Drop the Hotel and Take the Train

As a long time traveler, I have had my fair share of good and bad trips. Most of my trips have been good, but for those that weren’t, they were only bad for my lack of research. When travelers decide to travel without doing research, a few things can happen – stolen wallets, kidnapping, ending up in the wrong city, being overcharged, ending up in the wrong place at the wrong time etc…

Although I’ve never had my wallet stolen abroad, I have heard of a few adventurers having to go through the unfortunate ordeal. Sometimes this has nothing to do with doing research beforehand, but doing research of a place before traveling keeps us prepared for whatever may happen.

Take me for example, I went to Milan and Budapest for Christmas one year, but because I didn’t do the research, a lot of unexpected things happened to me (mostly money related).

I had just arrived to Milan and had booked a hotel for one night with a flight to Budapest the next day. Everything was paid for, so I didn’t think about extra fees until I was charged with a few.

Not having done research, I was not aware of the city tax the hotels in Milan were charging tourists at the time. I didn’t mind having to change my budget around a bit to fit this extra charge, but as a person who makes money in American dollars, paying in euros took quite a bit from my budget.

My stay wasn’t bad, but it definitely changed the things I had planned to do because of this extra charge. Thinking it was the only charge I would be faced with, I ended up not putting much thought towards my budget.

However, the next day when I arrived to the airport for my flight, I was charged yet again another fee.

Trying to save a few dolllars, I had booked my trip to Budapest with a cheap airlines, Wizz Air.

What a mistake… Not only was I being charged a check-in fee (for not checking in online), but I had two options to be charged 35 euros for a carry on or to be charged 60 euros to check-in the luggage. This is why it is so important to do research.

The expenses with the airplane and fees came out to about 420 euros and the one night hotel stay was about 100 euros (This was for two people).

If I would have taken the one way overnight train to Budapest, I would have saved about 200 euros and possibly would have been able to do more in Europe than just pay fees.

So what’s the lesson here? Before you pay for a bunch of things, do the research, search for alternatives and always, ALWAYS add extra possible fees to your budget. In my case, taking the train to Budapest would have been a better option for me than to stay in a hotel and go in a plane that charged fees. If I would have done the research, I would have known that beforehand, but it’s a lesson I’ve had to learn the hard way. Thankfully no wallets were stolen on this trip.