From England to Ukraine and back again via Paris on a student budget
It was easy to find the quickest and cheapest way into Ukraine from England and that is by air. This costs around £100, single from London to Kiev (Kyiv) in November but then the problems begin.
How best to get back to England…
I want to get home via Paris for Paris Photo 15-18th November 2012, it seems silly not to but being on a tight budget I have to be clever with travel.
I will be travelling around Ukraine and after Kiev, I will head to Lviv, then Odessa, followed by Kharkiv, all by night train and back to Kiev to get access papers to enter Chernobyl. Travelling by train around Ukraine is relatively inexpensive compared to anywhere else I have travelled and this whole section should cost no more than £70, which is not bad considering I will be visiting a large majority of the country.
The most popular way out of Ukraine is a train to Warsaw, Poland. But this single trip cost in excess of £120, never mind the rest of the trains through Europe, costing around £140 (Warsaw to Paris via Cologne.) So, I started researching all exit strategies and the cheapest way home would be as follows:
Flight from Kiev to Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam @ £72
Train from Amsterdam to Paris @ £30 Visit Paris Photo
Eurostar from Paris to London @ £35
That is a saving of over £120, which means the travel alone should cost me approx. £250-£275 including transport in England to get me to the airport and back again. Not bad considering I will be visiting three countries (4 if you count England,) flying twice, traveling on at least seven trains and one trip on the Eurostar.
A Place to Sleep
Ideally I would like to spend two days in Kiev (1 sleep,) four days in Lviv (3 sleeps,) two in Odessa (1 sleep,) four in Kharkiv (3 sleeps) and a further three days in Kiev (2 sleeps) including the trip to Chernobyl.
That is ten nights in a hostel and four nights sleeping on a train. Hostels cost between £3-£10 a night, that’s if you do not mind large mixed gender rooms and this means I will pay between £30-£100.
A night in Amsterdam and Paris could cost me in excess of £50 per night and that is staying in undesirable areas, so I will have to decide if the cost is worth it once I am in the situation and I know whether or not I will need the extra time to recover from all the travelling.
Then There is Food.
I would estimate 15 days in Ukraine at £5 per day = £75
Plus food on flights @ £10 in total and potentially three days in west Europe @ £10 per day = £40
Bottled water is a must in Ukraine, costing £2 a day and maybe a little extra for just in case, say £10, which brings the total to: £155 or £145 min
To be on the safe side I have decided to buy some clothes once I am in Ukraine. Not only will this benefit the weight of my luggage and how I will cope with the climate but it will also help me fit in and avoid trouble with police and petty criminals, who target tourists. Unfortunately estimating this cost is not easy, I know it will be cheap in comparison to prices at home, however, there are too many variable to make an accurate estimate. So I will guess at £50-£100.
Trips and entrance fees need to be accounted for.
Chernobyl could be free or cost me up to £120 to go with a guide, I am aiming to go it alone, as long as I can get the relevant safety equipment.
UPDATE: My apologies, I miss understood the translation on access papers. Now, as I understand it you do have to pay even if you get papers directly from the gov office. However, you can still get a Russian tour for around $80 but this can only be booked in the country I believe, so no help if your going on a short trip. But would bring my minimum spend up to around £565.
Paris Photo will cost in excess of £30 to get in and for refreshments
Plus there will be unforeseen costs which I will budget £10-£50 for.
And the Total is…
Best case scenario – 250+30+0+145+50+0+30+50+10= 565
Worst case scenario – 275+100+100+155+100+120+30+50= 930
Plus a sneaky £50 in Ukrainian money to pay off police and to put into fake wallets