I am notoriously famous for my bad luck or lack of the same if you please. So, if I am on the road there will surely be some misunderstandings, problems or as I love to call them..adventures. This is the story of how a volcano made me travel through half of Europe and how I manged not to spend a fortune. I could have saved on clothing if I had taken the best travel jacket with me!
One of the last spontaneous trips I did was to Finland and it was no surprise that shortly after I have landed there the volcano in Iceland erupted and with an upcoming, extremely important presentation for my dissertation, I had to find a way to get from Tampere, Finland to Mannheim, Germany. Add my rather low income as a student and the expensive drinks in this cold country and you will see how limited my budget on the way back was.
Making sandwiches for the long journey: a great money saving tip!
So, after spending 1 full day on the Internet I’ve opened my eyes for the unlimited world of opportunities for budget traveling. Here are some of the biggest travel bargains/ insider tips I’ve came across and of course, how I’ve used them (or planned to use them) during this misfortunate trip:
We took the notorious “party ferry” from Turku, Finland to Stockholm and couldn’t sleep a second but more about that next time. So we had to find a cheap transport from Stockholm to Copenhagen- our next stop. What we found was this great website called roadsharing.com . It works like this: imagine you have a car and want to go from A to B and want to save money . You create a profile on this website and offer seats in your car to people who will travel as well but don’t have their own vehicle. By doing this you can meet some nice strangers and share the cost of petrol with them. It’s both good for traveler and drivers as it reduces the cost of travelling quite a lot.
Trying to sleep on the “party ferry” on a bed ..suspended in the air..is just a mission impossible
So what did we do? We found a car rental company which was based in Copenhagen but a client left their car at a car parking in Stockholm. They just needed someone to bring the car back and we only had to pay for the petrol. We took the offer and were hoping to find other people who will do the same journey and want to share the costs with us.
There is also the carsharing.com website, which I believe operates mainly in USA. Have you tried it?
I am Bulgarian and I was really skeptical about this one. To go to some stranger’s home and sleep there?? But it was a desperate situation, so I had to get over my eastern European prejudices and just give it a try.
After deciding that Copenhagen will be the city where we will spend a night, a profile on the website was created and few messages to “nice looking” people were sent. Now, I have to admit I was really surprised that very soon after that, we got our first invitation!! Few people have invited us straight away and few were texting us and giving us tips about where to go and how to get around.
The idea behind Couchsurfing is to create a community of people offering their couches to travelers for free. By doing this you not only help misfortunate people like me but you also get to know different people from all around the globe. It is really simple, you just have to set up an account and write a welcoming message. And don’t forget that you can be a host and a guest as well. You can try it out on your next journey!
I admit, I didn’t get to try it in Copenhagen as our plans changed in the last minute after we found a very cheap over night train to Hamburg, Germany and the trip went on..
It is a very weird name indeed, but it means something like “an opportunity to travel together” and this very poetic description says it all. This website is like roadsharing.com but mainly for Germany. As you can imagine it is written alsmost entirely in German but it is not too hard to find your way on it. I highly recommend it as it is very popular in Germany and almost everyone uses it. There is always someone, going the same way and willing to take others with.
We found a very nice guy who was going from Hamburg to Frankfurt for some work and had 2 free seats in the car left, which we booked for 10euro pp. When the driver understood that we had a hell of a journey , he let us sleep through the whole way.
At the end we took a regional, low cost train from Frankfurt to Mannheim. I have never been more excited about going back home in my whole life..