Spain is one of the world’s most popular travel destinations and has long attracted tourists on a budget hoping to enjoy sun, sea, and sand without breaking the bank.
Inflation has risen dramatically across Europe in the past year, and this also applies to Spain. The result? Many tourists have been left shocked by how much their usually affordable Spanish holidays are costing in 2023. The cost of hotels and accommodation, public transport, and food and drink have all skyrocketed. Hotel prices were 11% higher in March 2023, when compared to the same month in 2022, for example.
Hoping to travel to Spain this summer without spending a fortune? Here are some top money saving tips:
Book Your Accommodation In Advance
Unless you want to take a chance on securing a last-minute deal, you should book both your flights and accommodation as early as possible.
The prices of both flights and accommodation tend to increase the closer it gets to your chosen departure date. The more availability there is on a flight, the cheaper it is likely to be, for example. This is because crowds drive up demand, and then you will be charged a premium.
It’s important to remember that summer is a popular time for both international and domestic travel in Spain. This means that if you don’t book in advance, you may struggle to find any availability at all. Spain's Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Héctor Gómez predicts that Spain will receive between 52.3 and 54.8 million foreign tourists during the summer months from May to October 2023.
Book Attraction Tickets in Advance
We may sound like a broken record, but booking in advance is the best way to save money: and that applies to attraction tickets too!
Not only do many of Spain’s most popular attractions become fully booked during the high season, if you can be flexible on the times and days you visit, discounts may be available. Some attractions will offer discounts for weekday or nighttime visits, for example.
You should also check out the local tourist information office before you visit any attraction, as they often have discounted tickets or money off vouchers available for tourists. If you plan to visit more than one attraction, multi-attractive tickets can also save you money. Barcelona’s Articket BCN for example can save you up to 45 percent on visiting the city’s most famous art museums.
Shop Around Before Booking Your Accommodation
Commission is built into every aspect of your holiday that you book. Many people will have a preferred booking website, but before you head straight to booking.com, shop around and compare all of the options on the market.
Often competitors will offer huge booking discounts on certain trips, and you may find that free cancellations or added extras (such as free breakfasts or discount codes on future trips) are built into the offering too.
You could also consider avoiding hotels altogether and living like a local by using Airbnb or self-catering property rentals. Vrbo is worth exploring too, as it is a platform similar to Airbnb but often offers better value and offers more basic options for travelers with lower budgets.
Finally, don’t be afraid to approach hotels or private letting agencies directly. Often their prices are cheaper if you book them direct because they are saving money by not having to pay a fee to a booking platform or agent.
Use Public Transport
Taxis may be a quick and convenient way of getting around in Spain, but they can also be expensive. If you’re on a budget, then why not use public transport instead? Spain has an excellent public transport system which is both affordable and easy to use.
Visit Renfe, the Spanish national train company, to look for train tickets and check out prices. Keep your eyes open for deals, which are offered periodically and make train travel even cheaper.
If you’re travelling through any of Spain’s larger cities and using the metro system, or even taking the bus, then look into tourist cards for the number of days of your stay. These offer unlimited travel and will save you money if you are planning to make several trips around the city each day.
If you’re not planning to travel extensively by public transport, or if you’re visiting one of the Spanish cities that are easily explored on foot, such as Valencia and Seville, then you may not need to fork out for transport at all. Just wear comfortable shoes and start working!
If you need to get from A to B but your destination isn’t easily accessible by public transportation or on foot, then you could consider using a ride share website. By sharing expenses with others, it’s estimated that you can save up to 75 percent of the price of just going alone. Popular ride share websites in Spain include BlaBla Car, Compartir, Coche and AmiCoche.
If you aren’t tied to travelling within the summer holidays then try to travel outside of the main holiday period. Not only is August a busy and expensive month for tourism, many businesses in Spain’s larger cities will shut down in August, as residents head to the cooler coastal or mountain regions.
The combinations of locals travelling and tourists arriving means that prices are only driven higher in August. If you do have to travel in the heat of the summer, therefore, try travelling during the beginning or middle of July instead. This will save you money and may mean that there are a wider range of accomodation options available too.
Don’t Eat in Tourist Traps
It should go without saying, but if you eat in a restaurant in the heart of a city's most popular tourist destinations then you will pay more. Every local in Spain knows that the closer you are to the sea, the more you will pay for your meal, so avoid sea views if you’re on a budget too. Walk a few streets away from the seashore, or from the big attractions, and save some money.
You should also check the prices on menus before you sit down, and don’t be fooled by tapas! Whilst it may seem cheap because each dish is only between €4 and €10, you will need plenty of dishes to fill up! For a better value option, it may not be in the spirit of authenticity, but try international dishes instead. Pizza slices, filled baked potatoes and noodles are all both filling and affordable.
Are you thinking of moving to Spain? Or looking for a holiday home that you can let when you’re not using it? Then why not get in touch with our locally based property experts, who are perfectly placed to help make you dream of Spanish home ownership a reality. We’re already excited to work with you!