Spain is not even in the top 50 of the largest countries in the world by area, but that doesn’t stop tens of millions of people from visiting on a yearly basis. In fact, Spain and the United States tend to bounce back and forth between the number two spot of most visited countries in the world behind France.
With the tourism industry being a massive source of income for Spain, things can get quite pricey for visitors. This has put some people off from visiting Spain because they simply believe that they can’t afford the trip. If you’ve always wanted to visit Spain but don’t think you have the money, it’s still possible to travel there for cheap. Here are five essential tips for visiting Spain on a budget.
Find The Right Flight
Because Spain is one of the countries that are furthest to the west in Europe, there are more options to fly from North America directly. From the United States, you can fly directly to Spain from Philadelphia, Miami, New York, Dallas, Atlanta, and Newark (New Jersey). If you’re not on the east coast already, taking a connecting flight to one of these cities will be rather easy.
As for the cheapest airports to fly into when arriving in Spain, Barcelona is going to be your best bet while Madrid is a close second. Both airports have a long list of flights arriving and departing daily, and the sheer volume helps keep the prices down. Malaga and Palma de Mallorca are also good options, but typically if you’re only flying in from another European country. The cheapest months to visit Spain are from December to March, which are the coldest, but not nearly as cold as Canada and parts of the United States.
Take Advantage of Public Transportation
Outside of Asia, there are a couple of global cities that are world-renowned for their public transportation options. One of them is Santiago, Chile, and the other one is Madrid. We already pointed out that Madrid is the second-cheapest airport to fly into, and you don’t need a taxi to get you around the city. Even if you plan on leaving Madrid, there are plenty of high-speed railroad options to get you around the country.
Because of how well the trains operate in Spain, they can end up being pretty busy when traveling between cities. When you’re in the city, however, it’s a very cheap option that will save you a lot of time and money. If you want a super low-budget trip throughout all of Spain, there are plenty of buses that cost next to nothing. Either way, you can save hundreds by skipping the rental car and using Spain’s transportation options.
Hit The Hostels
Spain has some of the best hotels in the world, but they also happen to be some of the most expensive hotels in the world. While it’s the dream for many of us to stay in a swanky foreign hotel, it might not be doable if you’re on a shoestring budget. If you can’t find a cheap chain hotel (which is possible when events like football matches or fashion shows are happening), then hostels could do the trick.
Cities like Madrid and Barcelona have tons of hostels to pick from, and even ones that are rated four stars and up can cost just $25-50 per night. What makes these hostels even better is that many of them come with free breakfast all while promoting a safe environment. You’ll be shocked to see what you can get for $50 per night in a city like Madrid compared to the United States.
Fill Up On Tapas
Have you ever been to a Mexican restaurant and ended up filling up on chips and salsa so much that you don’t even come close to finishing your entree? That same culture of eating large meals for a long period of time is also found in Spain, and it’s actually taken a few notches further. Restaurants usually don’t even open up until late at night (8:00 pm) and you typically get complimentary tapas just by purchasing a drink.
With that in mind, try to order some of the cheaper entrees and save them for later. You’ll be eating so much tapas in Spain that you might not even get to that entree in the end. With that said, skip the Michelin Star restaurants and hit up small neighborhood dining options.
Stick To Small Cities
Spain has more large cities than you might think. Outside of Madrid and Barcelona, there are cities with over 1 million people including Valencia, Sevilla, Alicante, Murcia, Cadiz, and A Coruna. These cities can get pretty cramped hotel and restaurant-wise, especially if there’s an event in the city.
There are plenty of smaller cities and towns in Spain that have an abundance of natural beauty without the expensive features. The perfect way to spend a vacation could include walking around these towns and soaking it all in rather than going on a shopping spree in Barcelona.