Visiting Spain on a budget has never been easier than it is nowadays. With so many tools at your disposal, it is now so simple to nab yourselves a bargain.
Timing is everything
According to JustFly, the best time to book flights is 40 to 60 days before departure. Don’t be tempted to wait until the last minute to book your flights, as you may end up paying much more. If you have several months before your preferred travel dates, then great! This will enable you to plan fully, thereby enabling more flexibility.
Earlier this year, I needed to attend a funeral in the UK. I managed to save more than €200 by booking double-leggers – flights that take you to your final destination via another airport instead of flying direct. I flew from Alicante to Dublin and then onto Manchester. Returning, I flew from Manchester to Corvera (Murcia) via Mallorca. Of course the downside of this was that it took me longer to reach my destination – but as a lone traveller with only hand luggage, I saved a lot of money without any hassle. I was also able to schedule a few hours in Dublin to meet up with one of my favourite people!
This isn’t always practical of course – and not something we’d recommend if mobility is an issue, if you have small children, or if time is tight. Do ensure that you leave enough time between connecting flights to navigate the airport and check whether your luggage will be transferred to the next plane for you, or if you need to collect and move it yourself.
Avoid the busy periods
Skip this section if you have children of school age, because it is not permitted to remove your children from school during school time. Spain Buddy does not encourage removing of children from school outside of the organised holidays. Yes, we do appreciate that it costs a lot more to travel when all the kids are off – but education is vital.
For those of you travelling solely as adults, however – the cheapest time to source flights is during the quieter times of the year. We’ve found that January, May and November have been great times to grab a flight bargain or three – perfect if visiting Spain on a budget!
It can also help if you are able to be flexible on your flight dates/days/times when heading to Spain. Sometimes, booking a day or two either side of the norm can deliver great savings. Grab a cup of tea and a notepad – and run some searches… you will be pleasantly surprised. Of course, if you need to use public transport either side of your flights… ensure that you’re not taking off or landing at a time such as 1am which may leave you waiting for a few hours until the buses or trains start running again.
It doesn’t ALWAYS have to be luxury
Given the chance, I would stay in five star hotels on every trip that I take. Let’s be honest though – that choice comes at a price, so often we’ll opt of a three or four star hotel instead. If, like us, you are more interested in where you are visiting than whether you have a mattress fit for royalty bedecked with Egyptian cotton, then the basics can easily cover you. Let’s be honest – if you’re grabbing a break somewhere beautiful with oodles to see and do… will you really be spending much time in the hotel room? As long as it is clean and well-maintained, then consider selecting a budget option which then keeps more money in your pocket for food, drink, shopping and experiences.
Location, location, location
Before booking your accommodation, check where it is in relation to local amenities. It is pointless to save yourself €50 per week on your hotel room if it is going to cost you a lot more in airport transfers and getting as far as the nearest restaurant for your precious time abroad. Such tools as Google maps can allow you to take a virtual tour of the area before selecting, so you’ll be able to see what is on the doorstep of your bargain hotel room.
If you are likely to be exploring your destination, local travel can work out quite expensive when booking organised trips. However – we have learned from experience that hiring a car can save you lots of money. For example, here’s a rough breakdown of costs for a family of four staying in Playa Blanca, Lanzarote.
- Private airport transfer from Arrecife to Playa Blanca: €45 each way
- Day trip exploring the southern end of Lanzarote: €100 (€33 adults / €17 children)
- TOTAL: €190
However – consider hiring a car to collect from the airport instead and paying direct at the Timanfaya National Park. You could get a little runaround (more than adequate for exploring such a small island) for just €85 for the week*.
- Car hire: €85
- Timanfaya entry for family of four: €30
- Total: €115
You see that you have already saved €75. You need to buy fuel of course, but you have the added benefit of the car to use for an entire week – giving you the flexibility to get to the hidden areas of that gorgeous island without paying out for additional excursions or for public transport. You can save even more money by checking the websites for reduced entry fees for places (20% off after 3pm at Timanfaya for example). Plus you are not tied to someone else’s timetable.
Driving in Spain is so easy. Roads and routes are well marked, and the highways rarely get too busy. Just keep your wits about you and (if headed over from the UK) watch that you don’t drift into the centre of the road.
Summing up: Visiting Spain on a budget
Of course every Euro, Dollar or Pound that you save on your travel and accommodation leaves you with more money in your pocket for shopping, food, drink and experiences. Where would you prefer your hard-earned cash to go? Into the pockets of someone else? Or into your own pocket to enjoy as you choose?
Do your research and you too can easily be visiting Spain on a budget.
* Price taken from the AutoReisen website for a Citroen C3 for November 21 to 28 2019.