It is very difficult to decide for the first time on an independent trip abroad. But I am sure that many of us have thought about this possibility more than once.
One of our colleagues, despite the average knowledge of English, lack of experience of traveling abroad and a very small budget, decided on an independent tour of Europe and did not regret it at all.
Today we will share with you the experience and advice of a person who was able to organize an independent tour of Europe, while spending a very small amount. This material is for those who are not chasing luxury hotels and restaurants, but simply would like to travel light, while spending a minimum of money.
Initially, our heroes just wanted to go to Europe, but where exactly – no one knew yet. Absolutely by chance, the guys came across an announcement of impressive discounts on the Aeroflot website, where they bought tickets for the Moscow-Berlin-Moscow flight. The flight cost only 7 thousand rubles and, in the end, determined the further concept of the trip.
Our travelers are creative people, and even directly related to music, so it was decided to make festivals and concerts the main stops. With this aim, the route was developed. The trip took 23 days and cost one of the tourists 50 thousand, and the second 90 thousand rubles. The first just traveled, the second went to all the souvenir shops and shops in Europe.
When planning a trip, the guys faced such a problem as the timing of issuing visas. The German consulate was able to offer an appointment for an interview only a month later, and the tickets were already on hand, and novice travelers urgently needed a pass to the Schengen area. Therefore, it was decided to obtain a visa to the Netherlands. To do this, however, I had to book a hotel and tickets for transport from Germany to the Netherlands, but after the visa was in the passport, the guys canceled the entire reservation.
When the plane landed at Berlin Schönefeld Airport, a surprise awaited our friends. It turned out that at the German airport there are very few information boards and stands duplicated in English. To get to the transport that follows from the airport in different directions, it is worth taking care of the letter abbreviations that are used by the Germans for coding in advance.
Of course, it would be possible to rent a car for the entire trip, but do not forget that in our case the main rule is saving! Therefore, it was decided to travel by public transport.
After our heroes figured out the place of boarding the transport (in this case it was a tram stop), they had to decide whether to buy a ticket. In Europe in general and in Germany in particular, special machines are installed everywhere, with the help of which it is very easy to purchase a ticket to the desired direction. But do not try to ride a “hare”, it threatens a huge fine. For example, a tram ticket cost 1 euro, and a ticket for a ticket without a ticket can go up to several hundred euros.
When the first foreign tram in their life arrived, our travelers faced another difficulty: they were simply confused, not knowing how to get inside. We are accustomed to the fact that the driver opens the door, here we had to press the button located near the door himself. In this they were helped by a passing woman.
There were still many trains and intercity buses ahead, but at that moment our travelers were not yet familiar with the policy of prices for various transport. Meanwhile, they could significantly save both in time and money.
So, for example, if you travel by intercity train, then the ticket would cost 40 euros for two, but for the bus you had to pay 30 euros per person. In this case, the bus traveled for 9 hours, the train would have to spend about seven. Then no one knew about this, and you, dear reader, take this information to your attention.
After 9 hours, without rest or stopping at the hotel, the guys went straight with their backpacks to the festival, which was held in the suburbs of Frankfurt, in the small town of Dieburg. For just 13 euros, you can get a huge amount of positive, adrenaline and, most importantly, plunge into the cultural environment of German youth. There is a special conversation about how they drink there, but this fact amazed our travelers the most. After the concert, there was a two-day vacation in Heidelberg with relatives, so here we also managed to save money. But it was time to move on. Paris was waiting for them!
Only 6 hours by bus for 30 euros and we are in the city of Moliere, Gauguin and Dumas. It would be much faster by train, but an international train, unlike a bus, is much more expensive, about 100 euros per person.
After moving, first of all, I wanted to wash and brush my teeth. It turns out that this can be done without any problems at McDonald’s. If you are passing through Paris and there is absolutely no desire to carry things with you, then they can be left in the storage room at any train station. It will cost about 5 euros.
The guys very much regretted that they had not drawn up a route for a walk around Paris in advance. It was impossible to get to the museums, so they wandered aimlessly around the city center, while, however, significantly saving on entrance tickets. Nevertheless, the spirit of Paris was caught, because they did not have to rush on an excursion with a crowd of the same tourists, they didn’t even have to feel like a visitor, because there was no goal to bypass all the traditional sights.
Already at night they left one of the most romantic cities in Europe, the path lay in Amsterdam, where it was planned to spend 5 days.
And finally, the first stop at the hotel, or rather at the hostel. This is a budget option for those travelers who are not looking for comfort and are ready to share shelter with strangers. A European hostel is a kind of hostel where a traveler is given a bed, not a whole room. One room can contain from 4 to 8 beds at the same time. Toilet and shower are usually on the floor. Such a hostel usually costs 8-15 euros, for an additional fee you can order breakfast (plus 2-3 euros). Advice for those planning to stay in a hostel: be sure to have individual slippers with you, because without them it is difficult to visit a public, sometimes not very clean shower. Lunch in a Dutch restaurant will cost you an average of 20-25 euros, but in a small cafe you can eat much cheaper – only 2-5 euros.
Many are interested in the question of what is really going on on the famous “red light district” and how to get there. Everything is very simple – the entrance there is not limited, it is an ordinary street along which you can wander even with children. However, the locals really don’t like being photographed.
The emotions of tourists from visiting this quarter are always contradictory. So we tried to achieve the truth: how is it? what did you like? how much is? impression? It turns out that you can talk to the night priestess for 50-300 euros, and it is better to do this in the morning and afternoon hours: by the evening, many ladies are already returning home. Many windows have a phone number that you can call and invite a guest to your home.
In general, this exotic did not inspire our 24-year-old friends, but still did not leave indifferent, as, indeed, did most of the men who visited this world-famous place. But time was running out, and it was time to move on. Cologne was chosen as the next destination.
There were no more problems with buying tickets, all over Europe the machines work on approximately the same principle, and even a person who does not know English very well will understand everything. After 5 days in Amsterdam, our travelers moved back to Germany, where a concert of the DeFeater group was waiting for them.
What, of course, pleased our friends, was the prices for concerts in Europe, which are much lower than in Russia. So, for example, a ticket for the performance of this group cost 14 euros, and beer at a concert could be bought for 2-3 euros. I was also pleased with the hotel. Travelers now recommend her to all friends and family. The family-run hotel under the auspicious name “ASS” is located in Cologne at Frankfurter Str. 402 / Ecke Höhenbergerstraße. Why is he so good? Mostly excellent value for money. This hotel is run by an elderly married couple who guarantees perfect cleanliness, excellent breakfast, shower, TV, Wi-Fi in the room and all this for 10 euros per day per person.
The only problem the guys faced was another ticket vending machine. For some reason, it was in Cologne that everything turned out to be not so simple. The machine displays a variety of options for trains of different comfort with prices, and the buyer must choose the one that best suits his preferences and wallet. But! The printed ticket did not show the train number or departure time. With this question, they had to turn to the station clerk. Very politely and in detail they were explained where to go and what to sit on, while a kind of itinerary receipt was printed out with the exact time of arrival at different stations and an indication of the transfer.
The next point was Munich, to which the guys got about 10 hours. Here they already, mindful of their unfortunate experience of traveling on an intercity bus, took the train and reached their destination for only 40 euros for two.
Munich became a staging post on the road to Prague. But even here you can save money if you do not want to stay at the hotel for a short time. At train stations there are rooms for comfortable stay, where you can sleep for only 5 euros.
It took 6 hours to get to Prague. In this case, transport preferences do not matter, because the ticket price does not differ much (50 euros for a bus ticket and 100 euros for two – a train).
Prague is a European Mecca for those on a budget. First of all, this is inexpensive accommodation: our travelers spent 800 rubles a day for two for a hostel, which was 20 minutes away by train to the center. A train ticket cost 60 rubles, you could have lunch in a cafe for 300 rubles, while the portions here are simply huge, and beer is often cheaper than water. How would you like to drink half a liter of excellent Czech beer for 40 rubles?
In Prague, the trip came to an end, and the guys returned to Berlin, where, as it turned out, the cleanest and cheapest hostels in Europe. It was time to go home.
Thus, in 23 days of travel, the guys visited 4 countries and 8 cities, spent 49 hours on the way from Berlin to Berlin and drove about 3500 km. As you can see, the impossible is quite possible. Therefore, do not be afraid of independent trips: plan your vacation, take maps, phrasebooks, look for reviews and fellow travelers, and then any adventure will come true.