Overall score (Dan) = D
Overall score (Jocelyn) = B+
Total days = 3 nights, 4 days
Total cost = $777
Cost per day = $194 / day
Flight costs = $1,040 one-way from Beijing
Cities visited: Vienna
Originally, I wasn’t going to review our spending in Vienna because it was such a quick stopover, but it represents such an important part of our journey that I feel I had to. After traveling 3.5 months in Asia, it was nice to get back to a more “Western” area. Vienna was an incredible place to start because it was beautiful and extremely clean!
Much like Belize, we met friends from the US in Vienna so we snapped out of pure “backpacking” mode which increased our total spending. However, they were very understanding and if not for discovering “ernte dank” fest – Vienna’s fall harvest festival – our per day total would’ve been much lower! This also explains the difference between mine and Jocelyn’s grades… she graded based on the fact we were there with friends and not living like backpackers, but I graded against normal backpacker conditions!
How far does your money go in Austria?
Austria uses the Euro, so not many surprises or fun currency to collect here. At the time of our visit, one Euro cost us $1.34 US. The lodging in Vienna is pretty expensive, but we found quite a few free things to do and good food can be found on a budget.
Here are our per day spending highlights:
Lodging = $74.25 / day
Food = $65 / day
Transportation = $29 / day
Excursion = $19 / day
Total hotel points used = Hotel Bristol (18k)
We stayed at a beautiful Starwood hotel next to the opera house in Vienna on a “cash and points” deal; which means the $450/night room only cost us $100 and 6,000 points per night.
Vienna is just as you might imagine with the ghosts of Beethoven and Mozart sauntering through the beautiful old travertine city that’s just as majestic now as it was 300 years ago. Walking through the majestic streets at night gives you a glimpse of their classy culture, but we took it a step further and found $5 tickets to the opera performance at the Vienna Opera House. They were “standing room only” tickets and it was nice because we could sneak out early when we had our fill without awkwardly stepping over men with their tiny binoculars and women dressed in their finest furs… I still don’t know why they need those binoculars!
Vienna in very beautiful, but I think it became even more beautiful for us because it was our first step in “western” civilization since we left Australia 3.5 months ago. Don’t get me wrong, some of the countries we visited in SE Asia were incredibly beautiful and advanced, but they were just a lot different than being back home in the US. Vienna was a lot closer to what we are used to and being there also meant we were closer to ending our nine month journey.
Just as we imagined when we were back on the streets in Thailand living off of $1 Pad Thai, Europe is expensive! Instead of the $3 bus rides from the airport we found all over SE Asia, we’d now pay 13 Euro each just to catch the train from the airport! The lodging and transportation expenses are probably the most drastic difference, but food prices at restaurants were also quite high.
As I mentioned earlier, our trip would’ve been much cheaper if we didn’t stumble upon “ernte dank fest” – which is the fall thanksgiving celebration in Vienna. It felt more like Octoberfest, and we celebrated just as it was. Between various schnitzel meals and pints of beer, we ended spending 100 Euro in our afternoon and evening of thanksgiving!! It was a great time with our visiting friends and we actually made a few new friends so I’d say it was worth it!
In conclusion, Vienna was incredibly refreshing after our 3.5 months in Asia, but we definitely met with reality when we saw our final spending numbers. It’s a beautiful old city and what made it even better was meeting some of our best friends there from New Orleans!
Next up: Croatia