The Cost of Things in (My) Europe

This article proposes the unthinkable – skipping a trip to Venice because of the decline of the U.S. dollar.

My advice, in a word? DON’T. Venice is just too amazing to pass up.

But, this article got me thinking about the cost of being in Europe, whether on vacation or living here. As I mentioned in a previous post, it now costs roughly double for me to live here as it did when I first moved here five years ago.


But, it all depends on where you are and what you’re doing there. For example, Cal’s daily vices – a pack of Gauloises and one extremely dry martini – now cost as much here in Montpel as they would in New York. But, going to the doctor and prescription drugs costs much, much less than in New York. So do most foods, with the notable exception of Old El Paso enchiladas, which are fancy exported items and therefore a rare treat.

When I’m in Rome, I can still get a pack of Fortunas, a bus ticket and a piece of pizza for under $8. And I drink house wines, so I rarely spend more than $4 a glass (or, from the supermarket, $4 a BOTTLE).

My point is, it can be expensive or cheap to be anywhere, at any time – it all depends on how you choose to spend your money.

Cal likes his daily martini because for years, he couldn’t find one in this town and used to have to go to the Hard Rock in Barcelona to get one. When we move to Italy, he’ll revel in a Peroni at the end of the day, which is distinctly cheaper. Our cigarettes will be cheaper. Our food, while not that bad here, will be MUCH cheaper. But, our rent will be higher.

The same thing can be said for vacations. If you don’t have a bunch of money to throw around on vacation in Venice, don’t! You can buy a 3-day boat pass for less than the cost of one gondola ride. You can feast on cicchetti for cheap or even free during cocktail hours. You can order a carafe of house wine instead of a fraction of the cost of a bottle from the menu. You can do any one of a thousand things that will still make your trip an adventure without feeling like you’ve skimped at all.


2 thoughts on “The Cost of Things in (My) Europe

  1. “it can be expensive or cheap to be anywhere, at any time – it all depends on how you choose to spend your money”

    This is so true. As you hear more and more reports about the world’s most expensive cities/countries, I always wonder what factors the report used. One of the first thing I have to do in preparation for moving abroad is to accept that I will not be able to transport my US life to the new country. Things will be different. Housing may be more expensive, but groceries (as long as I buy local) will be cheaper. There will be no Walmart or stocking up on food as if we are going into hibernation. I am one of those people who does not let these facts disappoint or discourage me – I look forward to the change.

    Great post!

    • Yes. And, you won’t want to “stock up” too much when everything is so fresh, cheap and in season! Who wants boxed mac and cheese when you can make a fresh pasta meal? Right? Ha!

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