BINGO in Bulgaria
A few hundred euros and a desire to see the world, what are expats on a budget to do? Blind travel, Bingo style of course! Here’s how we experienced an unexpected culture and connected with amazing people on a dime.
Our step by step guide is simple. Step one, choose a random, too good to be true, all-inclusive travel package from one of those Dutch Facebook Travel sites. Step two, get to the airport with only your carry-on. Step three, win "Bingo" in your destination city. Step four, be present and enjoy the ride.
The Bulgarian Black Sea Coast Photo Credit: Stephanie Nunez
We decided to give the last minute €99 Bulgarian Black Sea Coast deal a try. Why so cheap? The departure date is inflexible, and the precise town, hotel, and accommodations aren't revealed until arrival. It’s called Bingo Travel. It was low risk, and as creative freelancers, we can work from anywhere with wifi, so we decided to book.
It goes without saying, get to the airport at least an hour and a half before departure. We didn’t. We arrived late. Really late. After scurrying around Schiphol (AMS), we finally located Corendon Airlines, which we learned was also our full-service travel agency. Instead of dismissing us as late, two representatives called their higher ups until boarding reopened for us. Almost 30 minutes of shenanigans later, we miraculously boarded our flight. Thanks only to packing a carry-on and the 5-star customer service of the Corendon team. Call me optimistic, but I count this as a great start so far!
Bourgas Airport (BOJ) - Corendon Airlines Photo Credit: Amber Minor
Finally in Bulgaria and leery of what situation we would find ourselves in, we gave our names to the Corendon information desk agent issuing transportation and hotel assignments, "Wow, you won the Bingo!” Our hotel accommodation was the swanky, all-inclusive Diamant Residence in Sunny Beach, near the picturesque Old Nessebar. We hit the jackpot (€99!): airfare, transfers, 8-day hotel stay including all meals, house cocktails, and an on call Corendon rep. We're beyond impressed at this point.
Diamant Residence - Dessert Time Photo Credit: Stephanie Nunez
Exploring the resort town, we understood the low price. The coast was still in the quiet mode of low season. Surrounded by retirees and budget travelers, we decided to take advantage of what the sleepy Bulgarian Black Sea Coast had to offer. Our location, Sunny Beach, was perfect for seaside bike rides to Old Nessebar and excursions along the Sea to nearby Pomorie, Sozopol, or Sliven, which we took advantage of at a low additional price.
Martenitsa Dolls Photo Credit: Stephanie Nunez
Along the way, we connected with an unlikely cast of mostly Dutch travelers and bonded over our shared exploits. We also interacted with the Bulgarian people, some of the most genuine, warm hearted people we've ever encountered. On this trip, we learned that the image in your head rarely matches the first-hand reality, sometimes “just doing it” pays off, and people everywhere are awesome.
Hanging with the Locals Photo Credit: Stephanie Nunez
Amber's Shuffleboard Win!!! Photo Credit: Stephanie Nunez
Have you ever scored an incredible vacation package discount? Share your cheap travel adventures with us! Where did you go? What did you do? We would love to read your comments below!
Til' next time. Travel light, Travelbugs!