The idea to visit Prague was born in my head spontaneously, but quite consciously. I have already traveled on my own (without travel agencies and on a budget), but usually with friends. 🙂 So, I decided that it is time to try your hand at a solo journey, when you not only do all the preparations and the trip by yourself, but also the way you want to! Looking ahead, I can say for sure that you won’t be alone for a long time! 😉
So, I’ll start, probably from motivation – how did the idea come about. Everything is very simple – I visited one of the events of the book store “Knygarnya E” in my city, as part of their project “Travels”, where Katerina Egorova, the founder of the “Girls Travel Solo” project, spoke. In general, I want to say that the project itself has a very good format and mood. In that speech, I remembered one phrase – “do not slow down if you want to travel on a budget!” Katerina was telling her stories in a very motivating style! So, on this wave, when I came home, I found some “spam” messages my email – “Lviv – Prague” – for only 100 UAH (it was around $4! In fact, this was not a “spam” newsletter, but simply a newsletter about sales from various travel companies).
A bit later, in the same place, in the book store “Knygarnya E”, Polina Frolova was telling her story about her very first solo journey! She did “El Camino de Santiago” (“The Way of St. James”), which is the most popular pilgrimage route in Spain.
After this story, I said to myself – “Alright, it’s time to act!”
How to find cheap tickets to Prague from Ukraine
It turned out, that it is quite easy to find cheap tickets to Prague, especially if you are not tied to specific dates.
As I already mentioned before, I received a “spam” letter from “East West Eurolines”. This company has routes to Poland, Czech Republic, Italy, Germany, Belarus and Ukraine. The promotion included tickets to Poland and Czech Republic for only 100 UAH (which is around 3€ or $3.41). There were additional requirements – only 2 tickets per person, and 2 tickets in one bus.
I took a look at the dates and found good ones, so 4 days in Prague was perfect for me 🙂
When I was registering on the site, I received a “bonus” – 0.3€, which can be used on tickets.
Due to the fact that I bought a ticket to Prague first and then to Ukraine (in two transactions), the site system did not work very well, so I managed to apply this bonus twice. In total, both tickets were 2.7€ each! Although I am a programmer, I would say “thanks” to “unskilled programmers” for this nice bug! 🙂
A couple of days later, I received another letter from “Ecolines” company, which could take me from Zaporizhzia (Ukraine) to Prague for 200 UAH! This is a very attractive offer! But, since I already bought tickets from Lviv and didn’t want to spend 36 hours on the way, I decided that “maybe next time”! 🙂
To summarize all of this: in order to keep abreast of all the promotions, I recommend you to subscribe to newsletters on different websites, which have routes to Prague.
The final preparations for Prague
The tickets were bought from Lviv, so the only thing I had to manage was to get to the “City of Leo”.
I didn’t want to take the bus right after spending one day in the train. So, I decided to spend one day in Lviv. Fortunately, I have friends and I can explore the glorious “European” city!
On the website “Ukrzaliznytsia” I bought tickets to Lviv and back to Zaporizhzhia for 163 UAH and 177 UAH each, which is around $12.
Well, the final touch is to book some accommodation in Lviv, and “I’m ready!” The booking.com website was very helpful. I found a very good cheap option. My choice was “Hostel OK”. This name was very similar to the conditions they had 🙂 Everything seemed to be warm and dry…, hot water, kitchen, and everything looks just “OK”. In general, it is an excellent option for one or two nights, almost in the center of Lviv, for $4 per day.
Oh yes, I completely forgot, INSURANCE! After spending more than $100 at a hospital in Thailand, I decided to be prepared next time. I called several companies and my choice was “ARX”. They made me 5 days insurance for only 133 UAH. Buy it or not, it’s up to you, but it was very useful to me on the way back! 🙂
I arrived in Lviv without any problems. The only thing I forgot was that I didn’t take a lot of food for the train trip. I was thinking that I can buy everything I needed in Kryvyi Rih, however, I completely forgot that the train goes by 🙂
It was time for dinner, so I decided to go to “Puzata Hata” to eat something, and wait until my friend, Andriy Pavlesa, from Mont Blanc frees up (you already know him from my previous story about a trip to the Carpathians).
While I was walking in the “food” direction, I met a cafe of Vietnamese cuisine “Saigon”, where you can try Ban Mi for only 35 UAH! Oh, how I really miss the Vietnamese goodies….. 😉
Frankly, I haven’t tried it, maybe next time!
After lunch, I met my friend, and together we climbed to the highest point in Lviv – “High Castle”! The view from there is amazing! In addition, the upcoming sunset was incredible! 🙂
The apotheosis of this evening was a tour to the most interesting places in Lviv. Where you can have a tasty meal, or listen to nice music, or taste Lviv beer with well-prepared fried ribs! We decided to stay in an atmospheric cafe, where IT-workers usually sit 🙂 After a while, a couple of other friends joined us. As a result, the evening was amazing and went on talking about traveling! 🙂
The next day, when I was walking by the Canada Visa Application Center, I saw a crowd of about 100 people. All of them were applying documents for a visa, or were ready to get it. Then I thought about our “remote laborers” in Europe, or anywhere around the world. I would like to write a separate article about this.
Let’s go to Europe …
The central bus station in Lviv turned out to be an inhospitable building of the Soviet era. I was waiting almost 1 hour, and after that my very new and clean bus “East West Eurolines” arrived.
Yes, it was for real, that only two tickets in the bus were 100 UAH. All the other passengers paid the “full price”. The contingent was mainly labor migrants. In search for a better life, they went to work to Europe – some of them to Poland, some to the Czech Republic, some to Germany ….
I was the only tourist in the bus, and also a few Polish students. They were returning home, after hanging out for a weekend in Lviv.
An hour and a half later we were already at the border. All of us went to the passport control, and the bus went for a “scan” on a brand-new cargo scanner. At least that’s what the bus passengers said.
Our baggage was X-rayed, we were ready, and the very friendly European sun has loomed 🙂
After a while, I was already standing at the window of the Polish passport control, waiting for the “entry” stamp. Since I had previously done a biometric passport, I didn’t need to apply for a visa for the EU countries.
It took us just over an hour to cross both borders, which was very fast, even superfast, as the passengers said!
The next 10 hours we were driving along the excellent Polish autobahns, periodically stopping at gas stations or truckers parking lots. The toilets mostly were free, but sometimes we had to pay. Since, I didn’t have any Polish money, I had to pay a whole 1 euro for the WC service 🙂 It’s Europe – and the prices here are European! 😊 Although, if I had Polish coins, I would spend 5 times less!
Between Poland and the Czech Republic we were stopped by the police to check our documents. There were no more incidents till the morning and we arrived in Prague on schedule!
In the next articles I will tell you about my adventures in Prague 😉
Total was spent:
- Tickets Lviv – Prague – Lviv – $6.12;
- Tickets Zaporozhzhia – Lviv – Zaporozhzhia – $12;
- Insurance – $4.71;
- Hostel in Lviv – $4;
Which is just over $26 in total.
Traveling on a budget is real! 🙂