We all do it. We take a look at our favorite pro-climber’s social media and think “Well gee, if only someone was paying me to travel to some far and distant land to climb at an incredible exotic crag. I could never afford to do that.” The problem is that this really isn’t true.
That attitude sucks. You can totally travel where you want to and it doesn’t have to be as expensive as you think it might. Sure, you may need to save some money, and have a trick or two up your sleeve, but I think we can all agree that strategically saving some money to go on an amazing trip to Spain is a worthwhile thing to do.
Here is how I did a trip to Mallorca for a week and saved money where I could. Truthfully I could have been even more of a dirtbag and made this trip even more frugally, but I like to ball out, even when I’m on a budget. Either way, I had the trip of a lifetime and didn’t spend a down payment on a car to do so. Read on to see how I did it.
Getting Cheap Flights
Flights are obviously a big one when it comes to keeping costs down.
I use a service called Scott’s Cheap Flights to get deals on flights. My flight to Mallorca was a whopping $450 round trip out of Baltimore with baggage included.*
*Yes, I know that these kind of deals may seem related to the fact that the East Coast is a little closer to Spain than California, but there are still deals to be had from all over. See below. Booking far in advance definitely helps as well.
Here is an example email from Scott’s, showing you that flight deals to Mallorca (PMI) definitely crop up every now and again.
If you want to sign up-it’s a $40/year subscription. My boyfriend and I split the subscription. Buy one flight and you more than make up the subscription cost.
Round Trip Flight Cost with 1 checked bag: $450
Travel to the Airport and Parking
I will spare you the boring details. Because of a friend with a lot of points at The Parking Spot, I only ended up having to pay $18 to park for the week. It would have been $88 without the certificate. Hopefully you can just take an Uber or have a friend drive you to the airport to avoid any of this nonsense.
Gas Round trip to the airport (1 tank): $30
Airport Transit and Parking: $48
Accommodations, Guiding, and Transit in Mallorca
When I travel internationally for climbing trips I always go with a guided service. Not only is this beneficial from a climbing standpoint, it is extremely cost-effective.
A Rockbusters Trip to Mallorca includes:
- Transit to and from the Mallorca Airport
- Transit around the island for the week
- Guiding & coaching all week
- 7 Nights in a camp site/hostel
- Any gear you need besides shoes/harness
- Opportunity to pay pro chef Erin Lingle who is on the trip to cook you dinner every night (see below in food section for more details)
For reference, a rental car in Mallorca would cost about $130 for the week. (see example below). And then you’d have to pay for gas and on and on.
In terms of accommodations, we staying in a camp site and hostel called Hippocampo. It’s a super cool little place.
It is not the ritziest, but the beds were comfortable and the showers were good. You hardly end up spending any time at camp anyway since you are out climbing most of the day. Check out my post on the trip for more details about the accommodations.
Total for accommodations/transit/guiding: $650
*Note that I received a promotional coupon for 20% off the Rockbusters trip since I was on their email list. This helped save quite a chunk of change and they have sales throughout the year. I would recommend subscribing to the email list if you plan on attending one of their trips.
Food & Drink
Airport food is expensive, and it sucks. I had two big meals during my entire travel (mostly when I was sitting around airports when I flew out on Friday). Mainly, I subsisted off of the in-flight meals.
Total food in transit: $63.79
Once I got to Mallorca, our group was taken to a grocery store to buy food for breakfast, lunch and crag snacks. I spent a pretty nominal amount on groceries.
Total groceries for the week: $66.39
For dinner we were fortunate to have pro chef Erin Lingle cooking for us and making sure we had plenty of wine and desert too. The cost was 15 Euros per night. I had six delicious and nutritious meals cooked by her. Also, the benefit of not having to cook after a long day at the crag was pretty incredible.
Total cost for 6 dinners cooked by Erin: $112
The last night we went out on the town. So we only really dined out for one night and it was really good. I definitely think Erin was a better chef than the food we at on the town, however.
Dinner and some wine on the town: $45.55
Breakfast the morning of departure: $10
Beers and Cocktails for the week: $30
Total Food and Booze: $327.73
Swimsuits and Chalk
I was mortified at the thought of climbing in a bikini—just seemed like a bad idea. So I bought a couple of pairs of swim shorts from Athleta on sale. Very glad I did.
Total for bathing suits $44.99
I didn’t buy liquid chalk, but I should have. Since this is practically a necessity, so let’s add this as an invetible deep water solo expense too. Friction Labs Liquid Chalk
Total for liquid chalk $19.
So how much did this grand adventure come out to be in full?
GRAND TOTAL $1491.72
So yeah, it is no small chunk of change, but I know a lot of people spend about $1000 just flying to Europe. Not bad what it is all said and done.
Here are some more thoughts and tips to frugalize your adventures in the Mediterranean.
Avoid Currency Exchange Fees & International Charge Fees
Before you go international, I would highly recommend two things.
- Order Euros from your bank way ahead of time. Getting euros at the airport will definitely cost you more than ordering them from your bank. Check out this nifty article from nerd wallet for more guidance on the subject.
- Make sure you have a credit card with no international fees. I would recommend the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Annual fee is only $95, it has a 50,000 point sign-up bonus (AKA nearly enough points for a free round trip flight to Europe), and it has a ton of other sweet perks! This is a great card for travel–even if you’re only going on one awesome trip to Mallorca. I use this card regularly myself, if you want to apply use my affililiate link below (in full transparency, yes, I will get points if you use my link. But the card is perfect for this trip and I wouldn’t recommend it if it wasn’t a smart move). As always, feel free to email me if you have any questions about the CSP at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Earn 50,000 bonus points with Chase Sapphire Preferred. I can be rewarded, learn more.
Other money-saving thoughts
- I made the mistake of thinking we were camping so I brought a sleeping pad/sleeping bag, etc. Long story short I didn’t need any of that so I could have saved myself the trouble of checking a bag. So when you pack, pack light and you can avoid baggage fees too! My Gregory day pack holds an insane amount of stuff, so get yourself a nice back pack if you don’t have one already.
- Buying airport food definitely sucks. I could have saved a lot of money if I had brought my own food to eat.
- Travel rewards are also an awesome way to get free flights, etc. I won’t get into the weeds of travel rewards in this article here, but If you are interested in learning the ways of leveraging credit card signup bonuses to get free flights, I would highly recommend it. See below for a few resources that will give you a good start.
I hope you are inspired to take an amazing trip and keep the costs as minimal as possible. If want to hear more about my trip to Mallorca, check out my post about–more details about the fun stuff can be found there!
If you have any questions about any of the above, leave a comment or shoot me an email at Senderellastory@gmail.com
Cheers and happy travels!