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Guest Post—Spain on a Budget: It is Possible?

Travelling can be expensive, no matter where you go. It can be especially expensive if you enjoy the finer things in life or if you have family in tow. But budget restrictions shouldn’t mean that you should give up your travelling dreams or your perfect holiday abroad – it is possible to do things on a budget no matter where you head to.

If Spain is the place that takes your fancy, there are plenty of options open to the budget traveller, it is just a case of avoiding the pitfalls which could make the trip twice as expensive:

 Avoid City Centre Attractions

It is common knowledge that city centre attractions, cafes, restaurants and shops are often significantly more expensive than those found on the outskirts of town or in more rural areas. Barcelona, Madrid and other major cities are no different and spending the majority of your time eating out here will eat into your funds. A solution could be to avoid the major cities and head to more budget friendly resorts that specifically cater for holidays and visits on a shoestring. Benidorm and the whole of Costa Blanca are good options if you want places to go which are interesting and fun but also affordable. 

Head to the Beach

There are lots of positives about spending most of your holiday time at the beach. Not only will you come home with a gorgeous tan, but you will also find that you do not spend as much as you do when trudging around expensive cites for hours on end. Whilst of course you may want to spend a day or two exploring the local area, the beach offers fun, excitement and pleasure for free – always a good thing! You could also look into cheap holidays all inclusive as these allow you to save money during the day too.

Experience Street Food and Independent Restaurants

Dining out every night at Michelin stared restaurants will of course add up. But just because you do not want to splash out every night does not mean you have to eat in the blandest restaurants or survive on sandwiches everyday. Instead, try some of the street food stalls or local restaurants. Often you will find that the street stalls and small, tucked away restaurants are frequented by locals rather than tourists. This is because they are more often than not tasty, budget friendly and the service is more personal to boot too.

Spain has so much to offer, whether you are a luxury traveller or a budget holiday-maker. If you are determined to enjoy Spain holidays on a shoestring, it is possible without missing out on any of the fun. Just make sure you don’t fall into any of the tourist traps!

Disclosure: This post was written and made possible by Ricky Durrance for Beat the Brochure. 

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Traveling Off-Season to the Algarve, Portugal

A church in Albufeira’s center.

A Winter Getaway

With last weekend being a 3-day weekend in Andalucía, Spain thanks to “Andalucía Day” I made my winter escape across the border to the Algarve region in Portugal. I made the same trip last year and loved the area so much, I couldn’t wait to return. What’s so enchanting about the Algarve? For me, it’s the white-washed buildings, the jagged red cliffs characteristic on the beaches, the hospitable people and the relatively cheap costs compared to the rest of Western Europe.

This looks more like Spring than February.

High-season vs. Low-season

In August, much of Europe shuts down and flees for the coastline. Tourists pour in from all over the world and prices skyrocket in the places still open for business, making this time of the year the most expensive to travel. With the weak dollar against the Euro, consider traveling off-season to lower costs, escape the crowds and get a more authentic feel of a place.

Beautiful door in the center.

Lower Costs: I am not one to over-plan my trips as to allow for planned spontaneity, and have been known to even show up without so much as a hostel booked. This time, I went against my laid-back travel style and booked the room first. Despite this being a last-minute trip, I found an incredible deal at a clean, modern beachfront hotel with a private balcony overlooking the Atlantic, breakfast included. I normally opt for hostels whenever I can, but this deal was so good, it was comparable to the costs of staying in a hostel. With a deal like that, traveling off-season was really starting to win me over…

Sunrise from my private balcony!

Fewer Crowds: Little sucks the charm out of a destination than mobs of sweaty, photo-snapping, fanny-pack wearing tourists. Ok, clearly not all tourists are so typical, but you get the point. In the low-season, which is normally November-March, you have the same sights with fewer people. This means less people in your shots, lower ticket prices, and more.

Rock formations on the beach.

Better Weather: So this one is dependent on exactly what month you come and where you go, but I’m mostly referring to the Mediterranean countries which are notoriously hot in the summer months. So hot you step outside and your clothes stick to you. So hot that going out at certain times of the day is reserved for the crazy. So hot that you take a shower, dry off, step outside, and are just as wet as before. I might be exaggerating slightly on the last example, but the point is, late spring and early fall weather is usually the perfect time to travel. I went to Portugal last weekend, which was February, and was soaking up the sun on the beach. If this doesn’t entice you to travel off-season, I don’t know what will!

Sunrise.

Local Color: I’ve made the point before that when the tourists leave, life carries on, and it isn’t a vacation year-round. Well, traveling between the months that see less tourists means a closer look into the daily life of the locals. This completely enriches a traveling experience for me, and I’ve found shopkeepers, waiters and the like aren’t disillusioned by the onslaught of tourists just yet, meaning friendlier encounters. :)

So what’s holding you back? Would you consider traveling off-season? And if you have, how does your experience compare with traveling high-season?

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I'm Christine - a 25 year old American expat living la vida Española on the Mediterranean coast in Spain!

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My Top 10 Spanish Foods
Alubias Vascas
Tortilla de Patata
Jamón Ibérico de Bellota
Chorizo a la Pimienta
Cocido
Paella
Fabada Asturiana
Bacalao a la Vizcaína
Pan y tomate
Salmorejo




My Recent Flickr Photos