Getting ripped off when travelling to Europe

I’m heading to Paris in the next few weeks. I’ve never been to Europe before, but through a beautiful stroke of luck mixed with a surprise work opportunity, I’m going to spend 10 glorious days in the City of Lights. I am mind-bogglingly excited about the trip.

I’m also getting a little bit cautious – because the cost of my trip is going to be mind-boggling, according to recent reports.

The cost of basic food and drinks in Europe are ridiculously high, I’m told. Factor in the language barrier, and it’s going to be a recipe for financial disaster.


I should expect to pay around AU$10 for a coffee, for instance. That’s a pricey hit of java.

One friend recently returned from a five-city tour throughout Europe, the fiscal standout of which was purchasing two soft drinks and a bag of crisps from a convenience store. She was charged 15 Euros – or about $AU25.

If you think that’s expensive, you’ll be gobsmacked by the next story…

A tourist recently ordered two coffees and two bottles of water in Venice.

The cost? An eye-watering 43 Euros – around $AU67!

It translated to around $AU18 per coffee and $15.50 per bottle of water.

According to a spokesperson for the café, it was the “experience” they were paying for, not the beverages.

“If they just want a coffee they can have it at the bar for €1.25 ($1.95),” the spokesperson said. “If they want to sit outside and enjoy the music of the orchestra, look at the bell tower and the Basilica of St Mark’s, then they are paying for an entirely different experience.”

We should consider it an entertainment or service charge, then?

This is not the only report of tourists being bilked for food and bev.

Last year, a group of four Japanese tourists were reportedly charged over 1000 Euros for four steaks in Venice. That city seems to be a repeat offender, as there was also a British family of three who were charged over 500 Euro for a seafood lunch, which included 20 oysters at 5 Euro a pop, which the family never ordered.

I guess I should be grateful I’m not going to Venice?! And I better have a handy translation guide on my phone…

Have you ever been ripped off on holiday, and how did you handle it?