We’re Going to Live in Budapest for One Month

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Tomorrow is a big day for my family! Tomorrow, we’re jumping on a train that will take us to Arad (it’s a 5 hour trip), spend the night there and then get on another train to Budapest. Yes, it sounds just like the beginning of our last year’s adventure in Europe (wrote about it here, here here and here) but this time there’s a twist: we’re not traveling, we’re not on vacation, we’re going to live in Budapest. For one whole month. I’m really excited!

Regular readers of this blog know that I find the idea of being a digital nomad fascinating. I’ve started to look into this since 2009 and it took me so long to get the courage to do it – the major obstacle for me was that we don’t have enough money to afford such a life style, but last year I decided to go all in and just see how it goes. It went really well, even though the “digital nomading” part didn’t work as intended: it’s really difficult to balance work, exploring huge and amazing cities when you only spend about 3 days in each as well as a toddler so for the most part, it was a month-long vacation for us. This year, with lessons learned, we’re taking it slow. Really slow. One-month-long-slow.

Why going to Budapest?

In case you didn’t know, I have the cold weather. I hate winters and I dream about living in a place where the weather is always nice. In Europe, the options are not that great, but I had already set my eyes on countries like Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Malta. We were actually just one step away from going to Malta two years ago, but we ended up buying our apartment here in Romania, running out of money and stayed home. Life happens!

Then, in 2015, we had our European adventure (which mostly started because a good online friend of my wife was going to visit Munchen) and from all the cities that we visited, Budapest was my second favorite, after the very expensive Munchen. And since my wife loved it as well and since it’s relatively close via train, since we’ve been there and we know that we’re going to like it, we decided to just go for it and live there for a month. See how things change compared to our month-long race around Europe that ended up costing us a lot. And so far, we already know that we’ll spend 611 Euros less on accommodation, as well as around 250 Euros on transportation, which already sounds great! We also estimate that all our other costs, especially food, will be a lot less than what we spend last year since we’re actually going to cook more at home. And if all goes well, we’ll probably go to one of my other dream places in the coming years.

Budapest 1
You can’t help but love the architecture there.
Budapest 2
Budapest offers some truly breathtaking views
Budapest 3
Hidden treasures like this amazing view can be around any corner…

Because we’re once again going to use AirBnb for accommodation. We found an apartment that seems to be amazing – the host is really awesome so far and we recently found out that her mother speaks Romanian, so we’ll meet her to help us with some local tips and suggestions, which is great. Of course, we didn’t arrive there yet and there might be a chance that we’ll be disappointed, but if everything goes as it did so far, it will be great.

We’re going for a two-bedroom, 90 square meters apartment (way larger than our Romanian one!) situated in the heart of Budapest, and it looks amazing as you can see from the listing’s photos below. Probably a one bedroom would’ve been just as good, but since it was our first stay, I wanted to have the extra room since we’ll spend quite some time inside as well, as I’ll be working for at least 4-5 hours each day. But I believe that we’ll be able to do it with just a bedroom from now on (and keep costs even lower) if this experience shows me that this is indeed something that we like to do. Now here are a few photos of the place we’re going to stay at and I can only hope that what we get will look just like in the photos (which are, by the way, verified by AirBnb, so this is what we should get):

budapest room 01
This is the main bedroom, pretty large and I love the bed!
budapest room 02
The living room seems spacious as well and I love the fact that there’s an actual desk where I’ll be able to work.
budapest room 03
The second room seems tiny, but Baby Romanian doesn’t need much just for sleeping. Plus, there are 50% less chances for him to fall down from the bed ๐Ÿ™‚
budapest room 04
The kitchen looks nice and is fully equipped. Last year we really missed the microwave in the places that didn’t have one, so this year we knew it’s a must. The oven too!

I am extremely happy that we’re making this move and I hope that everything will go well. If it does, I hope that we’ll only be able to do this again in the future, visiting more of the beautiful places that this world has to offer and finally get my digital nomading dream become a reality.

16 COMMENTS

  1. Hello Digital Nomad Calin:
    I hear you about the cold weather–absolutely loathe it!
    The apartment in Budapest looks splendid! Are you on the “Buda,” or the “Pest” side? Lucky you have a Romanian-speaking
    “go-to” to help with any problems! I always thought everyone should be “coerced” to learn a universal language (Esperanto, for instance) to ensure easy communication throughout the world. Of course, being the lazy SOB that I am, I am waiting for the wireless technology which will allow for instant language translation using only a headset and microphone. Such a gadget shouldn’t be too far down the pike.
    So, what sort of work will you be doing 4 to 5 hours a day? Do you have your own internet biz on the side? Enquiring minds want to know;-)
    It will be great to hear of your thoughts on the differences and similarities of Romanians and Hungarians. Also, I am sure you will have a great time in a new environment. (Still, it’s too bad you couldn’t find someone to rent your apartment in Romania to help you pay expenses in Hungary.)
    Will “Wife Romanian” be adding her thoughts, too? As for “Son Romanian”
    (I figure he’s not a “baby” anymore;-), he might be able to give a toddler’s twist on Budapest–ha, ha!
    Great to have another posting so soon. (Are you trying to make up for the previous inertia?;-)
    I know Kemkem, living in Spain, will have a lot of insight as to Spain and warmer climates. If I had the pesatas (Euros) for the best climate, I’d move to Vigo. I’ve read a lot of good things about that city. I like a lot of rain, mixed in with more appealing temps. (Sorry for my 2ยข!)
    Keep up the speedy posts!;-)
    ~Teil

    • Thanks, Teil! We’ll surely have more articles here soon! We’ll be Living in what’s considered the central area of Budapest, in the Pest side if I got it right ๐Ÿ™‚ Regarding work, I will be doing my regular blogging business from there as well.

      Kemkem actually has a blog where she talks about her travel and living in Europe, including cost of living articles in Spain and you will find that it’s not extremely expensive!

    • Hi, Teil! I don’t think there’s any point in adding my thoughts, my husband writes better than me anyway, has more experience with it, and he also has my thoughts to look at if needed, but they rarely differ from his.
      As for Toddler Romanian, he enjoys the playgrounds very much so far. I’m gonna go to a fountain hunt these days, because he loves fountains as much as he did a year ago on our Europe tour.
      If there will be anything I feel I could add to my husband’s posts I will surely do so. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Hi Calin!
    Congrats on the move to Budapest and the opportunity to check out another exciting European city! I mimic a lot of the sentiments already expressed by Teil in the above comment, and really look forward to getting helpful info about yet another potential city I may be interested in. I decided besides Brasov, that I’d look at Budapest and Sofia too, being relatively close and similar in costs of living prices as well. Unlike you and Teil though, I miss cold weather and real seasons so much, as I’ve been based in Central Florida for a while now, and before that in Miami, where it’s always hot. The photos from your new apartment looks great to me also, and I’m as curious as Teil on hearing all about your experiences there compared to Romania. Oh, and if you don’t mind me asking; what exactly does “digital nomading” entail? And is that what you were referring to doing for 4-5 hours a day in the new apartment? Inquiring minds want to know….lol….anyway, look forward to reading about your adventures and experiences there, as for the next 10 months or so, I will have to live vicariously through you and others, till I can make the move there myself. Take care, JC

    • Hello JC,

      I did visit Budapest for a short while last year and I absolutely love it. I would personally say that it’s in a completely different league compared to any city in Romania. The cost of living there is slightly more expensive than in most parts in Romania (probably on similar levels to Bucharest), but the fact that it lacks most communist buildings and instead offers those gorgeous buildings is a bonus.

      Regarding “digital nomading,” that is a relatively new term referring to people who can live a location-independent lifestyle, usually doing their work online while traveling the world at their own pace. I run multiple blogs – that’s my job – so I will need the 4-5 hours per day to manage them and write new articles and such.

      • Hi Calin,
        Wow, that’s exciting news! Sorry, I didn’t realize that running blogs was your main line of work. How wonderful to be able to do something that you enjoy, and can travel and make a living at it too. And yes, I did notice that you’d visited Budapest before and was impressed with it. But as you say, to live there for a month, as a resident, and not a tourist, should give you a whole different perspective, and one that many folks here are anxious to hear and find out more about. Also, I can understand a young man like yourself with a family, liking all the things a city like Budapest can offer. And though an older expat like me may need a little larger city for medical attention, various supplies, things to do, etc, but not too big either….that’s why Brasov with around 275k population sounds better than 1.8 million like Budapest or even Bucharest for me. Still, I do hope to visit some of those wonderful places that are close by train to Brasov or wherever I end up staying more permanently. Still, again, I look forward to reading about your experiences and adventures there, and any other places you and your family may travel to as a “digital nomad!”. I’m very happy for you! Take care, JC

  3. Well, so this site will morph into “Hungary Experience” for a month. When you say you will be blogging, that means you are creating blogs and selling them? Are you selling something else? Or do you have some secret blogs where you generate income from clicks? I have been watching lots of YouTubers in the Philippines who seem to walk around all day with a GoPro camera on a stick, filming themselves while they pontificate on Filipino life. The worst video was when four of these YouTubers met at a restaurant and we were treated to the spectacle of four grown men walking around with cameras on sticks while babbling and filming themselves and one another. I felt really bad for their wives/girlfriends, the restaurant staff, and the other customers. YouTubers beg for subscribers and “likes” which I assume is somehow connected to their YouTube earnings. I keep asking what we can click on here to generate some income for you, but you won’t tell us. Anyway, have fun in Budapest.

    • Hello Stuart! It would not be too fair to turn the site into “Hungary Experience” for a month, but I will make sure to write about Budapest in detail after our adventure here is over.

      I saw vloggers (that’s the term :P) like those you’re talking about, but in Thailand. I actually enjoy watching them and see how they live in those countries, even though in some cases it seems silly. But there’s an audience for anything and everything nowadays…

      Regarding my blogging, I am trying to build blogs that generate enough income for me on a monthly basis instead of selling them, but my best business was indeed a blog that I sold back in 2013. I can’t recommend anybody to click on anything on this blog – I’d break the rules with my advertising partners if I would. Having you all come here and comment is rewarding enough for me – and income will come as well naturally. We’ll try to have as much fun as possible here.

  4. Best of luck and hope you all have a lot of fun and create good memories. I may fly into Budapest on my next trip to Romania as I can catch the train(s) from there to Timisoara so this will be some good education for me.

  5. I missed this for the longest. We had no wifi for a whole week (well it was useless wifi) while on our cruise and just got back. I didn’t realize the date for Budapest was so close! HHHHUUURAAY!!!! I know you have been looking forward to it for so long. I can’t wait to hear how it goes as far as actually living there vs visiting. We have put it back on the short list again. Budapest and Portugal as the next destination. We hope to be able to visit Prague and see if that is another option. The apartment looks fantastic, sure it will be a wonderful base for you, and the desk is a nice touch so you can work. The Pest side is better too in my opinion. Can’t wait to hear more. I am so happy for you and the Mrs. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hi Kemkem,

      Sorry, I hope you don’t mind me jumping in here and asking you a question. Are you “scouting” Portugal as a possible retirement spot or just someplace to visit and spend some down time?
      It just so happens that Portugal is the only place in Western Europe I’ve even considered, but was told to stay out of the larger cities, as not as nice and a lot more expensive. Do you have any recommendations as far as Portugal or which cities have you heard good things about? Sorry to interrupt, but any suggestions would be appreciated! Thanks and best regards! JC

      • Hi JC,
        No worries. I think C is okay with us going off the track a bit. I am researching it as a possible retirement spot. We are most likely headed to the Lagos area in the South. The other possibility might be Lisbon only because it might be a bit more “exciting” but l don’t think it’s much more expensive. Check out the folks over at noparticularplacetogo , they retired to lagos and the cost of living is the same as Seville or just a bit under. We are going to explore hopefully this August if we can fit it in, and l will have a clearer picture.

        • Hi Kemkem,
          Thank you so much for your reply! I am always interested to find out what such a world traveler as yourself thinks about some of these possible retirement locations that I’ve been reviewing as well. Portugal looks to be a beautiful country and overall more afordable than the rest of Western Europe, and lots of options for different environments too. I look forward to hearing more perhaps after you visit this August. My first thought is even though Lisbon and Lagos may be nice to visit, both are a little bigger and more “touristy” than I’d prefer for retiring though. I also prefer mountains to coastal locales, so I was actually looking at Viseu, though knowing little about it, other that what I find on google. I have a lot of friends here in Central Florida that are considering retiring outside the U.S., but most are primarily looking at Central and South America, both for weather and proximity to the U.S. Not surprisingly I haven’t been able to interest anyone else into looking at either Portugal, Eastern Europe in general or Romania in particular, which is fine by me, as I don’t suspect it’s going to ever become super popular and overrun with expats. From my point of view, there is a lot to love about Romania for retirement beyond just that your money goes a lot further here. Regardless, thanks again, and I wish you safe and joyous travels, as it appears you’ve already had and still having quite an adventure for yourselves, as you check out these different locations. Take care, JC

    • We’re having a great time so far, Kemkem! What I love the most about Budapest so far is the fact that we go out for a walk and say “let’s go this way” and it’s impossible not to end up somewhere impressive: two days ago we found an absolutely beautiful church with an amazing park in front of it, yesterday we somehow ended in their famous pub area… it’s really nice so far!

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