Preparing for a Budget Trip Around Europe by Train

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If you’ve been reading some of my previous articles here on Romania Experience, then you probably know that I really hope that some day I will manage to become a digital nomad: travel to different cities and countries, live there for a few months, work from there and keep on doing this.

Last year, we were really close to giving it a try by going to Malta, but eventually decided that we can’t – and we bought an apartment here in Romania instead. This year, I was 100% sure that we’re going to go to Malaga (it seems that I’m stalking KemKem from Next Bite of Life) – but knowing what happened last year, I said no word about it. And it was a wise choice because we decided against it – and instead we scheduled a real adventure: a budget trip around Europe. By train.

Well, not really around Europe, but we’ll be visiting 6 countries and 9 cities, all in about 30 days. How crazy is that?

It all started with an online friend my wife has in Australia who told us that she’s visiting Europe. We initially decided to meet in Munich, but then I changed my mind. Not completely, as I usually do: I said “why take an expensive plane to Germany (I am also terrified by planes, by the way) and not take the train all the way there? And since we’re doing it, why not stop for a few days in Budapest, then a few days in Vienna?”

It sounded nice and we started booking apartments. I wrote in a previous article about short let deals in Bucharest and we’ve used my recommendations there: AirBnb. In other words, we have booked our entire stay through their service and we have already interacted with a bunch of amazing people. Hopefully all will go well and we’ll have reasons to recommend AirBnb in the future too!

Now, back to our trip around Europe by train: once we got to Munich, we had no idea what to do next in terms of planning. Should we take a plane to Malaga? Should we turn back using the same route? Well, between A and B, we’ve decided to pick C: take the train to Italy. So we’ll spend a few more days in Verona where I want to taste Italian pizza and spaghetti more than I want to see Romeo and Juliet’s house, then we’ll go to Trieste for a few more days and eventually we’ll arrive in Croatia.

There, we’ll visit their city Pula (a word which in Romania means penis – but the bad way of saying it) for a laugh and some “I Love Pula” t-shirts for our friends, and then we’ll head over to Rijeka. From there, we’ll go to Zagreb and spend a few days exploring the city, then move to Serbia in Belgrade before arriving home.

Our travel routes. We'll start our journey in Arad and we'll get back in Romania through Timisoara
Our travel routes. We’ll start our journey in Arad and we’ll get back in Romania through Timisoara

This whole adventure is spread out over almost 30 days and I still can’t believe that we’re doing it. We’ve booked all the rooms and we’re working on getting as many tickets as possible, so there’s no turning back. We scheduled everything so that we will never travel more than 6 hours by train and overall, I am looking forward to this adventure. It will finally show me if I am really made for the nomadic life: traveling, working, enjoying new places and cultures, and doing it all together with my wife and almost 2 years-old son.

We’ll start at the beginning of May – not the best time of the year, in my opinion, but that’s when my wife’s friend was visiting – and it surely is our greatest adventure so far. And we’re insanely excited about this!

8 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Calin:
    It sounds like it will be quite an adventure! How well do you think “little Calin” will do? Hopefully, he’ll be so enamored of the passing scenery, he will be a good little fellow for the trip. Will you use “plastic” to pay for expenses, as there will be a couple (or more) different currencies along the way?
    I think May seems like a nice time to start. Ah, beautiful spring.
    How will you get from your home to Arad and back to your home from Timis? Will you be using the CFR?
    I will be looking forward to the many photos of your adventure you might share!
    ~Teil (USA)

    • Hello Teil,

      We hope the baby will do just fine – it’s pretty much a gamble right now, but we tried to find the shortest routes and train rides for our adventures. He’s used with traveling by train, too as he probably traveled by train about 10 times already (5 hour rides too) so we’re hoping it will be OK.

      We’ll go with a combination of cash (Euros since that will be the main currency) and we’ll have my card as a back-up. Fees for paying or withdrawing money from ATM machines are huge, so we hope that we’ll have enough cash on hand.

      And yes, we’ll be traveling by train also from our home town – Drobeta Turnu Severin – to Arad and from Timisoara (about 4 hours)

  2. Hi!
    The trip you are planning is my dream ahaha! I also saw you’re going to spend a few days here in Italy, I’m sure you will love the places and the food too! I visited Munich last year as well and it was amazing, hopefully you will go by train and not by car because the parking I went to in the center was very expensive! Can’t wait to see how the trip goes!!

  3. Totally excited for your trip!!!! I’m sort if bummed that you won’t make it my way this time, but is bound to happen sooner or later. If the mountain won’t come to Mohamed, then Mohamed will come to the mountain. First though, l have to find the areas that they film all the corny B movies at 🙂 knowing how much l love them. I can’t wait to hear all about it. We hope to do that at some point too. Trains rock!

    • Yes, hopefully trains do rock – those in Romania are always late but hopefully it won’t be the case for the rest of Europe 🙂 And yes, I am sure we’ll meet sooner rather than later – we’ve been really close on a few occasions, so it will surely happen!

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