European cities on the cheap- my plan

So, T is minus one month now.  I’ve passed all my board exams and have just a few clinic hours remaining (and a random project for an herbs class for which I am trying to make a palatable herbal Diamox breakfast porridge…umm…..)  I’ve booked myself a trip to get my Russian visa and as long as that goes ok, the next few months should be smooth sailing.

I’ve saved up more than my goal and although I could’ve saved more than I have, I’ve gotten through with my sanity *mostly* intact.  I’m hoping to keep my budgets really, really low, because the less I spend, the longer I can travel.  Easier said than done in Europe, my first stop.  I was going to be all adventurous and make a side trip to the village in Slovakia where some of my ancestors are apparently from, but I decided I want to keep things simple as I’m recovering from 4 years of medical school and Los Angeles.

One key to long-term and budget travel is that the quicker you move, the more you spend generally.  So for these 2+ weeks, I’m going to stick to just 3 cities:

Budapest: The largest city in Hungary, Budapest is a meeting place for Eastern and Western Europe.

Vienna: As a classical musician, I have undeniable musical roots here.

Prague: Everyone knows about Prague these days, but that doesn’t stop people from recommending this charming city.

I’m going to try to do some more detailed posts on each city on cool things to do and specific places to hang, eat, and sleep, but here are the general rules I’m trying to stick to:

1. Spend under $300 for the 16 days.  Yes, that’s under $20 a day, and will include one nicer hotel stay to help complete a hotel points promo that will ultimately earn me at least 10 nights for only 2 paid stays.  I have tricks to make the lodging cheap so food is the major expense, followed by ground transport.

2. See as much opera and classical music as I can.  Luckily there are tons of cheap tickets in these cities!

3. I am allowing myself 1 “splurge” experience per city.  In Budapest it is likely to be “the number one recommended thing to do in Budapest” (shhhh, it’s a surprise!) and in Vienna it will be a seat (as opposed to standing room) for a 5 hr Wagner opera.

4. Since this is now my “life” for a good while, I will try to do more cooking in hostels.  So it will be a challenge to keep things simple, since I won’t have tons of ingredients at my disposal.  The great thing about this though is that cooking helps you make pals (some of whom might donate some drinks, wink wink) and lets you have a reason not just to look around at markets, but interact with the people there.