I thought the cheapest place I would ever visit in Europe would be Poland. When I went to Poland in 2016, the exchange rate translated $1 USD into almost 4 Zloty (Poland’s currency). I was able to stay in a spa hotel in Gdansk extremely cheaply and I had an hour-long massage in the spa for about $30 USD.
But this was nothing compared to the Hungarian Forint exchange rate. I definitely Googled what Hungary’s currency was called and I ordered 2000 Forint from my bank prior to traveling (and this, they told me was the equivalent to $8 USD), but it’s totally possible that I didn’t really understand just how much I’d benefit from Forints vs Dollars. It turned out that 1 Forint equaled $.0039 USD.
I realized the exchange rate was on my side when I accidentally took out 100,000 Forint on my second day in Budapest. After a momentary panic, I grabbed my phone and calculated if I’d just drained my entire bank account.
What did my currency calculator tell me when I typed in the six figure number?
Phew. Crisis averted. Though I’ve never pulled $375 out of my bank account all at once before, I was on holiday and I was sure I’d use it all eventually. Needless to say, I paid for everything else in Budapest in cash (extremely out of character for me and it was a bit odd, if I’m being honest).
Even after paying for everything in cash, I still had 20,000 Forint left when I left to Vienna (and that was after I’d purchased a first class train ticket to Vienna).
Needless to say: if you ever need to take a cheap holiday, consider Budapest. You can thank me later after you get to live like a king for a week on about $500.
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