It may sound totally harsh, but I’m totally sick of traveling to Western Europe. Why? Because food is expensive, transit is expensive, and your money is devalued once you convert your US Dollars to Swiss Francs, British Pounds, and the Euro.
According to Wikipedia, Western Europe is defined as Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
I’ve been to Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. I have experienced first-hand carnage that the wallet takes in Western Europe, whether it’s your physical wallet or your miles & points virtual wallet.
Hotels are ridiculously expensive when you want to stay in the city-center. Yes, you can off-set that by blowing your HHonors, Club Carlson, or Starwood points balance for free night, but that will hurt your points balance once you book a few consecutive nights.
Yes, you can stay at a lesser expensive place by staying at an airport hotel or somewhere away from the city-center, but what’s the point?
Don’t get me started on hotel prices in Switzerland….
Transit on London’s Tube is ridiculously expensive now that the prices have been going higher and higher each year. The average one-way fare from the airport to city-center is 5.50 British pounds ~$8.61 USD and will take you 45 minutes – 1 hour.
Want to take the 15 minute Heathrow Express from LHR to Paddington? That will set you back 20 British pounds ~ $31.32 USD one-way.
In Paris, if you want to take the RER B train from CDG airport to the city (Chatelet Les Halles), you will have to pay 9.50 euros ~ $12.75 for a one-way ticket. It will take you 30-45 minutes to reach the city and then you will probably need to transfer which will add more time. Unless you want to take a private airport transfer to your hotel, Shuttle Inter will set you back 55 euros ~ $73.81 USD one-way.
Want to reach your cheap London airport hotel? There are no free hotel shuttles and you will be forced to take the Hotel Hoppa from LHR and will set you back 4 British pounds ~ $6.26 for a one-way ride. Yes, you can avoid this by taking the free public bus, but no one tells you that.
Have you wondered why Paris is one of the most expensive cities? Get use to paying 10 euros ~ $13.42 for a small latte and a croissant during breakfast.
Yes, you can order your food at the bar for half the price and eat it there, but what’s the point? You’re in Paris after all and want to sit down at a café to people watch.
Oh, you want free bread? You won’t get it. Oh wait, you will probably be handed a basket of bread at a restaurant, but you will be charged once you eat it.
How about free tap water? Don’t embarrass yourself since that doesn’t exist in Western Europe. You will be paying for sparkling water like Perrier or Evian spring water. Here’s a tip, order beer or a glass of wine since it will be the same price or less than your bottled water.
In March, Southern Travel Girl paid 14 euros (~$18.79 USD) for a glass of apple juice in Paris.
Yes, you can avoid breakfast expenses by holding elite status such as Starwood Platinum, Hilton HHonors Gold/Diamond, and Hyatt Diamond. Do you really want to eat that All-American breakfast buffet while you’re in Europe?
Since the US Dollar is devalued once you step foot in Europe, clothing prices will be higher. Do you really want to shop at Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Zara, and other shops where you can buy the same exact clothing for less in the US? Avoid chain shops that you can find in the US and shop at flea market or local small businesses.
I can understand that the Swiss fly to London and Paris to do their shopping since everything is through the roof in Switzerland.
This is basically just personal a rant and should be taken lightly. I hope you had a good laugh. I’m actually planning an upcoming trip to Helsinki, Geneva, Nice, and Monaco. I have the flights and most of the hotels booked. The one hotel I am pondering about is in Geneva. Geneva is so expensive that a hostel will set you back $73 USD a night. A motel 6 type of room will cost $150. The mid-range rooms are $200 and above. This will be one of my most expensive trips of the year and I’m even thinking of getting a helicopter transfer from NCE to a helipad in Monaco for fun.