Everyone who knows me well knows I love to travel. I take every chance I get to get out of Dallas and visit a new place. They also know how frugal I am. I managed to spend two weeks in Barcelona, Spain spending less than $3,000 for the entire trip ( flight & everything). In this post I want to share with you some tips on how a frugal girl like me travels, so you can expand your horizons and travel more.
Bring Down The Accommodation Costs
I was lucky to have an opportunity to stay with friends which cost me $20 or less per night. If you don’t know anyone you can stay with, you need to make new friends 😉 But seriously, the next best thing is Airbnb and hostels. As I have written in my previous posts, it’s a great way to save money on accommodations and make new friends along the way. In Barcelona, I particularly love Jam Hostel. I met some great people from that one. If you are going to go with a hotel, don’t forget to check out Hotel Tonight that has some great last-minute deals on hotels. You can always find a place to stay in Barcelona, so it’s not something you have to book way in advance.
Chose Excursions Wisely.
Going into every single museum could turn out to be costly as a lot of them can be around $30 dollars or more. For me personally, given how ADHD I am, it would also be torturous. I would suggest picking a few based on your particular areas of interest and foregoing the rest. I love architecture and music so I made sure I visited Sagrada de Familia and Palau De La Musica. Both of those were definitely worth the cost to me. Another thing to be on the look out for is the free museum day on first Sunday of each month. If you happen to be there on that day definitely worth taking advantage of.
Take Advantage Of Public Transportation
Barcelona has an amazing and super easy to use public transportation system. Their subway and bus systems are connected and you only need one ticket to use both. I suggest taking advantage of the T10 pass which gives you 10 rides on either a bus or metro for just 10 euros. This could significantly lower your transportation costs as compared to using a taxi. The train ride from the airport to my friend’s house cost me less than 5 euros compared to $35 minimum a taxi would have cost. Don’t be scared, look up the public transportation options when you visit a new city, download the public transit app to google maps and ride on.
Eat Out Less And Cook More
Trying local food is one of my favorite things to do when traveling. And luckily in Barcelona, it’s very affordable due to the nature of tapas. But if you’re trying to stick to a budget try limiting how often you sit down for a meal. Even if it’s just breakfast or lunch that you cook yourself. Barcelona has some amazing farmer’s markets. The most famous one is Mercat De Santa Caterina off Rambla street. If I were you I’d skim through Rambla street (huge tourist trap) and head straight for the market. There you will find an abundance of meats, cheeses, olives, seafood, fruits, and veggies. And of course, my rule of thumb is to stay away from restaurants at or near major landmarks, aka Rambla street. Those tend to be overpriced and mediocre at best when it comes to quality.
Go With Friends
One of the greatest things from traveling with friends, apart from their amazing company, of course, is the cost savings that come from splitting everything across multiple people. I have time and time again noticed how much less expensive dinners and activities become when we share them with friends. My accommodation point is a perfect example. Even if you’re set and stone on renting a hotel room, sharing it with a friend brings down the cost in half. It’s a no-brainer f.or me and a lot more fun.
Don’t try to see EVERYTHING in one visit.
This is a continuation of my second point about activities. There is no way I could have been able to experience everything Barcelona, as well as surrounding areas, have to offer during my two weeks there. But I sure did explore a whole lot of the city by foot, got to see how the locals live, experienced their culture and norms, and got a feel for what the city is like. I know there’s still so much more and that is why I didn’t try to see it all in one visit. I always love leaving some things out so I have a reason to come back.
Take Advantage Of The Freebies
Last but not least walking is still free, and there’s a lot to learn by walking the city streets. Another option is the walking tours which are almost free (you tip at the end of the tour). Those could be hit or miss, but usually fun. One of my personal favorite ways to get to know the city is to wander around, making a few stops at a whole in the wall places, meeting people and seeing the sunset on the beach.There are always ways to enjoy experiences in a new city without breaking the bank. We just have to do a little research and get creative.
Hope you find this useful and please don’t wait to travel until you’re 60.