After all, unforgettable trips often start with spontaneity!
But by their very nature, improvisation and spontaneity are at odds with budgeting. And this unfortunately leads to unpredictable spendings.
I stepped off the first plane in Palma de Mallorca. The first stop of what would turn out to be a 25 days experience, and soon to be followed by Bacelona, Madrid, and Valencia.
|Purchase||Departure||Take-off → Landing||From → To|
|04/07/2022||05/07/2022||17:25 → 20:50||London → Palma|
|07/07/2022||09/07/2022||07:20 → 08:15||Palma → Barcelona|
|19/07/2022||21/07/2022||11:50 → 13:20||Barcelona → Madrid|
|23/07/2022||25/07/2022||07:05 → 08:05||Madrid → Valencia|
|27/07/2022||29/07/2022||13:20 → 14:55||Valencia → London|
Now for the usual disclaimer... Kindly remember that this is not a scientific study by any stretch of imagination. Rather, it is a fun exercise not to be taken too seriously.
I stayed flexible on departure dates and considered alternative destination cities. I monitored flight prices with Skyscanner.
I ended up booking a one-way flight ticket the day prior to departure to Palma de Mallorca. I initially had no plans to land in Palma but it was the only cheap flight from London Gatwick at that time. So Palma it was!
The same goes for accomodations. I made no plans where to stay beyond the first night of arrival. Once there, I never booked accomodations more than two days in advance. The reasons being that (i) I did not want to be stuck in a bad place, and (ii) I did not know where I would be beyond two days! I made most bookings via Booking.com.
In the end, I stayed 4 nights in Palma de Mallorca, 12 nights in Barcelona, 4 nights in Madrid, and 4 nights in Valencia. I was first interested in finding out which type of expenses would dominate.
To find out, I broke down my expenses into five categories:
- Accommodation: hostels exclusively.
- Food and Drinks: groceries, restaurants, bars, street food and takeaways.
- Transportation: all transportation expenses to and within Spain. Here you will find flights, public transports, and taxis.
- Entertainment: exhibition and gallery admissions, cinema tickets, and attractions.
- Miscellaneous: generic shopping, laundry, and ATM fees.
The Bottom Line
Spendings remained constant with no obvious outliers. Total expenditures ultimately culminated at €1,814.4 .
Total price for the flying tickets was 64.9% of transportation expenses.
This is mainly explained by the cost of accomodations at peak holiday season (i.e. July and August) -- assuming all costs in the other categories are season-independent.
As it turns out, booking everything in advance is often more expensive. Hostels' booking prices are volatile. And from experience, you often get the best deal by searching directly on the spot.
Most importantly, I reached all the objectives I set myself to achieve before leaving!
That's All Good and Well, But...
Is improvised travel a blessing or a curse?
I guess it all depends on what kind of traveller you are. Not everyone travels the same way. Are you willing to sacrifice comfort for a high level of freedom? Are you willing to leave some things to chance ?
If you answered "yes" to all of the above, I want to hear from you!