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What Does The Average Ten-Day Trip To Europe Cost From Chicago, IL


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Carlotta Elwell



Planning a trip to Europe is an exciting adventure, but it’s important to be prepared and have a realistic idea of how much it will cost. From the vibrant cities to the stunning landscapes, Europe offers a wealth of experiences that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime. However, the cost of a trip to Europe can vary greatly depending on a variety of factors including your destination, duration, and travel preferences.


For this article, we will be focusing on a ten-day trip to Europe from Chicago, IL. We will provide you with a breakdown of the average costs associated with flights, accommodation, transportation, food and drink, sightseeing, shopping, and miscellaneous expenses. Keep in mind that these figures are estimates and can vary depending on the time of year, exchange rates, and personal spending habits.


Whether you’re a budget traveler or looking to splurge, understanding the average costs involved will help you plan your trip and make informed decisions about where to allocate your travel budget. So let’s dive in and explore the costs of a ten-day trip to Europe from Chicago!


Flight Costs

When it comes to planning a trip to Europe, the cost of flights is often one of the biggest expenses. The price of airfare can vary greatly depending on factors such as the time of year, the airline you choose, and how far in advance you book your tickets. On average, a round-trip flight from Chicago, IL to major European cities can range from $800 to $1500 per person.


To save money on flights, it’s recommended to be flexible with your travel dates and consider booking well in advance. Airlines often offer discounted fares if you are willing to travel during off-peak seasons or on weekdays, rather than weekends. Additionally, using a flight search engine that compares prices across multiple airlines can help you find the best deals.


In recent years, there has been an increase in budget airlines offering affordable flights within Europe. While these airlines may have cheaper ticket prices, it’s important to be aware of additional fees for baggage and other add-ons. Make sure to read the fine print and factor in these extra costs when comparing prices.


Another cost-saving option to consider is looking for flights with layovers. While it may require a little more time and patience, connecting flights can sometimes be significantly cheaper than direct flights. However, keep in mind the duration of the layovers and any potential visa requirements if you plan on leaving the airport during your layover.


Lastly, consider joining airline loyalty programs or signing up for newsletters to receive notifications about special promotions or flash sales. Sometimes, you may be able to score a great deal on flights that you wouldn’t find through regular search engines.


By being flexible, proactive, and doing a bit of research, you can find affordable flight options to Europe from Chicago, IL, helping to reduce the overall cost of your trip.


Accommodation Costs

Accommodation is an essential aspect of any trip, and Europe offers a wide range of options to suit various budgets and travel preferences. The cost of accommodation can vary greatly depending on the location, type of accommodation, and the time of year you visit.


In major cities like London, Paris, or Rome, expect to pay higher prices for hotels compared to smaller cities or towns. On average, a mid-range hotel room in Europe can range from $100 to $200 per night. However, keep in mind that prices can increase during peak tourist seasons.


If you’re looking to save money, consider alternative options such as hostels, guesthouses, or bed and breakfasts. These can provide a more budget-friendly option while still offering comfortable and convenient accommodations. Prices for hostels typically range from $20 to $50 per night for a dormitory-style room.


Another popular and cost-effective option is to rent apartments or holiday homes. Websites and platforms like Airbnb, HomeAway, or Booking.com offer a wide range of options that can cater to different budgets and group sizes. By renting an apartment, you not only have more space and privacy but also the freedom to prepare your meals, helping to save money on dining out.


For those seeking a unique experience, consider staying in a local guesthouse or agriturismo in the countryside. These accommodations provide an opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and enjoy the beauty of rural Europe. Prices for guesthouses or agriturismos can vary, but they generally offer good value for money.


When it comes to booking accommodation, it’s advisable to do so well in advance, especially if you plan to visit popular tourist destinations during peak seasons. By booking early, you can secure better rates and have a wider selection of options to choose from.


Overall, the cost of accommodation in Europe can vary greatly, but with careful planning and research, you can find comfortable and affordable options that fit your budget.


Transportation Costs

Getting around Europe is an important consideration when planning your trip, as transportation costs can significantly impact your overall budget. The cost of transportation can vary depending on the mode of transport, the distance traveled, and the country you are exploring.


One of the most convenient and popular ways to travel within Europe is by train. Europe has an extensive rail network that connects major cities and even smaller towns. The cost of train tickets can vary depending on the distance and the type of train you choose. For example, high-speed trains like the Eurostar or TGV tend to be more expensive than regional trains. On average, expect to spend around $50 to $100 for a one-way ticket between major cities.


If you’re planning to visit multiple countries or travel longer distances, consider purchasing a rail pass. Eurail and InterRail offer passes that allow unlimited travel within a specific timeframe, providing flexibility and potential cost savings compared to individual train tickets.


Another popular and cost-effective option for transportation in Europe is buses. Companies like FlixBus offer extensive networks and competitive prices for traveling between cities and even between countries. Bus tickets are generally cheaper than train tickets, with prices starting at around $10 for shorter distances. However, keep in mind that buses can take longer than trains for longer journeys.


For shorter distances or exploring within cities, public transportation is typically the most affordable option. European cities have well-developed public transportation systems, including metro, buses, trams, and even bicycles. Investing in a travel card or pass can provide unlimited travel for a set duration, offering convenience and savings.


If you’re looking to explore rural areas or have more flexibility, consider renting a car. Rental prices can vary depending on the duration of the rental, the type of vehicle, and the pick-up location. Keep in mind that parking fees and fuel costs should be factored into your budget.


Lastly, don’t forget to consider the cost of airport transfers or transportation from the airport to your accommodation. Options include taxis, shuttle services, or public transportation, depending on the location and your preferences.


By planning your transportation options in advance and considering the most cost-effective modes of transport, you can optimize your travel budget and make the most of your trip to Europe.


Food and Drink Expenses

One of the joys of traveling in Europe is indulging in the diverse and delicious cuisine. However, dining out can be a significant expense, especially in popular tourist destinations. It’s essential to budget for food and drink expenses to ensure you can savor the local flavors without breaking the bank.


The cost of meals in Europe can vary depending on the country and the type of restaurant you choose. In general, expect to spend around $10 to $20 for a simple meal at a budget-friendly restaurant. Mid-range restaurants can cost between $20 to $40 per person, while fine dining establishments can range from $50 and upwards.


To save money, consider exploring local markets or street food stalls, where you can find affordable and delicious options. These can provide a more authentic culinary experience and allow you to try a variety of local dishes without breaking the bank.


Another cost-saving tip is to have a hearty breakfast at your accommodation or grab a quick bite from a local bakery. This way, you can fuel up for the day without splurging on a full breakfast at a restaurant. Additionally, consider packing snacks for when you’re on the go, as this can help curb hunger between meals and prevent impulsive spending.


Drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, can also contribute to your overall food and drink expenses. In Europe, tap water is generally safe to drink, so take advantage of this to save money on bottled water. Alcoholic drinks in bars and restaurants can be pricey, so if you’re looking to enjoy a few drinks, consider opting for happy hours or enjoying a drink at a local pub or wine bar.


Lastly, be mindful of tipping customs in each country. While tipping is generally appreciated in Europe, it is not always expected to the same extent as in other parts of the world. It’s a good idea to research the tipping etiquette of the country you’re visiting to ensure you appropriately show your appreciation.


By budgeting and making conscious choices about where and how you dine, you can enjoy the culinary delights of Europe without straining your travel budget.


Sightseeing and Attractions

Europe is renowned for its rich history, stunning architecture, and world-class attractions. Visiting popular sights and attractions can greatly enhance your travel experience, but it’s important to consider the associated costs when planning your itinerary.


Admission fees for attractions and museums in Europe can vary widely. Major landmarks and iconic sites like the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Colosseum in Rome, or the Acropolis in Athens often come with entrance fees. These fees can range from $10 to $30 per person, depending on the site. Some attractions offer discounted or free admission for certain age groups, such as students or seniors, so be sure to check for any available discounts.


It’s worth noting that many cities offer city cards or tourist passes that provide discounted or free access to multiple attractions, as well as public transportation. These passes can be a great investment if you plan on visiting several sights within a specific timeframe.


Keep in mind that some attractions require advanced bookings or have limited availability, so it’s advisable to plan ahead and secure your tickets in advance to avoid disappointment.


In addition to paid attractions, remember that Europe is also home to countless free or low-cost activities and landmarks. Exploring charming neighborhoods, wandering through local markets, and enjoying parks and gardens are often free and can provide a unique glimpse into the local culture.


Another cost-effective way to experience Europe’s cultural heritage is to take advantage of free guided tours or audio guides offered at certain attractions. These can provide valuable insights and enhance your understanding of the history and significance of the site.


When planning your sightseeing activities, also consider the cost of transportation to and from the attractions. Some areas may require additional fees for public transportation, taxis, or guided tours. It’s essential to factor in these costs when budgeting for sightseeing.


Ultimately, the cost of sightseeing and attractions in Europe can vary depending on the specific sites you choose to visit. By researching in advance, prioritizing your must-see attractions, and taking advantage of any available discounts or passes, you can make the most of your European adventure without breaking the bank.


Shopping Expenses

Europe is a shopper’s paradise, with its abundance of luxury boutiques, local markets, and unique artisanal goods. However, it’s important to keep in mind that shopping in Europe can quickly add up and impact your travel budget.


The cost of shopping in Europe can vary greatly depending on the destination and the type of items you’re looking to purchase. Major fashion capitals like Paris, Milan, or London are known for their high-end designer stores, where prices can be steep. On the other hand, smaller towns and local markets often offer more affordable and unique shopping experiences.


If you’re in search of fashion and luxury brands, keep an eye out for sales or visit outlet stores, which can offer significant discounts on designer goods. Many cities also have discount shopping streets or districts where you can find more affordable options.


For those interested in local handicrafts, souvenirs, or specialty foods, exploring local markets is a must. These markets not only offer a unique shopping experience but often have a wide range of products at various price points. Haggling is also common in certain markets, especially in countries like Turkey or Morocco, so don’t be afraid to negotiate prices to get a better deal.


When shopping in Europe, it’s important to be mindful of customs regulations and any restrictions on bringing certain goods back home. Some items, such as alcohol, tobacco, or certain animal products, may have quantity limitations or require special permits.


Remember that shopping is not just limited to physical stores. Online shopping is becoming increasingly popular in Europe, and many retailers offer international shipping. However, be cautious when purchasing from unfamiliar websites and always factor in potential customs duties or taxes.


Finally, as with any type of spending, it’s essential to prioritize and set a budget for your shopping expenses. Determine what items you truly want or need and allocate your funds accordingly. It’s easy to get carried away while shopping in Europe, so be mindful of your budget and make conscious purchasing decisions.


With careful planning and budgeting, shopping in Europe can be an enjoyable experience without putting a strain on your travel budget.


Miscellaneous Expenses

While planning your trip to Europe, it’s important to consider miscellaneous expenses that may arise during your travels. These expenses include unforeseen costs, tips, communication fees, and any additional activities or services you may opt for.


One of the unavoidable expenses is travel insurance. It’s highly recommended to have travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and lost belongings. The cost of travel insurance can vary depending on the coverage and duration of your trip, but it’s an essential aspect of ensuring a worry-free travel experience.


Another consideration is transportation to and from the airport in your home city. Whether you choose to drive and park your car or use public transportation or a taxi service, you should factor in these costs when budgeting for your trip.


Communication fees can also add up, especially if you plan on using your mobile phone for calls, texts, and internet access. It’s advisable to check with your mobile provider before traveling and inquire about international roaming plans or purchasing a local SIM card for cheaper data and calling rates.


When exploring Europe, you may also encounter additional activities or services that pique your interest. These could include guided tours, excursions, spa treatments, or special events. It’s important to allocate a portion of your budget for these discretionary expenses.


Tipping is another aspect to consider, as it varies between countries. While it’s not always mandatory, tipping in restaurants, bars, or for exceptional service is customary in many European countries. It’s a good idea to research the tipping etiquette of the specific countries you’ll be visiting to ensure you’re prepared to tip appropriately.


Lastly, it’s always wise to have a contingency fund set aside for any unexpected situations, such as lost or stolen items, emergency medical expenses, or last-minute changes to your itinerary. Having a safety net will provide peace of mind during your trip.


By factoring in miscellaneous expenses into your travel budget, you’ll be well-prepared to handle any unforeseen costs and have a worry-free travel experience during your time in Europe.


Total Cost Estimate

Now that we have discussed the various expenses associated with a ten-day trip to Europe from Chicago, let’s provide a rough estimate of the total cost you can expect. Please note that these figures are approximate and can vary based on personal preferences, travel style, and fluctuating exchange rates. It’s always recommended to create a personalized budget based on your specific needs.


Flight costs from Chicago to major European cities can range from $800 to $1500 per person for a round-trip ticket.


Accommodation expenses for a mid-range hotel can average around $100 to $200 per night, while hostels or alternative accommodations can range from $20 to $50 per night.


Transportation costs, including getting around within cities and between destinations, can vary depending on the mode of transport. On average, expect to spend around $50 to $100 for one-way train tickets between major cities. Bus travel, on the other hand, can start from as low as $10 for shorter distances.


Food and drink expenses can range from $10 to $20 for a simple meal at a budget-friendly restaurant, while mid-range dining options can cost between $20 to $40 per person. It’s important to budget additional costs for drinks and snacks throughout the day.


Sightseeing and attraction costs can vary depending on the specific sites visited. Entrance fees can range from $10 to $30 per person for major landmarks and attractions.


Shopping expenses will largely depend on personal preferences and the type of items you choose to purchase. It’s advisable to set a budget and allocate funds accordingly.


Lastly, miscellaneous expenses such as travel insurance, transportation to and from the airport, communication fees, tipping, and discretionary spending should also be factored in. It’s recommended to set aside a contingency fund for any unexpected expenses.


Based on these estimates, a rough total cost for a ten-day trip to Europe from Chicago can range from $2500 to $4500 per person. However, this is just an estimate, and costs can vary widely depending on individual choices and circumstances.


By creating a detailed budget, researching and prioritizing your expenses, and making conscious spending decisions, you can ensure a memorable and enjoyable trip to Europe without going over your desired budget.



Planning a ten-day trip to Europe from Chicago, IL requires careful consideration of various expenses to ensure a memorable and budget-friendly experience. By understanding the average costs associated with different aspects of your trip, you can make informed decisions and allocate your funds effectively.


From flights to accommodation, transportation to dining, sightseeing to shopping, and miscellaneous expenses, each component plays a crucial role in determining the total cost of your trip. While it’s important to have a budget in mind, it’s equally important to be flexible and adapt to unexpected expenses that may arise.


Remember, these cost estimates are rough averages and can vary based on personal preferences, travel style, and fluctuating factors such as exchange rates and seasonal fluctuations. It’s always wise to do thorough research, compare prices, and make adjustments based on your own preferences and needs.


By planning ahead, being mindful of your spending, and taking advantage of cost-saving tips, you can make the most of your trip to Europe without breaking the bank. Consider opting for budget-friendly accommodations, exploring local markets, and taking advantage of transportation options that offer the best value for money.


Ultimately, a well-planned trip that takes into account all the necessary expenses will allow you to fully immerse yourself in the beauty, culture, and history that Europe has to offer. So, start budgeting, get ready to explore, and embark on an unforgettable journey through the many wonders of Europe!