Can we visit seven European countries in 22 days for less than US$2,000? One young Vietnamese disc jockey claims it is possible, but many people are not convinced.
Dang Ngoc Quynh Nhi, who goes by the stage name DJ Yuu, has wrapped up a European trip in three weeks with her boyfriend and decided to share “the experience of traveling Europe on the cheap” to her more than 488,000 followers on Facebook.
In a lengthy caption posted along with more than 100 photos of the couple in seven European countries, Nhi gave a detailed account of how to apply for the Schengen visa and how to get the most affordable prices for accommodation, dining and tourism attraction admissions.
The 22-year-old DJ said that one can plan a similar trip, visiting France, the Czech Republic, Germany, Iceland, the Netherlands, Greece, and Italy, at a minimum cost of VND42 million, or $1,875 a person.
At the time of writing, the post had attracted 39,000 likes and 30,500 shares, but not everyone seems convinced.
How she did it
Nhi said she applied for the Schengen visa in France at a cost of 60 euros, or $65, and managed to book a round trip ticket from Vietnam to Paris for VND12.26 million, or $547.
She suggested using the homestay network Airbnb to find affordable lodging places in each of the destination countries, or staying at hostels, which sometimes cost only 12 euros ($13) a night.
“So it costs you only 240 euros [$260] for 20 nights,” the DJ wrote.
According to her account, the airfare, accommodation and visa collectively cost $872.
This means she could cover everything else, including traveling between the seven countries and filling her stomach, for a mere $1,000 over three weeks.
Her story sounds so incredible that many commenters have expressed their doubts over whether the DJ had exaggerated, or rather understated the cost of her trip.
Some even mocked the girl by suggesting she only spent VND42 million herself, with the remaining cost of the trip covered by her boyfriend.
How you define ‘traveling’ matters
On October 15, when several local news outlets reported her story, Nhi took to her Facebook again to “answer a few questions.”
The DJ said that even though she claimed that it is possible for one person to visit seven European countries in 22 days for only VND42 million, it is “not the real cost” of the trip she had with her boyfriend.
While she suggested staying in 12 euro per night hostels, the couple had in fact “lodged in four-star hotels, so the real expense is much bigger.”
Addressing critics who accused her of exaggerating and “trying to find fame,” Nhi said she only wanted to “share tips on how to travel in the most economical way.”
“This is to encourage those who are hesitant to start their own trip to Europe for fear of exorbitant expenses,” she wrote.
“The message is that you can totally go to Europe at the cheapest price if you plan everything in advance.”
In her Facebook response to criticism, Nhi also revealed more details of how she spent time in seven countries, igniting yet another wave of criticism as she seemed to have “a different definition of traveling.”
The DJ said she mostly ate food bought in supermarkets as she is not familiar with European food, so her expense for food was not so big. In Prague, she did not have to pay for food as “[I] have a friend there who treated me to Vietnamese food at her home.”
Nhi also ‘saved’ a lot of money on tickets to tourist attractions, as she “had traveled to Europe twice before” and “knew almost all the places there.”
So this time, the DJ mostly “went for sightseeing, which is free” while in Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam and the Greek Island of Santorini.
Nhi also made no secret that she visited famous places only to take photos from the outside, and it was not important to her to buy a ticket and get inside those venues.
In her opinion, the Palace of Versailles and the Louvre Museum, both must-visit attractions in France, “look quite similar, so I only chose to visit one of them.” She said she paid 15 euros ($16.5) for the museum, believing “there is not much difference” between it and the famed Versailles.
The kind of trip she embarked on continued to anger the public.
“What’s the point of traveling if you never get inside the places of interest but only stand outside for a selfie?” many of the online community asked the DJ.
And what experience one will get from a country when all they eat there is ready meals bought from a supermarket?
While it can be concluded that visiting seven European countries in three weeks for less than $2,000 is totally possible, it is only so if one manages to find a hostel that costs 12 euros a night, dine in supermarkets and never buy an entrance ticket.