If you haven’t read any of the prior expense reports from our trip, check them out below:
- Madrid, Spain
- Portugal (Porto, Caldas da Rainha, Lisbon, Lagos)
- Spain (Seville, Granada, Valencia, Barcelona)
- France and Luxembourg (Paris, Reims, and Luxembourg City)
- Belgium (Brussels, Bruges, and Antwerp)
- Netherlands and Germany (The Hague, Amsterdam, and Hamburg)
- Poland and the Czech Republic (Krakow and Prague)
- Austria, Slovakia, and Hungary (Vienna, Bratislava, and Budapest)
This update brings us to the end of our trip! 15 weeks really flew by, and in some ways we were very sad to leave Europe but in others we were really happy to be going back home to be able to visit family and rest.
As I mentioned in the last update, we added extra days to Croatia on our itinerary at the last minute of our planning before leaving the US. We were sad to miss out on Slovenia and to not get as much time in Budapest, but Croatia certainly did not disappoint! We ended up being really thankful that we had extra time in each city in Croatia since it’s an incredibly beautiful country with tons of things to do and see.
We saved some of our most anticipated (and expensive) countries and cities for last on this trip. I’ve wanted to visit Italy for as long as I can remember. Hearing my dad talk about our decedents on his side of the family being from Italy is a very early memory for me and has always had a idealistic feel and allure for me. In addition, everyone that I’ve ever talked to who has visited Croatia raves about the natural beauty there. It’s been a country on my “must visit” list for quite a while now since learning about it. Needless to say, both Whitney and I were ecstatic to be finishing the trip off with a bang!
We spent a total of 19 nights between Croatia and Italy, broken down as follows:
- 4 nights in Zagreb
- 4 nights in Split
- 4 nights in Dubrovnik
- 3 nights in Venice
- 4 nights in Rome
Stay tuned for Whitney’s next post about all of our adventures on this part of the trip, but for now I’ll focus on the expenses incurred while traveling through Croatia and Italy. Keep in mind that all of the expenses that I’ll talk about below are my expenses only, since Whitney and I have quite different spending habits. We split all shared expenses evenly, so I calculate the numbers below with my half of the shared expenses and then my individual expenses.
Accommodations: We stayed in Airbnbs (this is my referral link which you can use to get $55 off of your first stay through the site!) almost exclusively during this portion of the trip. The only exceptions were in Rome where we redeemed points for a stay at an IHG property (this turned out to be a mess and not worth it at all) on our last night and redeemed a statement credit at a wonderful Waldorf Astoria hotel in Rome on our second to last night (definitely worth it!).
Most of our Airbnb stays were really nice, but we did have a major issue with the hot water at the place we stayed in Zagreb. The hot water only worked about 3 hours in total out of our 4 days we were there, which was an inconvenience to say the least. Out of all our Airbnb stays over the years, that was the first time I’ve left a poor review.
As I mentioned earlier, the cities we visited in both of these countries were pretty expensive which, combined with minimal free hotel nights, led to much higher accommodation expenses than usual.
- Total for my expenses: $317
Food and drink: Not having the luxury of the free hotel nights we’d been accustomed to for much of the prior month of the trip also meant no free breakfast! We did our best to get groceries and cook our own meals when we were able, but that was not possible at a couple of the Airbnbs that we stayed in. The majority of our meals on this leg of the trip were eaten at restaurants with much higher prices than we had gotten used to in the last several countries.
Total for my expenses: $304
Transportation: We relied primarily on public transportation throughout Croatia and Italy. Besides being a little more costly than normal, everything went pretty smoothly except for one exception: ROME! The Rome public transportation was by far the worst we have ever experienced anywhere in North America, Europe, or Asia. We had several buses that were 45 minutes or more late, and at some point, once we’d grown tired of being angry, it became comical. There were situations where after all the time waiting for buses, we could have walked to where we were going more quickly, which is really sad considering each journey was at least 2-3 miles. After a couple days of extremely inconsistent buses, we looked into taking Uber instead. Unfortunately Uber is more expensive in Italy than any other country we’ve ever been to as well! A 3 mile ride would average $30 and would have been much more than that in some cases. Rome is a magnificent city, but trying to get around was miserable!
We took buses between cities in Croatia, but they were more a little more costly than most of the rest of Europe as well which added up quickly. We also had a flight from Dubrovnik to Venice, and a train from Venice to Rome, which added to the higher costs. My transportation costs on this portion of the trip also include taxes and fees ($231) for my “free” reward flight back home from Rome. This is by far the highest the taxes and fees have ever been on a reward flight for us, but it was the best we could find and still worth it when compared to the cost of normal flights from Rome to our home airport in Roanoke, VA.
- Total for my expenses: $502 (Ouch!)
Activities: Our stay in each city in Croatia and Italy was action packed! We visited Plitvice Lakes National Park (absolutely incredible!), Krka National Park (not on the same level as Plitvice, but stunning in it’s own right), walked the Dubrovnik city walls, participated in a Game of Thrones tour in Dubrovnik (including taking a picture on the Iron Throne!), visited tons of Roman ruins both in Croatia and Italy, visited the Colosseum, walked around the Roman Forum, visited the Pantheon (the most amazing structure I’ve ever seen), and visited Vatican City with the Vatican Museums (housing some of the most precious works of art) and St. Peter’s Basilica (impossibly massive and intricate). We even splurged on a Gondola ride through the beautiful canals of Venice!
It’s safe to say that no expense was spared during this time, but it was all worth the cost! I am obviously adverse to frivolous spending, but each of those things were amazing and potentially once in a lifetime experiences.
Total for my expenses: $357
My total expenses for 19 days and 19 nights in Croatia and Italy, including accommodations, transportation, activities, and food, were approximately $1,480! It’s certainly safe to say that this 19 day stretch was by far the most expensive of the trip and significantly increased my total costs.
Running total for entire trip to this point (my expenses only): $4,720 ($47/day average)!
Stay tuned for Whitney’s much more in depth update on everything we did in Croatia and Italy, as well as our complete trip recaps! Keep an eye on the Facebook page and Instagram (@TravelTherapyMentor) where we posted much more frequently about the trip including our favorite pictures!