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How I travelled Europe in just Rupees 10,000!

by VV
travelled Europe in just Rupees 10,000
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This report is for my friends who were keen to know about – How I travelled Europe in just Rupees 10,000, that too for 16 days! Of course this does not include air tickets. I am mentioning about the expenses incurred only on food, stay and travelling in Europe (continue reading to know the ticket cost). So, dear friends, firstly let me tell you that elements like comfort, luxury and pre-planning are inversely related to a budget trip. For cheap travel, you must be ready to sleep anywhere you find the shelter, use public transport, eat whatever you have in your bag and that too while having a lot of fun. While doing all this, I was lucky enough to meet wonderful people and spend quality time with them. (also read : How to stay for free in India)

The first step – Choose a cheaper destination

This was my first trip to Europe. The foremost thing to travel Europe cheap I did was choosing cheapest places to travel. After extensive research, I found Eastern and parts of Central Europe are moderately cheaper for travelling than the Western European countries. Though this is not a rule of thumb. The season is also a big factor. After searching for the best season to travel Europe, I zeroed down to The Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia & Austria. In fact, they are cheapest countries in Europe to visit. The best thing is – all these countries are the member of Schengen area. It means you do not have to spend your time and money to get a separate visa for each country. Just a single Schengen visa serves the purpose. As of October 2016, Schengen visa cost INR 4,500 in India.

The best thing is – all these countries are the member of Schengen area. It means you do not have to spend your time and money to get a separate visa for each country. Just a single Schengen visa serves the purpose. As of October 2016, Schengen visa cost INR 4,500 in India.

How to get a cheap flight ticket to Europe

Air tickets consisted the 70% of my total expenditure on this trip. For continuously 2 months I kept checking cheapest way to get to Europe. I searched the airfare almost every hour combining different cities, flights, and tricks. This gave me a fair idea of the cheapest airfare from India to any European city. I finally purchased a ticket which had this itinerary – New Delhi-Dubai-Prague & Prague-Kiev-Dubai-New Delhi for almost Rs. 34,000.


Though this itinerary had layovers as long as 6 hours at Kiev and Dubai, but this also gave me an opportunity to explore these airports and chat with airport staff and other passengers. (Read –  What did I do during the long layovers at Dubai and Kiev airports)

Airlines I used during this trip – Air India Express, Smartwings & Ukraine international airlines (also read – Websites that helped me in getting cheap flight tickets to Europe).

Queries and comments on the post - 'How I travelled Europe in just Rupees 10,000' are welcome below.

How did I travel in Europe

During the whole trip, I never took a taxi. Only once I travelled on a long distance train. Twice I used the long distance buses. (Taxi from Prague airport to city centre costs 25 Euros which was equivalent to the fare of my long distance train journey+Bus ticket from Vienna to Prague+Bus ticket from Prague to Brno).

Tram in Prague

Tram in Prague

Rest of the travelling was either done by public transport or by Hitch-hiking :). Yes, you got it right. I took free lifts from the passing vehicles to travel from one place to other, even from one country to another. I should say that this is the brightest part of travelling Europe. Many European countries are now a part of the European Union. The borders are almost non-existing. I could visit Slovakia and Austria from the Czech Republic as if I go from Delhi to Gurgaon. I met few travellers who had travelled through Europe by hitch-hiking.

Search the best public transport across Europe and book them online on Go Euro

Hitchhiking in Europe

Hitchhiking is quite common in Europe. I met a lot of wonderful people while travelling this way. Though sometimes language was a problem in Czech and Austria, but as it is said ‘Language is not the barrier, the heart is‘. It always took some time to explain ‘who I am’ and ‘where do I need to go’, but thereafter our conversations used to become very friendly. One of such person was Stephen who was travelling to his hometown in Veselí nad Moravou, but he took a detour to drop me at Strážnice, the place where I wanted to go. I got to travel in a truck and also an ultra-advanced model of Mercedes car with a Czech-Russian gentleman.

Though it is not always easy to hitchhike. I was dropped by a person near a railway station but the train had already left. Then I had to walk for about 4 kilometres to reach near a gas station (Petrol Pump) on the highway. Even there I had to wait for more than an hour struggling in the chilly winds to get a free lift. Due to the language differences, Once an old man misunderstood my destination and dropped me to a completely different location. But I believe that such uncertainties are the beauty of travelling this way.

Public Transport is cheap in Europe

In cities like Prague, Brno and Vienna I always took the public transport. It is one of the best ways to travel on a budget in these cities. Public transports consist of modern buses, trams and underground metro/subway in big cities. The best part of travelling through them is that you do not have to take a ticket for each and every ride. In Prague, I spent 110 Czech Crown (300 INR) to get a 24 hours ticket which is valid on all buses, metro and trams in the city. In Brno, the fare for the same duration is 90 Czech Crown (245 INR). Although travelling in the capital of Austria, Vienna is comparatively costlier. I had to spend 7.60 Euros (560 INR) to get a 24 hours ticket. (Read – Useful travel apps in Europe).

Where did I stay in Europe

Bunk bed room in a Hostel

Bunk beds in a Hostel

Whenever I do budget travelling, I prefer to stay in hostels. They are cheaper than hotels and also offer an opportunity to meet other backpackers from around the world. My first destination was Prague where I stayed in Hostel Ananas. Booked this hostel before leaving India (from the ‘Book now, pay later‘ box placed below this article). This tool helps to book any accommodation around the world without making payment in advance.

Besides this, I slept on airports, travelled on night buses and purposely took overnight flights. I did CouchSurfing to stay with the locals in the countryside. This helped me to learn about their way of living, culture and habits more closely. I stayed with a person in his beautiful cottage on a hill. We met while travelling in a local bus and became friends in a short time. One of my hosts took me to Slovakia in her car and showed me nearby villages and the countryside. Another family with whom I stayed in Břeclav offered their heart touching hospitality. I stayed with them for two days. In another example, the host handed over the entire house to me and left for some work for two days. I believe, experiences through travelling this way can revitalise our senses and fundamentally transform us for the better. (also read : How to stay for free in India)



Booking.com

What did I eat in Europe

Vegetarian : Rice with Hummus

Vegetarian : Rice with Hummus

Being a vegetarian, it was a problem for me to find vegetarian food in the Czech Republic and Austria, especially when people do not understand English. The vegetarian restaurants were quite costly. Then supermarkets like Billa, Albert, Müller, etc. came to my rescue. I purchased things like Bread, Milk, Cheese, Butter, Nutella, Chocolates, Yoghurt, Carrots from there and this is what I had most of the time on my trip. To add variety, I tried different types of bread, cheese and butter. It’s very cheap to buy raw food from supermarkets and then prepare whatever you like in your hostel or at your host’s place. Most of the hostels offer a kitchenette with microwave oven, kettle, hot water, plates and cutleries for free of charge.  Do not forget to clean it after use for the convenience of other guests.



Mineral water is costlier than a Beer!

I never bought water during the entire trip. Tap water is drinkable in all the places I visited. So keep a spare bottle with you while travelling The Czech Republic and Austria. You can save plenty of Euros this way because a bottle of 500 ml of water may cost around 1.5 Euros (110 INR) in some places.

Where to pee in Czech Republic and Austria

Pee is not free

Pee is not free

If you are travelling on a budget, then trust me, answering the call of nature can spoil your trip in these countries.  The more you answer, the more you lose the precious Euros :D. See this picture. You may have to spend 50 euro cents (40 INR) to use a toilet at tourist spots. But I never paid to pee. I used public toilets in metro stations or bus terminals in big cities like Prague, Vienna and Brno. Though, toilets in Vienna metro stations were quite filthy. Or you can also search the nearest shopping mall with the help of smartphone applications. Their toilets are comparatively cleaner and free to use.

So this is how I travelled my first Europe trip in just Rupees 10,000. Besides Czechs, Slovaks and Austrians I met travellers from Brazil, Mexico, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ukraine, Russia, Italy, France, Germany, Philippines, Korea & China. I talked in Hindi with people from Pakistan, Afghanistan & Bangladesh and together we felt like lost brothers who just found each other (Watch this video). I also met Roma and Gypsies whom I consider are the true wanderers of the world and think myself as one of them.

Watch : My Backpacking trip to Bangladesh

Read : How to stay for free in India

Queries and comments on the post - 'How I travelled Europe in just Rupees 10,000' are welcome below.

35 comments

Madhur Kumar Jain February 15, 2018 - 7:38 pm

What about internet facility? withiut internet….its very difficult to find ways, translation to local lenguage, find hotel/hostel/gurudwaras/supermarket.

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Satyajit Ghosh February 14, 2018 - 12:33 am

Plz tell me how can I overcome the language barrier???

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Ark Dwiti January 30, 2018 - 4:22 pm

Hi Varun,

I’m planning a trip to Czech republic during June first week, so I was going through the Schengen Visa website. I saw that for documents they even ask for travel insurance covering at least €30,000 within the Schengen area. Can you please tell me which one did you opt for?

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Varun Vagish January 31, 2018 - 7:12 am

I opted for ICICI Lombard travel insurance for my Europe trip, but at that time I was unaware of many others which were available for a much lower premium. ICICI Lombard is quite costly nowadays.

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Mirel Ahmed January 29, 2018 - 4:36 pm

hello varun, can u tell me a little about the visa procedure and specially how much do they mean by minimum fund in our account for the visa(p.s, I m a student and my parents are the one funding). thank you

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Lakshya Kaushik January 28, 2018 - 7:42 pm

Hi Varun,

Great stuff dude!!
I have a query. If I book the tickets via Dubai. Do I need Transit Visa ?

Thanks in Advance.

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Varun Vagish January 29, 2018 - 5:55 pm

Transit visa is not required in Dubai if
1. you are not going out of the airport.
2. your onward flight is from the same terminal and you have no check-in baggage.
3. you have check-in baggage & the airline will transfer the baggage to your final destination on its own.

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Nithin nits January 13, 2018 - 4:50 pm

Hi Varun, ur making good informational videos for the travelers,,,i like it! i wanna know when we book flight from bangalore/Delhi to Prague taking a break journey at Dubai, r we suppose to have dubai transit visa ?? please let me know,,,thanks!

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Sachin Madaan January 5, 2018 - 2:00 pm

Hey Varun,
I stumbled up on your vlogs last evening and I am pretty impressed by them, great work. One question though, I traveled for 3-4 weeks in Italy about 2 months back and before flying there, in order to get the visa, it was suggested to me to had to submit all my hostel/ internal train booking details to visa/vfs office which I duly did. In your case here, how did you manage to showcase that considering you mainly couch-surfed and hitch hiked. Did you show a dummy bookings for domestic & international flight and your stay?

Cheers,
Sachin

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Varun Vagish January 6, 2018 - 1:42 pm

Thanks for the compliment, Sachin :)
Yes, dummy booking for International flights is one of the most recommended ways to get a visa, without the risk of losing money on flight tickets in case of visa denials. As far as hotels are concerned, book hotels giving the facility of zero-cancellation charges. But don’t forget to cancel them before the end of ‘zero-cancellation’ period, otherwise, you may be charged a partial amount.

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Shubh Kapoor December 26, 2017 - 1:43 pm

Hello Varun

Please tell me that whether i have to show my account statement to visit Malaysia and Bali (Indonesia) and also please tell me how much indian rupees required for only food and sight seeing for Malaysia and Bali, please help me…….

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Prateek Sapra December 19, 2017 - 9:20 pm

Hi Varun I am a Traveler, a rider and an explorer. I follow your channel regularly and seen all your videos. You are doing an awesome job bro.

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Varun Vagish December 21, 2017 - 7:30 am

Thanks for your awesome compliment, Prateek :)

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Abhisek Haldar December 17, 2017 - 6:47 pm

Hi Varun,

Just subscribed to your youtube channel as I was gathering information about Europe travel. You videos are awesome, so is your blog. Thank you so much for taking out your time and passing the valuable information/tips to us. :)

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Varun Vagish December 17, 2017 - 8:26 pm

Thanks for the compliment, Abhisek :)

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Vignesh Ramanathan August 19, 2017 - 1:37 pm

Great piece of info Varun..Worth reading..Hope i will plan sometime soon..Thanks for the info

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suresh August 7, 2017 - 9:02 pm

Do I need transit visa at Dubai airport, to wait for fight and to travel for final destination.

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Shahin Ahmed July 18, 2017 - 11:54 am

HI Varun,One question,aap ke Europe tour ke 1st video me dekha tha,ke aap pehle FLIGHT book kartehein,uske baad aap HOTEL book kia,and then aapne SCHENGEN visa ke liye try kia and aapko milvi geya.kya FLIGHT & HOTEL booking ke baad Schangan visa ke liye apply karunga to VISA miljayega? agar VISA nehi mila to kya FLIGHT & HOTEL Booking ke payse wapas milega?plz Varun Bhai Answer PLZ…..??

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yateesh July 3, 2017 - 12:15 pm

hii bro…one big question in my mind is ..how you used to search places from your phone??? was ur network on international roaming??? or is the city roads having wifi??

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Varun Vagish July 5, 2017 - 11:56 am

Yateesh,
WiFi was easily available almost everywhere during my Europe trip. You can use free Wifi at McDonalds, Starbucks, other restaurants, most Train stations, trains, buses, airports, etc. in Europe

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Jitin Datta April 10, 2017 - 3:57 am

Can i join u on some travel trip

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Suhas Sharma March 2, 2017 - 6:46 pm

Hey Varun,

Thanks for nice info. If possible, can you send the procedures for the schengen visa? Does booking.com’s free cancellation rooms work for the french embassy?

Regards,
Suhas

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Varun Vagish March 2, 2017 - 7:15 pm

Hi Suhas,
1. Schengen visa :
Probably you will have to approach the VFS office (one of the outsourced agencies to collect visa applications) with all the desired documents. You can visit the official website of the French embassy to know the details. I called the Czech embassy whenever I had any query before my Czech’s trip. You can also call VFS for your queries. Also, you can ask your questions at ‘Tourist Helpline’s’ facebook group where you will find a lot of travellers like you and me. https://www.facebook.com/groups/touristhelpline/

2. Booking. com’s :
You can always show hotel bookings done through Booking. com for getting a visa. They are valid.
(By the way, you can book the rooms from the booking. com’s widget placed on my blog. Your confirmed stays on those bookings can help me to earn some money for my next trip, as booking. com share a certain percentage of its commission with me, if someone books through this website) :)

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Suhas Sharma March 2, 2017 - 9:14 pm

Will do. Thanks!

Did you cancel the booking later? I’ve heard some stories that some hotels charge you even you cancel beforehand.

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Varun Vagish March 3, 2017 - 1:56 pm

There are hotels which do not charge for cancellation

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Amar Sharma October 20, 2016 - 5:44 am

You have successfully inspired many budget travellers like me. Very inspirational and a great read. Cheers!

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Varun October 20, 2016 - 6:34 am

Glad to hear that. Keep traveling :)

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Aditya October 18, 2016 - 9:52 pm

V wisely elaborated ur tour…a good guide for d planners……

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Varun October 18, 2016 - 10:19 pm

Thanks, Aditya,
Yes, you were an enthusiastic listener that day. You may want to ‘like’ this facebook page so that you don’t miss such information in future. http://www.facebook.com/page.touristhelpline

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Yash Vardhan Gaur October 18, 2016 - 8:47 pm

This trip of yours is impressively Amazing! The thoughts you shared are Remarkably clever! Hope we travel together next time. Thumbs up!!??

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Varun October 18, 2016 - 10:13 pm

Sure, buddy :)

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RANJITA G October 17, 2016 - 11:01 pm

Superb! Travel report Varun.I envy you.

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varun October 18, 2016 - 7:35 am

Don’t Envy. Start traveling :)
Like this facebook page. You’ll get notifications of some more interesting articles in future.
http://www.facebook.com/page.touristhelpline/

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Hanka October 17, 2016 - 6:29 pm

Absolutely! Europe is expensive, but there are lot of possibilities how to travel cheap or almost for free – hitch-hiking, couchsurfing, kitchen in hostels… it’s the best way to travel Europe! And this is also the best way how to really know Europe and people and their life here;-) Nice article! Hope that you will return in Europe soon if it’s not very expensive;)

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varun October 17, 2016 - 6:45 pm

Hi Hanka,
Would love to get some travel tips from you for making the next trip more economical ;)

Reply

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