Easter Island Girl Tongariki Easter Island Heads From Behind

Easter Island is both very remote and very high on a large number of traveller’s bucket lists. The combination of these two factors means that a trip to this gorgeous Island can be VERY expensive!

I weighed up the pros and cons of visiting Easter Island extensively before spending so much money on such a short trip. The deciding factor was something along the lines of “sod it, I probably won’t find myself in Santiago again any time soon, I’d regret it if I didn’t fly to Easter Island now”.

If you’ve read my blog post outlining my budget for my entire 3 month trip in South America, you will know that I really tried to maximise my experiences within the three months and therefore ended up spending a bit more than anticipated. However, that doesn’t mean that I was walking around throwing money at anyone that would take it – I think I planned my trip to Easter Island on as small of a budget as possible – here’s how you can to!

How Much Did My Trip Cost?

All in all, I spent £926.62 over the course of 6 days which is a grand total of £154.44 per day! Considering you could easily spend £150 per night on a hotel (no matter where you are in the world), I don’t think I did too badly for a destination which is known for being super pricey!

A breakdown of my costs are as follows:

  • Accommodation: £181.50
  • Food: £34.88
  • Gifts: £6.64
  • Necessities: £6.60 (public toilet and replacement sunglasses)
  • Sightseeing: £97.20
  • Transport £599.80

Now, here’s how you can book a trip for less than £1,000 too!

Easter Island Close Up Moai Easter Island Wild Horses

Flights

When To Book

Flights are the real reason that a trip to Easter Island can be very expensive. The key to getting a good deal looking at flights as early as possible.

I heard great stories about people being able to buy £250 return tickets last minute a few years ago but this didn’t seem to be the case in my experience. I visited Easter Island in late February 2018 and began looking at the flights in November/December 2017. Ideally, I should have booked the flights as soon as I decided on my dates as they did go up in price as time passed.

Should You Use A Flight Comparison Website?

This is the one time that I wouldn’t recommend using Skyscanner to check for flights, purely on the basis that there is only one provider for the route (LATAM). To save time, just check the prices directly on the LATAM website. There were a few times where the actual cost when clicking through to the LATAM website was much higher than the Skyscanner estimate – so don’t get your hopes up!

Flexibility with Dates

Flights can differ massively from day to day. If you can be flexible, check all of the prices on surrounding dates. For some reason, all of the return flights that I was looking at were around £1,000 and then I managed to find the exact same flights on slightly later dates for £560 return! At almost “half price”, it would have been rude not to book them!

Using a VPN / Accessing the Chilean LATAM Website

Of course, all good travel hackers would tell you to use a VPN to hide your location when booking expensive flights. In my excitable state, I forgot to do this while looking for my flights – oops!

However, I did try accessing the Chilean version of the LATAM website rather than the UK version and was shocked at how much cheaper the flights were! I tried to book the tickets but the site wouldn’t accept my UK credit card – it’s worth a shot though!

Check the Price of Business Class

I’ve heard rumours that the price of business class tickets to Easter Island sometimes aren’t that much more expensive than economy tickets! So be sure to check the business class section if you want to get the most bang for your buck!

RELATED: Easter Island is in the middle of nowhere, check out how I slotted it into a 3 month South American backpacking adventure here!  

Easter Island Girl Sightseeing Easter Island Palm Trees

Accommodation

Camping / Hostels

The cheapest way to stay on the island is to camp. Wild camping is prohibited on the island but campsites can be found at a relatively cheap price. The hostel that I stayed at (Camping y Hostal Tipanie Moana) had camping facilities starting from £20 per night!

If you haven’t brought a sleeping bag or camping gear with you, the next best option is a bed in a hostel dormitory. Hostel beds are hard to come by on Easter Island unless you book early, this is perhaps because at Camping y Hostal Tipanie Moana a hostel bed is around the same price as a tent!

Cheap Private Rooms

As I wasn’t carrying a sleeping bag and all hostel rooms had booked out on the Island, I ended up with a cheap private room. There are plenty of small family run hotels offering a basic bedroom on the island. I had a double room and shared bathroom which totalled £181.50 for 5 nights (i.e. just under £37 per night).

Given the fact that the Island is small, I imagined that there wouldn’t be many accommodation choices and I would end up spending over £100 per night! That’s simply not the case if you book early. Most reservations via Booking.com have a time period where it’s free to cancel the reservation, so even if you’re holding out for a price drop in flights (don’t get your hopes up too much), you can reserve the room just to be safe!

Easter Island Cave Easter Island Quarry

Food

Bringing Food From Mainland Chile

As I stood waiting to collect my dusty backpack from the baggage turnstile at the airport, I noticed something quite peculiar… most of the items on the baggage turnstile were cool boxes containing food! As all food is imported to Easter Island, many of the locals (and tourists alike) bring food with them from the mainland in an attempt to avoid the inflated prices on the Island.

As I was only going to be visiting Easter Island for 5 nights, I bought a big bag of pasta and a large sachet of sauce to see me through the evenings where I didn’t want to spend much money! Choosing accommodation that has cooking facilities is imperative if you’re looking to save money.

The bag of pasta and sauce sachet were so large that I ended up being able to leave a substantial amount in the kitchen for future travellers to enjoy too!

Cheap Eats on Easter Island Island

While I would eat dinner at the hotel most nights (yes, I underestimated how boring that one pasta sauce would become), it was fairly easy to find cheap lunches on the Island.

A great place to get cheap empanadas is Club Sandwich located in the main street of Hanga Roa (the town is tiny, there’s only a few streets to choose from). I think their empanadas started at around $3 each and were super tasty!

So many people warned me about the price of food on the Island and I was very scared for the future of my bank account. However, in all honesty, I didn’t find it that bad! If you are sensible and search for a good deal (not the cute little hut serving $20 acai / smoothie bowls), you will be fine.

If you’re looking for ice cream (which I was very frequently due to the intense humidity), check out the ice cream bar next to Pea RestoBar (the pineapple flavour was my favourite) and enjoy the sea views. You may even spot some turtles!

Easter Island Pea Bay Easter Island Crater

Sightseeing

National Park Ticket

On arrival at the Hanga Roa airport, you will need to purchase the national park ticket which costs $60 for all non-Chilean nationals. This ticket covers entry to all of the Moai archeological sites for 5 consecutive days.

By way of visiting the historical sights and Moai archaeological sights, this will be the only price you need to pay and none of the sights on the Island will require a further cost to enter them!

Guided Tours

It’s easy to rent a car on the Island to reach the sights, however I would recommend taking at least one guided tour so that you get to understand the history of the Island a little more. Once my car rental expired, I hopped onto an afternoon tour which cost £24 to try and see some of the sights I missed the day before.

This was one of the most interesting tours that I did in South America and that’s largely down to the incredible history and uniqueness of the island.

Free Things To Do 

Yes, you read that right – some things on the Island are free! One of my favourite things to do on the Island was hike to the rim of the Rano Kau volacano! While it wasn’t a difficult hike physically, the intense heat made it a very sweaty hike! Luckily, the incredible views made up for it (although I was almost chased by a cow…)!

Of course, the Island has a selection of beaches to choose from which are also free. The most popular being Anakena Beach which you will need to hire a car to visit. If you want to stay closer to town, Pea Beach is in walking distance but is very small!

The Easter Island museum is another great free activity! I don’t usually enjoy museums too much, but there’s something about the mysterious history of the Island which is truly captivating. I left wishing the museum was bigger (both for the history and the amount of time I could stand in an air-conditioned building)!

Quite honestly, one of my favourite things about Easter Island was it’s natural beauty. It costs nothing at all to enjoy the views, watch the wild horses graze and catch a spectacular sunset.

Easter Island Cars Easter Island Single Moai

Transport on Easter Island

Renting a Car

Car rental on Easter Island was surprisingly cheap! I met an American couple who were looking to hire a car on the same day as me, so our hotel organised a rental through Oceanic where 24 hours of useage cost £35. When split between the three of us, it ended up costing me just over £11 and was well worth it!

Considering most of the places you will visit in the car are already paid for by way of your National Park ticket, £11 is a small price to pay for a truly incredible day.

If you drive the main ring-road in one day, you won’t need to top-up on fuel at all! This is what we did, so I’m unsure as to how expensive fuel is on Easter Island.

Taxis

Taxis within Hanga Roa (the only town on the Island) are reasonably cheap at $3 but the Island is easily walk able, so you are unlikely to need to take one.

Using taxis to drive to any of the archaeological sights outside of the town will become very pricey. We stupidly didn’t use our rental car to visit Ahu Tongariki at sunrise (the must-see spot apparently)! When I enquired on hiring a taxi to make this trip on another day, I was quoted in excess of £50 for the short round trip!

Bike and Quad-bikes

If you don’t want to rent a car, bicycle and quad bike hires are readily available! If you are visiting in one of the slightly cooler months, these would definitely be great options! However, the thought of cycling in such intense heat wasn’t a pleasant one! And even though physical exertion is limited when riding a quad-bike, I imagine that I would have got seriously sun-burnt!

 

Easter Island Anakena Beach Easter Island Rano Kau

Is It Worth The Money?

Hopefully, this blog post has proven that the flights are the only cost that should really be feared when visiting Easter Island! If you have the time and the money to visit Easter Island, I think it is definitely worth it.

I’ve never been to such a secluded and beautiful Island. The residents of Easter Island are trying their hardest to maintain and preserve the Island to the best of their ability – it would be a shame to miss it.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post (however affiliate links may be used which mean I earn commissions on purchases at no extra cost to you) and all thoughts are my own.
Danielle1

 

 

 

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Girl Quilatoa Crater Ecuador

Eh? What’s a Flashpacker?

Well… when I started planning my three month adventure to South America, I had good intentions of sticking to a super strict budget. At the time, I wanted to spend around £1,000 per month, which would have been easily doable. However, I might have got a little bit carried away once the trip began…

I was in a very fortunate position to be given a three month sabbatical from work. As my sabbatical directly followed our super busy period, I had worked plenty of extra hours before the trip and was allowed to take these hours as paid “time off in lieu” meaning I was still receiving a wage throughout some of my trip – result!

The sabbatical was a celebration for becoming a Chartered Tax Advisor last year and I know that I won’t be given this opportunity again, so I really wanted to make the most of it (hence why I ended up spending a bit more)!

So essentially…. I’m a bit of a “flashy” backpacker…

 

Want to see my entire itinerary? Lucky you, you can find a HUGE breakdown here!

Girl Canyoning Banos Ecuador

What’s My Travel Style? 

Accommodation:

I stayed mainly in hostels with only a few “upgrades” throughout the trip. On one occasion, I stayed in an airport hotel (which is always pricey) as I didn’t fancy sleeping on Santiago airport floor on my own. My real luxury treat was a 3 night stay in an eco-lodge in the Amazon Jungle… Yes, I could have picked a cheaper accommodation, but I had been camping on many hikes prior to this and fancied a little bit of luxury!

Food: 

If I were a true budget-backpacker, I would have cooked more meals for myself. In reality, I only truly cooked for myself on Easter Island where food prices are known to be extortionate (part of me wishes that I also had access to a kitchen on the Galapagos Islands)! Otherwise, I loved sampling the local cuisines in restaurants across South America. Breakfast was the one meal that I tried not to pay for as it’s often included in the price of your hostel (warning: you will get bored of bread and jam hostel breakfasts)!

Activities: 

South America is FILLED with incredible bucket-list experiences and I simply couldn’t say no to any of them – oops! I faced a lot of fears during my trip (e.g. “Death Road”) which also often led me to pick the more expensive tour operators which had better safety ratings etc. Many backpackers that I met on my trip were a lot more picky and only spent their hard-earned money on a few top activities.

Transport:

Buses are the best mode of transport in South America and generally they are fairly cheap. However, to truly utilise my 3 months, I sometimes picked pricier options which made life easier (e.g. a 1 hour flight in Chile as opposed to a 24 hour bus journey and the Peru Hop buses which pick you up and drop you off at your hostels).

Girl Galapagos Islands Las Grietas

What Did I Spend?!

For the total 3 month trip, I spent £6,621.65 (just over £2,000 per month). That figure makes me want to cry a little bit given that I am normally such a thrifty traveller on shorter trips, but I can assure you that it was worth every penny.

If you are looking to complete this trip on more of a budget, you should read my buddy Ellie’s breakdown of her costs on a very similar trip here! She spent £3,787 in three months during 2015.

Dun Dun Dun… The Breakdown!

Just telling you how much I spent isn’t very helpful, is it? So, here’s a complete breakdown of what I spent my money on and how you can do it cheaper!

Argentina (£347.29 over 4 days = £86.82 per day)

  • Accommodation: £82.06
  • Food: £23.04
  • Sightseeing/activities: £173.79
  • Transport: £68.40

My very short experience in Argentina potentially isn’t representative of the country as a whole. I simply hopped over to Mendoza for 4 days as I had some time to kill while waiting for my flight to Easter Island from Santiago.

Firstly, I had to book a return bus from Santiago (an 8 hour journey) for £68.40. If you were travelling through Argentina, it is unlikely you’d need to go back on yourself during any journeys. Secondly, I lost some money as I booked a hostel before I arrived and cancelled it at the last minute – oops! Lastly, I used these 4 days to complete some really great day trips. I barely saw the city of Mendoza and instead enjoyed the surrounding areas which is obviously more pricey. You could easily have a much cheaper lovely day in the city!

Bolivia (£366.81 over 7 days = £52.40 per day)

  • Accommodation: £23.81
  • Food: £24.70
  • Necessities: £0.50 (public toilet)
  • Sightseeing: £206.00
  • Transport £111.80

Bolivia is a VERY cheap country… I really did pick the most expensive sightseeing and transport options available.

I completed the amazing three day tour of the Uyuni Salt Flats (highly recommend!) and opted for a well reviewed company who were more expensive than their competitors (Cordillera Traveller). We had heard horror stories from other companies who had drunk drivers and gave their guests food poisoning during our stay – so I’m glad I spent a little bit more! I paid $185 for this tour.

Secondly, I was TERRIFIED of “Death Road” and therefore picked one of the best rated tour operators again (Gravity Assisted Mounting Biking), there are much cheaper options but once again, I am happy with my decision!

As I was in a rush to get to Peru for my Inca Trail booking, I had to fly from Uyuni to La Paz rather than take the bus. The flight cost £64 and took 45 minutes which is great compared to the 10 hour night bus! Most other travellers took the bus with no issues.

Finally, due to some warnings about travelling in Bolivia as a solo female, I booked the Bolivia Hop bus to navigate from La Paz to Lake Titicaca and cross the border into Peru. I booked this trip for £45. Using local buses would be much cheaper and on reflection, I felt very safe in Bolivia, so the added expense wasn’t entirely necessary (although hostel pick ups and drop offs are a dream)!

Read about my time in Bolivia:

Chile (£727.36 over 11 days = £66.12 per day)

  • Accommodation: £210.23
  • Food: £158.73
  • Gifts: £15.60
  • Necessities: £50.23 (medicine for an eye infection and a replacement towel)
  • Sightseeing: £174.61
  • Transport: £117.96

For Chile, I recommend not getting ill (ha – easier said than done). I learnt the hard way that medicines are super expensive in Chile and it’s hard to get much without a prescription.

Once again, I took the more expensive but quicker and easier flight between Santiago and San Pedro De Atacama (Calma is the nearest airport) as opposed to the 20+ hour bus ride which would definitely save you money.

Restaurant food in Chile is more expensive than other countries (and in my opinion, not as exciting). So I did cook with hostel friends a few times rather than eating out. Groceries were affordable and very easy to find (especially in Santiago).

Hostels were more expensive than in other countries but the quality was also better (for the most part). I started my trip in Santiago and Hostal Forestal was probably one of my favourite hostels of the whole trip! Although a huge swaying factor for me is when a hostel serves more than just bread and jam for breakfast – ha!

Easter Island (£926.62 over 6 days = £154.44 per day)

  • Accommodation: £181.50
  • Food: £34.88
  • Gifts: £6.64
  • Necessities: £6.60 (public toilet and replacement sunglasses)
  • Sightseeing: £97.20
  • Transport £599.80

Not many backpackers find themselves on Easter Island (in fact, I only met one native English speaking couple during my time there and they were significantly older than me). If you’re looking to visit South America on a budget, you should wave goodbye to Easter Island!

The flights are SUPER expensive. I was lucky and managed to get some for £560 return. Yep, “lucky”! All of the return flights around my dates were around £1,000. You only need 4 – 5 days to see the island, so the cost per day for the flights is extortionate!

Without a doubt, the cheapest way to stay on the island is to camp. I stayed at “Camping y Hostal Tipanie Moana” which has camping spots, dorm rooms and private rooms. As I wasn’t carrying a tent on my trip and the dorm rooms were sold out, I booked a private room (which was definitely the cheapest one on the island). Make sure you book your accommodation quickly if you want a dorm room!

Food is very expensive on the island and most people purchase food from the mainland and bring it to the Island. I’ve never seen so many cool-boxes filled with food circling the baggage reclaim belt! I generally would eat lunch at a restaurant (“Club Sandwich” became one of my favourite places due to their super cheap empanadas!) and then cook myself dinner to save some money.

Most of the “sightseeing” costs are paid upfront when you are forced to buy a $60 ticket to enter the Island. This ticket needs to be on your person at all times and will allow you to enter all of the Moai archeological sites.

The best way to save money on Easter Island when it comes to transport is to find some friends! Car rental isn’t particularly expensive on the island. When booking car rental through our hostel, we paid approximately £35 per day (just over £10 per day when split between the me and the couple I began travelling with)!

Read about my time on Easter Island:

Ecuador (£493.20 over 17 days = £29.01 per day)

  • Accommodation: £223.94
  • Food: £97.81
  • Gifts: £12.42
  • Necessities: £7.78 (Laundry and toiletries)
  • Sightseeing: £95.76
  • Transport: £55.50

Bus travel in Ecuador is CHEAP. Most journeys average $1 per hour which makes any backpacker super happy! I had heard that the buses were a much lower standard than other countries but I was pleasantly surprised! One of our buses even had WiFi!

Hostels and food were reasonable and decent quality. The one way that you can make your time in Ecuador very expensive is to do lots of guided tours. I treated myself to a private tour of a chocolate farm on my last day and the tour guide was explaining to me that items deemed to be owned by wealthy people were being taxed highly and this includes cars – buses however are tax free!

Read about my time in Ecuador:

Galapagos Islands (£879.09 over 9 days = £97.68 per day)

  • Accommodation: £176.82
  • Food: £92.45
  • Sightseeing: £423.00
  • Transport: £186.82

Dun dun dun, another set of islands = another expensive destination. The Galapagos is more frequented by backpackers than Easter Island, but is still on the pricey side. The good news is that flights are fairly reasonable – I paid £147 for return flights from the mainland and booked 3 months in advance.

The bad news is that everything on the island comes at a cost. You’ll need to pay $20 to have your extra scanning on your bags at the airport, $100 to enter the islands, $30 for “ferries” between islands, countless coins on all of the “water taxis” you’ll need to take to access the ferries/day trip boats…. the list goes on and on!

If you are “DIY-ing” a trip to the Galapagos (i.e. not taking an organised tour or cruise), there are three inhabited islands that you can stay on. Each one has a few really great free activities that you can partake in but you’ll need to pay potentially big bucks to go on some incredible day trips. I took three organised day-trips, so of course, you could take less!

Food is very expensive on the islands and if you can find a hostel/hotel with cooking facilities, do it! Supermarkets are easy to find on Santa Cruz (the main island), so stock up there before you head to the likes of Isabela where supermarkets are much harder to find.

Travelling in a couple or a group will reduce your hotel costs significantly. I was solo travelling and there are very few true hostels to stay in, so I ended up in private rooms on each island. I heard from other travellers that AirBnB is a great option for cheap accommodation – I don’t know why I didn’t look there! The official entry requirements state that you will need to provide proof of your accommodations for the entire trip before entering the islands, so I booked in advance. Nobody ever asked to see my proof of bookings or even asked me where I would be staying, so I could have turned up on the island and bartered for prices in hindsight. There are lots of accommodations that don’t take online bookings, so you might get lucky in those!

Peru (£2,100.35 over 34 days = £61.77 per day)

  • Accommodation: £672.32
  • Food: £237.59
  • Gifts: £3.30
  • Necessities: £107.98 (batteries, memory cards, rain clothing, massage and toiletries)
  • Sightseeing: £833.19
  • Transport: £245.97

I did some pretty epic things in Peru which have pushed the “price per day” up significantly. First up was the classic 4 day/3 night Inca Trail! I booked through Alpaca Expeditions for $690. Due to the permits and guidelines on the classic Inca Trail, this is the most expensive option to reach Machu Picchu. There are cheaper treks you can do, many travellers that I met hiked the Salkantay Trek and opted for the Inca Jungle Tour (a mixture of hiking, hiking, zip-lining etc.) and both were very highly reviewed!

After the Inca Trail, I treated myself to a $40 massage at the very well rated Paramatma Healing, there are tonnes of women standing in the main squares of Cusco offering dirt cheap massages but I hadn’t heard great things about them and I have a long-standing issue with one of my shoulders, so opted for better quality to not injure myself further!

My next “treat yo-self” moment came in the form of a trip to the Amazon jungle… as it fit into my schedule nicely, I opted to fly from Lima to Iquitos. There is a ferry that you can take to Iquitos which is cheaper, however you often have to sit and wait a number of days for the ferry to fill up before departure and I didn’t have much time to spare. I opted for a high-end lodge on the Amazon River and had an incredible time! There are budget accommodations in the Iquitos region of the Amazon but they are very basic – after lots of camping/basic accommodation during hikes, I decided to treat myself. The lodge cost $551 for 4 days.

Peru is generally the most expensive country to visit the Amazon jungle due to the fact that you will need to fly (or wait for a ferry). The two most popular destinations in Peru are Iquitos (a short flight from Lima) and Peurto Monaldo (a short flight from Cusco), however there are some great alternatives in both Ecuador and Boliva which are cheaper and don’t require flying!

Buses in Peru are more expensive than the likes of Ecuador but the quality is superior. As I was travelling on my own, I opted for the Peru Hop pass from Cusco to Lima with lots of stops in between. This was great as they pick you up and drop you off at all your hostels. In hindsight, I didn’t NEED to spare this extra expense. After my PeruHop trip, I took some buses with Cruz Del Sur in Northern Peru which were incredible – WiFi on the bus and a personal TV screen on the back of each seat!

Other (£780.93)

  • Flights from London to Santiago and Guayaquil to London: £666
  • Bank charges: £32.43
  • Travel insurance with additional gadget cover: £82.50

Of course, there are always the pre-arrival expenses that you can’t ignore like return flights and travel insurance! I booked my flights to/from South America 3 months in advance via STA and used Money Supermarket to shop for the best travel insurance for my needs!

Girl on Tortuga Bay Santa Cruz Galapagos

Other Top Tips! 

Cash vs Card in South America

Other than Santiago and Lima which are both very metropolitan and modern cities, you will NEED to pay in cash in most places, so make sure you have a card which allows you to withdraw cash without any fees.

I used the Santander Zero Credit Card with absolutely no issues! The card has no foreign transaction fees on purchases when made in the local currency, no cash withdrawal fees anywhere in the world and no monthly fee.

Other travellers that I met were using the Revolut card which is great to protect you against theft as the card is pre-loaded with a certain amount. However, as some people found out, if you lose your phone (i.e. your method of topping up your card), this can become an issue!

Keeping Small Change

Particularly in Ecuador, I found that lots of places didn’t have change to give you. So try and need your notes small, treasure your small change (no matter how annoying it is to carry around)! I often handed notes to waitresses that I deemed to be “normal” (i.e. equivalent to £15-20 or lower) and it caused such a problem that restaurant staff were running from shop to shop looking for change!

In Lima, bank workers could be found outside the bank ready to change your large notes into smaller amounts – while I didn’t use this service, a free walking tour guide reassured me that it was legit!

Keep a Few Spare USD 

Many larger purchases in South America (e.g expensive tours and hotel rooms) can be paid for using USD. While I wouldn’t always rely on this being the case, it’s good to know that you don’t need to get hundreds of notes from the bank in local currency to pay for the larger items – nobody wants to be carrying around a huge wad of cash!

I changed some GBP to USD before my trip as “emergency money”. I knew that I would be ending my trip in Ecuador (where USD is the national currency), so I knew that it would get used at the end of my trip even if I didn’t touch the emergency cash during the rest of my trip.

Just make sure that the USD notes are in pristine condition, many vendors in South America will decline ripped/dirty/old USD notes.

Keep Your Cash Separated

I was a bit rubbish and always kept all of my cash in my purse at all times which goes against all of the advice you will ever read. For the avoidance of any doubt, I will regurgitate the advice everyone gave me before my trip, despite the fact that I didn’t choose to follow it myself…

Pick-pocketing and bag-snatching are rife in certain areas of the world (South America included) and therefore it would be advisable to keep small amounts of cash and any spare credit cards scattered across your belongings/body in case of an accident.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own. However, this post may contain affiliate links whereby if you make a purchase I earn a small amount of commission at no extra cost to you.
Danielle1

 

 

 

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Luxembourg Card - Grund Luxembourg Card - Vianden Scenery Luxembourg Card - Free Entry to Vianden CastleLuxembourg Card - Free Bike Rental

Lots of cities have passes whereby you pay a fixed amount to gain entry to a number of attractions in that city. Most of the time, I don’t think that they are worth the money but of course, there are some gems if you look hard enough!

When I visited Salzburg in 2016, we purchased “The Salzburg Card” and I was very impressed with the value for money – you can read my full breakdown of the costs here. So, when I was planning my three day trip to Luxembourg and found that they had an even more impressive card (The Luxembourg Card), you can only imagine my excitement!

The Basics

Let’s get things straight, this isn’t a “city pass”, The Luxembourg Card is available for use over the whole COUNTRY – exciting right?

As you would expect, a large number of the country’s main attractions (including some lovely hidden gems) are free with the pass (or give you a discount on entry costs). However, the thing that really excited me was the fact that ALL train and bus lines in the country are free with the Luxembourg Card. Coming from a country like the UK where train costs are astronomical, this is completely mind blowing for me. If the UK had an equivalent all encompassing pass, I would be buying it every weekend!

I won’t list all of the available attractions here, but if you are interested in taking a look, they can be viewed here.

The Price

A card that encompasses an entire country including all of their transport links must be very pricey right? Think again.

The card can be purchased for one, two or three days and there is an option for individual cards (1 person) or family cards (2 – 5 people).

These prices are correct as at November 2017:

Individual (1 person) Family (2-5 People)
1 Day € 13.00 € 28.00
2 Days € 20.00 € 48.00
3 Days € 28.00 € 68.00

If you had a family of 5 visiting for 3 days, the cost would therefore be as little as €4.53 per person per day!

How Much Did We Save?

Below, you can see a breakdown of all of the things we did (over three days) and how much they would have cost without the card. All transport costs are taken as estimates from Rome2Rio.

Detail EUR
Travel (Hotel to Vianden) € 5.00
Vianden – Chairlift € 4.50
Vianden – Castle € 7.00
Travel (Vianden to Hotel) € 5.00
Travel (Hotel to Grevenmacher) € 5.00
Grevenmacher – Bike Rental € 12.00
Grevenmacher – Wine Tasting € 9.00
Grevenmacher – Butterfly House € 8.00
Travel (Grevenmacher to Hotel) € 5.00
Travel (Hotel to City) € 1.00
City – Bock Casemates € 6.00
Travel (City to Hotel) € 1.00
Total € 68.50

We travelled Luxembourg at a relatively relaxed and slow pace. We could have done so many more activities (e.g. there are so many museums in Luxembourg City that we never visited – we aren’t big museum fans after all), so you could easily save even more money!With the Luxembourg Card costing €28 per person for three days and us completing activities worth €68.50, we managed to save a whopping €40.50 per person! If that’s not a bargain, I don’t know what is!

If a group of 5 adults completed our exact itinerary using the group/family Luxembourg Card, the Card would cost them €13.60 per person saving an incredible €54.90 per person!

If you want to read about all of the things we got up to in Luxembourg for this price, make sure you read these blog posts:

Where To Buy / Other Benefits

The Luxembourg card can be purchased online here as well as at many locations throughout the country.

Along with the card, you should receive a VERY helpful leaflet outlining all of the attractions that are free or discounted – use this as your bible! We saw so much in the leaflet that we didn’t know existed and could have easily spent another three days exploring other areas of the country!

Should You Purchase The Luxembourg Card?

The short answer – yes!

The long answer – If you plan on exploring more than just Luxembourg City, this card will be perfect for you. Saving money is obviously a great advantage but it also means your plans can be more spontaneous. With the ability to hop on any bus/train and just see where the day takes you is fab (and saves time queuing/paying for tickets).

However, be aware that a vast majority of the attractions available on the Card in Luxembourg City are museums and if you aren’t big museum fans (like us), a pass may not be worth it if you are only visiting the City.

Have you ever found a great city/country pass? Let me know where – I’m a big fan!

Disclaimer: While I was kindly gifted Luxembourg Cards by the Luxembourg tourism board, all opinions are my own and I certainly would purchase Luxembourg Cards for future trips.
Danielle1

 

 

 

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Kruger Safari Scenery on a Budget

Kruger Zebra Watering Hole

To experience animals in their natural habitat, not confined by cages or domesticated via human interaction is something that everyone should try to achieve in their lifetime. Safari appears on many people’s “bucket lists” but is largely unattainable due to the (expected) sky high costs.

While planning our recent trip to South Africa, we almost never made it to Kruger National Park given that is is on the opposite side of the country to the rest of our plans (Cape Town and the Garden Route). In the end, we decided that it would be silly to fly that far (UK to South Africa) and not tick off a bucket list experience.

RELATED: You can view the rest of my African bucket list here

Re-jigging our itinerary to include Kruger was an overwhelming experience, there are so many options, so many choices and so many people giving their opinion on the “right” or “wrong” way to experience this magical land. It goes without saying that the prices of some options were also terrifying – so the aim of this post is to de-bunk the myths of Kruger safaris and help you plan a trip within YOUR budget.

The bird in the photo below is basically me whispering into your ear, spreading the secrets of “cheap” safaris…

Kruger Bird Antelope Whisper

Kruger Kudu Camouflaged

COSTING

We flew into Johannesburg O.T International Airport and began our trip to Kruger from here. This is what many people that we met along the way were also doing, so for the purposes of this guide, I  have assumed that you will be doing the same (but of course, Kruger is accessible from other South African cities and even other neighbouring countries!)

We spent 4 days in the Johannesburg/Kruger area, with the first and last days being mainly driving days and the middle two days being filled with game drives. Obviously, the time that you spend in Kruger will increase/decrease the price as appropriate!

Costs are shown in South African Rand (ZAR) and where we actually incurred these costs, I have shown the GBP figure incurred on our credit card statements (September/October 2017), otherwise the prices have been converted using the approximate exchange rate of October 2017 (0.056).

Kruger Giraffe

Kruger Elephant Baby Crossing Road

HOW TO GET THERE

£ Drive from Johannesburg O.T Airport

Without a doubt, the cheapest way of getting to Kruger National Park (KNP) is to drive from Johannesburg O.T Airport. Car hire is cheap in South Africa and we weren’t charged any surcharge for being below the age of 25 (which is always good)!

Road conditions from the airport to Kruger are fantastic and there are plenty of places to top up your petrol or grab a bite to eat (although we did find that these places were closer to Kruger than the airport, so on the return journey, make sure you re-fuel early!

The journey is easy as the entire journey is a straight line but it is long. Kruger is larger than many European countries and therefore the length of the journey will depend on where you are staying within the park. We were driving to Crocodile Gate which took around 4 and a half hours. Make sure you have plenty of snacks, a good playlist and maybe a few podcasts to keep you going!

Our total car hire costs were R1,140.99 (approximately £73). We rented a brand new Ford Fiesta from Bidvest Car Rentals (booked through Drive South Africa) and this price included hiring a GPS, registering a second driver (even though I ended up doing none of the driving!) and the usual car hire costs such as topping up petrol when you return. We also spent R491.50 on filling up with petrol (approximately £27).

Our total costs = R1,632.49 (approximately £100 per car = £50 per person).

££ Baz Bus 

Baz Bus is a South African backpacker’s dream! If you aren’t comfortable driving from Johannesburg to Kruger by yourself (I certainly wouldn’t be if I wasn’t travelling with Callum as I HATE driving), the Baz Bus 4 Day Kruger Park Safari Tour is certainly a good alternative!

The price for this option can’t be directly compared to the other journey options given the fact that the Baz Bus tour also includes open vehicle game drives, meals as specified in the detailed itinerary and accommodation in permanent erected 2-person dome tents for the duration of the trip.

Advantages of this option obviously include having everything planned for you and meeting lots of new people, however if you enjoy the freedom of exploring at your own pace and making your own decisions, maybe this isn’t the right choice for you.

Total cost = R8,000 (approximately £445 per person).

£££ Fly to Kruger National Park

If the 4.5+ hour drive to Kruger is too much for you to handle, there are regular flights leaving Johannesburg to three Kruger-serving airports. Depending on the area of Kruger that you are visiting, the airports you need are as follows:

  • Northern Kruger Park: Phalaborwa Airpor
  • Central Kruger Park: Hoedspruit Eastgate Airport
  • Southern Kruger Park: Nelspruit Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport

We had the option of flying from Johannesburg to Nelspruit but at approximately R2700/£150 – R3600/£200 per person for a return flight (50 minutes each way), it didn’t seem worth it to us. Especially as we would have had to wait in Johannesburg for a few hours between flights meaning the flying/waiting time would have been equal to the driving time!

Once you arrive at your chosen airport, you will need to hire a car to take you to the park (Nelspruit is approximately a 1.5 hour drive to Crocodile Bridge Gate). The costs of which would have been largely the same as in option 1 (with less petrol usage – therefore estimated R1,140.99 per car (approximately £73 per car or £36 per person).

Alternatively, our accommodation offered a transfer for R400 per person from the airport (approximately £23)

Total costs would therefore be R3,100-R4,170 per person (approximately £173-£236 per person).

Kruger Lion Sleeping Road

Crocodile Kruger Safari Lodge Affordable Accomodation

ACCOMMODATION

£ SAN Parks Lodging

South Africa National Parks (SAN Parks) have an incredible range of accommodation located in the heart of each of their national parks.

This is originally the accommodation that we tried to book but availability was seriously low (at the time, we didn’t know that we would be visiting the park on a South African public holiday). I would advise that if you want to take advantage of these cheap and cheerful lodgings, you book at least 6 months in advance.

There are 12 main rest camps in Kruger National Park and the two which were of interest to us (due to their location in proximity to Johannesburg) were Crocodile Bridge Rest Camp and Lower Sabie Rest Camp.

There are lots of different choices of accommodation within the rest camps including a patch of land to pitch your tent, “safari tents” which are permanent basic buildings, adorable little bungalows fully kitted out with kitchen facilities for two people and larger guest houses for bigger groups. Prices vary depending on the type of accommodation, the number of people staying in the property and the rest camp chosen.

We entered Lower Sabie Rest camp a few times to use their toilets/restaurant facilities and would have been more than happy to stay here!

Rates for Lower Sabie Rest Camp can be seen here and vary from R305-R2,320 per night for 2 people (approximately £16-£128 for two people or £8-£64 per person).

££ Off-Site Mid-Range Lodges

With the SAN Parks accommodation fully booked, we panicked thinking that there were no other affordable options. Various google searches showed results that would a) give me a heart attack and b) bankrupt me beyond belief.

Then I turned to my trusty Booking.com to see if there were ANY alternatives – it turns out there is! We settled for Crocodile Kruger Safari Lodge which is located in Marloth Park (a quick 10 minute drive South of Crocodile Bridge Gate to Kruger National Park).

Our booking included both breakfast and dinner every day (both of which were absolutely gorgeous) and we were very happy with our choice!

The lodge was absolutely stunning and really felt like a “safari lodge” but without the hefty price tag!

In September 2017, we paid R2240 per night for 2 people (approximately £124 per night for 2 people or £62 per person).

£££ Luxury Private Reserves

I am a member of many travel groups on Facebook and the number of people that think luxury private reserves are the ONLY option when booking a safari is unbelievable. With safari being a bucket-list luxury, prices can be hiked accordingly (and in many instances, extortionately).

My lovely fellow travel blogger Lucy recently had the opportunity to stay at a luxury private reserve called Klaserie Sands and boy did it look gorgeous! There are plenty of these private reserves available throughout safari destinations in Africa and a quick google will help you find the lodge of your dreams.

Prices at Klaserie Sands are currently R10,200 for two people per night (approximately £566 for two people or £283 for one person).

Kruger Safari Jeep Girl

Kruger Kudu

GAME DRIVES

£ Self Drive

The cheapest way to view the animals is to self-drive around the park. If you are on a strict budget, this is without a doubt the best way to view the animals. You don’t need a 4×4 to access the park but be warned that the roads do get quite bumpy!

The downside to self-driving is that you don’t have the knowledge and expertise of an experienced guide and being in a car (which is much lower than a safari jeep) means that the animals are often harder to spot as you may not be able to see over bushes/plant life. On the plus side, you can spend your time exactly as you wish.

Self-drive is as expensive as you decide to make it – Free! (Other than petrol)

££ Guided Drive

With only two full days to explore Kruger, we decided to splash out and join guided game drives (despite the fact that we had a car). Our accommodation (Crocodile Kruger Safari Lodge) arranged the game drives for us using their trusted guide (Solomon – you’re the best!) and they were AMAZING.

I would highly recommend doing a guided drive if it is within your budget. Safari guides are very talented at spotting wildlife (you don’t realise how well camouflaged animals truly are until you see them in their natural habitat) and know the best spots to see certain creatures.

Our accommodation charged us R670 for a full game drive plus conservation fees of R306 for each day. This price was applicable whether you did a full day (around 5am to 5pm) or a half day (times dependent on availability).

The total cost for a full days game drive would therefore be R976 per day per person (approximately £54).

Kruger Warthog Pumba

Kruger Baboon Sitting in Tree

SUMMARY OF OUR COSTS & VERDICT

ZAR GBP
  Total  Per Person Total  Per Person
Car Rental + petrol R1,632.49 R816.25 £100.00 £50.00
3 x nights accommodation & food R6,720.00 R3,360.00 £372.00 £186.00
2 x full day game drives R3,904.00 R1,952.00 £215.00 £107.50
R12,256.49 R6,128.25 £687.00 £343.50

£343.50 for a once in a life time’s experience – was it worth it? ABSO-FREAKING-LUTELY.

Of course, that price is still out of reach for many people, but remember, you could make it much cheaper! Pitch a tent in the SAN Parks accommodation to ensure you’re not wasting money on a hotel you won’t spend much time in and self-drive to save on guide fees.

We did debate doing the Baz Bus 4 Day Kruger Park Safari Tour and if I was travelling on my own, this definitely would have been my choice. However, when travelling as a couple, it was cheaper for us to drive ourselves, stay in a mid range lodge and pay for guides (£343.50) vs pay for a tour (£445). The tour does look truly great however and takes you to some other points of interest during the driving days such as Blyde River Canyon (which looks amazing).

I also feel that our accommodation was incredible and I’m glad that we didn’t pay another £100 for the Baz Bus tour to sacrifice our gorgeous lodge for camping.

Have you ever been on a safari? Was it as expensive as you thought?

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own.
Danielle1

 

Safaris are crazy expensive right? Think again! We recently did a trip to Kruger on a budget and it was amazing! Here I outline all of your options, how much we spent and how you could make it cheaper!

 


Budgeting European City Breaks

Macedonia Ohrid Wall

“How do you afford to always travel” is something I get asked by certain friends/family members of mine on a regular basis. Yet said individuals have been known to spend 2 weeks every year in an all-inclusive resort that costs around £1,500+ per person just for those two weeks which just isn’t my style!

In 2016 I went on less European city breaks than I would have liked too – I had to spend too much annual leave on exams/study time unfortunately! I only managed 5 city breaks, but the total cost was £1,405.21 (average £281 per trip for flights, accommodation and spending money). When I’ve told people this, they’ve seemed shocked and confused – so I thought I’d set it all out in a blog post!

Krakow, Poland

Krakow Poland Auschwitz

  • Flights = £81
  • Hotel = £72.50
  • Spending Money = £110
  • Total = £263.50
  • Dates = Friday 18 March – Tuesday 22 March 2016
  • Total days = 5
  • Annual leave = 3

Ohrid, Macedonia

Ohrid Macedonia Church Budgeting City Break

  • Flights = £51
  • Hotel = £43.86
  • Spending Money = £64.94 (see full breakdown here)
  • Total = £159.80
  • Dates = Sunday 22nd May – Wednesday 25 May 2016
  • Total days = 4
  • Annual leave = 3

Salzburg, Austria

View Salzburg Austria Budgeting Europe City Break

  • Flights = £38 (after using £50 RyanAir gift card)
  • Hotel = £124
  • Spending Money = £152.15 (see full breakdown here)
  • Total = £314.12
  • Dates = Friday 3rd June – Monday 6 June 2016
  • Total days = 4
  • Annual leave = 2

Cologne, Germany

Burg Eltz Cologne Germany Budgeting

  • Flights = £60.98
  • Hotel = £73.69
  • Spending Money = £170
  • Total = £304.67
  • Dates = Friday 26 August – Monday 29 August 2016
  • Total days = 4
  • Annual leave = 1
  • Bank holidays = 1

Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh Scotland Budgeting City Break

  • Flights = £83.96
  • Hotel = £81
  • Spending Money = £198.16
  • Total = £363.12
  • Dates = Thursday 1 September – Sunday 4 September 2016
  • Total days = 4
  • Annual leave = 2

Summary

  • Total spending = £1,405.21
  • Number of days abroad = 21
  • Total annual leave days used = 11
  • Percentage  of fun had = 100%


Booking.com

So What Are my Top Tips?

Work out what your priorities are

£1,400 is still a lot of money, but in 2016 travelling was a priority for me and was worth every penny. I don’t spend money on clothes and accessories (although I definitely used to!) and that definitely helps to save.

This £1,400 was spent over the course of a year, so if you want to experience the 5 city breaks listed above, you’d need to save £116 per month – given that my main blog audience are 18 – 25 year old females (much like myself), making the huge assumption that you are in a full time job without the responsibilities of kids or a mortgage, this could be entirely achievable depending on your priorities.

In 2017, I haven’t taken half as many trips as this but I’m currently saving every penny and thinking about getting on the housing ladder – priorities change and that’s okay!

RELATED:  Find out what I’ve given up in order to save money for travel here

Travel at non-peak times where possible

I could have been FAR stingier with my spending on travel during this year. A prime example is my trip to Cologne. I was limited on annual leave by this point and had to utilise the August bank holiday weekend meaning flight costs rocketed. Our £60 return flights from London Stansted with RyanAir can be snagged for £18 most of the year (these seats are also always included in RyanAir‘s sales).

And generally speaking, flying mid-week will be cheaper than utilising a long weekend (something I am a big fan of given my lack of annual leave), so if you work unusual hours, you could be quids-in!

Be flexible

I have the Skyscanner widget on my Android phone homepage, so I am constantly able to see what the cheapest flights from London in the next month are.

When Skysanner were advertising £25 flights to Ohrid (Macedonia), I knew that I HAD to have them. I hadn’t even heard of this city, but I know it’s not normally in the “cheap flight” category!

After a quick google, I knew it was beautiful and I knew I had to go.

RELATED: Have you seen any cheap flights to Ohrid? If you manage to catch them, read all about my time there here! You won’t be disappointed! 

Make sure you understand the budget airlines

So above I mentioned that I saw £25 flights to Ohrid but I actually paid £50, what happened there?! Well, budget airlines have to make their money somehow and Wizz Air make you pay for normal sized cabin bags.

Where possible, I fly with RyanAir who allow you to have one normal sized cabin bag and one small personal item (like a handbag, backpack or laptop bag) included in the price of your ticket!

RELATED: Do you know what’s included in your ticket price? Read my guides for RyanAir and Wizz Air!

How Could You Save More Money Than I Did?

My biggest downfall when travelling in 2016 was having to make lots of little short breaks, this means that I was continually paying for return flights to the UK.

I spent a total of 3 weeks in European cities during the year – so if you could get 3 continuous weeks off work and pick cities that are relatively close to one another, using public transport to get from one to the other will be much cheaper than continuously flying to and from the UK!

Also, you’ll notice that my spending money in a city is normally on par with the flights and accommodation. This is because I like to FULLY immerse myself in a city and do absolutely everything that’s on offer. I rarely leave a city without having ticked off all of the “must see” tourist attractions. If you slow down and don’t feel the need to spend money on every single entrance fee, you will definitely save money.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own.
Danielle1

 

 

 


Travel-budgeting-slovenia

Travel-budgeting-marrakech

Travel-budgeting-krakow

“You’re so lucky, you’re always travelling” is something that I am told regularly by friends, family, co-workers, strangers, basically anyone who has the misfortune of being stuck in a conversation in which I blabber on about my love for travel.

But is “lucky” really the right word? In some ways, yes. I am very lucky to have been raised in a wealthy economy and by a family who were able to support my childhood to a comfortable standard amongst other things. There are millions of people who through simply being born in a different part of the world will never travel and for that, I am obviously very grateful.

However, I do think that people I know using the word “lucky” is incorrect. Yes, I may appear to travel more than another person of the same economic standing, but that is because I make travel a priority.

There are a number of things that I have given up in order to travel as much as I can (well… as much as my job’s annual leave will allow in a year)!

This is in no way a “moan” or a cry for sympathy. I’m actually really interested/proud to see how much I’ve changed in the past few years – materialistic goods are completely out of the window and instead I really value experiences over tangible objects.

1. Expensive Fashion

Back in the day, I would have KILLED to have the most up to date clothing. In fact, I still have a very full wardrobe of things that were bought years ago and I need to completely get rid of as they just don’t get worn anymore.

Nowadays, I am much more specific in my clothing choices. Mixed with the fact that I seem to be fluctuating between sizes every other day at the moment, I just can’t justify having expensive clothes/buying clothes regularly.

By the end of this year, I want to have a complete capsule wardrobe of key pieces that will see me through any occasion! My inner minimalist animal is VERY excited at the prospect!

2. Beauty Procedures / Products

In a similar vein, I’ve scaled back my beauty regime significantly! Don’t fret, my basic hygiene is still in tact and I haven’t yet succumbed to letting my body’s natural oils do the job themselves ( although I do admire anybody who has done that with their hair – I have to wash mine daily or I feel gross, I am grease’s arch nemesis).

Forget the high-end expensive make-up brands, essentially there is always a high-street dupe that will do exactly the same job for half the price!

Regular hair cuts and manicured nails are also a thing of the past – now I’m just playing a waiting game for my hair to reach it’s old long and self-maintaining length again. As much as I loved my short hair, I don’t have the time/energy/funds to keep having it cut into the perfect style.

3. Luxury Accomodation

My family have recently become big fans of 2 week all-inclusive resort holidays and I now opt-out of those trips pretty quickly!

A week or two trip costing £1,000 – £2,000 to essentially sit in a hotel just isn’t for me. I’m all about the experiences and seeing the cultures, I would much much much rather spend my money on experiences than accommodation!

I recently booked a trip to South Africa and the price of the flights scares the living daylights out of me given I have been exploring Europe using budget airlines recently, but sometimes you have to splurge on flights in order to get to dream destinations and have the coveted experiences (safari, whale watching, canyon kayaking and cave exploring here we come)!

4. My Own Space

I still live with my mum and dad, despite being 22 years old and working in a well-paid industry since the age of 18. This is a conscious decision and I am often asked “so when are you moving to London Dan?!” but the answer is always “hmm, not right now”.

In a perfect world, I want to never rent accommodation if possible. Rents in the UK are extortionate and even though I do have to pay ridiculous train fares to commute to work, it is definitely the lesser of two evils at the moment!

I am saving up to hopefully buy a house as I am well aware that I can’t stay with mum and dad forever, but for now, I’m staying put and focussing on travelling!

5. University

You’re probably thinking “WOAH WOAH WOAH, are you telling me not to go to uni?” and the answer is absolutely not. There are some absolutely incredible benefits to travelling while at uni – let’s face it, you’re never going to get a few months off every summer plus a month or so at Christmas and Easter at any other time in your life!

However, there’s no denying that it is an expensive endeavour in the UK! I started working as an apprentice tax advisor at the age of 18. Now I am 22 and I am nearly a chartered tax advisor while others my age are just graduating university and starting out on the same career path – while it’s not the right choice for everyone, it has obviously given me a decent starting point for saving money to travel!

6. Being Picky

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I get completely fixated with a destination and I HAVE to visit it – South Africa and Slovenia I’m looking at you!

But most of the time, I try to be super flexible about where I visit and that means that I tend to see a lot of places that other people may not consider – when £25 return flights to Ohrid (Macedonia) popped up, I couldn’t resist!

When I was also planning a trip to Vienna, I realised that the time of year and accommodation for 3 people were definitely going to blow our budget, instead of getting stroppy and giving up, I planned a trip to nearby Salzburg instead and we had the best time – being flexible can never go wrong!

What are your current priorities? What are you saving up for?

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own.
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Danielle1

6 things I've given up to travel


It appears that my “Budgeting For Ohrid, Macedonia” article was popular, so I’ve decided that I will be doing a quick “budgeting” post for all of my current and upcoming travels.

Budgeting is something that I struggle with and when I told people that I was going on a city break to Salzburg, all I heard was “oh my god, it’s so expensive there” but we were pleasantly surprised!

My Trip

  • Destination: Salzburg, Austria
  • Total number of days: 3
  • Total number of nights: 3
  • Date: June 2016
  • People travelling: 3 (some costs such as taxi journeys are therefore divided by 3).
  • Travelling style: Mid-range. We chose to stay in a mid-range hotel, pay more for excursions (see more below) and have a really relaxing trip.
  • Exchange rate used: The exchange rate used for the entirety of this post (EUR to GBP) is 1.29 (accurate during the time of my trip)

So, How Much Did I Spend?!

During my time in Salzburg, I spent 341.87 EUR (265.01 GBP). This total covers accommodation, food, drinks, sightseeing and transport. Pre-arrival costs such as flights are not included as these vary so much!

To see a full breakdown of my costs in Microsoft Excel spreadsheet format, click HERE!

Accommodation – £112.87 – 145.60 EUR -43%

We decided to stay at Cityhotel Trumer Stube and we would recommend it to everyone! The location is fantastic (a 5 min walk into the main city), the rooms are modern/clean and the staff working on reception are incredible. All of the girls that we spoke to were lovely, helpful and ridiculously friendly. So friendly that one of my travel buddies said, I think the job description to work here states “must be cute as hell”.

Accommodation is difficult when you’re travelling as 3 adults. You don’t want someone to be in a hotel room on their own and missing out on all the fun! Because of this, we probably ended up paying more per person than a couple or a solo traveller. The total accommodation cost was around £338 and the room could have slept 4 people (2 double beds), meaning the cost per person would have been £84.50 per person if there were 4 of us rather than £112.87 – a considerable saving (maybe not… but when a number goes from above £100 to below £100, it always seems like a good deal)!

If you want to pay less on hotels, you could easily stay further away from the city centre. The bus connections are amazing and travel costs are covered by the Salzburg Card (which you can read my review on here).

Food/Drink – £64.42 – 83.10 EUR – 24%

I travelled with two girls from work, we were all extremely busy at work before our trip and wanted 3 days of relaxation, fun and sightseeing. So, despite the fact we are all 21 and society believes we spend all of our time drunk, not a single drop of alcohol was drunk this weekend, so I can’t comment on alcohol prices!

We opted for easy and quick breakfasts and lunches, then ventured out to a proper restaurant each night. Apart from one night where we were exhausted and bound to our hotel room due to torrential rain… ordering takeaway pizza was the only option.

Food and drink costs were on par with most Western European tourist cities.

Sightseeing and Activities – £79.46 – 102.50 EUR – 30%

For exploring the city, I would wholly recommend the Salzburg Card. We saved around 38 EUR on sightseeing by purchasing this card, so money-wise, if you want to see lots of sights in a condensed timeframe, Salzburg isn’t a bad city to visit!

We did however hit a stumbling block whilst planning a trip to the beautiful town of Hallstatt. We planned to visit on a Sunday and there were public transport issues outside of Salzburg. We therefore booked a half-day tour with Panorama Tours which was fantastic as our guide had a real sense of pride in his country’s history and landscapes. However, this wouldn’t be the best option if you’re looking to travel on a budget – the half-day tour cost 55 EUR after all!

RELATED POST: Is the Salzburg Card Worth It? 

Transport – £8.27 – 10.67 EUR – 3%

The only item contained in this section is a taxi from the airport to the hotel and vice versa on departure. Each journey cost around 16 EUR which was split between the three of us. Public transport would definitely be much cheaper if you are a solo traveller, however 16 EUR split between a number of people isn’t too bad at all.

You are unlikely to need to pay for any other transport during your stay in Salzburg if you have the Salzburg Card. We used the fantastic bus system a few times and each trip was free due to the use of this card.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own.
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Danielle1


IMG_1743 - edited.JPG

So, if you’ve stumbled across this webpage, you’re probably travelling to Salzburg and you’ve probably heard about the Salzburg Card & wondering whether it’s worth your money. Many cities have an”all access” card but I’ve never come across one that is worth your money, until I travelled to Salzburg!

The Basics

As expected, the city’s many museums are covered by this card, however there are a few really great unexpected perks such as free travel within the city (their bus system is fantastic!), entrance to some of the the more expensive attractions in the city (such as Hellbrunn Palace & Trick Fountains, Salzburg Zoo and Hohensalzburg Fortress) and finally some incredible free experiences such as a cruise down the Salzach River.

As well as the freebies within the city, price reductions are available for many attractions outside of the city.

A complete list of the items covered by the Salzburg Card can be found here.

The Price (Correct as of June 2016)

There are two different price brackets for 2016. In summary, these are “winter season” being 01 January – 30 April and 01 November – 31 December and “summer season” being 1 May – 31 October.

You then have the option of 24 hours, 48 hours and 72 hours depending on how long you are in the city. 2016 adult prices are as follows:

Summer Period

  • 24 hours          27 EUR
  • 48 hours          36 EUR
  • 72 hours          42 EUR

Winter Period

  • 24 hours          24 EUR
  • 48 hours          32 EUR
  • 72 hours          37 EUR

RELATED: Want to know exactly how much I spent during my time in Salzburg? Find out here

Was It Helpful for Me?

MOST DEFINITELY. We purchased the 48 hour pass in the Summer period for 36 EUR and managed to see attractions worth 74 EUR in our time – an amazing 38 EUR saving!

The attractions we covered were as follows:

Catacombs 2.00
Hellbrunn Palace and Trick Fountains 12.50
Hohensalzburg Fortress 12.00
Mozart’s Birthplace 10.00
Monchsberglift 3.60
Salzach Cruise 15.00
Salzburg Zoo 10.50
Bus from Fortress to Hellbrunn 3.60 Est. price from Rome2Rio.com (3GBP x 1.2)
Bus from Hellbrunn to Mirabell 4.80 Est. price from Rome2Rio.com (4GBP x 1.2)
 Total 74.00

Whilst we would have visited all of the attractions on this list (beside the below disclaimer), the card made things particularly easy to see what options we had for the day, choose where to visit and opened our eyes to attractions that we may not have otherwise known about which was great.

We were disappointed that the Untersberg cable car was not open at the time of our visit (the cost would have been covered by the Salzburg Card ordinarily) – we really wanted to visit Untersberg but it gives us another reason to return!

Disclaimer – A zoo wouldn’t usually be on my list of things to do within a new city as animals in cages make me sad! However, my friend LOVES goats and a goat petting area was right at the beginning of the zoo. Our Salzburg Card allowed us to gain free entry for her to see the goats. We wandered further into the zoo and weren’t happy with the small animal enclosures, so swiftly exited. So I’m not sure if that counts as money I would have otherwise spent!

RELATED: If you’re struggling for ideas on what to do in the city, check out my long weekend itinerary

Should You Buy It For Your Trip?

Whether the Salzburg Card is worth it completely depends on your travel preferences and what you want to gain from your visit.

For example, if you want to spend time relaxing in the city centre, drinking good coffee and absorbing your time eating Austrian food, leisurely seeing the hours pass as opposed to trying to see as many sights as physically possible – this pass probably isn’t for you.

An older woman on one of our tours outside of the city centre also commented that she liked to spend hours inside each museum, meaning she didn’t have enough time to see many museums in a 24 or 48 hour period, thus not getting her money’s worth.

I would say that if you want to see  3 or more of the more expensive attractions in Salzburg, the card will be worth it given the reasonable price and obvious value for money. However, if you’re in Salzburg for 24 hours on a very strict budget and would prefer to wander around the city absorbing the charming culture, this option probably isn’t for you.

Unfortunately almost all of the attractions on the card close at around 5pm, so you might want to plan your time carefully.

The free transportation is particularly helpful when it comes to the further away destinations such as Hellbrunn Palace (entrance is included on the Salzburg Card) and Untersberg Mountain (the cable car is included on the Salzburg Card).

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own.
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Danielle1


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If there’s one question I had before visiting Macedonia, it was “how much money do I need?”. The travel blogging world seems fairly void of any articles on Macedonia and the main consensus, from the few articles I found, was that “it’s cheap” – but how cheap exactly?!

So here I am, setting out exactly how much money I spent in Macedonia. Maybe I’ll turn this into a “thing” with my future travels!

Currency

The currency is Macedonian Denar but Euros are commonly accepted for larger items such as long taxi drives and hotel costs.

You are unable to exchange money to Denar outside of Macedonia. You will therefore need to use banks in the country to withdraw your cash. We used an ATM in the city centre of Ohrid and had absolutely no problems.

Careful budgeting is therefore key to ensure you don’t have tonnes of excess cash to spare at the end of your trip (unless you want an excuse to buy ALL the chocolate in the airport on the way home)!

My Trip

  • Destination: Ohrid
  • Total number of days: 4
  • Total number of nights: 3
  • Date: May 2016 (off-season)
  • People travelling: 2 (some costs such as taxi journeys are therefore divided by 2).
  • Travelling style: Mid-range. We chose to stay in a nice hotel and have a really relaxing trip.

So, How Much Did I Spend?! 

For my entire trip to Ohrid, I spent the equivalent of £108.80. This is including accommodation, food, drinks, sightseeing and transport. Pre-arrival costs such as flights are not included as these vary so much!

To see a full breakdown of my costs in Microsoft Excel spreadsheet format, click HERE!

Accommodation – £43.86 – 40%

Now accommodation is a tricky one, we could have picked somewhere cheaper to stay. We also could have picked somewhere more expensive to stay.

We were also travelling in off-season. Most articles that I have read about Ohrid suggest visiting in June – September, as we were travelling in May, we could have experienced slightly lower prices than the average traveller. The prices for August 2016 on booking.com only seem marginally more expensive than what we paid for May – so you might be in luck if you’re travelling in Summer!

We chose to stay at Villa Kale and we couldn’t be happier with our choice. The family that own the hotel were helpful beyond words and always made sure that we were happy and satisfied.

There also appear to be some really great hostel choices on HostelWorld with some well-reviewed options having dorm rooms from as little as £4.24 per night in summer 2016 – perfect for backpackers!

Food/Drink – £42.44 -39%

We were in Ohrid for a relaxing time and to do a lot of exploring. As we visited in off-peak season, there wasn’t too much night-life going on (although according to our hotel staff, this changes in summer), therefore not much of this total is for alcohol.

We could have spent less on food but we decided to have a three course meal with wine and beer at one of Ohrid’s more expensive restaurants (Gladiator) and it was definitely worth it! We ate on the balcony overlooking the lake at sunset – perfect!

Sightseeing & Activities – £14.75 – 14%

Considering we were in Ohrid with the primary focus of sightseeing, I am pleasantly surprised at how low this total is!  A lot of Ohrid’s sights are monasteries, galleries and small things to see and do. The entry fee for each was usually around 100 denar (around £1.25).

The most expensive activity was a 600 denar half-day boat trip to St Naum and back. Definitely worth doing if you’re in the area!

I was tempted to do a tandem paragliding flight over the lake which would have set me back 59 EUR. We ended up not doing the flight but I’m sure it would have been worth the cost!

Transport – £7.75 – 7%

The only item included in this section is the taxi ride from Ohrid airport to the hotel and the return journey at the end of our trip. Our hotel organised this taxi journey for us and it was 10 EUR each way (the above total is made up of 2 journeys divided by 2 people at the exchange rate for May 2016).

Ohrid is well connected to other Macedonian cities and buses are available to various locations such as Skopje, Bitola, Prespa etc. The prices we saw for these journeys looked very reasonable – be sure to haggle any taxi prices, our hotel staff made us aware that taxi drivers might try to rip off tourists.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own.
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Danielle1