How to save on vacation in Ukraine
After Euro 2012 Ukraine experienced an increase in the flow of international tourists, and authoritative world tourist guides one by one include the country in the list of the most interesting destinations, referring to it as to the Europe’s last unrevealed mystery. Ukraine’s tourist attractiveness grounds not only on the plenty of historical, architectural and natural attractions, but also on its affordability: even tourists with very limited budget can afford a vacation here. However, there are always ways to save additional money without spoiling the overall impression from the trip.
The cheapest way to arrive to Ukraine is by bus. However, this option is not available for many travelers for one reason or another. If you live on another continent or are just unable to travel by bus more than one day, your only option is air transport. In order to save on a flight, it is better to choose a low-cost company: their flights might cost three or four times less than the ones offered by traditional air carriers, especially if you are lucky with dates and book your ticket in advance. The most popular low-cost airline that flies to Ukraine is the Hungarian and Polish Wizzair (the cheapest flights are from Katowice, Dortmund and Treviso). Sometimes Latvian airBaltic offers good deals as well.
Buying a ticket, please, read the free baggage allowance and find out about fees on the weight that exceeds the norm. Low-cost airlines often include only hand luggage in ticket price, and the other luggage is to be paid separately. On the other hand, it will motivate you to leave most of the things that, in fact, often turn out to be unnecessary, at home.
With regard to traveling inside the country, the cheapest option is by train. It is probably not the most comfortable way of traveling, especially given that most trains in Ukraine are night ones, but certainly the most economical one. You can access schedules and buy tickets using the special Ukrzaliznitsya online service (http://booking.uz.gov.ua). There is another cheap option – hitchhiking. Although, it will suite only the most daring and reckless travelers.
In order to save on accommodation in Ukraine you should basically follow standard rules: choose a hotel far from the city center, beaches and souvenir shops. To stay in a hostel is even better: they cost much less, and offer quite good service, so that you won’t have to give up comfort.
If you travel in a large group, you can rent an apartment and save even more. There are two options: either to use services of a rental agency or to address a private individual. You can always find suitable offers in the Internet. The opportunity to live on par with locals, which is usually much more interesting than in a hotel, is an additional bonus if you choose this option.
Another way to save on accommodation is good timing. It is obviously very difficult to find cheap accommodation at a high season. The ideal time for an affordable trip to Ukraine is early spring and mid-fall, when prices of living and other tourist services are a pleasant surprise, and the weather favors wanderlust.
The most efficient way to save on meals is to buy products in a supermarket and cook on your own. However, firstly, a traveler rarely has necessary conditions to do so, and secondly, it’s wrong to lose an opportunity to taste local cuisine. Therefore, the best option is to go to small cafés and fast-food restaurants outside the tourist center. It is possible to taste national Ukrainian dishes at affordable price there. In order to make a right choice, note where the locals dine.
The main rule here is to secure yourself from horrible roaming bills. There are two ways of doing so: either to find out about special tourist offers and tariffs provided by your cellular operator and to use them, or to purchase international SIM-card. However, the most profitable option is to acquire a local SIM-card: starting packages of Ukrainian mobile operators are sold at airports, in mobile connection shops, in kiosks and at street vendors and cost from $ 5. You don’t have to show a passport or any other documents when buying a SIM-card.
Buying guided tours offered by tourist agencies is not an option for an economical traveler. Private guides are a lot cheaper, especially if you travel as a group: in this case you can share costs. You can find private guides through the Internet in advance, having discussed the cost and conditions of the informative walk, or right on site.
If you plan on visiting museums, find out their schedule in advance: most museums offer a day of free admission. You can get this and other useful information from local residents: Ukrainians are very open and well-wishing and, as a rule, eagerly give a piece of advice to foreign guests. They often turn out to be the best guides, and free at that.
You can strike off guides’ services from your tourist expenses at all, if you use high-quality tourist guides around Ukraine. For instance, tourist guides for iOS devices from Discover Ukraine (around Ukraine, Lviv and Crimea) are indispensable help to any traveler. They contain full information about the country, its brightest cities and the most interesting attractions, various recreation opportunities and entertaining events. In addition, they offer original tourist routes.
However, whatever budget you bring with to Ukraine, be sure that this country and its hospitable people will always provide you with unforgettable vacation and vivid impressions!