Hi, everyone. It has been a few weeks since I last updated you about my adventures in Austria. I have several things to share about Lower Austria and will write more in the future. Meanwhile, today I am going to give you a few tips to save money should you ever want to venture here.
My Uncle Lee lived most of his life in Europe. Our family always thought he was a bit odd (actually very much so) and must have been fairly rich to live in Europe. But I have found that I can live very well (and less expensively) here and have found several smart ways that enable me to enjoy the area and significantly reduce my expenses. So, for the moment journey with me as we pass through an alleyway where surprises are always found. Here are some of the surprises I have found that save money for my adventure in Europe..
Mobile phone calls using American phone plans are expensive and need to be ditched right away! If you have an unlocked smartphone, there are local providers of SIM cards that are really inexpensive. Coupled with Skype or MagicJack on your phone you can greatly reduce costs for voice and data. For example, Verizon international charges in Europe are around $25 for each 100MB. At T-mobile I replaced the SIM card in my Apple iPhone and get 10GB of data for about $17. That’s astonishing and is saving me about $300 per month!
There are discounts everywhere! Public transportation is incredibly fantastic! In Austria I applied for a discount for the national OBB railway since I am over 60 years old. The card cost around $20. With the card the discount on rail and bus fares is 40%. I recovered the cost of the card on my first round trip to Vienna and now am saving everywhere I travel.
Local grocery stores, just like in the U.S., have discount cards. But in Austria, the discounts are also on travel and other things. I also bought a “Niederosterreich Card” for about $58. With it many attractions are free in Lower Austria. I have cruised up the Danube free ($28 without the discount), taken the Wachau train, visited numerous museums and wineries at no additional expense.
Just about every cafe has a daily special to attract customers. These are called “Menu” items and are usually posted by the door or on a placard in the street. They offer superb deals for great breakfasts or lunches. In the evening, prices go up so if I am eating out for lunch, I eat a relatively inexpensive meal where a drink is often included! The photo is for a meal for 5.90 Euros or about $6.25.
I was able to book my apartments online through Airbnb or Home Away but couldn’t find a place to stay in June. However, I found a solution at the local Tourist Information office where I was directed to the Danube University in Krems. When school isn’t in session, the university rents dorm rooms very inexpensively (about half of what I would otherwise pay in renting an apartment) to tourists and many bicycle riders. I can also get breakfast for 5 Euros! What a bargain. So I will stay there in June.
So my Uncle Lee was pretty smart living in Europe and I hope that the tips I have provided may be useful should you venture this way!