This is not a joke.
This is however, something Singaporean's will struggle to comprehand given that their idea of a european holiday costs upwards of 8,000 SGD. (perhaps one day they may realize the idea of a holiday is to experience the country rather than live it up in a luxury hotel and shop for branded goods.)
Now, we don't claim to be the most budget travellers on earth; because we aren't. (In fact, we know heaps of people who have done it cheaper than we have.) What we try though, is to keep travel as affordable as possible while doing it in a way ANY Singaporean should be able to.
(This means; we don't sleep under bridges/at train or bus stations, no hitchhiking, no cheating of bus/train fares and hoping the ticket officer doesn't catch us, no pinching of food from supermarkets, and no cooking.)
1.Morocco (7 days)
2.Portugal (4 Days)
3.Spain (5 Days)
4.Andorra (2 days)
Total Airfare ($1.2k)
Luthansa, Multi-City, Sin-Marrakech/Barcelona-SIN,$1,050
Vueling, Lisbon-Barcelona One Way,$150
I've seen a lot of travel bloggers claim they did X number of days in Europe on X budget. Now. "X" almost never includes their airfare. If it does, it's usually because they are already in some part of Europe studying, or happen to be aircrew, or have years worth of credit card points to exchange for an air ticket. Well, that's not realistic. I might not have any points on my credit card or neither do I happen to be an aircrew.
18 Days Accomodation ($250)
Hostels/Riads in Morocco cost anything as low as 4 Euros a night. In Portugal and Spain it costs anywhere from 7-8 Euros. Andorra was the killer, it set us back around 20 Euros a night.
The Girl outside our hostel in Lisbon, Portugal
The Girl at the balcony of our 20 Euro hostel in Andorra.
Food, Drink & "Happy Spending" ($400)
We make it a point to dine on the traditional cusine in each country. (This means; no fast food, no instant noodles if possible.)
Initially, we set ourselves a budget of 10 Euros a day for our meals in Morocco. Breakfast was inclusive in the hostel price, so technically all we had to do was settle lunch/dinner and "happy spending", in the form of refreshments like ice-cream, juice, coffee and snacks.
It turned out to be cheaper than we thought. And to be honest, it could have been even cheaper. The meal portions are so large, and free flow of bread is available. A couple could easily share! You could get a Chicken Tagine or Cous Cous for 3 Euro equivelent at a retaurant on the main square (tourist area). For rooftop dining? 5 Euros. If you decided to eat in a local restaurant? 1 Euro! (We tried them all)
(Above) The Bald Guy having snails for a snack; Moroccan style!
Meals suddenly shot up to 8 Euro in a restaurant, pretty decent still. Oh, and wine? Around 0.8 cents Euro. We also had our 5th year anniversary lunch by the seaside. A Seafood Platter for 35 Euros all in!
(Above) Lunch at Almada, Portugal
What we saved in Morocco we spent in Spain. Easily 10 Euros for a cafe/restaurant meal. We also treated ourselves to a night of fine dining as an anniversary celebration.
Despite the costly accomodation, food costs about the same as that in Portugal. We were surprised to find it cheaper than in the huge tourist trap known as "Barcelona". (No photos for this as the food choices were nothing to shout about.)
Transport, Local Tours & Attractions ($300)
We took a mix of taxi's and buses in Morocco. Slightly over 10 Euro for a 2-3 hour bus ride and 1-2 Euro for taxis. Oh, and in Morocco, we were ripped off for 30 Euro EACH, for a desert taxi because it was a public holiday and the local buses were fully booked. A 3 day 2 night desert tour cost us 80 Euros each all in (plus accomodation and dinner too). The other expensive one was our ferry from Tangier, Morocco to Tarifa Spain. I believe it cost 35 Euros.
(Above) The Girl riding a camel in the Sahara Desert to our Campsite
(Above) Wandering around the streets of Chefchaouen
In Portugal, attractions are relatively affordable costing fom 5-10 Euros depending on which attraction you wish to visit. I remember the Cristo Rei costing us 5 Euro each to get to the top.
(Above) The impressive Cristo Rei Statue towering above us. Great alternative to the one in Rio!
We spent 35 Euros each on a "Hop on Hop off bus in Barcelona over two days so we could visit all the attractions in the city at our own leisure.
(Below) We paid 23 Euros each for a stadium tour of Camp Nou, Barcelona.
Guess where the supposedly cheapest country for shopping in Europe is? No prizes for guessing. It's Andorra!
Well, that not entirely true. Andorra is THE "tax free heaven" of Europe. I was expecting to go there and sweep Rolex'es from the shelves. It didn't happen though. They were cheaper in Spain.
(For luxury goods in Andorra, the VAT discount that you usually claim at the airport is already priced in. What that means is you can buy the items at a discounted price comparable to what you would have paid after your VAT refund at the airport. It isn't much cheaper for us tourists though, (because we have VAT) and there are lesser brands available. No Chanel, Hermes for a start. And yes, the Rolex'es are expensive. The item's worth buying are electronics, like camera's and go pros.)
Souvenirs & Gifts: ($50)
The Bald Guy bought 3 decorative wallplates for his mother and chocolates for his colleages on this budget. The Girl spent it on her magnet collection and chocolates for colleagues too.
If you do the math, after taking away our airfare of 1.2k Sgd, we spent 1k Sgd over 18 days. This covered our transport to the various countries (except Portugal to Spain which was by Vueling and already included in the airfare costs) and within the country itself. Also our accomodation made up of hostels, our food costs (didn't end up eating like a beggar),attraction expenses, and still managed to buy presents back home!
I mean,we weren't roughing it out. We got to experience and see a good number of attractions in each country; more than what you experience in a typical package tour. And all for JUST 2.2k!
If you guys wish to see what we did in detail in that particular country, please click on the individual country links.
-Singaporeans Abroad - African Adventure Series (1.1) Marrkech, Morocco - Dizzying souks, smelly tanneries, and Jemaa el-Fnaa
-Singaporeans Abroad - African Adventure Series (1.2) Morocco - Atlas Mountains, Ouarzazarte, The Sahara & Fez
-Singaporeans Abroad - African Adventure Series (1.3) Chefchaouen - Africa's Answer To Santorini
Portugal (Work in Progress)
Spain (Work in Progress)
-Andorra. The Cheapest Country To Shop For Luxury Brands In Europe?
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