One of my life goals is to visit all 193 UN recognized countries in the world. And for 2019 specifically, I wanted to finish visiting most of the European countries (with the exception of Iceland). In this article, I will specifically cover my spending breakdown when travelling in Russia, Malta, Cyprus, Ireland, Finland, and Turkey. You’ll also see my spending breakdown in my short layovers in Toronto, New York, Moldova, and Montreal.
This will give you an idea how much it cost to travel to these cities, especially if you are short on time. I only had 2 weeks off work so I needed to fit as many destinations as possible. Relying on booking an Aeroplan min-RTW in Europe was a lifesaver to fly me to all these destinations; otherwise, the cost of flying between all those countries would have been really expensive.
My complete spending breakdown while travelling in Russia, Malta, Cyprus, Ireland, Finland, Turkey, and more!
My spending breakdown during my layover in Toronto, New York, Moldova and Montreal
- Holiday Inn & Suites at Toronto Airport West – $40.78 CAD + 20,000 IHG points
- Airport shuttle between LGA and JFK – $23.11 CAD
- Sleep Inn New York – $133.19 CAD
- Bus in Moldova – $0.15 CAD
- Food in Montreal – $18.75 CAD
Total cost of my layover in Toronto, New York, and Montreal – $215.98 CAD
Points and miles spent – 20,000 IHG Points for Holiday Inn & Suites at Toronto Airport West
The unfortunately downside to booking an Aeroplan mini-RTW is you sometimes get really bad connecting times. For my flight to Europe, I was stuck with an overnight layover in Toronto and a long layover in New York. My choice was to sleep in the airport and just wait for my flight out of Toronto the next day.
Back in 2014, during my first travel hacking experience, my girlfriend and I slept in the airport in Orlando Florida to save money from finding an airport hotel. This turned out to be a horrible idea. We were both too tired to fully enjoy exploring the amusement parks in Orlando. To make matters worst, I also got sick a few days later. This time around, I learned my lesson and decided to eat the cost of finding a proper place to sleep in Toronto and during my long layover in New York.
Despite only getting 4 hours of sleep in Toronto and 5 hours in New York, it was enough to keep my healthy moving forward in my trip.
On the way back home to Vancouver, I stayed with a childhood friend in Montreal that’s why the cost of staying in this French Canadian city was relatively inexpensive.
My spending breakdown during my overnight stay in Malta
- Two Pillows Boutique Hostel – $34 CAD (23.30 Euros)
- Towel rental – $3 CAD (2 Euros)
- Round trip bus between the airport and Sliema – $5.90 CAD (4 Euros)
- Valletta ferry – $6.30 CAD (4.30 Euros)
Total cost of travelling in Malta – $49.20 CAD (33.60 Euros)
Travelling in Malta was surprisingly cheap. I think this country is an awesome destination for budget backpackers or budget minded travellers. It’s also pretty safe which makes it a good travel destination for families as well. The most expensive part of this trip was the hostel I stayed at.
After returning from my 380 days of travel around the world, I realized that I hated staying at cheap crappy hostels. Since then, if I do stay in a hostel, I stay at nicer ones.
My spending breakdown during my 2 nights and 3 days in Istanbul
- Bus from the airport to my hotel – $4.32 CAD (18 TL)
- Bottle of water – $1.15 CAD (5 TL)
- Taxi from my hotel to the airport – $35 CAD (150 TL)
Total cost of my 3 days in Istanbul – $40.47 CAD (177 TL)
Average daily cost of my 3 days in Istanbul – $13.49 CAD
Total points and miles spent while travelling in Istanbul – 15,000 Marriott Points for 2 night stay in Istanbul Courtyard Marriott
Earlier this year, during an Istanbul layover, I got a chance to see what I really want to see in this famous city which is the Hagia Sophia. This time around, I had no desire to explore this city. Instead, I wanted to catch up on some work and sleep. During the 3 days I was in Istanbul, I spent this time working on my online business and catching up on sleep.
Istanbul itself wasn’t an expensive place to stay and it helped I used my Marriott points to stay for two nights. The biggest expense was my very early morning taxi ride from the hotel I was staying at to the airport.
On my way to my next stop, I also ended up visiting Chisinau in Moldova for 5 hours and spent a measly 15 cents there.
My spending breakdown during my 24 hours in Cyprus
- Airbnb – $41.40 CAD (28.40 Euros)
- Hertz car rental – $125 CAD (85 Euros)
- Tombs of the Kings entrance ticket – $3.70 CAD (2.50 Euros)
- Gas – $61.30 CAD (42 Euros)
- AC – $7.30 CAD (5 Euros)
- Laundry – $7.30 CAD (5 Euros)
Total cost of travelling for 24 hours in Cyprus – $246 CAD (168 Euros)
Oh my god, I can’t believe how much money I spent travelling in Cyprus. Because I had several places to visit in Cyprus during my time there, I had no choice but to rent a car to make it happen. Renting a car, and paying for gas was the single biggest expense I had in this country.
While I had no regrets doing what I did with the short time I had, I think it would have been better to go with a group to split the cost of the car rental and gas.
My 4 days spending breakdown while travelling in Russia
Spending in Moscow while travelling in Russia
- Visa to Russia – $265.95 CAD (12,765.60 Rubles)
- Round trip shipping of my passport to the Russian embassy in Ottawa – $76 CAD (3,648 Rubles)
- Flight from Moscow to St. Petersburg – $13.79 CAD (661.92 Rubles) + 6000 Avios
- Flight from Helsinki to Moscow – $79.30 CAD (54.36 Euros or 3,806.40 Rubles)
- Two nights in Marriott Tverskaya hotel in Moscow – $142.72 CAD (6,885 Rubles)
- Yandex driver tip – $2.08 CAD (100 rubles)
- Bottles water – $0.57 CAD (27.40 rubles)
- Airport to Marriott Hotel Yandex ride (Russia’s Uber) – $9.79 CAD (470 Rubles – I split the cost with my friend)
- Yandex ride from Marriott hotel to Kurskaya train station – $4.17 CAD (200 Rubles)
- Yandex ride from Kurskaya train station to Marriott hotel – $4.74 CAD (227.50 Rubles)
- Round trip metro ride from Marriott hotel to the Kremlin – $2.29 CAD (110 Rubles)
- Ticket to the Kremlin – $15 CAD (700 Rubles)
- St Basil’s Cathedral entrance fee – $15 CAD (700 Rubles)
- Georgian food in Moscow – $6.03 CAD (470 Rubles)
Spending in Vladamir while travelling in Russia
- Yandex ride from Marriott Hotel to DME airport – $26.33 CAD (1,230 Rubles)
- Moscow to Vladamir train – $24.58 CAD (1,180 Rubles)
- Palaty Museum Centre – $5.21 CAD (250 Rubles)
- Cathedral of St. Demetrius – $3.13 CAD (150 Rubles)
- Expensive steak I ordered by accident in Vladamir – $46.50 CAD (2,232 Rubles)
- Golden gate ticket – $3.13 CAD (150 Rubles)
- Toilet in Vladamir train station – $0.52 CAD (25 Rubles)
- Train from Vladamir to Moscow – $19.48 CAD (935 Rubles)
Spending in Suzdal while travelling in Russia
- Yandex from Vladamir to Suzdal – $7.29 CAD (350 Rubles)
- Yandex from Suzdal to Vladamir – $8.96 CAD (430 Rubles)
- Bell tower in Suzdal entrance ticket – $2.08 CAD (100 Rubles)
- Yandex ride within Suzdal – $2.08 CAD (100 Rubles)
- Museum complex of the Monastery of the Saviour and St. Euthymius – $8.56 CAD (400 Rubles)
Spending in St. Petersburg while travelling in Russia
- Hermitage Museum and Winter Palace ticket – $24 CAD ($17.95 USD or 1,152 Rubles)
- Taxi from my friend’s apartment to the Hermitage Museum – $7.29 CAD (350 Rubles)
- Tea and pastry for two people – $7.30 CAD (350 Rubles)
Total cost of travelling in Russia
- $782.16 CAD (37,543.68 Rubles)
Average daily cost of travelling in Russia
- $195.54 CAD per day (9,385.92 Rubles)
Total cost of travelling in Russia without my Visa fees and passport shipping
- $440.21 CAD (21,130.08 Rubles)
Average daily of travelling in Russia without my Visa fees and passport shipping
- $110.05 CAD per day (5,282.40 Rubles)
Total points and miles spent while travelling in Russia
- 6,000 Avios for the S7 Airlines flight from Moscow to St. Petersburg
The bulk of my trip was spent in Russia and I will be doing a more thorough trip report of my travels to this country. It’s true that I did spend a lot of money travelling to Russia. However, if you look closely, almost half my expenses was spent on getting the Visa and having my passport shipped to the Russian embassy.
I also made a big travel mistake of accidentally ordering a $46.50 steak when I was in Vladamir which definitely increased my expenses.
Truth be told, Russia is not an expensive travel destination. The Russian Ruble is quite weak right now making the food prices and travel within the country relatively cheap. The Russian version of Uber, Yandex, makes getting around inexpensive.
To make the price of the Russia Visa for Canadians, I’d recommend staying longer in the country if possible. Unfortunately for me, I was only given a 4 day Visa, I made sure that travelling in Russia was as jammed pack as possible.
My 2 nights and 3 days spending breakdown while staying in Helsinki, Finland
- Food – $34 CAD (23.20 Euros)
- Metro – $27.20 CAD (18.60 Euros)
Total cost of staying in Helsinki, Finland – $61.20 CAD ($41.80 Euros)
Average daily cost of travelling in staying in Helsinki, Finland – $20.40 CAD (13.95 Euros)
I decided to stay longer in Helsinki, Finland because I was given a shorter Visa in Russia than I anticipated. One of my friends in Canada moved there a year ago and I stayed with him and his wife.
Most of my 3 days in Helsinki was spent hanging out with my friend and also visiting a friend who lived there.
My spending breakdown of my overnight layover in Dublin, Ireland
- Airbnb – $52.43 CAD (36 Euros)
- Food – $17 CAD (11.60 Euros)
- Taxi to the airport – $37 CAD (25 Euros)
- All day bus ticket – $15 CAD (10 Euros)
Total cost of my overnight layover in Dublin, Ireland – $121.43 CAD (82.60 Euros)
Unfortunately for me, travelling really fast finally caught up to me. By the time I arrived in Dublin, I got sick. I ended up just staying in the Airbnb I stayed at to rest. The next morning, I ended up getting a taxi to the airport because I felt too sick to push through taking the public transportation.
I would have to say that Dublin is a pretty expensive travel destination. I will most likely never come back here again. But, I would like to visit Northern Ireland one day and see the Giant’s Causeway.
Aeroplan miles spent to fly business class in Europe
- Underlined are long layovers and bolded are my stopovers: YVR-YYZ-LGA-JFK-ZRH-MLA–IST-KIV-WAW-LCA-WAW-ARN-HEL-CPH-DUB–YUL-YVR) – 115,000 Aeroplan Miles + $286.26 CAD
Total cost of my entire 2 week trip in Europe including flights – $1,802.70 CAD
Ouch! It was definitely not cheap travelling to all these European countries. On the bright side, I’m almost done Europe with the exception of Iceland (which is going to be very expensive also). It’ll be nice to completely clear one continent as I continue on my mission to visit all 193 UN recognized countries.
I think one of the main takeaways here is that in general, travelling in Europe is not cheap. The only regions in the world that is more expensive than travelling in Europe is probably Africa and Oceania. Of course, the exception to the rule here is Eastern Europe which is generally quite cheap if you travel slow.
It’s quite obvious that travelling slower is a much cheaper alternative than travelling fast. You can take your time and take public transportation to offset the cost of travelling. Unfortunately, in reality, many people only get 2-3 weeks off work so you really have no choice but to travel faster if you want to see more places in a short period of time.
That’s why I’m a big advocate of long term travel because you get a richer experience and it’s also much cheaper.