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Berlin On A Budget: My Tips And Tricks*

I am going to let you guys in on a little secret. It is a bit cheeky and you have to promise not to tell my husband, ok? Here goes: I had a holiday romance and I think I may be in love...with Berlin! Gotcha! 

Yes, we went back to Berlin once again for another trip but, this time, we were on a slightly tighter budget than last time. But I think we made it work? We had such an amazing time and returning to Berlin outside of Christmastime let me see more of the city itself and experience what it has to offer year-round. And it was just so much more relaxed this time as we had covered most of the tourist stuff on our last trip so this one was just dedicated to doing what we want, wandering around, and eating as much doner kebab as we could fit into our bellies. 

This time, I felt like we budgeted a lot better and, as it was our second time in Berlin, we knew what was worth paying to see and what we would rather save our money on. 

(*gifted ad) When I was planning this trip, I contacted the Berlin tourist board about the possibility of a collaboration and they kindly replied saying they would gift me one of their Berlin Welcome Cards for the duration of my trip. The card I was gifted costed $34 (£26) and covered my transport in central Berlin (zones ABC) and Tegel Airport. It also gave me up to 50% off on selected activities, restaurants, and experiences. I used mine to get 25% off on my admission to Berlin Zoo. Having this booked in advance was such a lifesaver and, for the same cost as a transport card for these days anyway, it is worth looking into - especially if you intend to visit all the museums and attractions. Without having to pay hardly anything more than you would for just the transport ticket, you get all these reductions and, here's the best bit, it covers up to three kids as well. So, you are already saving money on the transport alone. If I visit Berlin again, I would buy one of these myself - especially as it makes it so easy knowing your transport is fully covered for your trip and that there are no surprise charges.

Choose a hotel with breakfast included
Last time, we chose a hotel that didn't include breakfast but ended up spending so much more money on snacks throughout the day as we were hungry. This time, we chose to stay at the Hampton by Hilton in Alexanderplatz that cost $220 (£190) for three nights and included a buffet breakfast. After filling up a lot at breakfast, we didn't end up buying so many snacks throughout the day and it gave us a chance to fill up Ava's bottles with milk, juice, and pick her up a yoghurt to eat later on. Chances are, if you make the most of breakfast, you might not even need to have much for lunch then it will only really be your evening meal that you have to fork out for (see what I did there). To find the best hotel, I find that using Trivago works best as it has a filter to only show hotels that include breakfast then sort them by 'recommended and price' to find a cheaper but still nice hotel.

Make use of public transport
The public transport system in Berlin is great - and runs almost 24 hours per day. There is an underground (U-Bahn), overground (S-Bahn), trams, and buses that all run really frequently. I would go as far as saying it is quite like the London transport system (apart from its less crowded and the lifts actually work at the stations). So, I would say that, if you want to save money but still explore the city, opt for public transport. You can get travel tickets for a day or a 3 day one for $34 across Zone ABC. It may be slightly more difficult to navigate at first but it is cheaper than those tour buses that set us back about $26 each for two days last time.

Pack and wear your thermals
This may sound like a bit of a weird one but pack your damn thermals. Germany is cold - and I thought I knew cold after living in the UK but I was wrong. And, when you are cold, you end up going into coffee shops every five minutes just to warm up. Or buying a hot drink to walk with. Or buying a scarf because you have basically turned into a walking ice pole (guilty). Strange as it may sound, little expenses add up and being cold makes you buy unnecessary things. So, for the love of God, wear enough clothes (I only wish I could go back in time and tell myself this when I packed mostly shirts and midi skirts for this trip).

Choose a hotel close to the things you want to see
On our first trip, we chose to stay in a lovely Movenpick hotel on Potsdamerplatz which was ten minutes walk from just about everything we wanted to see. This time, we knew we would be travelling around a bit more as we wanted to explore more than just the tourist attractions so we went for Alexanderplatz as it is such a central location - and that meant it had great transport links too. Doing a bit of research of where the things you want to see are and also how accessible different hotels are in terms of frequency of trains and buses and how far the hotel is from a train station saves on forking out extra money on travel once you get to your destination - and means you get to spend more time enjoying Berlin rather than walking down the street screaming bloody murder at Google Maps as it takes you walking in a loop for an hour when you just want to find the station (can you tell I am speaking from experience?).

Don't impulse buy souvenirs 
On our first trip, I panic bought a fair few bits and pieces that I didn't really want nor really need. Ofc I am not saying you shouldn't treat yourself to something but I am saying don't let that last day panic buying take control of you or your wallet. Buy stuff you actually like. For me, I like buying snacks and postcards and maybe a cute item of clothing or some makeup from a German brand. Don't deny yourself the little things you want to take back with you but maybe think a little before you buy it because you can't get a refund when you are a two hour's flight away.

Consider a stop-over
On our return flight with KLM, we had an hour stop-over in Amsterdam but I extended the stop-over to five hours free of charge when booking so we could have a few hours to explore the city. And it was such a great decision. Sure, you have to go back through security and everything but it gives you at least 2.5 hours of free time to explore a new place - totally for free! If you want to see more of Europe when going to Berlin, consider doing this (but be sure you have the correct visa to be able to leave the airport - Schengen will cover most of Europe).

Give street food a go
My final tip is to give street food a try as it is often much cheaper than having a sit down meal and, in my opinion, isn't half bad either. Last time, I did a whole post on my fave places to eat in Berlin but, this time, we definitely ate a lot more doner kebabs (they're big in Germany) and I am definitely not complaining. We also had things from an Indian food stall in a shopping centre and some currywurst and chips outside a train station. Although we did spend a little more trying the cheeseburgers from Burgermeister (absolutely insane!) and a sit down meal in Hofbrau on Alexanderplatz which was a traditional German experience and my introduction to what I intend to make a lifelong relationship with Mezzo Mix (AKA coke mixed with Fanta).

Have you ever visited Berlin?


  1. Great tips! Would love to visit Berlin, might try and squeeze in a trip during the summer. Also, Ava is just adorable!

  2. Great tips - thank you for sharing about your adventures! I am such a huge fan of trying the street food in new places, you definitely never know what amazing things you will find!
    -Jenna ♥
    Stay in touch? The Chic Cupcake

  3. These are such great tips and I think they apply to most places!

    Danielle xx


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