Hotels in Spain’s major cities are not cheap – especially those situated near the city center or major train station are priced above €180. So, one of the biggest challenge for my free and easy trip to Spain was to find cheap hotels in Barcelona, Madrid and Seville.
In this Part 2 of the Spain Free and Easy Guide, I will show you tips on where to stay and how to move around so that you can save money and stretch your budget.
Cheap Hotels in Spain
The alternative to paying for expensive hotel room is to look for short-term apartment rental. I stayed 3 nights with my friends in an apartment near Barcelona beach for €30 a room a night. There were free Wifi, a small kitchen and even a washing machine for my laundry. The only inconvenience was having to share the bathroom.
Many apartment owners in Barcelona or Madrid rent out their additional bedrooms or even the whole apartment to tourists! You could get lucky with very cheap rates in superb location when using their services. Price ranged from €25 to €90 per night.
Tip #5: One way to get cheap accommodations is to use the following websites to choose the location and compare prices: AirBnB.com and HomeAway.com.
In Barcelona especially at La Rambla area, there are also many accommodations called Hostals. Noticed it is “Hostal” but not “Hostel” which is a grade higher than the usual student hostels. They usually come with attached bathroom and bath towels but breakfasts are not provided. Many of these hostels have websites and you can book rooms online.
Another website which I used extensively to look for affordable hotels in Spain and other part of Europe is Booking.com.
Tip #6: Find a room that comes with free Wifi. You’ll never know when you need to do some last minute research or check-in your flight. Some hotels charge €10 or more per day for internet access. So do factor this cost in when you book your accommodation.
Europe Rail Pass
Rail Europe Pass is a must-have if you plan to visit two or more cities in Spain. Do note that buying inter-city rail tickets when you are in Spain will cost you a lot more than getting the Europe Rail Pass before you leave your country.
My wife’s friends did not purchase the rail pass in Singapore were shocked to find out that a return ticket between Barcelona and Madrid costs about €240!
Tip #7: Dynasty Travel has a specialized department dealing with Rail Europe Pass. Show them your itinerary and you will be get professional advice on how to commute from one place to another. Though it comes with an admin fee of SGD8 for each train seat reservation, it ensures you a hassle free travel.
Before I traveled to Spain, I went to Dynasty Travel to purchase an Euro Rail Pass at SGD350 for 3 days usage. I actually had a savings of SGD70!
No Taxi unless it’s an Emergency
Tip #8: Do not take a taxi in Spain unless it’s really the last resort! I had the most expensive taxi ride ever in my life when I took taxi back to my hotel on a Sunday night (after 10pm).
It costed me €40 for a 15 mins ride!
When I complained to the taxi driver, he explained that the taxi fare is doubled on a Sunday night after 10pm.
Wise move is to stick to Barcelona’s metro lines which are pretty extensive and they have stops at most of tourist locations. The only issue is you may have to walk 15-20 minutes to your hotel if it is not so near the train station.