How to travel to Spain and save money too.
While Spain is often thought of as being a destination for middle class and wealthy tourists to go on lavish and pricey vacations, it has recently emerged as an unexpected gem for budget travel. So when looking to take a holiday to Spain, save some cash by following these tips.
Go during “shoulder season”
While summer is an excellent time to travel it is also the most crowded and expensive. However, winter — even in Spain — can be a bit of a downer due to colder days and the higher probability of rain. So split the difference and visit Spain either right before the tourist season or right after. Dubbed “shoulder season,” this is the time to go, as the weather will be mild to excellent, the crowds way less, and the prices far lower. In Spain, shoulder season generally runs from April to the beginning of June and September to October.
Get creative with accommodation
Accommodation is one of the biggest expenses for travelers — especially in the budget airline age. Rather than throwing up your arms and just staying in pricey hotels during your trip to Spain, instead get creative. Look to stay in pensiones, casa rurales, hostels, or hostales — which are kind of like traditional Spanish hostels where you get a room in a shared house. Also look to go camping here and there or, if you have the time, rent an apartment for a week or even a month for big discounts.
Book flights in advance
You know those last minute flight deals that “travel gurus” often talk about. Well, after years and years of travel I’ve never found any. Booking months in advance has almost always yielded better results than waiting to get lucky at the last minute.
Take the bus
I know when we think of traveling in Western Europe we think of riding on long train journeys. The caveat with this is that it is often more expensive than the way less glamorous bus. Taking the bus is the cheapest way to travel in Europe, and there are budget bus lines popping up all over the continent. So when looking to go from city to city in Spain for as cheaply as possible, bus it.
Eat like the locals
It pays off to be a little astute as to planning your meals in Spain, as with a little effort you can cut this expense in half. Rather than eating a big meal at dinner, eat a big lunch instead. All Spanish restaurants have a “menu del dia,” which provides an entire meal at a discounted price. Also aim to eat in cafes rather than restaurants, as this can easily cut a €15 meal down to €6. Or you can just dine like the locals and prepare meals at home — or in your case, your room. Go to the local market and pick up some fresh meat and vegetables, and cook them up in your hostales or apartment, which often provide access to a kitchen.
Traveling in Spain doesn’t have to be a huge expense. So go cheap and perhaps even obtain a more authentic look at the country in the process.