Prague is too expensive, flying to Hawaii instead

A friend is putting off his solo trip to Europe because he says it will be too expensive to go to Prague for 9 days next month. He is flying to Hawaii instead.

I say, WTF?

Dollar for dollar, there is no way he is going to Hawaii for a week on a budget for less money than travel in Central Europe.

Cost for my October 2-week Prague trip

My two week trip to Prague, Warsaw, Nice, Athens, Sofia, Plovdiv and back to Prague cost $367 in airfare for San Jose, California to Prague flying British Airways. I paid $101 to fly Prague-Warsaw-Nice on LOT Polish. I paid $130 to fly Nice – Athens – Sofia – Athens – Prague on two Aegean Airlines tickets.

Airfare cost: $598

Hotels cost: $260 for 11 nights (about $700 if no hotel points)

24,000 Choice Privileges points for 3 nights in Prague ($176 to buy 24,000 points today).

2 nights Marriott Riviera Cap d’Ail France $115 in auction win.

1 night Best Western Nice 8,000 points ($80 to buy points, but I already had them).

2 nights Starwood Luxury Collection Sofia Balkan ($35 + 2,000 points/night).

1 night Days Inn Nice earned 8,500 Wyndham Rewards points for $80.

2 nights Ramada Trimontium Plovdiv, Bulgaria $110 + 3,000 points and earned 8,500 Wyndham Rewards points.

11 hotel nights cost about $630 for someone with a modest number of points, including cost to buy most hotel points. Or in places like Sofia, Bulgaria, there are plenty of other hotel options for $70 per night.

Since I balance earning and burning points on my trips, my actual out-of-pocket expense for 11 nights was about $270. My costs for hotel points and Marriott auction had been paid for months or years ago.

Daily expenses: $20 to $30 for food, drink and transportation

$160 to $270 for 9 day trip.

On average, daily expenses for a solo traveler need only be $20 to $30 for a place like Prague for two restaurant meals and four or five drinks. I spent about $300 for food, drink and transportation for 12 days in Europe with about $100 of that amount in gift purchases. Add a couple of museums or some other activities for $10 to $25. 

Prague for New Year’s

I put together a trip over the past few days to spend New Year’s in Prague.

This will be my fourth trip to Prague in 2017.

Romania Next Winter

For winter travel, I am currently looking at visiting Romania for the first time. Based on airfare availability today and Hilton Hotels in Romania, I think I can fly from San Francisco Bay area and spend ten days drinking and dining around Romania at Hilton Hotels for under $1,000.

My plan is to outline details of a Romania in winter 2018 trip showing the travel deals I currently see for an article later today.

Denver Today

That Romania article will need to wait for this evening. I am flying to Denver today.

My more immediate challenge is figuring out what to pack in my underseat carry on backpack without paying $76 additional for an overhead bin carry on bag or checked bag on my Frontier $96 round trip ticket.

The real challenge is Colorado temperatures are dropping down to the 20s over the next five days, and making packing even more challenging is I change hotels four consecutive nights.

Warm socks seem in order. Not like I will be hanging out in Hawaii.


Loyalty Traveler Oct 27, 2017 – Travel Planning Romania $1,200 to 1,500 for 15 days.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

More articles by Ric Garrido »


  1. Where all your cold weather clothing on to the plane. then you can peel it off once you are on.

  2. If you’re lucky IHG points break will put the IC Bucharest for 5k points. Seen it happen few times in the past.

  3. Rick – I’m a long time reader and I thoroughly enjoy your content. I’m spending 3 nights in Prague with my family in mid-December staying at the U Medvidku, mostly based on your pop-in tour/review. I’ll let you know my thoughts after the stay. Thanks for bringing a different perspective to the travel blogging world.

  4. @Patrick – Hopefully no heat stroke with 90+ in San Jose.

    @Js – was not planning to go to Bucharest, but IHG PointBreaks might sway my choice if that happens.

    @The Beej – went to a great cat oriented pub around the corner from there last week. Actually been to few pubs right around there. Hope you enjoy the hotel. It looked great on my tour.

  5. Traveled from SFO to DEN yesterday and was unhappy to carry my jacket the entire way. But with temps dropping 30+° from yesterday to today and highs in the 40s this weekend I’m glad I did.

  6. Ric- I live in Denver and really like reading your site. pm me if you got time to meet up… would love to buy you a beer or 3.

  7. @Bill – San Jose was low 80s at 11am. Denver 28 to 32 F with a bit of wind chill and snowing as I drove around from 4-6pm.

    Funny thing is I searched for long underwear at home and did not find any. I used to have two so I tossed one thermal underwear in Sofia ten days ago after 10 days of temperatures in 70s. I needed space in my bag for t-shirts I bought.

    Might be shopping tomorrow.

    @Ray – Thanks for the offer. I am in Colorado Springs and don’t plan to be in Denver, except to drive back to airport. If I do go to Denver, I have to visit my sister-in-law and niece. They do not even know I am in Colorado yet.

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