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.
Two months ago, Ben from One Mile at a Time was deciding whether or not to have a 16 euro (~$21.48 USD) milkshake or iced coffee.
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.
Paris might be an expensive city to shop in, but during “Les Soldes” it does get better! It’s only legal to discount clothing at two points throughout the year in France: after fashion week in January and after fashion week in June. During “The Sales” they’re practically giving away designer clothing. The first weekends of the sales are always the most chaotic. It’s an awesome time if you ever get the chance! But yes, Europe is expensive!
Western Europe is nothing compared to Australia. I’ve never been somewhere so expensive in my entire traveling life. Three weeks here in Sydney and Melbourne and I still stare at prices with disbelief!!
Funny. I took BART to SFO on Monday and it cost me $8.25 on my Clipper Card and then took the Tube from Heathrow to the center of London (Kensington) and it cost me £1.30 (<$2) on my Oyster Card.
I spent my Year Abroad in college in Geneva … definitely a tough place to be when you’re on a student budget! While you’re there, check out Les Armures in the Old City (Vieille Ville) … great place for fondue and raclette and other Swiss French dishes.
You’re doing it wrong. Choosing to stay at hotels where you pay extra for the luxury of elite benefits or even just the western brand name is going to cost you every time. Pick local properties where breakfast and internet are included and the rate is lower and you’ll come out far ahead.
And I’d have to check, but I’m pretty sure I paid far less than that for a room in Geneva.
I disagree. Yes, Western Europe is going to be more expensive than places like Vietnam or Ecuador, but obviously the standard of living is much different.
Just because it costs more than other countries doesn’t mean it’s financially out of reach. I always get hotel rooms in city centers for under 100 euros a night by avoiding chain hotels and choosing independent properties. Many transportation expenses are irrelevant because city centers are so compact you can walk everywhere. Partaking in restaurant specials (like the menu del dia in Spain) can easily get you a filling lunch for 10-12 euros, and yes, that can be dining on the street to people-watch. I won’t comment on clothing prices because I rarely shop, especially on vacation.
I’m not saying that everyone should always go to Western Europe since there’s a lot more world than that, but you shouldn’t avoid it either.
i love “menu del dia”
Are Isle of Man, Liechtenstein, Monaco and Vatican City not considered a part of Western Europe?
Want to reach your Heathrow hotel? Take a normal bus. They are free. Don’t waste money on Hotel Hoppa.
And if you want free tap water then ask for it. Restaurants give you expensive bottled water if you ask for water. They give free tap water when you ask for free tap water.
I’ve used the normal bus before, but the Hotel Hoppa is more convenient for first timers to London.
So, what you are basically saying is that you were travelling to Western Europe only to shop at Louis Vuitton, Hermes and Zara…?
no, i’m saying to avoid shopping at chains where you can find the same chain in the US…
This is ridiculous)) Western Europe is not nearly as expensive as USA. Of course, if you only stick to Paris and London, and within Paris and London – to the tourist places… Constantly travelling in Europe, i rarely pay more than 20-25 EUR for a single room, and more than 10 EUR for a meal. Such prices are unimaginable in the States, or in New Zealand, for instance.
“i rarely pay more than 20-25 EUR for a single room, and more than 10 EUR for a meal”
это сетевые гостиницы?
€10/meal??? это за бычки в томате что ли?
please, do tell
you can get 10 EUR meals during lunch time in Barcelona and Madrid (Menu del dia)
€10 light lunch done….what about the other 2.5 meals?
there is a difference between EXPENSIVE & OVERPRICED. a fancy hotel may be expensive. $18 apple juice is overpriced..unless its made from cocaine. west euro is always expensive & often over-priced. this is still the case despite west euro high unemployment rate
a fancy hotel that can charge $18 for apple juice because they can and people still pay for it out of convenience!
so whats your point?
There are third world countries with food shortages that have cheaper apple juice than Paris. On a roadtrip to Denmark, I stopped at a gas station to pick up two bags of chips and sodas. Total price? $18. This is why Europeans go nuts at shopping malls when they visit the US.
I can say the same for the Chinese. The Chinese come to the US to buy stuff “Made in China”. How ironic
Totally disagree with your post. Paris can be a great value: $12 to get from CDG to the city is reasonable. It’s a city to use your points and nothing is better than 22,000 points for the Hyatt Park Vendome which goes for a $1000 a night (they have my favorite breakfast in the world which is complimentary for diamonds). You could have a spectacular breakfast for $5 by stopping at Erik Kaiser for delicious croisssants and coffee. For lunch, pick up one of those great baguette sandwiches and a liter of Evian at the monoprix for $7 and picnic in the Tuillieres. Dinner can be had for $20 at a creperie ir $40 for a prix fixe at a bistro. And when you are not eating, you can get into museums for free if you plan smart.
Agree with Kelly O – Australia is a total contender in the most expensive travel destination category. Just returned and even with the current favorable exchange, I’m still recovering from sticker shock.