When somebody takes a look at my Instagram profile, they may think „Look at her, look how she lives, where does she get money from for all those trips.“ But, actually, I lead a humble life. I have just found a way to travel all over Europe on a low budget. I am not keen on night life, do not spend money on brand name clothes, but set money aside for travel.
Danijela Popovic is a 28-year-old girl from Novi Sad, Serbia. She is enthusiastic, full of energy, and willing to get to know new cultures and people.
She has a bachelor’s degree in law, but contrary to prejudice about lawyers as stiff and cold people, this young lady is so creative. All the clothing combinations you see here in these photos, she designed and sewed on her own.
Danijela is one of those people who you think that everything goes easily in their lives. But, talking to her, you realize that it has nothing to do with destiny or good luck, as we are prone to think. It is more likely that it depends on what kind of person we are.
And Danijela is cheerful, creative, and open to new people and culture. She believes that everyone has to find anti-stress therapy for the stressful life we live. Her therapy is to pack a suitcase almost every weekend and take off to some European destination.
“Travel is my anti-stress therapy. When my work colleagues ask me how I am so energetic, and what drugs I am on, I tell them I am on trips”.
How to travel cheap
One of the most common reasons why people do not travel is a lack of money. Danijela recently came back from Santorini. Four days, accommodation, and airline ticket cost 160 euros.
“I search for cheap travel arrangements. There are websites with low-priced flights, like Skycanner. Lately, I buy travel programs on Instagram. There are some profiles like Pakujkofer or Instaputnik where you can find very affordable offers, but the trick is to buy it immediately as soon as you see it.”
However, this was not the cheapest arrangement. Some time ago, she went to Istanbul for six days. The accommodation and plain ticket were 180 euros.
But if you want to travel on a low budget, you have to be prepared that sometimes things will not go smoothly.
“You need patience for travelling. Do not lose your faith. The flight to Santorini was delayed by eight hours. But you should not panic or be angry. Even with one day less, we managed to see everything we wanted. Additionally, you shoud surround yourself with positive and funny people. You may not like the city, but with good company, having fun is guaranteed”.
Besides, you need a bit of adventurous spirit. Danijela was often accommodated in hostels with room full of unknown people.
Some girls are afraid of this kind of accommodation. But nothing bad ever happened to me. On the contrary, I got to know great people.
In every European country I have a host
Danijela started to travel more often during her studies. She worked numerous student jobs to collect money for travel.
After passing an exam, the award was a trip.
She also faced that problem of lacking company for travel, till the time she decided to travel on her own.
“But I have never been alone. I set off alone, but I get to know people in a bus or on a plaine, and I often share accommodation with them. It is not the point to go with friends and stick to them. The charm is in meeting new people”.
And Daniela is an expert in that. When foreigners come to Serbia, through the application for providing free accommodation to travelers through Couchsurfing, he gets in touch with them and shows them her hometown, Novi Sad.
“In a country I haven’t been to yet, it’s not because I don’t have anyone there. In every European country, I have somebody who can host me. For example, on some trips I meet some guys, and after a while I visit them. I consider foreigners very useful for information and think that they are more willing to help than Serbs who live there”.
Paris has glitter, but no soul
So far, she has visited every popular European tourist destination. She is not fond of the glamur and glitter of big cities, but rather enjoys small, charming quarters where she can feel the city’s soul.
“Paris City Center is lavish and everything you know that it is famous for. But, when you go away from the center, you will encounter poor blocks that completely contrast. Parisians appear tired and exhausted to me. I am not fascinated by that city like most people are”.
According to her, Spain is the best European country with its warm people, dance, hospitality, food, and passion.
“Sweden, for example, is a well-organized country. There you have everything in one click. When I came to my friend in Sweden, airport officials typed in her name, and in two seconds they knew where she lived and whether she had good living conditions to host me. But, for me, Sweden is too cold. They are not cheerful and playful”.
My sensibility likes the warmth of the Spanish south. Dance, playful and cheerful people, food and drink, relaxing time and having fun. As the Latin sentence says, Panem et circenses.
Daniela’s next destination is Malta. More exotic, culturally different, and distant destinations such as Bali, the Maldives and Africa are planned for next year.
“I want to be part of the locals there. To dress in their uniforms and feel the culture in its full glory. I can not wait.”