Budget Wise :: Romania

2 07 2008

* Caution :: The following will not contain new and exciting stories about our travels but, if you’re a traveler yourself or plan to take a similar trip sometime soon, this post will still be of interest to you.

Since we don’t have a return deadline, the more money we save, the longer we travel. Unfortunately, while researching, we couldn’t find up-to-date resources explaining the costs of traveling in different areas of the world. When we did find some information it wasn’t clear whether that was for one person or two, and what expenses could be shared if traveling as a couple. Therefore, we decided to keep track of our budget while we travel so that we can have a better frame of reference. The following is an explanation of our budget while traveling in Romania.

Our one month daily average :: $57.50 USD (for two people: one couple) :: 1 USD = 2.3 RON

Even with budget traveling, there can be a huge range from one budget to the next. We personally made it a game to see how much money we could save. We know other people who travel individually for $75/day on a budget, and still others who’ve done it for half of we spent. Therefore, some explanation is needed to understand our budget.

Hostels :: Hostel avg 40 RON/bed :: We stayed in hostels during our entire stay. We always booked ahead of time (which sometimes gets you a better rate, but is mostly for peace of mind), and chose the cheapest hostel we could find with good ratings. Don’t spend a lot more for a hostel with Breakfast because it’s usually just white toast and jam with coffee and tea. Free laundry, however, is usually a great extra. Make sure the hostel has a kitchen so you can make your own meals occasionally. Hostels charge per bed so there is no savings for a couple but, guest houses often charge per room.

Couch Surfing :: We haven’t actually surfed yet, but if you’re on a super tight budget this is a great way to get free accommodation. It seems to be harder to surf as a couple though. Couch Surfing website.

Eating :: Meal avg 8-15 RON/person (5 RON for soup) :: We love to eat and to try new foods, so this is where we do the most research. We always ask locals for recommendations, and we use restaurant guides in the city to find good, authentic, budget restaurants. We would occasionally split a larger meal like pizza, and order dessert if we were still hungry. Ordering soup is a great deal in Romania because it’s typically a big bowl and comes with half a loaf of bread, and best of all, it’s cheap. Bottled water can be expensive at restaurants but cheap at the store (and tap water is drinkable), so bring your own water to the restaurant. Having at least one meal a day at the hostel saves a lot of money as well, and if you plan correctly, two meals a day and snacking is usually plenty.

Drinking :: Beer avg 5 RON/0.5 Liter (bigger than typical .33l of Western Europe) :: This is where even the tightest budgets can go through the roof. The people we know that spend the most money usually spend it on Alcohol. Drinks aren’t that expensive in Romania, but a lot of drinks are. We occasionally splurged on drinking, but be smart and buy drinks from a grocery store or a non-stop shop to save loads of money (they have 2 liter bottles!). More drinking = shorter trip.

The Sites :: Our budget didn’t allow for a lot of expensive tourist outings. We didn’t visit every church, we didn’t pay for tours or day trips, we didn’t visit big museums, etc. Our personal goal is not to “see” everything, but to try to know each city the way someone living there may. We spent more time walking around town, hanging out with locals, and trying the cuisine than we did visiting everything having to do with Dracula. If you do want to “see” it all, bring a student ID or buy City Passes for discounts to the main attractions.

Souvenirs :: Our souvenirs are our memories, new friends, photos, and knowledge about other cultures. Buying extra stuff can get expensive and tricky. How do you pack it? Ship it? Protect it?

For the most part, we didn’t deny ourselves anything we needed or really wanted, we just shopped around for the least expensive way to get it. We hope this helps your travels and please feel free to ask us any Romania budget questions and we’ll do our best to answer them.




4 responses

3 07 2008

That average 40 RON/bed, was that on the concierge level?

6 07 2008
Garrett Bryant

so have you two been hired to write for Lonely Planet yet?

23 11 2008

thanks…it sounds encouraging

4 12 2008
Carpathians Hiker

Hi Jen,

Thnaks, you do a great job with this blog. I find it really useful taking your time to put all the info together to help others.
Just as a hint: it would be nice to mention that bear of half a liter costs 5 RON (as in western Europe bear is generally sold as 0,33 L bottles )

All best,
oh, I almost forgot: next time when going to Romania, try to visit the Danube Delta; it is a world apart and really deserves a visit 🙂

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