View Single Post
Old 10-10-2018, 04:23 PM   #3
Mapping the next ride...
glitch's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 17,089
Default Re: Balkans_2018...You Only Live Once!

And as the question is always one of the first...
the flights were around A$1600 return (or thereabouts)
the bikes around the same again incl. all bits/extras/extra insurance etc
Accom/ eat/drink/fuel @ A$2.20+ per liter and the rest of it was organized via the group-pot and came to around A$1800 total per head for the 22 days total.

Add around A$500 for personal bits and bobs and the ledger closes at about A$ 5.5k for the 3 week jaunt.

Most expensive night were two luxury holiday-apartments on a Croatian Island for the 6 of us @ A$ 280 total (under A$50/ head).
Most other accom ran at about A$ 18-25 per head, mostly incl. some humongous breakfasts.

In general, the most expensive places were Montenegro and Croatia (in that order), with Albania and Romania leveling the scales at the low end.
Food mostly comes in huge portions, beer in half-liter mugs and local vino at around A$5-10 per liter (restaurant prices).

were A$12-25 for man+machine each way (depending on distance).
The Lake Komani Ferry in Albania ( 3.5hr cruise) was ~A$45 (25Euro).

There's a great preference for cash, cards are often not accepted (even if the signs on the door say otherwise).
Using small denomination Euro-Cash as a general back-up currency proved a smart move.
ATM's are often hard to find as they are not attached to some bank-branch, but stand-alones at ferry or info kiosks around the tourist areas (check for tampered machines etc).

As usual, payment in Euro/ US$ is accepted, but change given in local currency.
All toll-roads/ freeways accepted Euro as well at the tollbooths.

Licenses, vehicle-docs and border crossings:

Any EU-registered vehicle needs the ORIGINAL registration-slip and the compulsory insurance documents (aka Green Card/ Carta Verde etc)
to be taken across borders. The Green Card HAS to be valid for the country entered into (which is up to the issuing insurer to list the covered countries on the document).
Additional or specific cover can be bought at many border stations....familiarize yourself thoroughly with which countries are covered/ not-covered before attempting
to cross a border. It could turn out a lengthy and expensive song+ dance otherwise. We watched a group of Germans crossing from Croatia into Bosnia and one of them
didn't have Bosnia endorsed on their Green Card.
An hour later the group of bikes was still milling about after paying 120Euro/ A$200 for their Bosnian insurance cover!

An international drivers license (IDP) is also HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!! (as Goodie found out!)

Not so much for the Rental-company, but for the local officials in case of any involvement in an accident/ traffic ticket or such.

Turn to anyone below the age 35 for at least a working knowledge of English.... often the replies are fluent and way beyond adequate.
Many older Albanians speak some basic Italian...and many Above-50s will have at least a smattering of German (also being the key tourist-language).
Nearly all restaurant menus come in at least 3 languages (incl. English).

World/Euro/Balkans Travel SIM cards:
Decided on the Belgian-based Travel-SIM for our mobile phone backup after reading extensive reviews and the Tellinkroaming offering worked exceptionally well
in all but a very, very few places. If their data component works as well as the phone part, this one is near unbeatable for universal usage.
Credits also carry over indefinitely without time-outs or top-ups to keep it alive.

For the Smartphoners:
MUST-HAVE APPS all around Europe (incl. the Balkans ) are
1) WhatsApp
2) Viber

Good and fast WiFi was available nearly anywhere, even in the more remote areas, most cafes, service stations, restaurants etc

Hire one from the Bike-Rental guys for Euro10/ day...max-charge Euro80. This can include pre-loaded local or loop tours at a small extra charge.
Check with the rental firm.
Most of the Cyrillic names in Bulgaria/Macedonia/ Bosnia/ Northern Montenegro + Albania will be a major challenge on a GPS as well as the posted road-signs though...

....which sort of makes a half-decent set of maps essential.

The Pete-GPS...

So much for the base-info + intro...

Let's hit the Balkans

glitch is offline   Reply With Quote