Winter holiday on my budget

Happy holidays, fellow travellers! Whether you’re voyaging for seasonal shopping purposes or simply in search of good sceneries for a photo opp, I’d like to extend a enjoy-what’s-left-of your-holiday welcome and a Happy 2013.

With the husband who’s forever lost (it’s his words), Ayah who together with the husband are direction-ally challenged (those who have convoyed with them know how good they are with roads) and little sister who is forever emotionally challenged, the four of us went and came back from our trip with memories to last us a lifetime. The squabbles were minimal and not explosive. We skipped the cities we’ve been with Ibu because some memories are just too painful to be remembered for the time being. So no Paris, London nor Rome for us.

The trip started off with 4 of us for the first leg, 9 when my sister’s family joined us in Basel, 7 when Ayah and Tqa left for Spain, 2 when we left Manchester, back with 4 for the last leg and 9 in the plane back to Singapore. Yes, there were 3 separate itineraries to accommodate all of our whims and fancies. It is easier when you go on your own and make your own arrangements. Mistakes are normal. Getting lost was even normal.

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Our mode of transport around was a BMW 5series, picked up from Frankfurt for our first leg, a small luxury whose comfort shared by 4 of us. Left hand driving just needed a few adjustments but everything went well. Diesel cost 1.42 euro a liter. It was a first winter on the road for us.

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Next few legs were train rides. We bought ourselves the Eurail pass for Germany, Switzerland and Benelux at a 20% off. It was a winter promotion and unlike summer, it was the low season.

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Travelling first class was comfy. Between train rides and flights, flights are definitely better. No lugging around baggage and running in between trains.

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It was only a matter of preference that I chose the train. I hate flying. Turbulence is the cause of it, plus the fear of height since young does not help.  We even did the long way to Barcelona via the Trenhotel, Ellipsos.

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My sister, Diana, on the other hand went for the domestic flights in between countries. Ryanair cost her 50 euro per person from Brussels to Manchester. It was also definitely cheaper if one was willing to go for the budget airlines. Me, nope. I pretty much love the ground when travelling.

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Before I forget, we took Qatar airways for our trip this time and we loved it! It’s SIA standards but at a cheaper price. Their sales are worth waiting for and do remember to fly in/out from a less crowded airport terminal for a further cheaper price.

Next topic, food. We brought our supplies from home e.g. noodles, prata and rice cakes to cut down the money spent on food.

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We went grocery shopping everywhere we stayed to buy fresh produce.

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We did eat out but we limit it to once a day, usually lunch. And it was always the usual fare – kebab and fries. A plate of kebab and fries can range from 7 euros to 10 euros depending where it was. So we usually shared a plate.

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Only one time, we had something different – ban mian at a Uyghur restaurant in Munich which cost 12 euros per plate. Hence, the need for us, budget travellers, to cook our own food.

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Cooking simple dishes like prawn noodles can really perk up one’s holiday. Cost price = 2 euro per plate and comes with 4 prawns.

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Because we cooked, it only made sense to stay in apartments. We used Airbnb to secure houses and booking.com to secure family units. Of course, we did our research by reading reviews on TripAdvisor.

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This was a farmhouse in Colmberg which cost us 77.50 euro per night. Value for money 10/10.  Per person has to pay 20 euro per night.

Everyone wants to travel cheap but everyone has their own expectations of comfort. My budget travelling maybe luxurious to some and otherwise to others. I’m sure I can go cheaper if I want to but I went with a senior citizen, my dad. I want him to follow on my travels with ease and comfort. He has after all worked very hard to bring us up.

The husband wanted to bring along his parents but alas his mother is not a traveler.  So until he managed to coax his mother, so our group will stay with one senior citizen for the time being. It has been fun. I’ll be blogging about the places  in detail later. In the mean time, cheerios.🙂

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