Ever thought about traveling to Ukraine but not sure if you would be able to afford it? No need to wonder any more as we have created the ultimate Ukraine travel budget breakdown, including the costs of accommodation, food & drinks, transport and activities. During our 19 nights in Ukraine we spent a total of $873 between the both of us, or $24 per person per day, and yes that is in matter of fact US dollars, making it one of the most affordable destinations of Europe. And trust me when I tell you that we could have spent even less as we splurged on food and accommodation a couple of times. So are you interested in traveling Ukraine on a budget? Keep on reading to find out exactly how much we spent during our 19 nights in Ukraine, including money saving tips so you can too, travel Ukraine on $24 a day!
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Ukraine Travel Costs
To give you a better idea of how affordable Ukraine is, and where exactly our money went to, we tracked every single penny during our 19 days in Ukraine. We spent a total of 19 nights in Ukraine, of which 18 nights in hostels and hotels and 1 on a night train. To make it a bit easier for you we have separated our costs into 5 different categories: accommodation, food & drinks, transportation, activities and miscellaneous costs. To make it easier for everyone we have converted all our costs to US$ (the exchange rate we used for our calculations was 1 USD = 25.45 UAH, this was the exchange rate when we visited Ukraine in August 2019). As you can see in the table below we easily managed to stick to our $25 per person, per day budget. Our largest expense was accommodation, followed closely by our food budget.
|Category||Costs for 19 days for 2 people||P.p.p.d.|
|Accommodation in Ukraine||$485||$13.47|
|Food & Drinks in Ukraine||$336.23||$8.85|
|Transportation in Ukraine||$32.90*||$0.87|
|Activities in Ukraine||$11.70||$0.31|
.*Our transportation budget is extremely low, an expense category that should be a lot higher, but we will explain a bit why this is so low further in detail below!
However, it will be hard to know if you will spent as much, or as little, as we spent, during your travels. Many people travel for a couple of weeks out of the year and during this time prefer to stay in luxury accommodation, see all the sights the country has to offer and eat at a restaurant every single day. And while we would do exactly the same if we only had a couple of weeks a year, we are currently traveling 365 days a year, on a budget, so our money will last us as long as possible. For that reason we often have to cut costs, so the reality is that not everyone will spent as little as we did, but there will also be many people who will spent even less then we did. So to give you a bit of a better idea on where you will be, here is a bit on how we travel:
- We stay in private rooms – As we work on the road we prefer to stay in private rooms so we can get a good night sleep, and not wake anyone up if we wake up early for sun rise missions. However, we still look for the best budget room our money can buy. Clean rooms with a good wifi connection in a central location, those are our three main criteria. Below we also list where we stayed exactly so you can have a look at what $13.47 a day will buy you.
- We love food – It doesn’t need much more explanation, we just love food. While we always try to go for the budget option, we do try to eat as healthy as we can on the road, which can be hard as what we crave is not always what is available on the menu. Besides that we don’t drink when we are on the road, not drinking alcohol is one of the reasons we are able to keep our costs so low, plus it leaves some extra money for the coffees that we love so much.
- No tours – Tours are almost always incredibly expensive, which doesn’t fit into our budget, plus wherever we can we like to figure out things on our own, and simply take public transport to get there. While this isn’t always possible, we try the best we can, which really helps to keep our activities budget low.
- We love walking around – We prefer to walk everywhere, combined with once in a while a bus or a metro, but as long as the weather is good we try to walk wherever we can. We do take Ubers from and to bus/train stations when we have to carry our main luggage just to save time (and a whole lot of sweating with the warm weather we had during our travels in Ukraine).
So now that you know a bit on how we travel, and if you think you would spent more or less then us, let’s continue with an exact breakdown of the categories so you can see what your money can buy in Ukraine.
Cost of Accommodation in Ukraine
The cost of accommodation will most likely be your highest expense while you are in Ukraine. On average we spent ±$27 a night for the both of us, however, this cost would have been a lot lower if it wasn’t for our hotel in Odessa. We traveled during the high season in Ukraine, so if you are traveling during the low season your costs might be a bit lower, and you might have a bit more options available. As we travel on the go we plan max. a week ahead, meaning that sometimes we don’t have a lot of choices left (such as in Odessa), so there might be better options out there if you plan a little further in advance. Click the links below to see exactly what you can get for your money, or browse the pages to see if there is something that suits your travel style better.
|Category||Nights||Cost Per Room|
|Eco Hostel Drova in Lviv||5||$20.43|
|Full House Hotel & Hostel in Rivne||3||$21.53|
|Lucky Dream Hostel in Kiev||3||$27.47|
|BeRest Inn in Kiev||2||$29.18|
|Station Hostel in Kharkiv||3||$27.81|
|Royal Street Hotel in Odessa||2||$47.03|
If you are a solo traveler you might want to check out Hostelworld instead, there are plenty of dorms available in Ukraine and it will help you to cut your costs significantly as dorms are often a lot more affordable then private rooms. Airbnb is also widely available in Ukraine, however, we often found that a budget private room was slightly more affordable then getting an Airbnb for the both of us. But should you prefer to have a bit more space, and perhaps amenities such as a small kitchen available, sign up here for Airbnb to get a $30 discount on your first booking!
Cost of Food & Drinks in Ukraine
Eating out in Ukraine is extremely affordable, if you know where to go. We eat roughly 2 meals out a day and have some snacks from the supermarket in between, and often get a coffee once a day. In every city you will find plenty of local, and international restaurants. From pizza to Georgian food, burgers to Vietnamese food, there is plenty to pick from. You will find vegetarian dishes on almost every menu, but vegan is a bit harder to find, although definitely not impossible (especially in the bigger cities). We spent an average of $8.85 per person per day.
However, these prices probably won’t tell you much as you probably have no idea how big our meals are, or what kind of snacks we buy. So to help you out a bit we have also written down some example costs of meals and snacks you might enjoy during your travels in Ukraine
- A pizza with two soft drinks: $5.00
- A big mac: $2.25
- Breakfast at Puzata Hata (no drink): $2.36
- Candy bar such as a twix or a mars: $0.79
- Dinner at Puzata Hata for two: $8.63
- Cup of coffee: $1
- 1.5L of water: $0.41
- A dinner consisting of burgers, lemonades and a dessert: $12.06
- A chicken kebab: $2.76
The food in smaller and less touristic destinations was often slightly more affordable then destinations such as Kiev and Odessa, however, even here it is possible to get by on a budget. Supermarkets often have a large range of foods that can be bought and eaten on the go, from fruits to breads and salads, which is a great budget option as well if you don’t want to eat out too much.
Cost of Transport in Ukraine
And now, the cost of transport, which only came down to a total of ±$33. Now, this cost should have not been this low, and while traveling in Ukraine is affordable, it is not that affordable. The whole reason this expense category is so low is because of a what we assume must have been a price error. We are not sure what happened, but when we were looking at our tickets the total of our train tickets added up to $2 – $3 per train ride. As we set aside time for planning every time we enter a new country, and simply book our transport for the next couple of weeks ahead, we simply booked all our tickets. It wasn’t until we received the tickets in our email inbox that we saw the real prices that were displayed on our tickets and realised what had happened.
We know people look for these price errors on flight websites all the time, but we had never thought, in a million years, something like this would happen to us. So while this weren’t flight price errors, we had the luck of finding 4 extremely low priced train rides, including one overnight train, which helped keep our transport costs extremely low. So to give you a better idea of how much transportation actually costs we have added some example prices (including the actual prices that were on the train tickets and not the error prices) below:
- Train from Lviv to Rivne (2nd class seat) – $4.30 per person
- Train from Rivne to Kiev (3rd class sleeper taken during the day) – $6.64 per person
- Train from Kiev to Kharkiv (1st class seat) – $36.47 per person
- Uber from train station in Kiev to our hostel – $2.60
- Metro ride in Kiev – $0.32 per person
- Bus ride in Rivne from train station to our hostel – $0.24 per person
The total of the train rides, Ubers and public transport we took within cities added up to be a total of ±$33, however, if it had not been for the price errors this category would have been a lot higher, so make sure to budget a bit more for this category. You can check the train prices for the journeys you are planning to take on the Ukrainian Railway website which is available in English, or on other booking websites such as Omio where you will be able to see the prices of bus rides as well should you be interested in different transportation modes. This way you will be able to calculate exactly how much you’ll spent on the journeys between cities before actually travelling to Ukraine!
Cost of Activities in Ukraine
Now, perhaps one of the most important, and perhaps still surprisingly our lowest expense category of all: activities. We spent a total of ±$12 between the both of us on activities in Ukraine, and this category cost is not that low because we didn’t do anything, it is mainly because many sights are free in Ukraine! With the exception of Kiev, we almost never had to pay to visit a beautiful cathedral, and as we did not visit Chernobyl during this trip our costs stayed extremely low. We paid some small fees for funiculars, cable car rides, and some small entry fees for sights in Kiev. Most entry fees to sights, for those that have an entry fee, are between $1 – $3. Wandering around the city, enjoying the beautiful parks and admiring the Soviet architecture in Ukraine can all be done for free! Should you plan on visiting Chernobyl or enter more museums than we did, then you might want to set a bit more money aside for activities.
Miscellaneous Costs in Ukraine
Last, but definitely not least, are the miscellaneous costs while we are traveling in Ukraine. Basically this category makes up for all costs that don’t fit the above mentioned categories. In our case that mainly comes down to buying toiletries such as toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, but also to doing laundry. If you are a longterm traveler you will incur these costs as well, for us it totalled up to be $17.20, which included the following costs:
- Two sim cards with unlimited internet for a month: $9.85
- A laundry load consisting of washing and drying: $3.15
- Toothpaste: $2.37
- Postcards: $1.83
All with all nothing over the top, but still costs that add up in our total budget. While wifi is widely available we loved having a sim card as we could order Uber, or simply check on Google Maps where to go next and what metro line to take to get there.
Money Saving Tips for Ukraine
Now that we have broken down exactly how much we spent, you might be thinking, I can do better, and honestly we know we can do better to! While we have mentioned some tips below on how you can save money while traveling Ukraine, here they are again, plus a couple of more:
- Be selective when sight seeing – Many sights and activities in Ukraine are completely free to see, and while the other sights are quite affordable, costs do add up. So be selective of what you want to see, do your research and determine which ones are worth it to you. If history doesn’t interest you, skip the museums that discuss just that, if you don’t like churches and cathedrals, perhaps opt to save your money for other sights (or a coffee/beer). We are not saying to just stick to the free sights, just think twice before you spent your money.
- Eat at Puzata Hata – If you are not too much of a foodie you might be just fine eating at Puzata Hata, a buffet style restaurant that sells hearty and tasty dishes for those who are on a budget. From soups to chicken breast, potatoes and pancakes to dumplings, there is something for everyone here. We must have been to Puzata Hata for at least half our meals (especially breakfast) and spent roughly $4 per person per meal!
- Get snacks at the supermarket – Many supermarkets we found in Ukraine had a large extent of snacks, both healthy and unhealthy, that could be bought at the fraction of a price of the food stalls outside. From cakes, breads, fruits to salads that were ready to eat, buying some snacks here will help to keep your costs of food down significantly.
- Use local public transport – While Ubers are quite inexpensive, paying $2 – $3 for every ride will add up in your budget. We took Ubers only if we had our luggage with us, or else we always opted to walk or to take public transport.
- Stay in a dorm room – If you are a solo traveler wanting to keep your costs low we would highly suggest staying in a hostel, this is what we both did before meeting each other. Not only is it a great way to cut costs, it will also be a great way of meeting new people on the road!
- Plan ahead – We normally plan once we arrive in a country, but sometimes we wonder if we should start planning a bit further ahead. As we now traveled during high season, but still wanted the freedom of booking places last minute in case we wanted to stay longer in a certain destination, we were now faced with limited options for hostels and budget hotels. Many places that would have fit better into our budget had already been sold out, so if you are a couple looking for private rooms during high season you might want to take this into account! In the end it all worked out, but it could have saved us a teeny tiny bit of money, mainly referring to the price we had to pay for staying in Odessa.
And there you have it, our exact cost breakdown of how much it costs to travel in Ukraine, plus our money saving tips so you can learn from our mistakes! Traveling Ukraine is extremely affordable compared to countries in Western Europe, so this is definitely not something that should hold you back from exploring Ukraine! Planning on traveling to Ukraine? Don’t forget to read all our other articles with with tips, tricks and sights to see in Ukraine:
- 44 Things You Need To Know Before Going to Ukraine
- 3 Days in Kiev – An Unforgettable Itinerary
- The Tunnel of Love – An Enchanting Day Trip from Rivne
- 8 Best Things To Do in Rivne
- 18 Amazing Things To Do in Kharkiv
- 12 Unforgettable Things To Do in Odessa
Have you been to Ukraine before? Did you manage to stick to a budget? Tell us in the comment section down below.