Euro Fund 2016: Budgeting for Our European Vacation

We’re headed to Europe in less than 4 weeks!

Pics 163
Sunset over Freiburg, Germany (2010)

The last time I went to Europe was 3 years ago, and Michael has yet to visit Continental Europe, so I think this upcoming trip needs to be thoughtfully budgeted for and planned. You don’t fly halfway around the world only to skimp or skip something because it’s too expensive. I’m going to be want to get that fancy cheese at the Swiss grocery store!

Besides the amount that we’ll need to cover our transportation, lodging, and food, I’m planning on designating two pots of money: the Mac Nut fund, and the Eurochic Fund.

  • Mac Nut Fund:  Living in Hawaii, I feel like bringing macadamia nuts and Kona coffee and other tropical goodies is a no-brainer when I travel.  Things we’re used to seeing at the grocery store are so exotic and fun for other people!  Dried mango and pineapple, li hing mui, random Japanese rice cracker snacks… the list could go on!  I want to bring a nice selection with me to share with family, friends, and random people we meet and we’d like to share some aloha with.
  • Eurochic Fund:  My sister and I love the movie The Devil Wears Prada, especially the opening sequence.  The contrast between the fashionistas and the lead character who chooses comfort over style is something my sister and I often refer to.  We’re both pretty far from fashionistas, but aspire to be stylish and put together.  So while in Europe, I want to have some money to play with to enhance my wardrobe with some classy, ‘eurochic’ pieces from European stores.  Shopping for Hawaii-appropriate clothing in September makes a lot of sense too, since I think summer things will be on sale!

You can either work backwards or forwards when budgeting for a trip. Working backwards means you have a date or amount of money in mind and you work back to today.  That way you’ll see how much you’d have to set aside from each paycheck in order to reach your goal. Working forwards means you decide how much you can spare in your budget now and start socking away that much from every paycheck. I’ve been forward budgeting ever since I got my job 3 1/2 years ago, knowing that travel was a priority for me.  I’ve used these funds for a number of trips.

We have the following budget so far for two adult travelers:

  • Flights: $1990 (and 110,000 miles on Hawaiian Airlines; roundtrip flight from Honolulu to New York, roundtrip flight from New York via Iceland to Copenhagen; one-way flights from Stockholm to Venice, Venice to Zurich, and Zurich to Copenhagen)
  • Hotels/BnBs: $582 (2 nights in Venice, one night in Copenhagen, one night in NYC)

We’re also taking the train from Copenhagen to my family’s place in southern Sweden and from there to Stockholm.  We’ll be staying with my parents and then my sister and her fiance for most of the time, and some friends in Stockholm for two nights.  These are not represented in our budget since we won’t pay for them, although I’m excited to bring presents (from the Mac Nut Fund!) and treat our hosts to dinner while we’re staying with them.  We’ll also need to think about local train/bus transportation costs for day trips to Switzerland, Austria, and within Sweden.

Leave a comment below on what specifically you’re interested in hearing about regarding our upcoming trip!  (Route? Planning tools? Top 10 list?)  

Or, if you’d be interested in a post outlining how we planned our last big international trip, which was to Japan, then let me know! Arigato!




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