Eastern Europe and luxury hostels: tips for the thrifty traveller
Don’t let the falling loonie dash your dreams of a European vacation.
There are a few tips and tricks you can use to score the best bang for your buck — regardless of what time of year you choose to travel.
Here are two of the most important things to consider if you want to save some money: destination and accommodations.
Where to go
The first step to planning your trip (aside from saving money) is deciding on a destination. And there are plenty of places worth exploring.
“Eastern Europe is obviously where it’s much, much cheaper,” said Kash Bhattacharya.
His full-time job for the past four years has been running his Budget Traveller blog, which has all sorts of money-saving travel tips.
He added that it’s “insanely cheap” to visit Bulgaria, Belgrade, Serbia, Bosnia, Latvia and Lithuania.
“Poland is also incredible value for money.”
Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast and Prague in the Czech Republic are two other Eastern Europe recommendations from Erica Adelson of The Travel Corporation.
She said it can be a great alternative to Italy’s Amalfi Coast.
“Blessed with the same pristine beaches, crystal blue water and sun-drenched coasts to appease even the most seasoned beach bum, travellers will find prices here much cheaper than in the Amalfi Coast.
“Croatia in recent years has blossomed as one of Europe’s new hot spots, and the Dalmatian Coast is a gem that travellers are starting to discover.”
Prague, meanwhile, offers picturesque, old world charm. Plus cheap beer.
A pint can cost you under $2 here and in most of Eastern Europe.
For those who love London but are put off by the Brtitish pound, Adelson suggests opting for Ireland’s capital, which she says has become popular with value-driven travellers.
If you go there, make sure to enjoy some Irish soda bread and stew, then wash it down with a cheap pint at The Guinness Museum.
Bhattacharya, who lives on Portugal’s Madeira island, can’t say enough good things about this place.
“Lisbon and Porto are in the limelight. Both are beautiful cities.”
They’re also not very expensive.
Where to stay
Bhattacharya is a huge fan of luxury hostels.
Those aren’t to be confused with the image of a bunch of 20-somethings crammed into a dorm room.
These properties often have nightclubs and live music. Some have steam rooms, saunas and pools — and they might only set you back 11 or 12 Euros a night, Bhattacharya said.
His favourite is the Gallery luxury hostel in Porto, Portugal. For about 10 Euros you can enjoy a three-course dinner (cooked by a chef) and bottle of wine with locals.
“Travel is all about experiences and meeting people, and broadening your knowledge of the world,” Bhattacharya said.
“It’s amazing how a great conversation over a cheap bottle of wine … [can lead to] friendships that may last a lifetime.”
If you have a large social media following, Bhattacharya said sometimes you can get a discount from a hostel if you reach out before booking.
Certain companies also give you a discount if you follow them on Facebook or Twitter, he said.
If hotels are more your thing, Booking.com crunched some numbers to figure out where and when your dollar will stretch the furthest.
© 2016 Shaw Media