In the U.S. it is hard to fathom the idea of traveling to two different countries in a weekend. When in Europe it is an everyday reality. Especially because bus and train tickets are incredibly inexpensive.
After plans to fly to Malta, a small Mediterranean island country off the coast of Italy, fell through my friends and I turned our sights to Vienna. While planning the trip, we thought why not throw in another country? We’re only in Europe for another two weeks so how about going to as many places as possible? We didn’t know when we’d be back in Central Europe so we decided to soak up as much culture and time in central Europe as we could. We landed on going to Bratislava, Slovakia, since it was only an hour from Vienna, Austria, and three hours from Budapest, Hungary, where we are staying.
We started looking up bus and train tickets and to our surprise we found all the bus tickets we needed for 39 euros total, which is roughly $44.
We then turned our sights to Airbnb for lodging. I had never stayed in an Airbnb before and to be honest I was reluctant. My friends had used to before so I trusted them and we found a place to stay in Vienna for $65 a person and then a place to stay in Bratislava for $21. Both places turned out to be in terrific locations in beautiful homes.
We set out for Vienna with a few plans on what we wanted to see but otherwise we left it open. My friend, Phoebe Suy, had a friend studying in Vienna and she took us around the city showing us what she loves about the city. We saw the major landmarks but also got to see and enjoy what the locals saw.
We had the same mindset going to Bratislava. Having heard you don’t need more than 12 hours in Bratislava we were nervous we wouldn’t enjoy it. Bratislava far surpassed our expectations. The first thing we came upon was a 1940s themed jazz festival with everyone dressed up in 1940s clothing. We then found an outdoor food market. The next morning, we found a wonderful breakfast spot and explored the city more. When it came time for our bus to arrive we were satisfied and ready to head back to Budapest.
While planning the trip to two different countries in only three days I was worried we would not have enough time in either place or be so exhausted from being on the go so often. This was not the case; we were exhausted, but it was all so worth it and we saw everything we wanted to see. When studying abroad for six weeks I would definitely recommend traveling by train or bus to surrounding countries, even two in the same weekend. It can be much more budget friendly than one might think.