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Tips for Travelling Europe on Fifty Dollars a Day

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If you think you cannot afford to travel think again!!

If I can do it you probably can too.

Choose your travel companion wisely - sharing accommodation costs is a major saving.

We set an intention of an average of Fifty Dollars a day for lodging and food.
Transportation and attraction fees were extra.

You could, in fact, do it for less if you stayed in a dorm in a hostel or used CouchSurfing.

We traveled in Europe between 28 Sept, 2017 and 13 Dec, 2017: 75 days.

1. Travel in low or shoulder season. Hotels will likely be cheaper, the lineups to attractions won’t be as long and the cooler weather will be more energizing.
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2. Take advantage of discount airlines. In 2017 we used Norwegian Air (excellent), Wizz Air (really good deals) and Vueling. In 2012 we used Ryan Air (very strict one bag rule but very reasonable).
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3. Only take carry-on luggage and research the size allowances. Norwegian Air allows two pieces of carry-on (one has to fit under the seat) which is nice and Wizz Air did not strictly enforce its one bag rule but this is no guarantee that they won’t do so in the future!!
4. Use an accommodation booking site. I used Booking.ca a lot in our 2017 trip and we stayed in several apartments, some were fabulous and all of them were decent. I try to stick with a review score over 8 out of 10 and read the reviews carefully.
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5. Pack an immersion heater so you can boil water in hotel rooms without kettles. Not expensive and takes up very little room. Nice to have a hot drink or cup of soup sometimes.
6. The Balkans, Eastern Europe in general, Malta and most of the Iberian Penninsula are affordable.
Note that most of the Balkans are very much cash only, not credit card friendly. There are ATMs everywhere so not a problem and many accept the Euro - if they don’t then money changers are widely available. Of course if the town is quite small take cash in the local currency. We managed in a small village in Albania where there was no ATM as most vendors would take the Euro and do the conversion but we still had a need for Albanian currency, the Albanian Lek.
7. Buy bread, cheese, sliced meat, fruit, etc. at the grocers and make your own simple meal.
8. Lunches in restaurants are typically cheaper than dinners. Food for us was not going to be the highlight of our trip and fine dining was not a priority.
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9. If Norway is on your itinerary check out minipris train fare online - the Man in Seat 61 is a great resource for all train travel.
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10. If, like me, you are a senior remember to inquire about senior’s discounts for transportation and admissions. You could research this online also.
Travel is personal and our itinerary reflects our interests as well as our budget.
We started out in Norway - home of my ancestors. We had never been to Prague, a popular destination. Our stop in Germany was sentimental and practical as we caught a low-cost flight from Nuremberg to Belgrade. We have a friend in Serbia and have been there before but Belgrade and Novi Sad were new to us. Loved it!
We spent 35 days in the Balkans, six were on the Adriatic coastline.
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Kosovo and Sarajevo and, indeed, Skopje were very personal.
Albania is an interesting and beautiful country - blessed with a long coastline and the Albanian Alps.
We stayed one week in Malta which has an enviable climate, The Mediterranean Sea, and a resort vibe. It was ‘on the way’ to Spain.
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We were in Spain from 24 November to 11 December. Five of those days were no cost since we volunteered to teach English and received free room and board. Look into doing this if you go to Spain. Just google ‘volunteer to teach English in Spain’ - the only prerequisite is being a native English speaker - you don’t need a degree or a certificate.

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Shopping
With carry-on luggage the space for souvenirs and gifts is limited. Jewellery is lightweight and compact - Amber, ohrid pearls, and silver filigree tucked neatly nto my bag.
Scarves and pashminas from Bosnia and Malta changed up my look - adding a bit of colour to my black and grey wardrobe.
In Norway we received gifts from our relatives, pillow covers, a Bible, a wee wooden house. When we boarded in Gatwick every pocket of my jacket (4) was stuffed with the overflow and I was dressed in several layers - which worked out well once we landed in winter-y Calgary.
Christmas Markets - since we were in Spain and the UK in December we brought back Christmas ornaments, shortbread and plum pudding.
Best discount airline - Norwegian Air
Best food for low price - Serbia
Best prices for accommodation - Balkans and Malta
Best prices for souvenirs - Malta

Travel is fun and good for the mind. If you think you can’t afford to travel think again.
If I can do it almost anybody can!!

Posted by CherylGypsyRose 10:05 Archived in Spain Tagged spain budget serbia europe norway malta Comments (0)

Planning the Trip - Europe on Fifty Dollars a Day in 2017

All of a sudden I decided I had better take another trip to Europe while I was still capable of traveling on a tight budget.

If I can do it, anybody can do it.
I am 68 and on a limited income. I manage. And I travel.
So if you can rough it a little, walk, climb stairs, and don't care too much about fine dining - you can do this too!!
Choose your travel companion wisely - my oldest son came with me and he is a wonderful travel companion, patient and easy going and we like many of the same things. Some find it odd, a mother and son traveling together - nobody bats an eye when a mother and daughter travel together. I could look the world over and not find a better travel companion than him - sadly, he could not say the same about me but he recognizes that my traveling days are limited and he is a good sport and very kind.
It helps to be well matched as far as budget and expectations are concerned.
I wanted to see the place where my grandparents were born, Norway, a very expensive country!! That would be stop number one and not for many days as the cost of living is so high!! I have been to Norway once before, but not to the west coast. The best part!! Gorgeous, stunning, wonderful.
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Because Norway is so expensive we had to find some cheaper countries. Neither of us have been to Prague so the itinerary started to take shape.
I booked tickets to the opera in Prague before we left, less than eleven dollars for a seat in the nosebleed section of a famous, storied theatre.
The Balkans are cheap - easy to do most countries on a budget of fifty dollars a day. Also we have been to Serbia before and loved it. Now we wanted to see more of the former country of Yugoslavia as well as Albania, a very interesting place.
We chose Malta for good weather and because it is on the way to Spain. So our schedule was forming up, leaving it a bit loose for last minute plans but we had some must-sees and some maybes and it all worked out!!
Shoulder season is cheaper, and we would go for two and a half months. Total budget for one person, all in, six thousand dollars and you could do it for cheaper. As it was, I came in a bit under budget.
We booked our tickets with West Jet discount seats, no frills, no legroom, no food and carry on only. Calgary to Gatwick via Vancouver on 27 Sept 2017 was two hundred and fifty dollars one way, I waited awhile to book the return trip as it was more expensive coming back in December.
We returned direct from Gatwick on WestJet no frills on 13 December for three hundred and fifty dollars so six hundred for round-trip airfare, not bad, maybe could have found something cheaper but I was satisfied.
We also booked flights from Gatwick to Oslo with Norwegian Air, risky but we had a three hour layover in Gatwick, it worked but I wouldn't recommend it!! Tickets were about eighty dollars each. Much cheaper than flying directly from Calgary to Oslo but if you live in the US or close to the border then Norwegian Air, a wonderful airline, offers super cheap flights to Scandinavia and other destinations. Look it up.
Also this turned into a very long day, I was amazed by my own stamina!!
In fact I was amazed at my own stamina for much of the trip! All of a sudden I could climb 75 stairs carrying a suitcase. Travel is stimulating, motivating and energizing.
Wizz Air, out of Hungary offered super cheap flights from Nuremberg to Belgrade, Serbia - under fifty dollars each so we booked those also, in advance and left our trip from Norway to Prague to chance.

OK - carry on luggage only and we are going for two and a half months - easy in the fall when you can live in black.
I was clean and coordinated if not fancy!!
I wear a neck pouch which is camouflaged by either a jacket or a scarf. My jacket has two zippered pockets on the outside and two deep inner pockets. It folds into a pouch and can be stuffed into the suitcase.
I find a backpack uncomfortable and would rather drag a suitcase with wheels.
In 2012 we backpacked across Europe and saw seventeen countries and I found the backpack awkward. I also took a backpack to China in 2015 and after about a week bought the carry-on suitcase with wheels that I am still using!!
My suitcase is regulation size for both WestJet and other discount airlines in Europe. I also bring a small daypack which easily fits under the seat.

I packed some instant coffee pouches, an immersion heater to boil water in hotel rooms that don't offer a kettle, instant oatmeal and a few chocolate bars and bags of nuts. As I used up the emergency snacks I made room for souvenirs and gifts.
Another handy gadget is a cell phone bungee cord - since my phone is my camera it was always safe and handy around my neck.
Re cell phone - my phone wasn’t unlocked so calling was expensive but I had a plan that basically cost ten dollars for a 24 hour period - this was for emergencies and the cost kicked in if you actually got or made a call. So you need to otherwise have the phone on airplane mode as an incoming call that goes to voicemail also kickstarts the ten dollar charge. Not that good actually, check with your provider. Everybody expects you to have phone service so it is tricky but doable.
Read on about our trip - we had a wonderful time and I have awesome memories and no regrets, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
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Posted by CherylGypsyRose 13:26 Tagged packing budget cheap europe backpacking affordable carry-on frugal low-cost thrifty Comments (0)

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