Before I left on my trip to Madrid, I made sure all my finances were in order. I paid my bills, deposited money into my savings account, and took care of any minor details that needed to be handled during my vacation. I planned in advance, and was more than ready for my trip mentally, physically, and financially. Although I had a spending allowance way above $100 USD, I thought it would be an interesting challenge to myself to try to survive off $100 USD during my duration in Madrid. How has that worked out for me, you ask? I’ll let you know once my trip is up. 🙂 However, I have come up with 9 tips that will make your travels to Madrid easier on your checkbook.
1) Utilizing public transportation
The trains, buses, and my very own two feet became my best friend during my trip, as it was the most convenient and cheap way to get around town.
The Metro offers a 10-trip pass for €12.20, as well as several types of tourist passes, making it all the easier for the wanderer to find his/her way through town. Public transportation allows the traveler to fully submerge and experience Madrid as more than a tourist.
2) Free exhibits
If you don’t mind taking in Madrid while getting a bit of a workout in, then this is for you! Free tours may sound impossible, but they aren’t. Going on free tours, such as the one offered here, provides you with an opportunity to learn about Madrid from a knowledgable resident while helping you save money you would otherwise spend on a city bus tour.
* as an added bonus, European citizens are allowed free entry into the royal palace Monday-Thursday, 6 PM – 8PM. You’re welcomed. *
Buy a drink, get a small dish of food for free. Buy several drinks, get several small dishes of food for free. Or if you’re lucky enough to find yourself at a bar like El Tigre, you buy one drink and get a plate of several types of finger foods for free. It’s the ultimate food experience for an adventurer dining out on a budget. You’ll get to experience some of Madrid’s specialities, such as their tortilla, for little next to nothing.
4) Shopping with small business owners
Sure, you could go to the ABC Serrano or the El Corte Ingles for your shopping pleasures, but if you’re a visitor such as myself, you’re not really interested in looking in the same mainstream stores that they have back home. Often times in my quest to get somewhere else, I found small boutiques and clothing stores tucked away between bars, restaurants, and pharmacies. Stores such as Confecciones Ana (Calle de Alonso Heredia, 18, 28028 Madrid, Spain) and Beatriz de Castro (Calle de Cartagena, 67, 28028 Madrid, Spain) offer cute and quaint clothing for acceptable prices – especially when there’s a sale. Always keep your eyes and mind open when touring the streets, you never know what you will stumble across.
5) Discount movie day
Movie theaters such as Cine Ideal and Cine Princesa offer discounted movie tickets for Monday showtimes, as well as movies available in English, Spanish, and other native languages.
6) Free jazz music
If the sound of a saxophone puts your mind at ease, then this tip is especially for you. Whether you are very familiar with jazz music, or have never listened to it before today, you should definitely take advantage of free live performances in Madrid. El Imperfecto has free entry into their club Sundays at 8 PM, while Cafe Populart has free entry into their club everyday at 10 PM & 11:15PM.
7) Day trip to the park
A trip to the park is an easy way to get out of the house and into the world for the day. Whether you’re going to listen to the laughter of children, to go bird-watching, or to simply get an extra dose of Vitamin D, these parks in Madrid can offer you that and much more.
- Retiro park
Hours: April – September – 6:00 – 24:00
Address: Plaza de la Independencia 7 Madrid
- Casa de Campo
Hours: Daily all year round
Address: Avenida de Portugal, 28011 Madrid
There are a select number of museums in Madrid that allow free entry into their exhibitions. Taking advantage of these opportunities provides one with the ability to seek beauty and understanding in things abstract.
- Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
Address: Calle de Santa Isabel, 52
Free Days: Mondays 19:00 – 21:00
Wednesdays – Saturdays 19:00 – 21:00
Sundays 13:30 – 19:00
- Museo del Prado
Address: Paseo del Prado
Free Days: Mondays – Saturdays 18:00 – 20:00
Sundays and holidays 17:00 – 19:00
This last tip goes with explanation; if you are in a building that has WiFi, ask for the password and connect immediately!