If you’ve been reading along with me for a while, you know that I am not quite a budget traveler, but I’m not a luxury traveler either. I am willing to spend a little more on a truly great local meal, a comfortable living space, or a stunning view. But I’m also willing to spend some time bargain hunting and getting creative with my travel.
You probably also know that I often try and track expenses and share them here on the blog so that you can get a sense of what it costs to spend a few weeks in Germany or a month in the Italian countryside.
Without further ado, then, here’s my cost breakdown for a month in Umbria (Tuscany’s lesser-visited-but-still-gorgeous neighbor). Please note that this is a solidly mid-range budget and I’ve made lots of notes and given more detail below the breakdown.
Amounts are in American dollars.
|Cozy one-bedroom apartment with a view||$1047|
|Trains – Milano airport to Perugia||$96.49|
|Bus and train fares (day-to-day)||$73.15|
|Books and supplies||$74.34|
|Luna food and supplies||$34.58|
|New winter coat||$106.27|
|ATM & exchange fees||$25.00|
At the time of this trip, $1 US dollar was equal to .74 euro.
Notes on my spending in Perugia: I splurged a bit on my sweet apartment overlooking the hills (totally worth it, by the way), but otherwise kept costs quite low. One of the things I love most about Italy is that the food here is seasonal, simple, and incredibly packed with taste. And I don’t just mean the restaurant food. I can be perfectly happy with some locally made olive oil, fresh bread from the bakery, and a little pasta with tomatos that I whipped up myself, which is why I ate in quite a lot and my eating out budget came in super low.
My wine and buying-a-cute-new-winter-coat budgets were a little higher.
So, with all that in mind, please note that if you are a budget traveler, you could easily do Umbria for half of what I spent (by couchsurfing, camping, hosteling, or just finding one of the local university students with a room to rent, and by not splurging on the “special” – read: expensive – wine or buying things like new winter coats). And if you have a little more to spend, you could easily spend it eating out every night or taking frequent day trips around the countryside.
As for me, I was content to peruse Perugia, take a couple day trips to Rome and Assisi, and sit at the window, enjoying my view with a glass of rich local wine and a plate of pasta a la arrabata (pasta with angry sauce).
Looking for more cost breakdowns? Check out my full list of travel cost blog posts.
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Gigi! Hey there! I just discovered you last week. I love what you are doing and enjoy following along with your adventure. My husband and I working toward living our own adventure in Europe in the near future. I particularly appreciated this post as I am in the midst of planning a three week trip to Montepulciano in October and since we have yet to win the lottery, it sure helps to have some recent cost figures. Oh! And your posts about travel packing…fantastico!
Thanks so much for sharing your story. Best wishes to you and Luna!
Excellent! I’m so glad I could help – and good luck with your trip planning. :)
Awesome, just what I needed to see! I love knowing how affordable it is to stay somewhere long term.
:) Yeah. Affordability is one of the biggest reasons I travel so slow, particularly in Europe.
I think travel is all about prioritizing what matters most to you. I like to stay in a good, central location, but don’t need fancy accommodations. For me it is all about the food and I don’t mind spending a little more on a great meal while traveling. Most of us can’t have it all, so it is just knowing where you are willing to make some sacrifices.
i have managed to keep my costs per day as low as $80.00 (factoring in the cost TR to the USA but once you add in the cost to maintain a property in the USA (a home) it is often a challenge to stay away more than 3 months….. I shall just have to do the very long term travel when i finally sell this house.
Your month sounds wonderful. We did a month in Italy years ago (in Marche) but are planning to do it again soon! How did you find your apartment?
I found my apartment via Airbnb (more info here: https://gigigriffis.com/a-year-of-beautiful-spaces-january-in-perugia/). I’ve had really great luck with that site so far.
Thanks! Ever heard of any websites that are particularly good for families? (Some of the places I’ve seen on Air BnB were really fancy looking.)
Airbnb tends to really run the gamut (I’ve seen shabby extra bedrooms, fancy luxury homes, and everything in between). The trick is to do a search and then filter by price (the price slider is in the left sidebar).
Other options include Windu (I haven’t used it personally, but it’s similar to Airbnb), Homeaway (which tends to have places with more rooms, so probably good for families!), and VRBO (also owned by Homeaway).
Also, if you are looking for a slightly larger space, I’m posting about another rental on Wednesday. I stayed there for one night in between the end of my lease in Perugia and the beginning of my lease in Paris. It’s a two-bedroom and also has a pull-out couch, so lots of space.
Thanks! I’ll check out all these options!
Great post! I am giving some thought to spending a month or two abroad. Seeing the breakdown of costs makes it more manageable!
So glad to hear it! I’ll be posting my breakdown of Paris later this month as well. Keep an eye out.
While I highly recommned staying in one place, ideally a rental apt, for more rural locations like Tuscany and Umbria, one thing I would HIGHLY recommned is a rental car! There are so many wonderful little villages and stunning drives that you’ll NEVER see using public transport. Altho there are trains and busses, having to run on THEIR schedule rather than your own often wastes valuable time, and IMO, when you’re on vacation your time is one of your most valuable commodities.
Excellent point, Barbara. I’d be a little stressed driving in Italy myself, but I know loads of people rent cars and really enjoy having them for the countryside.
any idea if it is possible to BUY a used car and sell it after a 3 or 4 month stay? rental cars long term cost as much as the entire trip….but after 20+ trips it is time to get off the train…
Hi Gigi, great post and I love your attention to details…
I am curious how you managed to spend around $100/month on eating out in Paris and Umbria. I spent 4 months in Paris in 2007. It’s hard to find even a prix-fix lunch for less than 12 euros there…
In Umbria, I mostly cooked meals at home or ate at friends’ houses. I also had the very good fortune to be taken to dinner several times (once someone found the blog and asked if he could take me out and pick my brain and another time a friend was in town on business and offered to pick up the tab).
In Paris, very similarly, I did a lot of cooking and even more eating in at my friend’s place. We did foi gras at her apartment, rabbit, and a variety of other really lovely and very French things. Also in Paris keep in mind that my miscellaneous category was receipts I couldn’t identify, so those may well have been restaurant bills.
Hola! Aha, it pays off to be fun and smart:)!
This was helpful! I’m taking off to Italy in July for at least a month and I can’t figure out where to stay. I know I want to be in the countryside (Tuscany region or nearby) with beautiful views, but I also want to be able to walk to restaurants, night life, markets, etc. I don’t want to be completely secluded from the rest of the world. I plan on spending a lot of time writing and exploring, but it’s so hard to figure out where to settle from just pictures. Any thoughts?
So glad to hear it helps!
If you want a place with a spectacular view, the places I stayed in Perugia had an office and kitchen respectively that looked out over the hills and houses. The sunsets were some of the most gorgeous things I’ve ever seen in my life. The post is here (and has links to the airbnb listings – tell them I sent you!): https://gigigriffis.com/a-year-of-beautiful-spaces-january-in-perugia/
That said, while Perugia was really lovely and charming (it is a university town, so it’s rather lively and fun), my favorite town in Umbria was Assisi. It’s probably really crowded in high season (summer), but when I went (winter) it was absolutely stunning, covered in fog, mysterious…I loved the views out over the landscape and I really loved that I found hiking trails that led down the hill from the city.
P.S. Perugia, being a university town, is pretty lively. There are plenty of bars, restaurants, and shops. There’s a lovely park at the end of town overlooking the hill country. And even in winter there was a little farmer’s market down the street from the place I stayed several times a week.
Assisi was just a day trip, so I can’t speak to markets or night life, but it seemed to have a good deal of restaurants and such.
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