18 Tips For Travelling Europe On A Budget (and throwback photos)

My 18 tips for travelling on a budget in Europe (oh and some mildly embarrassing photos of my baby-faced 18 year old self Interrailing)…

1. Save enough money plus buffer.

Self explanatory. That bit of extra buffer money may come in useful for emergencies or random fines you may encounter because you’re not used to European transport….. (hopefully this won’t happen to you). 

  300860_2040201004365_7811879_n

2. Budget per day

Sounds obvious and boring but it’s necessary. Use websites like these to work out how much you need to budget in each country. Take a notepad to jot down how much you’re spending per day and work out how you’re doing compared to your budget per day. Obviously don’t make budgeting the main priority and dampen the fun, but having a general idea of your expenditure is great. 

299958_2040268286047_2184214_n

3. Plan a route.

Get a big ol’ map (or get up Google maps) and plan a route of all the places you want to visit. Even if it’s just a rough one. Then you can see if there are any places of interest in between your desired destinations. Then you can research and get an idea of transport links between each place too. 

 281435_2012760798377_7281026_n

4. Get a guidebook.

Or just do research online and write it down. But getting a guidebook is easier. This one is great for travelling Europe on a budget.

 215104_2012786919030_6975839_n

5. Book some hostels before you go.

Don’t book all your hostels in advance because then you will create a schedule for yourself which you may not stick to. Instead I would recommend booking 3-5 hostels before you leave, especially for places that are likely to be busy during peak season and places you really want to go. When I went Interailing we booked hostels for our first stop in Paris, our last stop in Amsterdam, and our beach stop in Croatia (because we’d heard most hostels got fully booked up here during the summer). Doing this puts the mind at rest. Hostelworld is the best sight.

 296771_2040257525778_502307_n

6. Book the rest of your hostels one stop before.

For the rest of our hostels, we booked them using free wifi one day before arriving at our next destination. Again, for peace of mind knowing we’d have somewhere to stay when we got to our next destination. Very easy to do. Again using Hostelworld.

 285100_2012759838353_4174755_n

7. Don’t be afraid of staying in crazy sounding hostels.

Big rooms = big savings. In Prague we stayed in a gym turned into a 90 bed hostel. Quite the experience. Don’t be afraid to go for the cheap option where possible!

 300749_2040208724558_6358692_n

8.Take a padlock.

For the lockers, and your bag when travelling…. oh and take ear plugs. If you remember one thing… EARPLUGS.

 254788_2040273526178_4590663_n

10. Socialise with fellow travellers

Talk to people you’re sharing your room and people in your hostel, they’ll be able to give you tips on good places to stay and go. You might even meet some people you want to continue travelling with.

 282116_2012757598297_7912641_n

11. Book hostels with a communal kitchen.

If you’re on a super tight budget, its a good idea to book a hostel with a kitchen so you can cook your own meals. It’s also nice to cook your own food for a change if you’ve been eating out a lot.

 291982_2040265925988_2784548_n

12. Have a half way rest point.

It’s a good idea to have a ‘rest’ around half way through your trip. Try and stay with friends/family or book a hostel in a sleepy town or by the beach. You’ll appreciate a few days of laying in and monging.

 283810_2012786479019_2901614_n

13. Take 1 book.

You can swap your book in hostels for new one.

 291719_2040236645256_3609394_n

14. Download podcasts.

Of something that interests you. And music of course.

 296589_2040234565204_3996032_n

15. Learn some card games.

Good to pass the time whilst travelling, and also good for drinking games to play with all your new hostel friends.

 283375_2012779598847_5517371_n

16. Take normal washing tablets.

You can get these ‘travel’ washing tablets or liquid. They’re shit. Take the normal strong stuff.

 284626_2012766918530_7214821_n

17. Interrail and buy one of these.

Having an Interrail pass means you reduce your transport costs whilst you’re away and you know how much you’ve spent on the bulk of your transport before you go away. Using the trains is a  breeze, although in some countries (France and Italy I’m looking at you) you have to book yourself onto trains before you go on them for no extra cost. Not too much of a problem as long as you remember in good time. Get the European train time book, the Bible of getting around Europe on rails.

299631_2040205564479_6723747_n

18. Stay East.

Cheap, hot, beautiful. What more could you want. Paris, Amsterdam and Rome are all beautiful, but on a budget you don’t want to stay there too long. The East has more to offer in terms of town, beach, lakes and mountains.

Advertisements

Budapest Part 1

Unlike my last trip (and blog post) to Istanbul, my trip to Budapest with my sister was on a budget. We flew with RyanAir, booked a hostel and budgeted our whole trip, something I actually enjoy doing. We’d heard Budapest was cheap, but just how cheap we weren’t quite prepared for.

We arrived at 3am (not ideal) to our ‘hostel‘ which turned out to be a whole self catered apartment! (pretty ideal). We stayed on the Pest side of the city just off Andrássy út close to all the sights.

We woke up the next morning to a bright and beautiful interior balcony.

P1020942

Our first morning in Pest was a drizzly, so we bimbled  around, finding breakfast in quiet but large nearby market, and eventually sitting down to some traditional Hungarian comfort food and shelter from the rain.

 P1020904

Sweet paprika stew and meat and bread dumplings for a couple of quid! Tasted great but tasted even better knowing the price.

After lunch we headed down to the river, the clouds parted and we had a wonderful view over to the Buda side of the city.

P1020928

And of the (strangely very new) parliament building on our Pest side.

P1020923

We walked along the river a came across this thought provoking Jewish memorial.

P1020931

Next on the agenda was ice cream!

We found this place near our apartment on Andrássy út where you could chose your ingredients and then they would make your ice cream in front of you on cold plates, very cool. I went for banana and peanut butter mmmmm *drools*. Unfortunately I  didn’t take a photo as I was too busy eating. This is them making it though on the cold plate…

P1020936

That evening we headed out for some drinks at the well known Szimpla Kert, an edgy looking venue made of of disused building surrounding an outdoor garden area. There are multiple bars for different types of drink and loads of interesting stair cases and rooms. One of the coolest bars I have ever been to – would highly recommend!

P1020945

P1020949

P1020950

P1020958

P1020965

A few beers and cocktails later our awesome first day in Budapest came to an end.

The next day we woke up to glorious sunshine and headed to the market we’d been to the previous day for breakfast. Lots of fruit and pastries were purchased and eaten.

P1020974

P1020978

After filling our tummies we hopped (literally…see below) back down Andrassy Ut past the Opera House into town to do more exploring!

P1020991

P1030001

We decided to cross the Chain Bridge to see what the historic Buda side of the city had to offer…..

P1030004

P1030009

P1030010

P1030016

…and started to climb up to the Royal Palace and National Gallery.

P1030020

When we reached the top we were greeted by the hilarious display of the Hungarian changing of the guard. No offence to any Hungarians but it was more like a dance routine than anything else! 

P1030021

There were more great views from the top.

P1030027

P1030028

P1030033

Me loving life.

P1030035

The National Gallery…

P1030039

And the castle…

P1030050

P1030057

P1030058

And more glorious views over the river looking to Pest.

P1030054

P1030060

After mooching around on the hill and taking in the beautiful buildings and view, we headed back to Pest to experience one of the things Budapest is most famous for; it’s thermal baths. We went to the largest of the baths ‎Széchenyi at the top of Pest, I cannot recommend it enough. We spent four hours mulling in the warm waters and feeling on top of the world.

10534663_10202615530729176_7928626718996691941_n

10530716_10202615528649124_4092646905992785768_n

10410136_10202615528249114_1632227939647496165_n

Even though from these pictures it looks busy, it wasn’t really and it was easy to find your own space and drift into a dreamy mermaid state – blissful. 

After all that ‘swimming’ (ahem), we were starving, so headed back to Szimpla Kert to find an amazing looking burger van which we’d spotted the day before.

P1030081

Oh daymn these burgers were goooood.

P1030068

Mine had cheese, beer cooked onions, pickles and salad in it. Perfection. 

And the fries…….were just unreal.

P1030069

P1030071

Above it my sister’s burger with coleslaw, cheese, the same onions and god knows what else tasty stuff. The van prided itself on using it’s own locally made beer in the burger recipes.

P1030074

P1030076

P1030077

And that, naturally, was a very full end to our second day in Budapest and Part 1 of this blog post.

Pretty great looking city so far right?!

Thanks for reading.

Istanbul Day 1

So I am back on the blogging scene after graduating and ready to start showing y’all my travels! The next few posts will show my travels in the last month. After that I’m hoping to do more ‘live’ as they happen posts of my travelling.

P1020545

I set off for a 2 day trip to Istanbul last month with my sister and aunties. I had never been to Turkey and was super excited to experience the culture, sights and food.

We arrived at night and woke up the next day to glorious sunshine and a wonderful buffet breakfast (pictures in the next post…..I’m talking fresh fruit, cakes, fruit….the good stuff) in the guest house we were staying. We were staying near Hagia Sophia and all the big sights so set off on our first morning for a day of exploring.

The Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia.

P1020563

P1020555

P1020561

P1020546

P1020562

We then had a wonder round the huge and wonderfully interesting Archaeological Museum.

P1020594

P1020579

P1020578 P1020583

P1020573

After all that walking we felt we deserved a well earned lunch (nothing great to talk about here unfortunately) and first cup of Turkish tea (which was wonderful).

P1020615

We spent the afternoon bimbling more and picking up an appetite for dinner. We stumbled across a little place (can’t remember or find the name of it online anywhere!!) where you could chose your fish from a refrigerated platter, then take a seat with a glass of wine and wait for it to be cooked on the barbecue out back. We went for the sea bream and when it arrived oh mann…BBQ goodness…

P1020645

P1020647

P1020649

P1020650

Demolished! And all washed down with lots of wine and a spot of Raki…

P1020643

A wonderful first day in Istanbul! Day 2 post to follow soon.