If you haven’t read any of the prior expense reports from our trip, check them out below:
- Madrid, Spain
- Portugal (Porto, Caldas da Rainha, Lisbon, Lagos)
- Spain (Seville, Granada, Valencia, Barcelona)
- France and Luxembourg (Paris, Reims, and Luxembourg City)
- Belgium (Brussels, Bruges, and Antwerp)
- Netherlands and Germany (The Hague, Amsterdam, and Hamburg)
To be honest, we weren’t too sad about leaving Hamburg at the end of our time there. The weather, costs, and a less than ideal accommodation situation had us ready to head to the airport on our last morning there. We were ready to venture further east in Europe, hoping for lower costs as well as some upcoming free hotel nights we had already booked. Southern Poland was somewhere I’d heard many good things about, and I was excited to see it for myself. Krakow ended up being much more laid back than I anticipated for one of the biggest cities in the country. The downtown area was very touristy and crowded, but only a few minutes outside of the old town we found many quiet places to escape the crowds. Our hotel was about a 45 minute walk or 20 minute bus ride from the main tourist area, which was fine for us. We’ll never complain about a free hotel anyway :D. We also had a couple of day trips that we had scoped out in the nearby area, which worked out well since there really wasn’t five full days worth of stuff to do and see in Krakow.
Prague was the longest stop on our entire trip. This was for a couple of different reasons. The first being that Prague is a city that is often talked very highly of by fellow travelers. It has a good combination of history, beauty, and low prices. The second reason is that we knew that by this point in the trip we’d be getting pretty tired. The travel fatigue was something we discovered on our 5 month trip last year, and this trip had even more stops than our last one, so we were reasonably sure we could use a couple extra days somewhere to rest. So, why not Prague? We were certainly right about being tired, and those extra days to rest were sorely needed by the time we arrived in Prague. The city lived up to the hype, and we were pleasantly surprised by the lower costs compared to Western Europe, in addition to all the amazing sights all over.
We spent a total of 12 days/nights in the Poland and the Czech Republic between the two cities we visited, broken down as follows:
- 5 days/nights in Krakow
- 7 days/nights in Prague
Stay tuned for Whitney’s next post about all of our adventures on this part of the trip, but for now I’ll focus on the expenses incurred while traveling through Poland and Czech Republic. Keep in mind that all of the expenses that I’ll talk about below are my expenses only, since Whitney and I have quite different spending habits. We split all shared expenses evenly, so I calculate the numbers below with my half of the shared expenses and then my individual expenses.
Accommodations: In Prague, we stayed at an AirBnB (this is my referral link which you can use to get $55 off of your first stay through the site!) about 25 minutes outside of the main tourist area by bus. We were very surprised to find that even that close to the city where we stayed felt rural with fields and small communities. The AirBnB was a room in a family home with a very nice family that gave us advice and tips regarding the area. It ended up being a good location for the price with the easy bus ride into town.
In Krakow, took advantage of some of the points from Whitney’s recent Hilton Aspire signup bonus and paid a total of 40,000 points for 5 nights at a Hampton by Hilton. The hotel was 10,000 points per night, but due to Whitney’s “diamond status” from the credit card mentioned above, we utilized the 5th night free perk to get the last night at no point or dollar cost. This hotel also came with a daily free buffet breakfast, a very nice gym (complete with squat rack!), as well as a pool, sauna, and steam room. We were able to get a couple of workouts in and visit the pool one day which was great!
With the hotel in Krakow being free with points, our only lodging cost was in Prague where my part of the cost was $11.20/night.
- Total for my expenses: $78
Food and drink: With the lower costs in Krakow and Prague, we actually ate most of our meals out, but we also saved quite a bit on food costs from the free breakfast in Krakow and getting food and snacks at grocery stores when convenient. We tried many different local dishes and beers in both cities, which were all delicious. The citizens of the Czech Republic actually drink the most beer per person of any country in the world, which was a fact we weren’t aware of. It made more sense once we saw how cheap and abundant the beer was, and that it is even sold in 2 liter bottles at the grocery store– which was definitely new to us!
Total for my expenses: $118
Transportation: We took a plane to get to Krakow, since it would have been a very long train or bus from to get there from Hamburg. The flight went smoothly and cost about $40 each. To get to Prague, we took a bus part of the way followed by a train to finish the journey. We were nervous to have to switch modes of transportation in the event of a delay, but luckily the process was seamless and the train was by far the nicest we’d ever been on. In both cities, we relied heavily on public transportation due to being a relatively long way from the tourist areas by foot. The public transport systems were efficient and easy to navigate, along with being reasonably priced, which we were grateful for after some of the more expensive systems we experienced in Western Europe.
- Total for my expenses: $79
Activities: We did “free” (tips based) walking tours in both of these cities which are always a great way to get a brief overview of the city, the main sights, and the history. In addition, we had accumulated enough stamps on our Sandeman’s New Europe tours loyalty program that we got 3 additional free tours in Prague! We used one for a tour of the Prague castle grounds, one for a day trip to Kutna Hora and the “Bone Church” located there, and the last one for a beer tour/pub crawl. The Bone Church was a really shocking place to see in person, where human bones were used to make pieces of art in past centuries. Over 40,000 human skeletons were used to construct everything inside the church. For pictures of this, check out our Instagram or Facebook business page!
In Krakow, the day trips we took were to Auschwitz concentration camp and the Wieliczka Salt Mine. Auschwitz was heart breaking to see and to imagine the horror that the prisoners there experienced. No matter how difficult it is to visit a place like Auschwitz, it’s vital to remember what the victims went through and learn about how a tragedy like that unfolded not so long ago. The Salt Mine was worth the trip and was a marvel of human ingenuity. A massive church (along with many other smalls churches and countless other statues) were carved out of salt inside this mine, hundreds of feet below the ground! How crazy!
- Total for my expenses: $53
My total expenses for 12 days and 12 nights in Poland and the Czech Republic, including accommodations, transportation, activities, and food, were approximately $328!
Running total for entire trip to this point (my expenses only): $3,022 ($44/day average)!
Stay tuned for our next posts about Austria, Slovakia, and Hungary! Keep an eye on the Facebook page where we are posting much more frequently about the trip including our favorite pictures!