My article in the current issue of Transitions Abroad is called “The New Eastern Europe: Now You have to Look for Travel Bargains.” This one is posted online, so follow the link.
Many travelers have not woken up to the fact that a hotel room in Prague can cost more than one in Florence or Barcelona. Even though we’re past the summer now, upper-end hotels such as Aria Hotel (pictured here) and Ventana Hotel are routinely charging over $300 per night and rates can top $450 on busy weekends. Oh, but you do get breakfast.
Krakow and Budapest are trying hard to bring in the big money as well. Both have been popular for a while, though it seems the New York Times just figured that out last weekend. See this funny post on Jaunted.
If you want to go to Eastern Europe to save money, you’ve got to update your thinking. Go to Bulgaria, or Romania, or the countyside of the Czech Republic or Hungary rather than the main cities. Go to Turkey. Or be a real adventurer and go somewhere well off the tourist circuit, like Montenegro. If you are from the U.S. or Canada and are setting out on a round-the-world journey, you might want to just avoid Europe entirely if you’re carrying U.S. or Canadian dollars. (Or wait until we get a new president.) Your money will stretch much further elsewhere. Heck, just go to Buenos Aires or Montevideo and hang out at cafes. You can pretend you’re in Europe but a meal will cost you less than a European cup of coffee.
If your budget is fatter though and you’re just on vacation, you can find plenty of bargains in Prague and Budapest once you step out of your hotel. In terms of food and glorious beer, you can do quite well, especially if you get out of the main tourist districts.