Holidays can be so expensive and might seem completely off the cards as a student. My friend and I had always wanted to go to Barcelona, but every time we looked it was ridiculously expensive and we would never have been able to afford flights and to stay in a hotel. Around easter time, we had a look just to see how much it would cost, and managed to get very affordable flights because we were booking far in advance (under £100 for return) and found a cheap Air BnB to stay in. So, last weekend, we packed our suitcases and flew out to Spain!
Barcelona was such a beautiful city, with plenty of culture to explore and amazing buildings to look at, while also having beautiful beaches to relax on. If you’re looking for somewhere to explore – and considering if you went out-of-summer time then it would be even cheaper – I would highly recommend it! I thought I would share a list of things we did that were not too expensive:
La Sagrada Familia – this church was even more amazing in person that it looks in any photographs I’d seen before! The queues are so long that you have to book far in advance anyway, and it’s not the cheapest at around 20 euros but it is well worth it.
Park Guell – Anthony Gaudi’s architecture was amazing, and again if you book in advance it is only around 7 euros. Be warned, there’s a lot of steps to climb to reach the top of the park though!
The Picasso Museum – as an art student, I couldn’t not give it a visit! It was a great way to see his development from a young Fine Art student to his artistic experimentation with Cubism. It was meant to be 14 euros but we managed to get in completely free after showing our student ID – result!
The beach - fun fact, the sand on this beach is actually desert sand that was imported from Egypt when the beach was built for the Olympic games. The beautifully clear sea and the soft sand made it such a nice beach to sunbathe on, with lots going on in terms of bars and restaurants around this area too.
A bike tour – I would definitely recommend doing a tour of some kind (bike, bus, whatever!) to get to see a little bit of everything in the city before you fully explore everything.
Cheap local restaurants – we would share 4/5 tapas dishes and it worked out about 10 euros each, and the food was really nice. It’s also nice to experience what the locals would eat rather than overpriced touristy restaurants.
10 Metro tickets for 10 euros – this wasn’t that necessary, because we were able to walk most places. Obviously depending on where you stay that is, but when its 32 degrees at midday, being on an air-conditioned train was preferable!
Tips on looking for affordable trips away:
* Book far in advance – and for times that aren’t during the summer
* Look for flight times that won’t be as busy – for example, don’t fly out at the weekend, but try flying really early or really late and midweek
* Airbnb’s – we found this a great and cheap way to experience living in the city as a local would – you’re not paying for an amazing hotel experience but it’s a bed to sleep on, and when your exploring the city for the whole day you’ll be so tired that it won’t bother you too much, as long as it’s safe and quiet. Just check that it has got a high rating, good reviews and is in a convenient location.
* The more the merrier – it was just us two that went, but the more people, the cheaper the cost of the room/s!
* Don’t feel the need to eat out all the time – if your apartment has a kitchen, use local supermarkets to buy cheap food, which is fun to explore in a different country anyway!
I hope this was helpful for any students looking to book a holiday away – you don’t have to spend lots of money to have a good time! Once you’re in the city, there’s so much to do for free anyway, I love just wandering around and taking in all the sights! I hope everyone is having a good summer.