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Europe: Eastern From Russia to Croatia, the Danube, Iron Curtain era vestiges, Pilzner beer, Czech it out!

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Old 07-07-2006, 07:29 PM   #1
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Can those of you that have travelled through eastern Europe for lengthy periods of time give me an idea of how much I should budget? I know it all depends on where you are and what you're doing, but it'd be cool to see some examples.

Most of my travels have been in western Europe, and for weekends, with the mentality that I have to live it up to the max, without a lot of thought on how much money I spend. Well I know I'll be changing my ways.

I'd like to spend more time hiking, camping (except I don't want to carry all the gear), and just hanging out with locals, really soaking in the culture wherever I am, without the time limits I've had in the past. I'm not sure just where to go yet, still trying to figure it all out. Wherever I can find the craziest adventure with the thinnest wallet, with some good nightlife occasionally but that's not the focus anymore. I'd really like to see all of eastern Europe, but spend more time in the cheaper places and outdoor/adventure activities. Any itinerary advice?
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Old 07-10-2006, 01:09 AM   #2
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I've just had a look at an old city guide (2003) and found some sample hostel prices in Vilnius - a bed in a dorm runs from about 24 - 32 Lt (about $8-11), or you can get a private room in the Teacher's Hotel for 65 Lt (about $22).

Outside of the major cities in Eastern Europe, you will discover that food is really, really cheap. I can better quote prices in Vilnius, but we found that prices in the country were generally 10 - 30% cheaper.

You can eat a great breakfast in Vilnius for about $1 at a nice restaurant (my favourite breakfast restaurants there are Mano Guru on Vilniaus g, Cili Kaimas just off Gedemino Pros., and Prie Angelo in the main square in Uzupis. You can pay more for a bigger meal, but I need to point out that these are nice restaurants. A bowl of kose (kind of like cream of wheat) with berries and butter and sugar will cost around 3 Lt/$1, and fill you up for the day.

Then for lunch, you could buy a delicious bowl of soup served with filling bread or sometimes boiled potatoes for about 3-5 Lt/$1-$2. A plate of cepelinai (a potato and meat torpedo) would cost about the same and keep you going for a day or more. Lithuanian food is not low fat.

For dinner, you could splurge on a 20 cm pizza at Cili Pica, Zaza's or Kukubara (Australian food, great stuff) for between 4 and 8 Lt ($2-4). So that's $7 for meals for a day, eating out at nice restaurants. Course you'll want a beer or two, so budget $1 each for those, $10 for three tasty, filling meals in proper restaurants. You can easily cut it down by buying a pasty on the street ($0.30) or picking up some groceries at the local Minima, Iki or Rimi.

A loaf of bread, some sausage, a couple of apples and a bottle of juice, milk, water or whatever (to include beer), could cost you something in the range of $5, and would last a couple of days.

There were times when we didn't eat at home for days - my sister-in-law and her husband visited for a week, and on the fourth day she suddenly announced, "I haven't even seen your kitchen yet!" and we lived in a 1000 sq ft flat. It was just cheaper, easier and tastier to eat out.

We didn't partake in much of the night life there, but there are plenty of pubs where beer is cheap. Night clubs tend to be pretty dressy, and apparently are fairly costly - though not compared with western Europe, I gather. My info on this comes from local friends, who have tight budgets, so they pick and choose the clubs with care. There are some that are more popular hangouts with the local moneyed mafiosi - if you're in line, you'll figure it out.

These prices are fairly typical for the eastern European countries we visited, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech, although of course the big cities are much more expensive than the smaller towns and villages.

For budget and other planning, check out www.inyourpocket.com to get a general idea of things for the places you think you want to visit, but buy the hard copy guide when you arrive for the most recent info. The guides are awesome, we use them everywhere that has 'em. Much more current than a published guide book can be, and more off the wall. Since you want to get away from the cities a bit, if you plan on visiting Lithuania, I'd recommend you check out the Ignalina guide, with info on Aukstatija National Park, as well as the guides for Druskininkai and Kaunas/Klaipeda (which includes Plunge and Palanga as well as the Kuronian spit). There are also several different guides for different parts of Poland, Warsaw/Krakow of course, but also the port jewels of Gdansk(Gdynia/Sopot) and Szcezcin, and in the lesser visited Poznan, Wroclaw as well, I believe, as a few others. We also found the guides to Tallinn, Riga, Budapest, and Prague useful, but though there is a Bratislava issue, we couldn't find it. I don't know if they have issues covering other regions in those countries, but the website has all the info.



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Old 07-10-2006, 08:34 PM   #3
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Wow, you really are a wealth of information! Thanks a lot. It seems like the hostel and food will be super cheap, its the museums and activities that'll kill me. But if that's where the outdoors escursions should save me some cash.

I didn't realize that these InYourPocket guides are free online. These are great! I'm gettin' so excited, I can't wait to get out and start this trip. Thanks a lot!
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Old 07-11-2006, 08:41 AM   #4
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Pleasure to help. One point about the in your pockets, though - on line you can just get a mini guide, the hard copies are much more extensive, so it's good to pick one up when you arrive, to get the full deal (like transit maps etc.)

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Old 07-11-2006, 11:07 AM   #5
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Ahhh, got it. Any idea what transportation costs in these areas? Any rough ideas on train expenses?
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Old 07-11-2006, 12:14 PM   #6
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to be honest the transportation costs are not that expensive. I went on what was about a 200km (i think thats the distance) round trip from Budapest to Kaposvar and it cost me around about 12 return price. You can also buy travelcards for 3, 5, 7 days travel but if you dont mind walking you can easily walk the majority of sightseeing opportunities. For tickets to Szetendre or Godollo its about 1 each way. most of the museums within Budapest are free as well especially the magnificent hungarian National Museum - i have never been to a museum like it before. Even "museums" such as Auschwitz are extremely cheap to visit if thats your thing.
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Old 07-11-2006, 06:14 PM   #7
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Hell yeah, good to hear it! Boy, I'm gettin' excited.

(Now I'm just praying to be discharged in May as planned. Oh please be nice to me Uncle Sam.)
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Old 08-28-2006, 11:23 AM   #8
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<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Legitikick @ Jul 11 2006, 09:14 PM) [snapback]130565[/snapback]</div>
Quote:
Hell yeah, good to hear it! Boy, I'm gettin' excited.

(Now I'm just praying to be discharged in May as planned. Oh please be nice to me Uncle Sam.)
[/b]
I'm praying for you too! Let him wear normal clothes you bastards!
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Old 08-28-2006, 02:18 PM   #9
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Im sure you'll get discharged! Good Luck!
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