RTW Budget: Barcelona

Barcelona is far more than a captain of Spanish industry – it’s the capital of historic Catalonia. Spain’s northeastern corner is the wealthiest region in the country – so rich, in fact, that many locals want so secede from the rest of Spain so they can fatten their pockets even further. So is budget travel off limits here? I spent two weeks finding out.

Transportation: $122.32

Flight on British Airways $58 Aerobus to city center $6.52 5 day metro card $35.34 2 T10 metro cards $22.46

Accommodations: $633.15

14 nights in a private room at Sant Jordi Sagrada Familia $633.15


Dining: $101.40

1 breakfast at Macxi Pa $0.94 2 lunches at Mercat do Boqueria $9.29 1 lunch at Cafe Caracas $3.33 1 lunch at Cafe Bar El Cims $4.98 1 dinner at Aladdin $14.64 1 dinner at Blue $15.44 2 week’s worth groceries at Mercat do Boqueria and Sorli Discau $30.71 6 ice cream cones at Jijonenca and Chocolat Box $17.13 1 candy souvenir at Happy Pills $4.94

Entertainment: $118

Casa Batllo audio tour $24.95 Sagrada Familia discount entry $8.07 Devour Barcelona tour $84.98

Miscellaneous: $30.40

replace lost cardigan $11.08 tip for Devour Barcelona tour guide $5.51 sunscreen $13.81

Total: 1,005.27

Average Spent Per Day: $71.80

Casa Batllo 1c

How I Saved

  • Using frequent flier miles
    • By cashing in a fairly small portion of my American Airlines frequent flier miles, I only had to pay for the taxes and fees on my flight into Barcelona. Otherwise, this could have set me back a couple hundred dollars easily.  Because British Airways doesn’t skimp on in-flight meals, I also got to tuck away a few things for later and bring my dining costs down too.
  • Staying in a less desirable neighborhood
    • If I ever go back to Barcelona, I’m definitely staying in El Born – an artsy district with great energy and a prime location for visiting other popular neighborhoods like the Barri Gotic and Barceloneta. For this trip, I knew I wanted a private room, so to keep that cost down, I stayed in a less exciting area, about a 10 to 15 minute walk from the Sagrada Familia.
  • Being flexible with my plans
    • The Sagrada Familia offers ticket sales online, and if the convenience of having to wait in only one line at Gaudi’s seminal cathedral isn’t enough for you, you can also get a better price. I paid less than half the standard entry rate by logging in and finding a last minute discount for an entry time near the end of the day.
  • Skipping the nightlife
    • Barcelona has great nightlife, it’s true, and when I arrived at my hostel, I was stoked to learn their staff organized cover-free outings every night. Then I met the actual organizer and found his personality so odious (I’ll forever refer to him as Chuck Yeager, after the pilot who first broke the sound barrier), I just knew I wouldn’t enjoy myself. By staying in after dinner, I saved a lot of headaches and a lot of money that would have been otherwise wasted on alcohol.
  • Wising up on public transport
    • When I was researching my trip, I made a note to only purchase T10 metro cards in Barcleona. Too bad I didn’t read those notes before my flight landed. At the end of a long travel day, I let myself get suckered in to buying a multi-day metro pass. Maybe if you travel at a breakneck pace and ride the metro in Barcelona five times a day, that cost could be worthwhile. As is, I saved at least $40 by wising up and switching to the T10 card, and could have saved $20 more if I’d been more vigilant at the start of my trip.

Want more info on how much RTW travel really costs? See how much I spent on five days in Reykjavik.

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