Things to Know When You Go to Eurovision

Are you thinking about going to Eurovision 2018? Here are some tips to maximize your ESC experience.

The stage of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest prior to the first semi-final at the International Exhibition Centre in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Photo: Mike McComb) The stage of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest prior to the first semi-final at the International Exhibition Centre in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Photo: Mike McComb)

I was fortunate enough to attend this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Kyiv, Ukraine. Kyiv proved to be a capable host, but it’s understandable how Americans interested in going might have been intimidated by the prospect — there’s no real direct way to get to Kyiv and current foreign policy with Russia added a layer of excitement that had me bookmark the most direct route to the embassy.

Now that we know Eurovision 2018 will be in Portugal, here are some tips you can use to prepare for your first Eurovision experience.

1. Figure out your itinerary

My trip to Kyiv doubled as my honeymoon, so we decided to make it a European adventure. We flew into Budapest and spent a couple days there. We took the train up to Vienna, Austria, stayed there for the weekend, then took the train to Bratislava, Slovakia. We took a short flight from Bratislava to Kyiv in time for the first semi-final and stayed through the end of Eurovision weekend.

Not only did we get to experience four European countries in a single go, we saved a little bit of money, too. Budapest is inexpensive thanks to a favorable exchange rate.1 Ukraine also has a favorable exchange rate, meaning our jaunt through the Euro lands was the only pricey part of the trip. We also booked AirBnBs in most of our stops, which helped to keep costs low.

Careful sleuthing on travel sites like Kayak and Skyscanner should be able to help you hopscotch around the continent. Our flight from Bratislava to Kyiv was through the discount airline Wizz Air, which we would happily fly again.

  1. Hungary is part of the European Union, but does not use the Euro.  

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