Are you planning a trip to Romania? If you are planning on coming to this beautiful country, you will first need to figure out how much money you will need to save up and budget for your trip. Plane tickets to this country will vary, depending on where you are traveling from.
You can use your favorite flight aggregator to figure out which flights will be best for you. If you are flying from the US, Delta Airlines and American Airlines offer direct flights from some US cities (like Dallas, Charlotte, and New York) to Bucharest. You can also find many other non-direct flights from other airlines or from multiple airlines (i.e., one airline to Germany, for instance, then a European airline to Romania).
Flights aside, you will need to budget for your travels after you land in Romania. If you are traveling from the US, then you are in luck because Romania is a relatively cheap European country. If you have ever traveled to Southeast Asia, Romania is not quite as cheap as that. Still, if you are looking for the European experience on a budget, Romania is a great destination for you!
First things first, you should get familiar with Romanian currency. The local currency is called leu (pronounced like “lew” or “loo”), or lei (pronounced “lay”) for plural. Sometimes banks list the currency as RON. The symbol for the money is L. Lei is subdivided into 100 bani, which is also just the word for “money” in the Romanian language.
Actually though, Romania is set to adopt the Euro soon. The date keeps getting pushed back, and right now the country is expected to adopt the Euro in 2024. But you are probably planning a trip sooner than that – if that is the case, you will get to use the Romanian lei while they still have it!
The actual physical currency in Romania is both polymer (plastic) bills and metal coins. The bills feel kind of indestructible – you can’t rip them (when you get there, you can try!) and they can’t get soaked. You can get bills worth 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, and 500 lei. There are four types of Romanian coins: the first is 1 bani (1/100 of a lei) and it is made out of brass-plated steel. It is the smallest of the coins. Next is the 5 bani coin, which is copper-plated steel. It is just slightly larger than the 1 bani coin.
Next is the 10 bani coin, which is still just a little larger than the 5 bani coin, and is made out of nickel-plated steel. Finally is the 50 bani coin. It is about the size of the American quarter and is made of a combination of brass, copper, zinc and nickel. So in total there are four coins, worth 1, 5, 10 and 50 bani.
The next thing to know are exchange rates. As of the end of 2019, 1 Romanian leu is equivalent to $0.23. That means that the 50 bani coin is worth $0.12 and the 1 bani coin is worth just $0.0023. Similarly, 1 Romanian leu is equivalent to 0.18 pounds, 0.21 euros, and 0.31 Canadian dollars. When traveling, it is nice to come up with a simple conversion for yourself so that you can easily convert in your head and get a better idea of prices.
If you are traveling from the US, the simple conversion is $1 = 4 lei. You can divide everything by four to figure out the price. If something is 16 lei, then divide it by four to figure out the US price: $4. So simple! Keep in mind though that exchange rates fluctuate and you should check the rate (and adjust your in-head conversion method) right before you travel to Romania.
After you know a little bit about the money and the conversion rate, you should familiarize yourself with average prices for the types of things you are going to buy (i.e., transportation costs, housing, food). If you are planning a budget trip, you can get by with spending roughly 125 lei per day (or close to $35 per day). If you want something mid-range, you could get by around 250 lei per day (close to $70). For a high-end vacation, you could spend 360 lei per day or more (roughly $90 and up).
Let’s break down some of those budgets. The most expensive thing on your trip (other than your plane ticket to Romania) will probably be lodging. You can find a bed in a hostel for as little as 50 lei per person. You can get a double in a midrange hotel or pension for roughly 120 lei per person. You can get a double in a high-end hotel for roughly 200 lei per person.
How much does food cost? You can get street food and cook for yourself for about 40 lei/day. You can get lunch and dinner at good restaurants for roughly 60 lei/day. You can get lunch and dinner at the nicest restaurants in town for 80 lei/day.
How much will transportation cost? Within a city, train and bus tickets will probably cost about 30 lei/day. If you use buses in conjunction with taxis, it might cost about 50 lei/day. If you are flying to another city in Romania, you might pay between 120-200 lei each way – but this will not be a daily cost, assuming that you spend at least a couple days in each city you visit.
You could easily spend a whole week or more just in Bucharest though, so no pressure to spend more and see more remote cities. You can also take day trips to nearby cities if you stay in Bucharest.
Traveling to Romania is a relatively cheap vacation. If you want a luxurious holiday, Romania is a great place to do it because it is so much cheaper than Western Europe or the US. Aside from how cheap it is to travel to this country, Romania is a great travel destination in general because there is so much history, culture, and picturesque places to visit here. Book your tickets for Romania today!