as you might have noticed, this year was a very active year traveling-wise – to be precise I went to four beautiful cities (I think that’s it for now): Budapest, Rome, Prague, and Pula. All of this is not possible because I have a very rich uncle or won the lottery.
All those four trips cost about 800€ all together including the transportation, accommodation, and food/other activities. Today I wanted to share my tips on how to travel in a cheap way.
Interested? Let’s go!
When to go
It depends much on the time of the year you’re going. Really? Yes, everything gets more expensive during the holidays and summer.
We went to Budapest in January, to Rome in February, to Prague in May – all of them (kind of) outside of the season. Only Pula in August was an exception, but we just wanted the sea and warm climate so badly.
So pay attention to the time you’re booking your vacations. Also: sometimes a holiday in your country isn’t a holiday in your destination – that’s a good time to avoid masses of people and to save some money.
How long to go
While all of us would love to spend weeks on vacations if we could (me too!), with my lifestyle now I personally prefer short get-outs. So the trips I made were only 2-4 days long. It sounds extremely short but the way I spent the time on those days, it felt like a week-long vacation afterward.
On three out of four trips I went by bus. Due to Vienna’s very convenient location in the middle of Europe, you can travel to many beautiful places in only 3-4 hours – in my case Budapest and Prague. Mostly I check out CheckMyBus to see how the prices are and choose the cheapest bus option. Both buses to Budapest and Prague were around 30€ both ways for one person.
If you’re now thinking: Hmm, I don’t have beautiful capitals around my home town, then read this: We basically chose those locations BECAUSE they were close. So don’t be picky and make sure to check out every city, town, village, and piece of nature around you at a distance of a 3-4h ride. Whatever there is close.
Pula is reachable by bus as well – but it takes around 9h and costs 100€ for a person both ways. It’s so beautiful and charming though, it’s worth it.
Rome is not that close to Vienna, but here we were very lucky with the flights, which were 80€ both ways per person (You have most probably heard of these companies already: Ryanair and Vueling). It’s not good to fly too much, I know that. But Rome was a dream for a long time, so I don’t regret anything here.
In all four cases I chose Airbnb – which was of course totally different in each city, but on average it was 45€ per trip and person (2-3 nights).
What do I look for when choosing the apartment:
- It’s cheap and clean (no unnecessary luxury!)
- It has positive reviews (nice and honest host)
- It is as close to the center and/or a metro station as possible
Resulting in the fact that I lived in quite simple places you maybe won’t post on your Instagram to show off, but they were comfortable and served their purpose of providing a home in each place. If you want to travel cheap, stop being picky. As simple as that.
In Rome, Prague, and Budapest we took a 48h or 72h ticket for the public transportation (in Pula we bought tickets every time since there was no other option).
Though a time ticket is pricey sometimes, it gives you the freedom to
a) live in a place far from city center, tourist chaos, expensive restaurants, and bakeries and
b) get around easily without spending time on buying tickets all the time.
In the winter months, the metro is also a great way to stay warm! (Don’t get me wrong, we didn’t live there, but if you feel cold you’d rather take the metro from one place to the other.)
Food & entries & other
It’s hard to generalize here, but here are some simple rules I try to follow:
- Mostly only one meal per day out in a restaurant – saves you not only money but also TIME
- Looking up cheap and good restaurants upfront (e.g. on TripAdvisor) and going to them directly – like that you don’t end up in a shitty tourist place with terrible overpriced food. I mostly mark them all in a Google Maps, which I then use on the go, works also without wi-fi
- Drinking tea/coffee at home instead of a cafe (apart from Budapest, it was so cold over there, we had to stop in cafes twice per day, but it’s also quite cheap there, so it doesn’t count) – in all places I go to a supermarket to buy some tea and sugar (can’t live without)
- Having snacks & (tap) water with me in case of hunger attacks
- Checking out ALL free things to do and see in the place
- Never saving money on great views over the city (towers, churches, castles) – that’s a personal must as a photographer
- Always skipping unnecessary tourist attractions with huge lines
I hope you like these tips and they will help you to start your own amazing and cheap trip to a place not far from home! Let me know if you miss some info and where you’d like to go next!