This trip was definitely more expensive than our previous trips. And most of it comes down to the time of year that we were visiting. We kind of compared this trip to when we did Czech Republic and Slovakia back in 2012. It was approximately the same length of time. But we had done that trip in the summer...and this one was in November and December.
We were gone for 45 days, and we spent a total of $4,953 CAD ($3,800 USD) including airfare.
The airfare from Ottawa was $675 CAD ($515 USD) each. I had booked that deal way back in May and so it was paid for a long time ago. But we include it now as part of our expenses to give a better representation of the costs of the whole trip. So if we remove airfare, we spent $3,603 CAD ($2,750 USD) which sounds a little more reasonable.
But, the biggest "unexpected" cost was car rental.
We hadn't planned on it, but we decided early on in the trip that the best way for us to see what we wanted to was to rent a car. The alternative was to use the minibus system that exists throughout Romania and Moldova for the locals. Very few tourists use them.
Our rental car in Moldova.
We spent a total of $737 CAD ($560 USD) on car rentals for a total of 26 rental days. Plus, $249 CAD ($190 USD) in fuel for those cars.
Despite doing that, we don't regret it. Had we been there during the summer, it would have been easier to get around. But we don't like the cold, and standing around with our bags waiting for a minibus would not have been enjoyable. And, we got to see a lot more than had we would have otherwise.
We also traveled by train four times. First from Zurich airport to downtown during our layover between flights. Then Bucharest to Brasov, then the sleeper train from Alba Iulia to Iasi, then the sleeper train from Chisinau to Bucharest. We spent a total of $304 CAD ($235 USD) riding the rails.
Ruth, in our sleeper berth from Alba Iulia to Iasi.
Accommodation also was more expensive than we had planned. We didn't stay in any hostels, preferring to use AirBnb instead, mostly because of the better kitchen facilities. And we did manage 4 nights with our great couchsurfing hosts Gaby and Valentina in Alba Iulia, but otherwise it was frustrating dealing with couchsurfing hosts who don't reply to requests. We found that Airbnb removes that frustration because there is money involved. They are quite happy to get back to you quickly! We think that many of the more responsible couchsurfing hosts have migrated to AirBnb because they can make money...and we don't blame them.
We spent a total of $1,080 CAD ($825 USD) on accommodation during the 45 days. 36 of those were paid, so an average of $30 CAD ($23 USD) per night.
Eating and drinking was fairly cheap though!
We spent $370 CAD ($285 USD) on groceries. Pretty darn good, although you'll also see quite a few meals out listed under "Entertainment".
Wine and beer are very inexpensive. So, we drank quite a lot of it! Total for the 45 days was $178 CAD ($135 USD). An average of $3.95 per day.
We also did well in the "Miscellaneous" category. Usually, the highest item in here is our internet access. But cellular internet is both high quality and dirt cheap in both Romania and Moldova. Our highest single expense in this category was the $17.50 bus fine we paid in Bucharest on our third day! Total of $109 CAD ($83 USD). Most of the balance was for local city buses and car washes.
Entertainment was $545 CAD ($415 USD), mostly for meals out, but $174 of that was for various tours.
So, a grand total of $4,953 ($3,800 USD) divided by 45 days is $110 CAD ($84 USD) per day on average for the whole trip start to finish for the two of us.
Not quite "frugal" travel compared to some of our previous trips, although still not bad for the amount that we did and saw.
Our two months in Spain and Portugal will be quite a lot cheaper.
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And in Canada...
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