In June 2016 to August 2016, I embarked on a 70 days journey around Europe starting from Venice, Italy. All I had with me was a backpack (not even a traveler’s backpack, in fact, just my school back), and a sleeping bag I borrowed from my friend.
During this 70 days, I’ve been to 15 countries, visiting more than 60 cities. Before anyone starts judging and wants to lecture me about "touch and go" travel, well, believe it or not, one CAN experience a lot in a short time as long as we plan everything well and start early! I usually start my day at 4-5 in the morning and rest as soon as it gets dark, why? Because I am a girl traveling solo and walking in the dark alone is probably not the best thing to do. Another question here would be: Why do I start so early? It is simply because:
- There will not be other tourists around, meaning no queue for anything, so you can save a lot of time. (The only tourist groups I met occasionally are 80% Japanese and 20% Chinese couples taking their pre-wedding photos, yea, I do realize that it is a thing among Chinese, don’t ask me why. )
- Get a chance to watch the spectacular sunrise in every city!
So here comes the juicy part: My spending. My budget was RM12,000+ including accommodation, entrance fee, luggage storage, food and everything in between (Not including flight though, because it varies according to location). I’ve read an article about netizens getting irritated due to travelers lying about their travel budget… and such articles got really widespread on the internet last month. Well, if you gonna ask me to “please go die” (“Sila meninggal” as stated in this somewhat mean article), hold your peace coz this is not it.
The truth is: One CAN travel on a shoestring budget as long as one is willing. It’s all about priority, whether you are willing to scarify comfort to travel further? Whether are you willing to do detailed planning beforehand? That’s it. Straight forward and easy.
To achieve this budget, I started planning my trip 1 year ago. Yes, you read it right. One Year. Why? Because I am a student, and every penny counts. During this one year, I found out about certain travel discounts, sign up for as much travel newsletters as I could, and made sure that I got alerted immediately when there were deals. I planned my day as detailed as possible, knowing exactly what to see, where to go and even know would there be any ATM, toilets or free wifi around my destination before even leaving my country. This saves me a lot of time when I do the actual travel and minimize unnecessary expenses.
Now here is my brief explanation on the itinerary:As I say, I started my journey from Venice, Italy, taking a low-cost flight from Moscow, Russia. The whole journey ended in Budapest, where I met with 3 coursemates and fly back home together.
During the trip, I mostly travel alone. A secondary school friend joined me in France and Iceland while a college friend of mine joined my trip in Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, and Germany. Both fly from Malaysia and here are their flight ticket prices:
- Friend no 1: Penang-KL-Paris; Paris-KL-Penang: RM1600+ Qatar Airways + Malaysia Airlines(I know, some of you might not believe this, even I can’t believe how cheap is this flight ticket, but guys, THIS is the power of Skyscanner everywhere feature. )If you don’t understand how to use this feature, READ THIS.
- Friend no 2: KL-Amsterdam; Amsterdam-KL: RM2400+ Turkish Airlines(It could be cheaper but since she decided to join quite last-minutely, that was the best price we managed to get)
Read more: 10 secrets to getting the cheapest flight tickets
***** for more detailed itinerary, click on the hyperlinks to read further *****
***** for more detailed itinerary, click on the hyperlinks to read further *****
1st Stop: ItalyVenice - The Dolomite - Verona - Gulf of Naples - Pisa - Cinque Terre - Rome - (Vatican City ) ***this is a country - Milan - Florence
ps: There are no passport stamping in the Vatican City.
2nd Stop: FranceParis - Giverny - Versailles - Colmar - Strasbourg - Chamonix Mont Blanc - Vaucluse (Avignon - Luberon) - Provence (Aix-en-Provence - Day trips out of Aix ) - Loire Valley (Tours - Amboise - Chenonceau )
3rd Stop: England (Only London)
4th Stop: Iceland(Ring Road Trip) Reykjavik - South Iceland - Akureyri - Husavik - Golden circle
5th Stop: NetherlandsRotterdam- Amsterdam - Giethoorn - Zaanse Schans
6th Stop: BelgiumBrussels - Bruges - Ghent
7th Stop: GermanyCologne - Tubingen - Konstanz - Munich - Berlin - Potsdam
8th Stop: SwitzerlandZermatt - Interlaken - Lauterbrunen - Lausanne - Geneva - Zurich - Bern - Lucern - Rhienefalls - Stein Am Rhein
9th Stop: PolandSzczecin - Crooked Forrest - Warsaw - Krakow
10th Stop: CzechPrague - Kutna Hora - Cesky Krumlov
If you want me to spell "fairytale", I'll spell "Cesky Krumlov". This is one of the most magical photos I've captured with my iPhone5. Like always, typical in Europe, a storm is near. Don't ever believe in Summer in Europe, unless you are just going to Italy 💛☀️. I've learnt the hard way, breaking 3 umbrellas ☔️ along the way. #ripumbrellas #skyscannersg #letsgoeverywhere #ceskykrumlov #visitCzech #interail #storm #europeweather #fairytale #love #wheressummer #travelstoke #beautifuldestinations
11th Stop: AustriaSalzburg - Vienna - Hallstatt
12th Stop: SloveniaLjubljana - Bled - Vintgar
Lake Bled. One of the highlights of my Europe trip. Took this postcard view photo after a 20-30 minutes of torturous uphill. But was it worth it? Apart from this view, I've made some friends at the top. Sometimes I do not need a great view like this to be happy, I just need someone to share the small seemingly insignificant moments that will add up to be a big thing... Memories are priceless. #lakebled #visitlakebled #visitslovenia #panorama #postcardview #interail #europe #beautifuldestinations #travelstoke #letsgoeverywhere
13th Stop: Croatia (Only Plitvice National Park)
14th Stop: Hungary (Only Budapest)
😀"Mom, I am in Hungary." 👩"Then go eat lah." 😐"Why?" 👩"You say you hungry?" 😂"No, I mean I am in this country called Hungary" 👩"......... Then go eat lah!" 😦😧😵Then I promised to myself: one day, I'll bring my mum to Hungary and let her know there is no "hunger" in Hungary. Food everywhere.... 🍷🍕🍗🍖🍤🍝🍞🍩🍮🍦🍰#communicationproblems #budapest #hungary #fishermanwharf #nothungry
15th Stop: Latvia (Only Riga)
Concluding Eastern + Central Europe in a map (Stop 9-15):
Hostel/ Hotel/ B&B recommendations
I do not want to clutter up this post with too much information, so I've made a separate post to talk about all the places I've stayed in. I can't really do the recommendation because everyone's needs are kinda different, but I'll state down the reasons why I like those places and also the reasons why I don't. Remember to check their reviews on Booking.com before making your decision! You can book directly using the booking.com links too. (links are provided in the post)
Read here: A collection of places I've recently stayed in (Europe)
Budget Breakdown1. Intercity Transportation: 649.98 €
a) Find the cheapest bus/ train tickets here using GoEuro.
b) Hitchhiking is an amazing way to make friends and save.
c) Use Interrail. It enables you to jump on most day trains without extra charge. ***For night trains you need to pay reservation.
d) Use as many long distance night bus as possible. I feel that they are comfortable enough, but this is why I insist to bring my sleeping bag! Extra comfort!
2. Accommodation+ City taxes: 517.21€
a) Use Couchsurfing to make friends and cut cost.
b) Sleep in the airport, bus station or train station (as long as its safe)
3. Transportation in the city: 616.00 €
a) Walk more!
b) If you need a taxi, get free 20€ here.
c) Make good use of their metro "Day Pass", most of they have something called the "daily capping" meaning your journey will be free once you exceed a certain amount of metro rides. Look for "Youth tickets" if you are under 26! Youth ticket in Paris is only €3.75 for a day!
4. Left Luggage: 111€
a) Pack light! Don't burden yourself!
5. Food: 352.14€
a) Cook in the hostel. So it's important to look for hostel with kitchens!
b) Buy lunch on the go in supermarkets
c) Offer translation service, play the piano/guitar in exchange for free meals.
d) Make some new friends with EatWith.com.
6. Entrance Fees: 253.79€
a) Always plan your heavy museum day on the first Sunday of the month.
b) There are a lot of free walking tours around.
c) Look for free activities to do in every city. Just google them, as easy as 1,2,3! Eg: 40 free things to do in Paris
7. Tours: 328€
a) Try to choose a small Group Tour to ensure an authentic experience (although more expensive).
b) I looked through GetYourGuide.com .
8. Miscellaneous: 23.89 €
There are things that are unavoidable, and they are also things that are avoidable!
a) Avoid getting fined. Don't (accidentally go against the law)
b) Avoid getting scammed. Especially in big cities like Paris and Berlin.
c) Understand how to refund tickets in case of bus/train/ferry delays or cancellations.
Total: 2852.01 € (RM 12834.05)
*** During my travels, 1€: 4.4- 4.5RM
9. Extras due to my Part time Job (Travel Blogging):
You can turn this budget trip into a luxurious trip by adding these activities/ accommodation into your itinerary.
Dolomite Private Day Tour 602 €
Vatican City Early Entrance Tour 99€
Chamonix Paragliding 100 €
Interlaken Hanggliding 235€
5 star hotel stay at Hotel Month Blanc Chamonix 264 €
Iceland Horse Riding 18500 ISK
Iceland Tour Bus (Highlight Passport) 52100 ISK
Whale Watching and Puffin Sighting 14900 ISK
Bike Riding Tour 6500 ISK
Hotel in Iceland 5000 ISK
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Thank You for Reading! This post is based solely on my honest opinion or personal experience. If you have a different opinion, feel free to share your thoughts with me by commenting below!