January 22, 2016 9:39 pm

Eastern Europe and luxury hostels: tips for the thrifty traveller

Dubrovnik, Croatia can give you a lot of bang for your buck, according to travel experts.

The Travel Corporation (Contiki)
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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

“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.”

Krakow, Poland

Booking.com

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.”

Korcula Coast, Croatia

The Travel Corporation (Contiki)

Prague, meanwhile, offers picturesque, old world charm. Plus cheap beer.

A pint can cost you under $2 here and in most of Eastern Europe.

Prague, Czech Republic

The Travel Corporation (Contiki)

Dublin

Dublin, Ireland.

The Travel Corporation (Contiki)

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.

Portugal

The Torre de Belém, a World Heritage site, located in the Belem district of Lisbon. The tower built around 1515 to guard the entrance to the Lisbon harbour.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ron Poling

 

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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.

porto-food

“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.

Airbnb is always an option, as well. You can find some quirky quarters to sleep in, including a yellow submarine in Liverpool, England or a boat on the Seine in Paris.

View of the Seine river from the houseboat.

Airbnb

READ MORE: 5 unique accommodations to add to your travel bucket list

If hotels are more your thing, Booking.com crunched some numbers to figure out where and when your dollar will stretch the furthest.

thrifty-travel-europe

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