Finding a Deal: European Backpacker Index

Lest you think that this is becoming a food blog that left its traveling roots behind, let me reassure you.  Just because I’m not going any place right this minute, doesn’t mean I’ve washed my hands of it.

January’s a lull month for me, especially when I find myself living somewhere cold.    I’m tired of freezing all my parts off which means I have zero desire to visit anywhere chillier than here.  Unfortunately, the cheap places in winter also happen to be the cold ones, so I stay put.

However, January is a GREAT month for trip planning, mapping out the year and discussing destinations.

And, today, I just happen to have a nifty little tool up my parka sleeve for you…  47 European cities by price: European Backpacker Index for 2012 !

But what exactly is this index, and how do you use it?

From their website… Price of Travel (the company behind the index) is a database of travel costs in every major destination around the world, started in early 2010. The site now features over 110 cities, with information for each listing accommodation, transportation, attraction, food, and drink prices.  The brain child of Roger Wade (Founder/Editor-in-Chief), it is the first website that allows anyone from a backpacker to 5-star luxury traveler make a daily budget at a glance for every major travel destination around the world.

Awesome.  I can totally get into this site.

Since I currently live in Europe, it makes sense for me to travel while in continent while I’m here.  Therefore, I’m going to focus on the European Backpacker Index, but keep in mind that Price of Travel also has indexes for Caribbean Islands, Asian cities, overwater bungalows, and more!

If you want to know how the Backpacker Index works, Price of Travel provides the following explanation…

Prices for most things (hostels, transportation, attractions) are fixed and certain, but prices for a “budget lunch” or a pint of beer can vary depending on where you go. Still, our estimates are based on a lot of research, and should be very close if not right on.

Costs for each city

  • One night in the cheapest bunk at the least expensive hostel with a good location and good reviews
  • Two public transportation rides per day
  • One paid/famous attraction per day (Every city is loaded with free things to do for budget-conscious travelers, but here we take the average cost of a major attraction in each city for each day.)
  • Three “budget” meals per day (We took our minimum meal price and added 20% to make it more realistic for a longer trip).
  • Three cheap, local beers (or wine) each day as an “entertainment fund.” Non-drinkers might have dessert and coffee or attend a local music performance instead, so this is a general benchmark that should be proportional for each city.

So while it’s not exactly feasible that I’ll be staying in a 12-bunk hostel dorm room with my two and four year-old boys, I like that the index gives me a general idea of accommodation prices in the cities I’m considering.

Don’t consider yourself at backpacker in the least?  Try the Europe 3-Star Traveler Index instead.  It works on the same principles, but the costs and criteria are slightly different.

As expected, many Eastern European destinations appear prominently on the list.   In fact, the top 10 are all in Eastern Europe.  But Berlin is 19 and London is 26, right behind Reykjavik at 25.

And that sunny destination in Spain I’m dreaming of to chase the January blues and blahs away?  I can weigh EasyJet airfares against the costs listed on the index and find out that Barcelona (31) is slightly more expensive than Madrid (23), but surprise, surprise, the Canary Islands – owned by Spain – are the cheapest destination in that country (16).

So break out your dreams, maps, and, well, budgets, and get to planning.  Twenty twelve travel is waiting!

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One thought on “Finding a Deal: European Backpacker Index

  1. Pingback: Thrifty Travel Mama – 2012 – A Year in Review « Thrifty Travel Mama

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