Last Updated on November 7, 2023 by Ellen
We’ve been in Bulgaria for a couple weeks now. We’re on the Black Sea – at the beach – in high season. The beaches are packed! Nonetheless, it’s a fun way to wrap up a summer of vagabond travel. (Our Airbnb neighborhood, 15 minutes inland, is peaceful – but VERY little English spoken.)
Prices here in Varna, Bulgaria are moderate (we think) by US standards. In fact, they are quite similar to our last month-long stay in Bucharest, Romania.
Slow travel cost in Eastern Europe: Bucharest, Romania
We lived in Bucharest from July 11, 2023 until August 8: 28 nights.
Below is the detailed cost breakdown for our time in Bucharest.
Bucharest budget breakdown
$656 — Housing
$296 — Restaurants
$291 — Groceries
$232 — Supplies
$180 — Charity / Gifts
$101 — Excursions / admissions
$59 — Beer
$48 — Travel
$46 — Local transit
$1,909 total for 2 persons
Wow! Even we were surprised when we totaled up the daily expenditures that we religiously record in our “Spending Tracker” cell phone app.
Anything under $2500 would have been a very acceptable amount for nearly a month in a major European capital.
A few things to note:
We got a great deal on our one-bedroom, Bucharest, Airbnb apartment rental. I discovered and booked it four months in advance (and the landlord has already upped the price). Most similar places in bustling central Bucharest list for at least $300 more per month. I think ours was still ‘pandemic priced’ when I reserved it.
Bucharest was a kind of ‘crash landing’ for us. As shown in the photos below, we had spent the previous six weeks bouncing through the United Arab Emirates, Serbia, and the Transylvania region of Romania. (Incidentally, our total cost for that period of travel was approximately $4,350.)
When we got to Bucharest, we slowed way down. Of course, we took in all the Bucharest sights and history and culture – but at a far lower pace and cost.
In fact, weeks-long spurts of touristy (and more costly) travel, followed by a month or two of a less frenetic lifestyle – where we find a lodging bargain – are becoming our norm. We did it a couple times in India – and are planning the same for Turkey, Israel, Jordan, Egypt this fall and winter. We think of it as a way to ‘dollar-cost average’ our ongoing adventures as prices worldwide creep higher.
As seen in the cost breakdown, we ‘could’ have been even more thrifty had we tried. We purchased some optional new clothing/shoes (supplies category). We continue to make various charitable donations. And we ate at plenty of restaurants.
Overall, in Bucharest, we lived as we would if we were ‘at home’ in America: reasonably, comfortably, modestly. Still, our Bucharest experience demonstrates that even in a world of high inflation and uncertainty, a couple can exist and enjoy fascinating foreign destinations for far less than most places in the USA.
As always, be thankful and generous, happy trails & more beer.
Life is NOW!