The Cost Of Going Abroad
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
The variation here is as wide as between a Ford roadster and a Rolls-Royce limousine. There is no reason why the young, active, healthy, and not too proud man or woman with $500 should hesitate to plan a six weeks' or two months' sojourn in western Europe. With a round trip passage on a cabin steamer ("mono-class"), a list of modest hotels and pensions, and a constant vigilance over minor expenditures, a fairly comprehensive trip through England and France, or through France, Germany, Switzerland, and at least northern Italy, should be possible. Go direct to Cherbourg, for example, "do" France in a circuit that will bring you back to one of the Channel ports about the beginning of the second month, and board the return steamer at Southampton after the English jaunt is over. A summer in Spain should be possible for a like amount, particularly if you know, or will take the trouble to learn, a little Spanish. By close figuring, a steamer to Naples, a zigzag jaunt through Italy, Switzerland, France as far east as Paris, and Germany as far west as Berlin, and the passage home from Hamburg, Amsterdam, Antwerp, or Boulogne, has been accomplished on that amount.
By raising the minimum a few hundred dollars, much improvement in either the itinerary or the comfort of the trip may be had. For there are certain basic charges that are about the same for any trip—passport and visa fees, for instance, and within certain limits, the steamer pass-ages. Many Americans make the mistake of trying to cover too much ground on their trips abroad. You will get more enjoyment, at less cost, out of a leisurely journey through a small but carefully chosen section of Europe—or of any other foreign country—than by dashing across the whole continent hitting only the high spots.
Just what amount you will spend during a journey "on your own" will depend upon your shrewdness, adaptability, and ability to put up with minor discomforts now and then. Ten dollars a day is a fair, and $15 a liberal, average for all the expenses of a modest tourist between landing in and sailing from Europe. Remember that the exchange may still fluctuate in some European countries.
For those who prefer to know the cost in advance, or who dislike constant bargaining or economizing, many of the tourist agencies offer conducted tours in Europe of as much as five weeks for as low as $400. But do not overlook certain incidentals that are not included, yet are unavoidable. Passports and visas, steamer tips, laundry, postage, theater or bullring tickets, and the like come in this category. Flying trips to Europe may be made with certain agencies that cater to those of very modest requirements and small purses. Here is one, for instance, that promises a tour of central France at $250 from departure from New York to arrival there twenty-eight days later. The same agency offers to take you through Holland, Belgium, up the Rhine, and across northern France for $385. The same amount is asked for a forty-two day trip through most of France and Switzerland. In fact, there are several modest itineraries in western Europe that have been worked out by such agencies for those with less than $500 to spend.
For those with brief vacations, a pleasant two weeks' trip to Puerto Rico may be made for as little as $150. Minimum accommodations on certain steamers are available for a tour of the main islands of the West Indies at $240. Long days at sea, and a glimpse of the principal cities of eastern South America, may be had for $450. A Mediterranean cruise of two months' duration is possible for $650. There are round the world cruises lasting about four months that may be made for $1,000. The same amount will do for a rather hasty glimpse of Japan and the port cities of China. In all these cases another 50% added to the minimum to be spent will give twice as good a journey.
All eastbound steamship tickets from the United States or Canada (below a certain almost impossible minimum) have a revenue tax of $5 added. Full fare is charged children of ten or over on almost all steamers. Younger children pay half fare, except that infants are charged 10% of the minimum fare, or a fixed sum about equal to that, up to the age of one on the Atlantic and of two on the Pacific and some of the north-and-south lines. Half-fare children are entitled to a berth of their own. On a few lines family tickets for five or more persons may be had at a slight reduction.