The numbers are in! For all of you out there wanting real information about how much a 21 day trip to Portugal, Spain, and Morocco actually cost? Find out below, and also hear what we would have done different so you can save even more money!
I'll ignore airfare, we flew from Toronto, but you probably won't. Our itinerary in brief was:
-fly into Lisbon and take a train to Porto
-3 night in Porto
-1 night in Lisbon
-2 nights Lagos
-1 night Villa Real de Santo Antonio
-1 night Sevilla
-3 night in Marrakesh
-2 night desert tour
-2 night Sevilla
-2 night Toledo
-2 night Barcelona
All this cost us $4,241 Canadian units of currency!
And it can cost you a lot less, if you learn from our mistakes!
ACCOMMODATION - $1,305
We usually stay in hostels when we travel. We like the social aspect of them, they're cheap, and the staff can point you in some off the beaten path directions. For this trip all but three of our rooms were private and, for the most part, chose to stay in locations closer to city centers or other things we wanted to see. So if you don't mind dorm rooms or a short distance to travel you could save yourself money here!
This price also includes a 2 night 3 day Sahara desert tour that we bought at the lowest price we could find online of $180 each ($360 total). It included 2 breakfasts, 2 dinners, some guided tours along the way, 1 night in a hotel at mid way point, and best of all a camel trek to a Berber camp and 1 night accommodation there! We looked around and there were many companies running basically the same tour, but this was a great experience and we highly recommend it.
However, it is a lot of time in a car. The final day is a 10 hour drive back to Marrakech with stops every 2 to 3 hours, be warned! Also when we arrived at our first Riad in Marrakech we were informed that we could have gone on the same tour for half the cost if we had booked through him! So if you are going to Marrakech and want to go on this tour book your stay at Riad Espangne and look for the owner Mohamed to send you an e-mail with offers on these tours! You won't regret it and you may find a tour that's even more to your liking!
TRAVEL - $988
We love trains when we travel in Europe they add to the adventurer vibe going on. So we this trip we bought an 8 day Portugal/Spain rail pass. Rail passes are great, you can hop on and off trains, get a 15% discount if you travel as a pair, and you get to rely on train networks that are very well run and reliable.
On the other hand you still usually have to pay some sort of reservation fee, trains can only go where tracks have been built, and the hop on and off feature only works on regional trains that don't need reservations. Also we bought an 8 day pass when we were still in the early planning stages of our trip. We thought that we'd have time somewhere for a quick day trip, maybe along to some of the other beaches along the Algarve, or maybe pop to Cordoba for an afternoon. What did happen was that we had our hands full with the places we picked and actually could have gotten away with a 6 day pass and saved ourselves $150.
SPENDING BUDGET - $1,948
We consider ourselves travelers but we still do touristy things so we give ourselves a $100 a day budget (68 Euros, 760 Dirhams). This includes food, entertainment, local travel, and shopping. Some days we went over, some days under, but we finished the trip $152 under budget.
There are loads of ways that we could have trimmed this down. Very rarley did we do our own cooking, but we did use grocery stores for a few picnics. Some admission to some attractions could have been secured with slight discounts online ahead of time, and we didn't use the internet to find our restaurants just our wits, which I'm sure lead to some over priced meals.
We already admitted to ourselves during the trip that we had given ourselves a pace that was at times hard to keep up with, and we felt ourselves rushed. To do our itinerary properly we should have given ourselves at least one more night every European stop after Lisbon. With the time we had we should have focused on a smaller region more intensly and really get to know the places we pick!