Planning Prague: Save Money

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Prague, Czech Republic. February 2019.

Anyone who has read this blog longer than the revival knows that I am a girl who likes to go with a plan. I am all for being spontaneous but if you want to see as much as you can and in turn save money that could be put towards future travels my answer is always the same: go in with research and a plan.

As I have said, now that I am married and traveling in very different circumstances, I am much more aware of every new expense in our lives and weigh the money we spend very carefully.

On top of all that, we were traveling with new people and every time that happens you have to take into consideration what other people may want to see, their budget, group or individual game plans, and their style of travel – but that is another post….

I tried to do something a little different this time around when it came to visiting Prague. I still used Google Maps – there really is nothing better for tracking where the things you want to see are and how long it takes to get from one to the other! – but instead of doing a day by day breakdown, I broke the city into parts and started from there:

Basically, I found that I had three areas, plus Charles’ Bridge that I would really want to explore:

OLD TOWN PRAGUE

We were staying just outside of Old Town so we walked through here pretty consistently. In this section was Church of Our Lady Before Tyn (which is one of the locations that inspired Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle), Old Town Hall and the Astronomical Tower,  and finally, The Estates Theater.

SOUTH OF OLD TOWN

This is all below Old Town but still walkable, at least if you have decent walking shoes which are kind of a must in Prague. South of Old Town is much more spread out but unless you have tons you want to do in this part of the city, it’s easiest to keep it all as one section.

The southern part of the city contains The Sex Machine Museum which is on the border of Old Town, The Mucha Museum, Wenceslas Square and the National Museum, and the Dancing House. There are also art pieces by David Cerny, a local street artist, throughout this section of the city, so just wandering is a great option here!

CHARLES’ BRIDGE

This one pretty much covers itself and it’s free unless you buy any of the knick-knacks from the vendors lining the bridge. The views of and from the bridge are spectacular, but beware of your timing! This is a huge thoroughfare so you can definitely get run over by human traffic if you stop in the middle and it’s so crowded getting a clutter-free picture really is impossible.

ACROSS THE RIVER

In terms of what to see and how you can save money, this side of the bridge is where you will probably spend the most time and money! You have The Prague Palace Complex which includes The Old Royal Place,’The Story of Prague Castle’ exhibition, The Cathedral of Saint Vitus, Saint Wenceslas Cathedral, The Church of Saint Adalbert, Saint George’s Basilica, Golden Lane (Daliborka and Powder Towers), and The Rosenberg Palace; Petrin Hill which houses a park and a couple of attractions (we’ll talk about these in a future post) as well as The Monastery and a couple other restaurant options; There are also a few beautiful gardens if you are there in spring or summer – namely The Grotta and Havlicek Gardens; and finally, Lennon’s Wall, however, I heard from friends that this one was pretty covered over by graffiti and underwhelming.


Now this isn’t to say we hit all of this, because it is a lot but had we made some different choices, our three days really could have handled this load. Still, that doesn’t answer how it saved us money.

Prague is a party town that is also full of history, so if you don’t plan on partying all weekend and you don’t mind wandering about 5 minutes outside of the tourist district, you really can find great places to eat and see for really cheap. It also seemed like everywhere that was touristy had pretty amazing deals for families, so as long as you avoid the traps, even a group with kids can save!

Let’s get the big one out of the way: The Palace Complex.

Talking about this will be a post all on its own, so we are going to stick to budgets here. The price for this attraction is broken down into different circuits that group the varied attractions within the complex so you can pick whatever works for your group. We picked Circuit A which has everything listed above after the Palace Complex – this had the best price for the most places within the complex.

Of course, it doesn’t cover everything; some things you can only purchase on their own, but it was an amazing day for Ryan and I. Plus, this ticket let’s you explore over the course of two days, so if you want to space things out, you absolutely can.

And again, about the affordability with children: Ryan and I spent the same amount of money on these tickets as our friends and their two kids! The only downside is that these family tickets requires the family stays together going into every exhibition and you can only enter them once – it is litterally one ticket for the entire family.

Going into the Towers at Old Town Hall and the Astronomical Clock have a similar family deal.

Petrin Hill can be a money hole if you don’t go in prepared (it is pretty minor, however, every penny matters, right?), especially because not all the attractionas are as good or strong as others but you can buy a ticket for about seven dollars to get into everything – I honestly recommend the Tower, but everything else is kind of a bust.

Finally, everything else of note was either around ten euros, for donation which gets used for upkeep, or completely free.

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

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Planning Prague: Save Money

That time of year again….

For many, today this means Valentine’s day, but in the Gallagher household, this means the lead up to Gallifrey One, the premier annual Doctor Who convention that takes place in the LAX Marriott Hotel. This will be my 6th year attending (not including my facetimed from France experience!), and if you have gone or attempted to get tickets for this, you know how lucky that is.

This year, I’m coming at the prep and thought process for this event differently than I have before. The hotel is fairy close to home so while I could go out and retrieve anything I accidentally leave behind quite easily, this is always a pain; in this light, I’m not talking about checking and double checking on all your gear, including fittings.

Since experiencing the magnitude that was Boston Comic Com. and the shifts in schedules, shifts in lines, crowd control, and so many things happening all at once that you just miss out, I’ve begun to appreciate planning ahead so much more (as if I didn’t already, right?).

So, this week (besides binge watching a bit of DW Series 1) I will be going over the online schedule and picking all my time slots – and time to grab a bite or two to eat! – and plotting out my  budget. This online schedule has a customizable option I will definitely be checking out asap!

If you do have tickets, be aware that there is a new ‘no videotaping panels’ rule – pictures are great but, because people have been posting whole panels rather than clips, there is no unofficial filming. Still, if this ruins your weekend, remember you are lucky to be there!

So, wear your Union Jack with pride, take my hand, and (as always): Run!

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

That time of year again….

On Money and Things…

While I’m pretty much home bound for the foreseeable future, a daughter of a family friend and co-worker is currently living in Florence, Italy for her college semester abroad. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been listening to her mother fret over various financial issues that have arisen and tried to help her sort out what she can from half a world away.

Since Anne is only gone for a semester, she doesn’t have a bank account over there – unlike when I lived in London for the year and a half. Instead, she is using her American debit card for everything.Unfortunately, she found a few fraud charges popping up right before she was due to take a school trip to Budapest.

With close to two weeks to spare, she contacted her US credit union and sussed out the charges and expected a new card to ship out immediately. When she suddenly found herself mere days away from the trip and still no card, she contacted the bank only to discover that they never sent out her replacement.

Anne doesn’t have a credit card and now – as I explained to her mother – was without access to any of her funds. Remember (again, I had to explain this to my co-worker!), both your savings account and your checking are connected to your card so without checks -which can take 7 to 10 days to clear – and without any active cards, you really can’t access any funds no matter how much your parents wire into said account.

So, what should Anne do?

Well, Anne is lucky enough that her school was willing to lend her cash – 200 Euros – for the trip which she can pay back when her finances are corrected. She did this immediately, but as you can guess, this wouldn’t go very far on the trip she’d already paid for.

My next suggestion – in her tight schedule – would be to talk to friends. Here’s the thing to remember: cash issues overseas happen a lot and they can take a little bit of time to correct. Your friends will understand this and, as long as you keep spending to a minimum and keep track of who to pay back and how much, most friends will help you out and lend you some money. This can be a little embarrassing and feel like you are pushing some kind of impossible barrier but when you need it, you have to get over wounded pride and ask.

With more time, a parent or friend can send a money order or a check made out to cash. Just make sure you have all your information to verify your identity, have all of your account information, and double check what banks you can work with – you generally can’t walk into just any bank and get out money.

If you are traveling or living abroad for a short time, you should also work to preempt this situation all together.

First, keep a bit of cash on hand at all times rather than depending on you cards. You will also get dinged less with out of country fees if you pull out a  larger sum all at once rather than have a bunch of smaller charges.

Next, always have a back up system. I’m lucky enough that my parents have given all of us emergency credit cards linked with the family’s main accounts. We can use these if we are in the exact situation that Anne has found herself in. As I have said, moving across international boarders means there will be some serious chances of money problems but until it happens to you, you won’t think of fixing them. Have a back up and you will save yourself at least immediate panic.

Lastly, you MUST (and I can’t emphasis this enough) stay on top of your finances. Whether this is keeping track of your spending habits, checking for fraud, checking that your bank sends your replacement card, or anything else that could possibly happen with your money, you much constantly be paying attention.

As I have said, you don’t think about how things can go wrong until they start to go down hill and then figuring out what to do next becomes a panicked sequence of events that won’t get you anywhere. I know this is what happened to me when I had all my phone issues when I was overseas.

It happens to us all but plan ahead for what you can and keep a calm head. For now, Anne is having fun in Budapest, her mom is freaking out less everyday, and her card is on its way to her.

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

On Money and Things…