Friday, August 20, 2010

Did we make our budget of $150 for 3 days...??

Ok, so we went a little over our budget....

We spent $230 (with train tickets) which is still pretty good!   We had a few things that put us over the top.   I had a nightmare that I ordered a bottle of water that was $10....  oh yea, we did.    Another way to save is to buy single tickets for the rail system.   You really don't need a 3 day pass for the train/tram/bus.   Including the airport transfers, we only rode the rail system 4 times and at a $1 a ride, we could have saved about 20 dollars.   This being said, a couple times I wasn't sure where you could buy a 1 way pass especially for the tram.  By the way, we got checked 2 times for our tickets.    I was aware this could happen, but one time the guy was in plain clothes and his "license" is a metal type coin attached to his belt!    Not what I was expecting!

We probably could have cut back on the beer, but what fun would that of been?  This picture was taken at the Strahov Monastery.   One of my favorite places!   It did cost a little more for food and drink, but the views were worth every penny.  

The food was usually pretty reasonable in price, but it is all so rich in flavor that you will eat less than you expect.   The summer market in Old Town Square was a great resource for local cuisine...  You could buy kielbasa, chicken kabobs, crepes and other local favorites for $2-5.   

These were open whenever we went buy and you could buy local souvenirs and handmade jewelry.
  Look at the blacksmith and his children... adorable!    The people watching on Old Town Square was phenomenal...   Watch out for the homeless people digging through trash!    They will eat whatever they find right in front of you...  ;)   More on the hot spots to check out in my next post!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Beware the water in Prague...

I am still downloading the 900 pictures we took in Prague...    So meanwhile, a quick lesson learned while dining out in Prague!

Who would have thought that the water in Prague cost more than beer, wine, or soda??     I ordered a large bottle of water with dinner one night when I found some yummy Italian wine...   this would be normal in any other European country and I completely didn't look at the price on the menu.   When the bill came, I learned that the bottle cost $10 US dollars...    I started looking at the price of water at restaurants compared to street vendors or markets.   I don't know if they import the water from a hidden spring in Russia, but I thought it was hilarious that the water was more than 2-3 cocktails!!  ;)   There was another time I ordered a water with a beer at a cafe, and I should have had this revelation when the water was a shot in a bottle and cost as much as the beer.......

Note to self:  buy water at the market and carry it with you even if you are out to dinner on a budget!!  

Friday, August 13, 2010

3 days in Prague...

Ok, the hotels are booked...    To save a few bucks, we are at the Marriott for 2 nights (1 free and 1 with a $100 Marriott gift card) and 1 night at the Hilton.   Luckily, they are right across the street from each other so it shouldn't be too much of a pain to switch.   We got a great rate at both.   Always ask for a discount and when we get there, we will be asking for upgrades...   all they can say is NO.   :)    We are staying very close to Old Town Square.   My main concern is going to be the weather...    I have a back up plan of touring on a Tram which is suppose to take you around the entire city!    SO I guess I shouldn't wear my dark skinny jeans that stain my legs??   Rain would probably not help with that one.

We are going to take out $150 when we get there (at an ATM, always the best rate) and try to stick to all cash and $50 per day.    Also, we are trying to work around when certain things are closed so that will dictate our schedule.

I will try to update the blog while we are there.   We will be taking our mini computer and looking for free wifi cafes/pubs!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Going to Prague...

Rob and I are going to Prague on Friday...   (yes, benefits from Delta rock)  The more I research about the city, the more I realize how economical our trip will be!   We still haven't booked our hotel, but we are trying to weigh the benefits of using hotel points versus priceline.  

What I am wondering is if we can do 3 days in the city for $150 or less....   (minus the hotels)   The transportation from the airport can be done easily via a bus and metro.   We plan on buying a 3 day pass for about $15!   Fares for the metro in Prague

We are hoping to stay near Old Town Square, but we are willing to stay on the other side of the bridge in Mala Strana (which is near the Prague Castle).    We shall see!   :)     It is suppose to rain the entire time we are there, but the guide book I got has an itinerary for rainy days.   Great website for travel guides!

Promise to write more and post pictures soon!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Need a good idea for a thrifty Italian vacation??

Ever think that Italy is too expensive for a family or a romantic getaway? I can show you how to see one of my favorite cities for less than you would think.

Varenna is an elegant little village on Lake Como.

 You fly into Milan and take the train directly to Varenna (about an hour north). Not only can you rent an apartment in Varenna for about $500-700 for a week, but you can visit all the other cities on Lake Como via the ferry! Bellagio, Lake Como, Menaggio! No need to rent a car or even rent a cab... unless you don't want to hike up hill to see the castle! (however, the view can not be beat and there even is a little cafe at the top!!)

If you don't want to spend the money on dinner out, there are plenty of markets to buy your groceries. A day trip is also possible to St. Moritz via the Bernina Train!

 A family friend went there for his honeymoon and did a day trip to a cooking class!

I will post try to pictures and links to the rentals in Varenna. Don't miss this hidden gem!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Found a new website for booking cheaper hotels!

I am not sure I would ever stop using PriceLine for booking hotels, but I found a great website with great deals! Check out ! If you need to find a great rate for a specific hotel, I would definitely check this one out.

Some other favorites are:
and of course -

Always look for last minute deals! Even if you have your flight booked, wait to book your hotel till the week before... The hotel does not want to be empty and would rather give you a lower rate than have a room sit empty.

New twist for my blog!

I have decided to change things up a bit... I now will be blogging about something I know how to do well, travel on the cheap! I will share tricks and tips I have learned through the years. Can't wait to get started!!