Since I’ve been blogging, I’ve advocated being frugal for the sake of something greater. For me, I save money on rent and entertainment so I can afford to travel. Now that I’ve arrived from my 10-day trip to Spain, I’d like to share how I was able to do it for $2,000.
Last time I went to Europe, I stayed in hostels the whole time and paid about $40 a night. That’s $40 for crowded rooms, drunk people coming in at 3 a.m. and no privacy. This time, I only spent $20 a night. How? By using AirBnb. We were able to stay in apartments that had WiFi, air conditioning and laundry facilities for only $20 a night per person. Granted, Spain is cheaper than many countries, but still, it’s a great deal considering we could make coffee at home, wash clothes and keep snacks in the fridge. Unless you’re dying to meet lots of fellow travelers at a hostel, I would recommend staying in an apartment on AirBnb.
Total cost: $212
See here. Total cost: $926
For this, I try to online research about what other people spend on food in my destination to gauge my own budget. Keep in mind if you’re the type to get wine and gelato with every meal while you’re on vacation. Make room for those luxuries in your budget so you won’t have to say no while your stomach wants to say yes.
Be sure to include airport food in your budget – often it’ll be as expensive or more than the food at your destination. I also brought KIND bars with me so I could have a snack if I needed one. Don’t be too stingy though – it’s better to spend $5 on a bottle of water than be dehydrated.
Total cost: $450
I had budgeted $100 for shopping, which included gifts for people back home as well as my own souvenirs. The last few times I’ve traveled I haven’t bought many things for myself, but if you are more of a spendthrift, then calculate that in your shopping budget. When buying gifts though, I try to be more generous than not.
Total cost: $84
I had budgeted $200 for attractions and found that most of the time, we just walked around the city. That’s not to say we didn’t see things, but parks, plazas and markets are a great way to see the city without spending hours taking tours of arts museums.
Total cost: $55.
I hadn’t planned on paying for the metro in my budget, but luckily it worked out. I didn’t spend as much on sightseeing and shopping as I thought, and I had planned on one more day trip than we ended up doing. If you are going to use the metro, see what passes are best. In Madrid we bought day passes, while in Barcelona we used 10-trip passes that ended up lasting about 2 days.
Total cost: $290 (this includes a high-speed train ride to Barcelona and one day trip to Segovia)
I spent about $20 in fees on this trip. Most of that came from getting money at the ATM. Since I was aware that my bank charged $5 every time I took cash out, I could have taken a bigger sum at the beginning of the trip and only carried $100 with me at any time.
How did I pay for this trip?
My funding for the trip came from the two “extra” paychecks I’ll get in May and November. I know it’s bad to pay for something with money you haven’t received yet, but I’m banking on keeping my job. I also got a small gift from my grandmother (and even though I know she can’t read this, I’m very grateful).
Even though it seems like I had a fairly frugal vacation, it was still fun. I ate lots of gelato (sometimes twice a day), had croissants for breakfast and drank wine at least once a day. I also walked for hours around Barcelona parks, looked through antique stores and splurged when I wanted to. If you’re careful, even $2,000 can pay for a great vacation.
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