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How Much Did It Cost – Riga Budget

How Much Did It Cost – Riga Budget

Saying goodbye to Tallinn and my cheapest budget to date I boarded a bus bound for Riga where the currency to follow is the Latvian Lat. A deceiving currency given its conversion rate to the aussie dollar, made worse still due to my over indulgence in alcohol at the hostel bar.

It wasn’t all down to my reduced functionality though, Riga is top English Stag Territory and as such prices seem to be on the up and up for one and all. I’m all for a good time but those stag party boys just seem to loose all sense of brain function at times, luckily I arrived on the Sunday and avoided most of their antics and got to enjoy my time here with some more interesting backpackers.

Day Transport Hostel Attractions Breakfast Lunch Dinner Misc Total LVL Total $AU
1 12.40 9 4.5 5 17 47.9 99.79
2 6.9 10 4 4 22 46.9 97.70
3 6.9 0.5 10 4 11.5 32.9 68.54

Transport

A 4-5 hour bus ride to Riga on the fanciest bus I’ve ever seen set me back 12.40 Lats. Given the free wifi and coffee machine for the entire trip I’d say I really was on a bargin at $25 AUD (Check out LUX Express if your travelling in that area).

Otherwise Riga is all about getting your walk on and its well worth it. I saw some beautiful buildings and sights just roaming the streets.

Hostel

The first night was slightly more (9 Lats) compared to the rest of my stay (6.9 Lats) due to it being a weekend. Run by an Aussie and his Latvian girlfriend I had a ball staying here thanks to the other hostel folk. The poor weather forced me to spent more time inside than I did outside so it was great to have a really relaxed place to hang out. On the second night the hostel owners even sprung for pizza so how can you go wrong?

It was very much a party hostel but saying that my only real annoyance was the showers could have done with a bit more ventilation (gotta love drying yourself and feeling like your getting nowhere).

Attractions

Poor weather really drowned out my will to explore but I did make time for the free walking tour (Tipped 10 Lats) and a look into the Occupation Museum (free entry). Oh and I had to take a look up the only building (Latvian Academy of Sciences) in Riga that still has the Hammer and Sickle left over from Soviet times (0.5 lats entry).

Food

I covered all the bases in the food department while in Riga. Cheap take out, cooking at the hostel and eating out at a traditional local restaurant. The best meal by far was the local restaurant but don’t ask me what I ate as I still don’t have a clue, I think it was better that way to be honest.

Miscellaneous

Continuing my boozing ways from Estonia I found myself drinking till morning my first night with an Irish group. The second night saw another group of us drink the hostel dry of beer by 1am which on the up side got us free Apple Pie shots (delicious) and a much needed early-ish night. The final night found a group of us enjoying a couple of brews a top the SkyBar before relaxing at the hostel again with their topped up beer supply.

At around 30 Lats for the 3 days ($62.5AUD) you’d think wow you lightweight I spend more than that in one night out drinking. The thing is, a beer was costing me around 0.6 Lats or less so thats a little over $1 AUD a go. Now you see the problem my liver was under?

Total Cost for Riga

Three rather wet days in Riga put a dent in my overall experience so you would think I spent very little. The reality was I spent a lot more than I ever realised as the total came in at  127.7 Lats or 266.03 AUD (at an exchange rate of 0.48 Lats = 1 AUD). An average of  $88.76 AUD a day which when you compare it to my Paris Budget was almost identical and a long way off the cheap $50 AUD a day I had just spent in Tallinn. Crazy given I was in Eastern Europe where you normally associate things as cheap huh.

As a guide comparing my expenses to today’s exchange rate, leaving Australia now (November 2014) it would cost me $257.55 AUD. I have to also amend this data because as of the start of 2014 Latvia adopted the Euro and said goodbye to the Lat for good. This means the above data may now no longer be as relevant as it once was. So please use this as a guide only and should you notice any obvious cost difference do let me know.

Looking at it now my hostel was costing me on average nearly $16 AUD a night, the bus trip to Riga was $25 AUD and then you have all the food I consumed along with the drink and it did add up quick. I sure do regret tipping 10 Lats for the free walking tour now and can only think I thought it was $5 AUD and not really the $20 that it turned out to be as I really didn’t like the guide.

Regardless I had fun in the end and had I not been drinking so hard I could easily have gotten away with a lot less. I might have even been tempted enough to try out the AK47 shooting tour at 35 Lats if I’d been a good boy and not boozed my money away.

If I was to look at it from a  Cost vs Fun Had scenario then I believe I got away cheaply. Of all the fun things I got up to how can you beat sitting in the common room of your hostel with people from Germany, England, Luxembourg, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy and me the solo Aussie as we laugh our heads off at the Eurovision Song Contest.

Update from someone currently in Riga (November 2014): the prices have significantly increased since changing to the Euro. We’ve been getting beer at the hostel bar for €1.50 at happy hour, but it can be double that at other bars. Shots are about €3 A group of people at the hostel ordered 3 pizzas to be delivered for €55. Granted each pizza was the size of a double pop up tent (still folded).

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20 Responses to How Much Did It Cost – Riga Budget

  1. CHRISTY @ TECHNOSYNCRATIC March 9, 2011 at 7:23 PM #

    I really enjoy these posts on how much you spend in various locations. It’s given us some good ideas of budget-friendly places to visit when we go abroad…. and highlighted some of the not-so-cheap areas. 🙂

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD March 9, 2011 at 8:04 PM #

      Cheers Christy. It’s been good to read back over all of my costs and see what I really did spend. I’m glad it can be of use, I wish I’d had this info before I left.

  2. RANDY March 9, 2011 at 9:12 PM #

    Nice post! You always do a great job of weaving in some great color for these stories, which makes them even more interesting and fun to read. In the US, stag party refers to a Bachelor Party, I’m curious what “stag party boys” means in Australia?

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD March 14, 2011 at 10:19 AM #

      Thanks Randy. Yes stag/bachelor party they are both one and the same. The best way I can sum up a bunch of stag party boys which I think it would be the same all over the world is a bunch of blokes who normally get overly drunk and rather loud. Not the best to share a dorm room with at a hostel as you could imagine.

  3. CHRIS @CAROUNDTHEWORLD March 9, 2011 at 11:36 PM #

    I really like the way you’ve set up this series of posts. I’m on the other end of the travel spectrum from you, focusing on budget travel, but readers still want to know how much everything cost.

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD March 14, 2011 at 10:30 AM #

      Chris I certainly didn’t travel on a low budget but I don’t feel as if I travelled on an overly high one either. My trip was about having fun and enjoying my time in every location, I didn’t want to be constantly thinking about money as I went.

      Could I have done it for less? for sure and I hope that this guide will help show people that. I travelled rather quickly, going slower would have easily saved me money. But not all backpackers travel that slow and others spent much more time partying that I did as well.

      In the end I wrote this series of posts for me 12-18 months ago. This is the information I wanted to know then so I knew how much money I might need. Hopefully it helps people, if not well it’s been a great series to write up for myself to look back on.

  4. ABBY March 11, 2011 at 3:29 PM #

    Awwww. I had friends living in Riga and never made it out to visit them. This makes me want to go — even if it’s pricier than thought!

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD March 14, 2011 at 10:56 AM #

      You should stop in Riga Abby. It’s a nice part of the world to see, I’m glad I got to see it.

  5. GOT A PASSPORT March 16, 2011 at 12:26 AM #

    Wow, very detailed accounting. Impressive.

  6. AMANDA KENDLE March 21, 2011 at 4:09 AM #

    Good on you for putting all the costs together like this – it’s definitely very useful information. I was in Riga a few years ago just before the stag nights hit and I’m sure (but don’t have your good accounting skills to confirm for certain!) that it was heaps cheaper. But I was also lucky to have beautiful sunny weather and do heaps of walking. Is the Museum of Occupation still really impressive? It blew me away. I’m glad it’s still free.

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD March 21, 2011 at 8:50 AM #

      Amanda, the Occupation Museum was definitely a sight to see. It was a bit of an information overload though.

  7. MERIS March 23, 2011 at 11:05 PM #

    I just read your article and remembered the great time we spent in the common room of the hostel laughing about how small Luxembourg is.;D

    Cheers,
    Luxembourgish Guy!

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD March 24, 2011 at 9:13 AM #

      haha Meris mate good times indeed. I’m planning to drop by Luxembourg this year so expect you’ll be giving me the tour of the country.

      • MERIS March 24, 2011 at 3:19 PM #

        now that’s a brilliant idea. paul (english guy, dunno if you still remember him) was here in summer an we had a few beers together! would be great to catch up;)

  8. DANI November 19, 2011 at 11:54 AM #

    Cheers for this entry, came across it Googling for a realistic break down of budgeting for various Baltic countries – my last trip to Europe I spent most of it on the Euro so planning my next trip is requiring a little more thought!

  9. BRENDAN VAN SON November 29, 2011 at 3:58 AM #

    Hahaha… I love your explanation of the beer prices. It really puts it into perspective in the morning when you think “How did I spend $50 last night… the beers were $1?”. Math always has a way of teaching us about the extent of our alcoholism haha

  10. ROY MARVELOUS November 30, 2011 at 12:10 AM #

    I spent 2 months in Riga and I agree that the money is deceiving and make you feel that it’s cheaper than it is. However, you do get much more bang for your buck compared with Western Europe.

  11. SANDY December 23, 2011 at 1:07 PM #

    Curious…was ak shooting cheaper in Riga or Tallinn?

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD December 28, 2011 at 9:28 AM #

      Hi Sandy I’m afraid I can’t help you there. I didn’t see pricing for it in Tallinn when I was there. I’d imagine the pricing would be similiar.

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