What it Really Cost Us to Live Abroad for a Month

filed in:

When I first heard of WOW air’s discount flights to Europe, I thought it was too good to be true. I mentioned to Brennan about my idea to leave for a month after graduating college and before I started a “big girl” job. After a little convincing and research, we booked our round trip flights on a pure whim. We had no plans other than a flight from SFO to CDG in Paris, and since Brennan had never been to Europe, the planning was left to me to figure out. (YIKES!!!!!)


We booked our flights 4 months in advanced, but didn’t start our real planning until about 3 weeks before we left. We had a general idea of the major places we wanted to go, but there was a lot of train tickets left to be purchased.

Round trip from SFO to CDG x2 = $1,510

Airbnb’s + 1 hotel for a month = $2,000

Train tickets, Ferry boats, and small flights x2 = $702

Food x2 = $2,000

Total for two people = $6,212

We definitely had to be smart to keep it about $3,000 each. We only took a small carry on backpack each to avoid extra charges from WOW air (make sure to check the measurements and weight for what they consider a carry on, you will be shocked!). I never thought I would be able to fit a months worth of clothes and shoes in a tiny backpack, but I did, and even felt like I could have left a few things behind. I packed basics, a nordstrom Tee in black /white, one pair of jeans, a couple pairs of lulu’s, a dress, a sweater, 3 long sleeves, a swimsuit, but mainly just items I knew I could mix and match!

We grocery shopped when we could for breakfast food, but also ate out and experienced local restaurants everyday. We always looked at a menu before sitting down somewhere to see if it was reasonable and looked good (don’t be afraid to ask for a menu if it isn’t posted out front). Our favorite places were away from the “touristy” spots. They were the places that the whole family worked and where the locals were.

Travel tip: Yelp isn’t big in Europe, stick to Trip Advisor, they have much more accurate advice and recommendations! Even better yet, ask a local! Between recommendations from Airbnb hosts and people we met, we were never disappointed.

Having a budget is key! Talk about how much you are comfortable spending on food, attractions, and that adorable pair of boots you can’t leave without. Before we left the states we made it clear that we wanted to try and only spend $1,000 each on food for 30 days, so about $11 a meal each. Of course there were times where we splurged on a nicer restaurant that was recommended to us, but there were also times where we skipped lunch or breakfast. Staying on a budget and eating great food is 100% doable, balance is key my friends!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Madison Lauren Photography is a traveling California engagement and wedding photographer for couples that creates magic with modern, romantic wedding photos. She's based in Sacramento, but serves clients in Northern California, Lake Tahoe, and beyond.