In the winter of 2019, we were traveling across Europe yet again. This time, we aim to recce destinations for an upcoming project. Many destinations on this trip were the ones that we had visited before. As a part of our route, we also added some new and exciting destinations that we hadn’t traveled to before. Apart from the recce, this part of the trip was something that we were extremely excited about.
One of the newer destinations that we were traveling to for the first time was the Danish capital, Copenhagen. Much like other Scandinavian countries, Copenhagen is a treat to the eyes but promises to make a hole in your pocket. Week days were easy, but the accommodation for the Saturday night that we were to spend in the city was on the steeper side, so much that we could spend two nights in another city at the same cost.
We did not want to cut on our time in Copenhagen, but was the alternative to paying for steep accommodation prices?
Without have to research much, we found our answer- Malmo.
M for Malmö
Malmö is a city in southern Sweden, which can be reached within 45minutes by train from Copenhagen. Accommodation costs in Malmö were a fraction of the price of one weekend night in Copenhagen. So, without much thought, we opted for it.
A new city, country for the night
On our fourth day in Copenhagen, we traveled to another city in another country, just for the sake of cheap accommodation.
For perspective, one bed for one night at the cheapest accommodation/ hostel in Copenhagen on a Saturday night would could us EUR 40. Which meant, we were to pay EUR 80 for 2 people for one night in a hostel without any additional amenities such as breakfast.
In Malmö, we booked a double room in a hotel for EUR 60, inclusive of breakfast buffet. This meant we got an equipped private room with attached bathroom, room service, TV along with breakfast for two for 25% lesser.
Since we had a Global Eurail Pass, our train rides to and from Malmö were free of cost.
Malmö- For A Good (Cheap) Reason
Our hotel in Malmö was right opposite the train station. After checking in, we rested a bit and got out to satiate our hunger and to explore the town a bit. It had been raining all day, so we weren’t high on hopes. But we knew just the place to be after a filling meal.
We opted for a comfort meal at KFC while people watching and relaxing. By now, we have certainly learnt the importance of taking breaks and resting even when on the trip. A rainy day in Malmö and comfortable bed to sleep meant it was that kind of a day.
Apart from the rains, the downside of European winters is shorter days, resulting in offices and shops shutting rather early. With our tummies full, there were only two more things that we wanted to do- Walk around Malmö and visit the supermarkets.
The hunt for super markets made sure that we got to walk enough.
Supermarket hopping is clearly our thing to do! We went purely with the hopes of finding our favorite Swedish chocolate- Diam. In the process, we realized Malmö was a lot cheaper than Copenhagen in almost every aspect. Especially for chocolates, grocery, beers and other beverages. Looking at the prices, we shopped for a lot more than we had planned to, because you never miss a steal deal!
Pff! That’s all. That’s all we did in Malmö, Sweden. We ate, shopped, got back to our room for some Netflix and dinner and slept off. Technically, we did nothing touristy. We did not even take more than 5 pictures in the town. And yet, we had a memorable day of conversations, mundane activities and living in the moment. All of this for a lot lesser than we would have spent in Copenhagen.
Clearly, taking a chance had paid off well and there weren’t any hidden expenses to worry about at the end of it all! The aim of sharing this story with you is simply to tell you about the range of experiments and chances that we must take to make our travel choices work for us. Especially, when it comes to factors such as budget and comfort.
Hacks to Cut Your Expenses While Traveling
- Budgeting in advance is the best money-saving hack. Plan your expenses in detail to get a good idea of where your money will be going. Based on the details, categorize the essentials and non-essentials
- Spot the most expensive items on your list and find alternatives for those- Accommodation away from the city center, travel pass vs individual tickets, long layover flights, Airbnbs for larger groups
- Figure hacks for essential expenses- one meal in a hotel/ one take away meal like a sandwich or ready-to-cook foods from the supermarket, alcohol from the super markets instead of drinking in clubs
- Consider the hidden expenses, especially on the low-cost options and decide accordingly. For eg: Extra luggage charges/ ride to the airport for air travel, tips and cover charges at eateries, etc.
- Note your expenses daily to be consciously aware of your expenses and balance budget
- Use the price range filters to look for accommodation and eatery options that fit your budget
- Include miscellaneous expenses to cover the overheads
- Split your monies in different formats- travel cards and currency. Always keep some cash hidden in your luggage/lesser reachable corner for emergency. Have your money in different formats keeps you conscious and your spending in check
- Always keep some amount to splurge or indulge in things you like. This way, you can enjoy your trip better without disturbing the rest of your budget.
- Be flexible with impromptu plans and changes to make the most out of your budget
- Look for discount coupons and offers wherever applicable
The most important thing to keep in mind is to prioritize your health and safety at all times. Do not opt for any unrealistic option to save a buck at the cost of your safety!
Traveling on a budget comes with its own set of adventures. Each adventure promises a lesson and a story of its own to tell. Keep an open mind, a whole lot of sanity and a little bit of crazy. Get creative, create your own hacks to save money. Go an extra mile, even if it sometimes sounds bizarre! When it comes to travel, there’s always a way around.
Have you done anything similar? What are your views of budgeting and cost cutting while traveling? Tell us your story or a money-saving hack you swear by!
This post was written as a part of #BlogchatterA2Z Campaign.
Featured Image: Rafael Palomo | e-architect