I just want to ask regarding your health insurance which one of the requirements in getting the schengen visa. May i know the details which company offers the cheapest? Thanks :)

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Dessa, I’m not sure which company offers the cheapest but I got mine from Pacific Cross.

  10. Carla says:

    Hi. When applying for a visa do you need to reserve tickets leaving and returning to Manila or all tickets (trains, buses, planes) when transferring to other countries covered by the Schengen Visa? We’re starting from Greece then our last stop will be Germany before going back to the Philippines.

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Carla, it depends on the specific embassy. At which embassy will you be lodging your application?

      • Carla says:

        We’ll apply at the German Embassy. We’ll stay there the longest. Our route will be Manila-Athens-Rome-Paris-Berlin- Manila.

        • Yoshke Dimen says:

          Hi Carla, based on my and my friend’s experience, di kami nagsubmit ng transfers. Wala namang naging problem. Di ko lang sure if okay lang sya in general or natapat lang kami sa medyo maluwag na nag-assess/interview.

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi K-anne, just use flight comparison websites/apps. The cheapest is not necessarily from a budget airline. When we traveled to Europe, the cheapest we found was offered by Qatar Airways! So be sure to check even full-service airlines because you’ll never know.

  11. Kat says:

    Hi! Thanks for this useful guide.

    Your 250K budget, was that for one person for two months?

  12. Glenda says:

    Hi.. maybi ask lng po kung pagkukuha ng visa need ba magpresent ng show money? Tska ung tinatawag na mga rootedness?thanks

  13. Maj says:

    Hi there! In applying for VISA, did you already book your roundtrip flights? I read somewhere that this is not recommended and I’m so paranoid because we already booked ours. Thank you!

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Maj, no, I applied for a visa first before booking the tickets. But I submitted flight reservations.

      • Maj says:

        Thanks for the response. And oh no! Hahaha. Just hoping we get approved para di sayang tickets.

      • Luz says:

        Hi Yoshke! I’ve always booked flights in advance whenever I traveled (because I always booked sale flights), and this might be the first time I will submit just a flight reservation as you recommended.

        I’ll be touring Central Europe sometime in October 2019, entering through Berlin,. Do you have any ball park figure at how much the plane tickets would cost me (roundrip Manila-Berlin or Manila-Berlin and Budapest-Manila) if I book my plane ticket sometime in July (after I get the visa). I previously traveled across Italy and got my roundtrip tickets via Rome for about 490USD via Qatar Airways. I was just wondering how much more I may need to prepare if I will be booking just 3 months before the trip. Also, which airline would you recommend if I will be booking the flight in July. Thanks!

        • Yoshke Dimen says:

          Hi Luz,

          Better search na lang using Skyscanner for the latest rates. Medyo tricky kasi yung case mo kasi baka pumatak sa Oktoberfest yung flight mo. (I remember when I was planning my trip, nung nagtry ako magbook ng hotels in Germany during Oktoberfest, sobrang mahal. Not sure if ganun din ang flights.)

  14. Patrick says:

    Hello Again.. You said Italian embassy is extra strict.. what do you mean by that? compared to other embassies. Do they ask for a lot of documents? Thanks in advance.

  15. Arthur says:

    Hi, This is very informative. I just checked Air France and their trip from NL to CDG is 7k cheaper than what have you posted. I’d like to pattern my tour with yours, + Amsterdam and the Netherlands (though still have to figure out if its possible). btw, what is your airline going back to Manila from Rome. Many thanks

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Arthur, the itinerary here is just a sample. In reality, our trip was much, much longer.

      But our flight back to Manila was with Qatar Airways.

  16. CJ Lee says:

    Thank you for this info. It would be very helpful for me. Maybe, you can also help me. I’m also planning 2-week trips to Europe. How much do you think I would spend all in? Thanks for the help.

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi CJ, it’s very hard for me to estimate how much you will be spending because, as said in the article, it depends on your route (countries to be visited) and your travel style.

  17. patrick says:

    Hello do I need to book already train rides or flights? for example, from venice to paris via easy jet? bec. these websites does not allow cancellation of booking.

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Depende sa kung anong embassy ka apply. Pero usually, nirerequire din un ng most embassies.

  18. Alex says:

    Hi Just a clarification, you said you went on a 2 month trip and spent 250k but im confused cause you also laid out on the itinerary that it was only a 23 days but already spent 125k
    How much was your budget for the whole 2 month trip really

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Alex, like I said, the itinerary and budget in this post are just samples, not the actual cost, just to show my planning process. The budget in this post is padded and rounded off.

      In reality, I stayed in Europe for 2 months and spent only 250K.

  19. Karla Jacosalem says:

    Your post is really helpful. Planning to do a DIY trip too. Can you share your itinerary? What mode of transportation did you use the most from one country to another?

  20. Kim says:

    I’m a huge fan of you guys! I’m a solo female traveller and your site has really helped me a lot and kept me alive. I’m planning my first trip to Europe but I’m a little afraid because I’ll be so far from home. In north america at least i had some family but in Europe I really don’t know anyone. How do you get around from one tourist site to another? Did you encounter racism like people spitting on you and stuff?

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Kim,

      Between cities, we traveled either by train or by plane (longer distances). But within a city, we usually either joined group tours or walked on our own.

      We never experienced any form of racism during the trip. We were put on the spot because of the PH president many times but nothing race-motivated. :)

  21. Frances says:

    Hello po. May I ask if you’ve already shared your actual full itinerary and cost? Thank you po.

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