This is something that is starting to excite me. I am going to have the opportunity to travel in Spain as a digital nomad. And if things go to plan, I will be able to travel other areas in Europe as well.
I’ve previously written a post about travelling as a digital nomad in Paris, which wasn’t as expensive as I originally thought. So I wanted to see if the same thing could be achieved in Spain. And from the research and planning that I’ve conducted so far, it looks like it will be a similar case.
Living in Spain isn’t going to be as cheap as travelling in Thailand, Cambodia or Indonesia. But there are ways to maximise the travel experience and to enjoy the immersion in the local culture.
Here’s how I plan to do it.
Buy a one-way ticket to Spain.
I’m flying to Malaga for a friend’s party, but if I had more time I would fly into Madrid. I’m flying from Australia and if you book in advance, you can get one-way flights for just under $900. If you book this in advance, you may save a few hundred dollars more. This will account for the bulk of your cost.
Take out Euros via the ATM.
The first mistake that I made was taking out Euros from the currency exchange. Opt for the cash rate from your bank or even opt for specific travel cards that will allow you to take out foreign currency without excessive fees. Alternatively, you can use your credit card whilst abroad, but check the terms for any additional fees that may be incurred from any transactions.
Plan to travel via local transport.
Travel around Spain by bus.
I was able to find the bus terminal that has intercity buses. I was able to travel from Malaga to Granada for just under 12 Euros. The bus is modern and quite comfortable. You can book tickets at the bus terminal or on the ALSA website.
There are intercity buses that you can use to travel from one place to the other. One of the buses that I found was
Note: There are the unlimited bus ticket options available, which do provide good value for money if you plan to travel to a new city everyday. However, if you are like me and you want to travel and enjoy a stay in one place for some time before moving to the next place, then you may want to consider purchasing bus tickets as and when you need them.
Travel around Spain by train.
There are several train connections that can get you from one part of the country to the other in a couple of hours. They are cheaper to take than flying, but it is more expensive than taking a plane. There are the fast trains that can get you to Malaga from Madrid in less than 3h. But it will set you back at least $100 in the travel fare.
Alternatively, you can opt for the slower train on the RENFE train network. 2h travel should cost approximately 20 Euros.
You can also read a more extensive guide on travelling around Spain by train on Seat 61.
Rent a car or a scooter if need be.
There are certain places where you can rent a car or scooter for a day for a fairly inexpensive price. The country seems fairly small and if you decided to do inter-city day trips, you could actually rent the vehicle only on those days where you know you are going to travel to those locations.
In my case, I am planning to base myself in Marbella. From there, I will rent a scooter or a vehicle and drive to Seville and along the coastline. There’s approximately 200-300km that can be experienced by driving.
A couple of the sites that I used to compare car hire and scooter hire prices are below.
I didn’t get to find many campervan hire options. But I did see a few that were interesting. The cost was fairly pricey per month, so I won’t be opting for campervan travel. If you register as a Spanish resident, you can then purchase a vehicle and travel around the country, which will be the cheapest option. If you don’t mind spending the extra money, you can compare or hire a campervan.
Use the Lonely Planet Travel Guide for Spain
I want to enjoy the experience as much as possible. The Lonely Planet travel guides go into detail about where to visit, what to see and what you should experience while you are travelling. I will use the city guides along the southern Spanish Coastline to guide me in my travels.
This was tricky for me at first and really impacted my decision on how to travel in Spain. However, I was able to find set a budget of $30 a day for cheap accommodation. (This will allow me to budget $930 a month for accommodation). I plan to save on accommodation costs by doing overnight buses when possible as well.
The only way I could find this option originally was by staying at hostels and renting a bed. I could find accommodation deals for just under $25 a night. However, I’ve been able to find deals for $30-40AUD a night to either rent a room or a studio from someone on AirBnb.
This provides a good option for me and I can adjust my flexibility to stay in different accommodation during my stay. At this stage, I’m thinking to stay up to 5 days in a city and enjoy the experience.
There may also be other deals available to people travelling in the country. I had looked online to compare the hotels, but they were more pricey at $100+AUD a night.
There’s going to be alot for me to try when it comes to food. The biggest mistake travellers make is eating out all of the time instead of purchasing items from the local supermarket. There’s AuChan and Mercado, which provide very good shopping deals. I do believe that if you are travelling solo, it’s possible to budget $60-100 dollars a week for groceries.
I don’t want to sacrifice the local food experience, but I do want to make my money stretch as far as possible.
When it comes to eating out, it seems like it is pretty affordable to eat out if you want go to a café, enjoy some tapas or bocadillos.
Local activities to try whilst I’m there.
I studied Spanish over 15 years ago in university and I would love to practice speaking with a local. I may engage in a language exchange in order to help me improve my Spanish speaking skills.
It would be great to find an area where I can run, do weights and perhaps even join in with the locals (such as playing soccer).
Have you travelled in Spain? What do you think?
Let me know in the comments below.