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I'm traveling to Germany in December. My budget is 1,000 euros. Housing will be free, because a friend of mine will let me stay at her house at no cost. I'm planning on partying around once a week, eating like an average student (I've heard döner kebab and Asian food is really cheap) and just getting to know the city's cultural spots such as museums, historic places, etc. Things that the 1,000 euros will be spent on:

  • Bus tickets
  • Groceries
  • Alcohol (budget wine & beer is ok)
  • A SIM card with internet access for 1 month
  • Ticket to Bonn (and back to Berlin)
  • Partying and nightlife

I've never been to Europe so I'm a bit lost, and asking my German friend isn't of much help because he doesn't live there as a tourist.

So, will 1,000 be enough for one month?

closed as primarily opinion-based by David Richerby, gmauch, Giorgio, Tor-Einar Jarnbjo, Jim MacKenzie Aug 22 '18 at 14:30

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Related: travel.stackexchange.com/questions/10500/… – user79658 Aug 22 '18 at 3:33
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    I'd say it's doable, but whether you can do it to your own satisfaction is, essentially, unanswerable by us. You're proposing to do this at Christmas which will push the cost up too. – user79658 Aug 22 '18 at 5:19
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    Others have already provided some details on some of your items but know that €1000 is definitely enough. With accommodation taken care of and no car or family, that's more disposable income than a majority of the population and an overwhelming majority of students. The only thing to realise is that, unlike in some other parts of the world, eating out is expensive in Europe, you have to take most of your meals at home (although Berlin is pretty cheap in that respect compared to other famous European cities like Paris, London or Amsterdam...). – Relaxed Aug 22 '18 at 7:29
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    I recommend taking a picnic hamper of bread, cheese and sausage with a nice white wine or German beer, say a weissbier.to the beautiful Tiergarten. – IlludiumPu36 Aug 22 '18 at 9:07
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    Depending on how you party, 1000 euros might not be enough for one night... – Laurent S. Aug 22 '18 at 14:02
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In general, I would say, this is doable, however in the end it depends also a bit on your definition of "comfortable". So here are just a few points to consider:

  • There are different tickets for tourists (like the Berlin Welcome Card or the City Tour Card) which offer discounted rates (or even free entry) to many museums and other tourist attractions and include public transport. These come at different prices points and validity periods. For regular public transport tickets have a look at the site of the Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe.
  • Groceries are pretty affordable in Germany, especially if you buy them at big discounters or supermarkets like Lidl or Aldi. It is no problem to eat well with a budget of 10 € per day if you only cook by yourself. A Döner is usually 3-4 € and basic Asian food starts at around 4 €. Having said that, "small" things like a coffee (3 € or more) or a sandwich (2-4 €) from the bakery here and there might account for a substantial amount of your budget quite quickly.
  • Budget wine bought in a supermarket starts at around 3 € per bottle and a 0,5l bottle of beer costs around 50 cents.
  • A sim card will cost around 10 Euro, depending on how much (fast) data you need and which provider you choose.
  • Round-trip train tickets start at 40-50 Euro, if you choose a saver fare, book them in advance and are flexible with your travel date. You can book them directly at the website of the Deutsche Bahn. (Currently you can only look up fares until the 8th December). Besides that, there are also a lot of flights between Berlin and Cologne-Bonn Airport which start at sometimes less than 20 € for a round-trip ticket. Also: Do you want to stay at Bonn for a couple days? If yes, you have to include the costs for a hotel/hostel in your budget)
  • Nightlife is very hard to quantify because we don't know what type of party you prefer. Generally prices for a beer starts at 3-4 €, longdrinks at 5-6 €, but the prices can also be twice as much (or even more) depending on the location. At clubs there is sometimes also an additional entry fee.
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    Remember to reclaim the deposit on your beer bottles, that adds up ... – o.m. Aug 22 '18 at 8:18
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    Entry fee for clubs is usually 10€-15€. So that's like only 5€ per night if you don't go home and stay in the same club from Friday till Monday ;) – kapex Aug 22 '18 at 11:01
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    Just to add: Take the trip planning to Bonn seriously! Regular train fare is around 250€. Basically everything in Germany is not very expensive except train travel., – lalala Aug 22 '18 at 11:29
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    @lalala would be much cheaper with Flixbus to travel to Bonn. There are also some direct flights around 50€ – Snow Aug 22 '18 at 13:31
  • @Snow agree. Just saying this needs a bit of planning ahead. – lalala Aug 22 '18 at 14:43
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You can buy monthly train ticket for around 70 EUR (2 rings), much cheaper than weekly ticket but it depends on what route you will go on. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berlin_Ringbahn

Train from Berlin to Bonn can be checked here https://www.bahn.com/en/view/index.shtml, get the ticket early for lower price. At the time I post this, it's 124 EUR.

A monthly 4G SIM card costs less than 7 EUR on Amazon. You will get 2 GB of data. You can order it yourself and receive it at your friend's home.

Aside from Turkish and Asian foods, McDonalds and KFC are also reasonable, from 5 to 10 EUR per meal.

I usually have short trip to Hamburg for business and I can say 1000 EUR is more than enough for a month.

  • You can also consider a bus for the trip to Bonn --- less comfortable, longer time, but cheaper. – Federico Poloni Aug 22 '18 at 9:38
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    yes night bus is a good choice, 9:00 PM to 8:00 AM the next day – Binh Aug 22 '18 at 9:43
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    Don’t waste your money on McDonald’s, KFC and the likes. For the same amount (< 10 EUR!) you can find many cheap but good restaurants in Berlin. – Konrad Rudolph Aug 22 '18 at 10:40
  • If you're going for the monthly public transit tickets, buy them at S-Bahn vs. U-Bahn (they're called "Eco" tickets). The S-Bahn version gives you a true 30 days, whereas the U-Bahn version makes you select a month (and it's only good until the end of that month, regardless of how many days are left) - both at the same price of 81 euro. The tickets work for all modes of public transportation - even across S-Bahn and BVG (U-Bahn + Buses + Trams). – Qix Jan 4 at 4:26
5

The train tickets are around 25-35€ one way if you order them online, at least 1 month before departure. Just use the right price portal. https://ps.bahn.de/preissuche/preissuche/psc_start.post#stay

BUT these budget tickets are dedicated to a specific train connection at a specific time. If you miss the train, the ticket can NOT be used for a different train, its NOT refundable (unless you use a flexi ticket, which is usually 25% more for the same connection). Unless it was the fault of the train company (f.e. late arrival).

Also, coffee is around 0,80€-2€ per cup (normal, milk, sugar, not the hipster stuff).

Normal street food should be around 2-4€ if you dont eat right next to some tourist attraction. Visit some small local restaurants instead of big chains.

Most food stalls provide much better quality and value for money than machdonalds, BK or kfc. Meaning, the sell actual food for around 50% of the price of processed "MC" plastic Stuff. For around the same price as an overpriced, oversalted fat menu at MCD, you can get the comparatively expensive, but tasty indian street food or stuff from around the world.

Edit: Sausages in bread are around 2-3€. Also, i ate like that when i visited different cities all over germany, and other parts of europe as a student. Still eating the same today when traveling (except when i source local ingredients and cook them myself, which i really like). not sure if other people only associate "expensive, upscale, long waiting time" with the term restaurant. I was reffering to smaller family restaurants and snack shop and stakeaways with seating. Especially asian and chinese food (except indian) are really affordeable

  • He (assume) to have eating like an average student so restaurant might not be a good advice. Otherwise, IMO street food can't be that cheap. A regular sausage is 5 EUR, take-away doner/chicken from 5 - 7 EUR. Also, McDonalds is surprisingly good in Germany, I think – Binh Aug 22 '18 at 10:13
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    @Binh No, Berlin is a lot cheaper than that: Döner costs around 4 EUR, sometimes less, never more than 5. Good Currywurst can be had for 3 EUR or less. Many restaurants are affordable for students, and definitely on OP’s budget. In sum, Andreas is spot-on. – Konrad Rudolph Aug 22 '18 at 10:47
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    "NOT nonrefundable" would mean that you can get a refund. Probably not what you meant. – Ben Voigt Aug 22 '18 at 13:48
  • Sausages in bread are around 2-3€. Also, i ate like that when i visited different cities all over germany, and other parts of europe as a student. Still eating the same today when traveling (except when i source local ingredients and cook them myself). not sure if other people only associate "expensive, upscale, long waiting time" with the term restaurant. I was reffering to smaller family restaurants and snack shop and stakeaways with seating. Especially asian and chinese food (except indian) are really affordeable – Andreas Sep 6 '18 at 10:18
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Yes, easily.

When I started my company a few years ago, I was living on this exact budget in Hamburg, which is quite similar to Berlin in living costs. As I was living in my own appartment, I had minimal housing costs (electricity, water, etc.). I also didn't own a car at that time.

You can buy a bus ticket for the entire month, which will run considerably cheaper than buying individual tickets if you travel often, and eliminates the risk of forgetting to buy a ticket (which is costly if caught).

Train rides in Germany range from ridiculously cheap to ludicrously expensive, depending on the trip and when you book it and how flexible you are. I just checked the bahn.de website and could find several options for a round-trip Berlin-Bonn-Berlin for a little over 100 €.

Cooking at home can be a lot cheaper than eating out, however if you are cooking for only one person, then "Mittagstisch" (business lunch) can be quite competitively priced. I don't much like to cook just for myself, so I was living on that budget and still eating out regularily.

Nightlife and parties depends a lot on where you go. There are both cheap and expensive options. You will want to watch this one as it has the highest chance to get expensive fast if you don't.

  • The cost of living is significantly different between Berlin and Hamburg. While rent is by now similar, the price for groceries, public transport and general average costs of going out is way lower in Berlin. They don't say Berlin is arm aber sexy (poor but sexy) for no reason. – simbabque Aug 30 '18 at 8:34
  • I've visited Berlin many times, never noticed a dramatic difference. There may be a difference, but it certainly isn't 20, 30 or 50%. – Tom Aug 30 '18 at 9:39
  • I've lived in Berlin for several years, and before that in Hannover. If you disregard rent, my experience is that Hamburg is more expensive than Hannover, and Berlin is less expensive than Hannover. Therefore Hamburg costs more than Berlin. I can't comment on the cost of going to party, but eating out, buying groceries and so on. Possibly even going to the movies, but I've not done that in Hamburg for many years. – simbabque Aug 30 '18 at 9:46
  • Eating out is definitely cheaper in Berlin, at least if you go to one of the many small side-street restaurants, that is true. – Tom Aug 30 '18 at 14:32
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Could be a bit short, depending on how much booze and partying you want.

  • A 7-day pass for public transport is less than €40. Month passes exist for calendar months or 30-day periods, a bit over €80. I'm assuming that the Bonn trip will be in the middle of the visit?
  • The train return ticket is around €130, depending on how early you book.
  • Food is possible for €15 or less, especially if you can use your friend's kitchen and fridge. It makes a difference if you buy prepared sandwiches or bread, butter and the rest.

That leaves €220 for the other points you mention. Museum tickets and nightlife can be expensive. No idea about the SIM card for a month.

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    Why would you recommend 4 weekly passes rather than one monthly pass? – Federico Poloni Aug 22 '18 at 9:35
  • I'm not sure about the Bonn trip, how much time and when. – o.m. Aug 22 '18 at 12:02
  • Never buy a weekly pass unless you are only staying for two and a half weeks. I did that for a while when I was in Berlin a lot for business. It adds up (but my employer was paying, and we didn't know how long I would stay). – simbabque Aug 30 '18 at 8:37

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