Travelling cheap in Spain
Travelling locally in Spain can be very easy as you have many options with the local buses, cercania (the regional and interregional trains), shared rides or the bicycle if you feel capable of it, depending on the distance.
I’m mainly using a shared car for larger distances if I find one. I like the comfort the car offers as well as meeting people that can give me tips about Spain in general or the area that I’m to visit. If there is no available shared ride then I try to see the buses. Although I like more travelling by train, their prices for long distances are ridiculously high. Imagine that sometimes a plane from Alicante to Barcelona is at half price than the train.
On the other hand, for regional or interregional visits, I do use the train, cercanias. They might be just a bit slower but they offer a good price and the views are great to discover the country side. It also helps me get a bit more acquainted with the local geography and localities as the bus normally goes on the high way and you don’t see many things.
I didn’t use the hitch-hiking yet and honestly I’m not really planning to. And this is not for the safety related aspects (which is also important), but rather because I don’t know that well the areas so to know where to stay and ask.
For the local transportation, in Murcia I only use the tram (when going to UCAM), and whenever I go I try to go by foot or with the scooter. A thing I recommend for visiting the places is to limit as much as possible the local transportation as you may miss many spot beauties from a bus or tram. It might be more tiring and time costly, but if you are for really knowing the city then walking/bicycle/scooter is far better.
For the accommodation part, I’m not a very picky person so I try to go with options like living with others which is free (friends, friends of friends, platforms that offer to share their house) or hostels. I can definitely skip fancy hotels as I’d rather invest my money in seeing more places as I don’t even intend to spend a lot of time in the hotel room. I’m not always looking for something central, but neither very far away from it as I avoid the usage of public transportation as much as I can.
When picking up a place to sleep, I really go with the reviews from different websites and this is not just for the hostels, but also for free hosting platforms. You can easily have surprises that can ruin your trip and that’s definitely something you don’t want and can prevent with a bit of research. What I’m usually doing except reading the reviews, is also to trust my instinct. If I have a lightest doubt about a place from the beginning, I don’t choose it.
Saving money can be also buying breakfast/dinner and eat at the accommodation place. For this aspect though it is important to check before if you have access to a kitchen or storing place (fridge). Even so, I don’t recommend you to think to cook different meals but rather go with the easy-fast option of having salads or cereals, boiling eggs, making toasts or sandwiches. Avoid complicating yourself with meals that need more than 10 minutes to do it. Take into consideration that not all places offer (for free) tea or coffee and some don’t even have oil or vinegar. Try to see in advance if there are and if you really need them, bring them from home (in small quantities).
In big cities with tourism faculties, especially in summer, you can often see students offering free guided tour as part of their practice. Try to see when and at what time they meet and join one. Of course, tips are always welcomed.
And if it is about getting to know better the city try to get in contact previously with people living there. There are many apps and platforms where you can ask locals to give you some tips, join you for a drink or perhaps even spend your whole trip there with you. I always try to go as well to the less touristic places to discover the real city beyond. Ask locals for recommendations for foods and drinks and even places you should go to.
I would definitely not chose from the first the centre restaurants and not necessary for the potential pricy offers, but also because those are known to be more touristic. See where the locals eat just outside the centre. There’s where you’ll get the chance to see the typical food in its own particular way of being cooked.
Not to forget about it, info points in the cities are actually helpful even if you do your ‘homework’ before with the places you want to see. At the info points of course you can get a map and information about the touristic places but they can definitely give you tips of how to spend your time in the city in that particular period. Perhaps are cultural manifestations, concerts, great discounts for a particular event or place, or can recommend you food and beverages from the local cuisine you should try. Tell them how long you plan spending there and they’ll try their best to give you ideas to see a bit of everything and enjoy our tour at the same time.
I’ve seen in many places in Spain the daily menu options and the prices vary from 10-12 euro up to 18-20 euro. The wide majority of them have plenty of food and options to choose from. They often include an appetizer or a soup, a main dish, water or a soft drink and some even have desert; for bigger budgets you can get wine or beer too. If you are not very picky about food, head to one of the confiteria or panaderia and try the local salty and sweet pastry products. Most probably the orange juice will be present to accompany your meal.