Inflation has also made Romanians' holidays more expensive, and prices in 2024 are often twice or even three times more expensive than a few years ago. There are, however, solutions to finding cheaper holidays, and those who have specialized in it give tips to those who will listen.
Cheap holiday hunters are enjoying themselves in all corners of the world. PHOTO: Unsplash
Many people dream of a whole year of the perfect vacation, but often when they are asked to choose their perfect vacation, Romanians are forced to adjust their expenses and give up some claims. And yet, some say, cheaper solutions exist, so that in reality the vacation is as close as possible to the dream one, if not even more successful.
The topic was brought up by a young man on the Reddit platform. He complained that even though he has acquaintances who manage to get cheap vacations in Europe, he spends a lot of money and can't find solutions.
“We all have those “friends” or at least from hearsay, we know of people who go on vacation in Europe super cheap, like 200-300 euros (transportation + accommodation). Always when I search, even if I find a cheap return flight for 300 lei, I lose money on accommodation and exceed a thousand euros per week. The same story at the agencies. Now I ask you: how is it possible? Do you know something I don't?”, was the post that caused a real debate. Many have come up with practical suggestions, ideas and little tricks that can help those interested.
Practical tips and ideas
“We were those friends before we were parents. I was going on a city break every two months. Obviously, the area is the most important and then whether it's in season or not… For example Italy – in March it's perfect because there aren't so many tourists, it's cheap and the weather is good. Skyscanner for flights (Sort by cheapest destinations in the month you want) and buy directly from the company on the website”, was the first part of a response that included several practical tips.
“Airbnb/Booking for apartments (do a bit of research where the state would be and easy to reach in the tourist areas and not too expensive and search directly from the map with the filter set to a maximum price). Apartments, because then you can have breakfast at home, maybe put a sandwich or a packed lunch (you only buy a dessert or snack) and eat at a restaurant/food market, etc. for dinner“, added the same netizen.
“Out of curiosity, now that you are parents how often do you travel?”someone asked him. “On average four times a year (but 5-7 days each, all with him so far),” came the prompt reply.
“A great tip is to get your ticket with a backpack only, from Wizz and a Priority only, if you are a couple. And look for accommodation with a washing machine. My holidays so far have been 9 days. 2023 Greece 550 transport, 1,200 accommodation. 1,750 ron for 9 nights accommodation and transport. 2022 Italy 550 lei transport and 70 lei per night accommodation. I focus on Booking and Airbnb. The black ball is that we cook and clean ourselves“, wrote another.
“I got cheap plane tickets to Thailand and, if I'm not mistaken, I also booked a city break to London, where I also got the accommodation. All good. The idea is that it also sends you to official sites. They make money from referrals, they have nothing to do with anything but tips that if you take them, they also get something…” someone else said.
Tips from the experts
“If we are only talking about city breaks, it can be done with little money. I consider three or four days as a city break, five days is already a vacation. Before the pandemic, the cheapest I was in Venice: 25 euros round trip and 45 euros for accommodation, two nights with breakfast included. I recently went to Vienna in August, 73 euros return flight and 90 euros accommodation – two nights without breakfast. I also went to Sofia for 20 euros round trip. It is important to be open to any destination, you go where you find cheap when you are available. I wasn't planning to go to Vienna, that's where I found the cheapest one in August. I wanted to go somewhere so I went”, replied another netizen.
“For cheap tickets… from Wizz with Wizz Discount – you can constantly find destinations for less than 2-300 lei round trip, especially off-season. For accommodation… you scout ahead and choose cheap destinations (like if you want Spain, choose Zaragoza or Malaga instead of Barcelona, etc.) and take a room on AirB&B, not a hotel. For food… street food + cooking simple things at the accommodation if you can, don't eat every meal at the restaurant”, was another suggestion.
“I'm one of those guys. I have Skyscanner and I look by season for flight tickets. The cheapest are between November and March. I have a city break in Venice planned for February. The tickets cost me 200 lei, accommodation 300 lei for two nights, transport from the airport 100, food + miscellaneous 400 lei. Agencies are a scam. Avoid them. Plan everything yourself“, suggested another.
“I used to hitchhike, spend 200-300 euros in three weeks and see four-five countries. I also hitchhiked last year, Amsterdam-Vienna”, was another suggestion.
“Durres, a kind of Constanta with a California air”
“I just came back from a New Year's holiday in Albania, I traveled with someone (students), and for six days (five nights), I think I spent a maximum of 200 euros per person (excluding OTP-TIA flights, which they cost us around 350 lei each),” said another. “Two nights in Tirana: explored the city, saw the BUNK'ART museums, took the Dajti Ekspress cable car up the mountain…Tirana can be fully visited in two days, in my opinion. A night in Durres: effectively a kind of Constanța with a California air, very pleasant for walking (and beaching in the summer, I guess)“, the same Internet user continued his suggestion.
“One night in Kruje (New Year's Eve), where we slept at a guest house that is part of the Kruje castle, with a superb view and very good food. Last night back in Tirana to make sure we catch our flight the next day in the afternoon. Costs: about 25-35 euros per night) at many accommodations (Booking.com, double bed, breakfast included), easy to find at this price now in the off-season. I don't know what summer is like.”
And he also added: “Extremely cheap transport (although not very convenient and fast, buses & minibuses, Albania has no usable train network and Google Maps doesn't work for transport routes, do your research!). 6-10 euros for any substantial meal at a restaurant, generous portions everywhere, very tasty, two euros a beer at a restaurant, cheap fast food… just to give you an idea, I wasn't hungry, on the contrary!”
And he ended on the same note: “10 euro combined ticket for both BUNK'ART museums in Tirana, about 14 euro return cable car Dajti Ekspress. Note: Prices are in Euro, but the local currency is Lek. A lot of places (and accommodation) also accept euros though (one euro = 100 lek as a general rule).”
Seven nights in Malta, 380 euros with flight and accommodation
“Just the other day I bought a ticket to Milan for 70 euros – two people, plus accommodation for two nights – 133 euros. The flights depart from Bucharest at 06.30 and from Milan at 21.30. after (three days of walking). At the end of February, during the week. If someone wants to go to that area, I recommend accommodation in Bergamo, the prices are low, the accommodations are top class, only ratings above 8 in the booking, from Bergamo you have a train“, someone pointed out.
“I'm leaving in March for seven nights in Malta. I have no activities planned. 380 including flight and accommodation,” another netizen added. “If you're traveling alone and don't mind, try couchsurfing“, suggested another.
However, there were others who criticized the idea of a cheap holiday or city break. “You see that some of those friends of yours stay in miserable lodgings and that's the only way they can afford that cheapness”, was a point of view.