I'm 30 & This Is How Much I Spent On My 15-Day Honeymoon To Spain

Welcome to Away Game, a Refinery29 series where we tag along as real millennial women embark on trips around the world and track their travel expenses down to the last cent. Here, we offer a detailed, intimate account of when, where, and how our peers spend their vacation days and disposable income: all the meals, adventures, indulgences, setbacks, and surprises.
This week's travel diary: A 30-year-old costume designer eats her way through Spain.
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Age: 30
Occupation: Costume Designer
Salary: $160,000
Travel Companion: Husband
Husband’s Salary: $20,000 (plus income from investments)
Hometown: Brooklyn
Trip Location: Spain
Trip Length: 15 days
Annual # Of Vacation Days: 0 (I am technically freelance so any time off I get is just unemployment)
Companion’s # of Vacation Days: 0 (he’s currently changing careers and is not working)
Flight from NYC: $1,036 base fare plus an extra $536 to select our seats and get extra legroom since my husband is tall
Train from Madrid to Seville: $140
Bus Seville to Granada: $78
Flights to/from Majorca: $377
Rental Car (Majorca): $108
Total: $2,275
Airbnb Private Apartments: $1,591 (Avg. $113/night taxes and fees included)
We generally only use Airbnb if we’re staying somewhere for more than one night. We love having a kitchen, laundry, and enough space to decompress. I also love that, by staying in an apartment or someone’s guest house, we end up in a neighborhood we probably never would have gone to had we not been staying there.
Pre-vacation spending:
Mani-pedi: $60
Face masks for plane: $10 (I look like a psycho but they seriously save my skin)
My parents take care of our dog and car while we’re gone. It’s a huge help and saves us a ton. Only thing we have to pay is the train back after we’ve dropped our pup off: $23
Total: $93
Post-vacation spending:
Though we once got an Italian speeding ticket one year post-vacation (seriously, watch out for this), so far we haven’t gotten any Spanish speeding tickets!

Travel Day

3 p.m. — We head to the train to the airport since it’s cheaper and faster than a cab. We had planned on walking, but it takes a longer to get out the door and I’m anxious about missing the train, so we take a short Uber to the station and we get our tickets and are on the train without an issue. $24
6 p.m. — Since we checked-in online, we get to our gate with time to spare. I wasn’t able to choose a meal online so, since I’m not confident about the meal being vegetarian, I look for some food to buy. In the entire terminal there is only one place selling vegetarian options so, after much running around, I find a sandwich to tide me over plus one for my husband, M., since we have no idea what the food situation on the plane is $16
Daily Total: $40

Day One

7 a.m. — We land ahead of schedule in Madrid and breeze through customs and baggage check because it’s so early. Neither of us slept on the plane (I can never sleep on planes, I just read and then load on sheet masks before we land to wake up). Our lovely flight attendant gave us a bottle of wine in celebration of our honeymoon so we add that to our baggage. We head towards the train to the city center but, in my jet lagged state and with very unclear directions, I accidentally buy Metro tickets instead of train tickets so we end up paying for both but only using the train tickets. $20
11 a.m. — We get to Central Station quickly and walk to our apartment. It’s a 20 minute walk uphill but it’s nice to be moving in the fresh air after being stuck on a plane for so long. We drop our bags off at our AirBnb (it’s not yet ready for us to fully check-in) and head to a nearby coffee shop for some much-needed caffeine and breakfast. Somehow we manage to find a coffee shop that has bagels and lox and “Brooklyn” coffee but we’re too tired and hungry to care about the fact that our first meal in Spain is basically what we just left in Brooklyn. $20
1 p.m. — Our apartment won’t be ready until 4, so, to get our minds off the fact that we are desperate for sleep, we walk over to the Royal Palace to sightsee. The sun is now out in full force so we flee to the shade of a nearby park and sit people watching until we can feel ourselves starting to fall asleep. I start to think that the only thing that will keep us awake is food, so we head to find some lunch. We settle on a cafe off one of the main squares and, after much exhausted indecision, order a bowl of olives, a cheese and charcuterie platter, and a few glasses of Spanish rose. The misters on the outdoor terrace help keep us awake until our apartment is ready. $64
6 p.m. — As soon as we get to the apartment, we crash. I limit myself to a 2 hour nap so I can better adjust to the new time zone. I use the extra time before dinner to unpack and organize us. At the early-for-Spain hour of 8, we head to a tapas place suggested to us by our Airbnb host for dinner. The tapas are amazing and we order far too much food but we’re so happy to be here together after our busy year that we eat until we’re stuffed. $64
Daily Total: $168

Day Two

9 a.m. — We sleep in to try and get on Spain time. The bed is too short for M. and his legs hang off the end so he doesn’t sleep very well. We ease into the day with a return trip to the coffee place but this time we split a bagel to keep our breakfast cheaper. $12
10 a.m. — When we travel, we like to have an easy, relaxed first day, so we’ve set aside today for the Prado. I love museums — I’m continuously amazed and thankful for all the works that have survived so many destructive periods of history. We spend four hours at the museum before heading to our lunch reservation. ($69 three museum combined ticket).
2 p.m. — We’ve made lunch reservations at an acclaimed Michelin starred restaurant since a) fancy restaurants are always cheaper for lunch than dinner and b) there were only lunch reservations available. I don’t go out much or spend much money on food when I’m home but, when I travel, I will eat my way through a place. We get the six-course tasting menu (which ends up working out to more like 8 courses with all the little amuse-bouches they bring) plus wine and have a fantastic time. Even my mistaking the men’s bathroom for the women’s can’t bring me down (thankfully it was single occupancy). I probably should have done some introductory Spanish lessons before coming over. $160
4 p.m. — Post-lunch, M. heads back to the apartment to nap but I decide to walk around and do a little shopping. I do so much better with jet-lag if I just power through on the first day and go to bed at a regular time. I find a cute boutique near the restaurant that’s having a sale so I try on a few things. I can’t figure out how to tie one of the shirts but I find a beautiful cotton voile embroidered blouse on sale from one of my favorite French brands. After much consideration if I should actually be splurging on a summer blouse so close to fall, I know I will regret not getting it so I make the purchase ($110). Then I head to my favorite European chain stores to browse and see what the trends here are. I find a silk-cashmere sweater that doesn’t make me itch (a huge victory for $35) and some basic toiletries and sunscreen ($30) since I like to buy them when I travel instead of lugging around ones from home. $175
8 p.m. — Even though we are still relatively full from lunch, we head to a paella place I find on a reservation app for dinner. The restaurant is outside the city center in a university neighborhood and it quickly becomes clear that paella is more a lunch thing here because the restaurant is almost empty. Nevertheless, we forge on and have a delicious squid ink paella that we can barely dent. I’ve been eating a bit more fish these days to try and get a little more forms of protein in my diet. When I’m home I limit it to once a week but, when traveling, it’s much easier to eat a well rounded meal if I open myself up to having some fish. But I forget that means I don’t need as much food to feel full and leave far too much on my plate. $55
Daily Total: $471

Day Three

9 a.m. — Another day, another coffee shop. This one is closer to our apartment and much cheaper (they even have a punch card). We order two cappuccinos and some delicious toasts with tomatoes. We use the WiFi to finalize our plans for the day. Since WiFi is so plentiful in Europe, we never get an international data plan and instead just put our phones in airplane mode and use WiFi when we can get it. It’s so nice to get a break from the constant onslaught of news and messages and Google Maps offline takes care of any navigation stuff we may need. $10
10 a.m. — We walk to Parc El Retiro before it gets too hot. The park is beautiful and free! There is a lovely rose garden and, even though it’s late in the summer, most of the roses are still in bloom. From there we wander to the Crystal Palace which is stunning in the sunshine. We take lots of pictures before we get too hot and need to find some shade. We’re beginning to get hungry but it’s way too early to get lunch. We find a French cafe that looks great and awkwardly get a coffee there while they prep for lunch, trying not to seem too eager for them to start serving. Once lunch service starts, we both order the menu of the day which is only 15 euro for 3 courses! I have an amazing pumpkin soup with crispy sage, a spicy cuttlefish stew with potato salad, and fior di latte with crumbled pastry for dessert. I am so happy. $44
3 p.m. — After lunch we head to the Reina Sofia modern art museum. It’s included in our pre-purchased three-museum pass so we get to skip the line. The museum is huge and it’s laid out over three floors with lots of little rooms so we consult the map to make sure we don’t miss anything. We start at the wing of artwork from the Spanish Civil War and WWII. Looking at how artists on both sides of the conflict were interpreting, supporting, or combating the rise of nationalism and fascism in Spain is unbelievably moving and makes me think so much about the current state of our world. Seeing Picasso’s Guernica in person only adds to the experience. I start to think about what a work of art would have to be to make the impact his work did. So much food for thought.
5 p.m. — M. heads to a hobby store he wants to go to and I decide to hit the third museum in our pass, the Thyssen-Bornemisza. I get in with one hour before closing, so I make a beeline to the Renaissance and Impressionist gallery and manage to see a good chunk of it before I have to leave. On the way out I hit the large gift shop and buy a folder with a Degas painting on it, a book about Balenciaga, and some postcards. I love a good museum gift shop. $19
7 p.m. — I have time to kill before I meet M. for our dinner reservation and it will take me longer to go back to the apartment than it’s worth. I do some window shopping around the Salamanca neighborhood and pop into Zara Home to look for some stuff for our apartment. We moved in 2 weeks before our wedding and work was so crazy that we still need quite a few things. I grab a table cloth and a gift for my friend’s daughter that I just can’t resist. $55
9 p.m. — M. meets me at the restaurant and, even though it’s 9, we’re the first people there. I don’t think I will ever get on Spain time of starting dinner at 10 pm. Tonight we’re at a restaurant I read about in the New York Times (really embracing my bougie New Yorker side) and we order a spread of delicious dishes and a great bottle of Spanish wine. We head back to our Airbnb through the same park we visited the day before and marvel at how lucky we are to get to be in such a beautiful place. $123
Daily Total: $251

Day Four

9 a.m. — Today we’ve decided to do a day trip to Segovia! Two of my friends who grew up in Spain both independently told me we have to go while we’re here! We hop on the Metro ($4.50) since we have to go to a different train station that is further away. I secretly am a huge public transportation nerd and always love any chance to take the Metro in a new place. At the train station we buy our tickets ($60) one-way for the fast train, and get some sad train station coffee ($5) before our trip. $69.50
11 a.m. — We arrive in Segovia after a quick 25-minute ride. The train station is far from the city so, after looking at the bus schedule, we split a cab with a man from Brazil since it will only be 1 euro more and get us there faster ($6). Coming into Segovia right in front of the famous Roman aqueduct is awesome. I really do love a good aqueduct. We walk around through the old town trying to avoid the hordes of tourists on the main paths and make our way towards the Alcazar which sits right at the point of the old town. It is very impressive. We walk through the entire interior before heading up to the ramparts to marvel at the views of the countryside ($19 entry). A nice Australian couple who is also on their honeymoon asks if I can take their photo. We commiserate about trying to get couple photos that aren’t selfies while traveling. They take our photo, which will turn out to be one of our only non-selfie couple photo of the trip. $25
2 p.m. — It’s lunch time and looks like it might start drizzling. We head back towards the center of town to look for a place before settling on an old-school traditional Segovian restaurant. We’re able to snag a seat right away and M. orders some traditional regional dishes (all meat) while I enjoy a sensible tomato salad and some boquerones (anchovies) ($69). The place is very homey and unpretentious which I love. It finally starts raining as we finish and we realize we’ve timed our shopping with siesta so everything is closed. We manage to find one hat store that’s open so we finally get M. a much-needed straw fedora to help protect him from the sun ($12). On the way to the bus we see one more store open that’s selling traditional jamon so M. gets a package for our friend and a bottle of wine to give to my sister. I snag a pastry ($20) to enjoy later $101
4 p.m. — We manage to grab a bus back to the train station ($5) and sprint to make the train to Madrid. All my living-in-NYC training really pays off when we fail to purchase tickets at a vending machine, convince the station agent to sell us tickets ($60), and get through security and onto the tracks in less than 5 minutes. $65
6 p.m. — Back in Madrid we take the metro home ($4.50) and enjoy a little rest before heading out for one final dinner in Madrid. We try a place near where we had lunch the first day but there are no waiters and a table of boisterous party people so we head to the place next door instead. In ends up being great, M. has a Caesar salad and I have a curry dish, which is a nice break from the mounds of tapas we’ve been eating every night. It works out to a reasonable $46 and we head back to pack happy. $50.50
Daily Total: $311

Day Five

9 a.m. — Up early to finish packing and catch our train to Seville. We do a sweep of the apartment to make sure we’re not forgetting anything and say goodbye to the small bed. We hit the coffee place on our way to the train and get to-go coffees for the walk. We make it to the train in plenty of time so we don’t have to rush. The trains here are very nice and fast so it’s a pleasant traveling experience. We arrive in Seville on time and walk in the blazing heat to our Airbnb. It’s a long walk even for us but thankfully it’s all flat and it helps us orient ourselves to a new city. Check-in is a breeze and we are thankful to be in cool air-conditioning once again. Our Airbnb host gives us lots of fantastic suggestions and thankfully writes them all down as I’m too hot and sweaty to really retain anything. $5
2 p.m. — We take a quick shower and change out of our soaked clothes before heading out to lunch. We head towards a place our host has recommended but on the way we see a cute little Italian cafe and decide to have lunch there instead. We eat a light but delicious lunch of burrata and tomatoes, raviolis, pumpkin soup (oh how I love thee) and refreshing spritzes. It’s delicious, filling, and doesn’t break the budget ($35). For dessert we hit a gelato place nearby. ($9) It’s pretty good and will be added to my mental Gelato Map of Europe. $44
5 p.m. — Siesta! Seville really shuts down during siesta and I’m not mad about it. Our new Airbnb has a super comfy bed that’s definitely long enough so both of us can sleep happily. I set an alarm so we don’t overdo it and mess up our sleep schedule.
9 p.m. For dinner, we want to try a place our host suggested but it’s booked. We make reservations for a few days later instead. We keep walking and eventually settle on a place on a quiet plaza near our Airbnb. We’re able to walk-in and snag a table since it’s technically on the earlier side of the dinner rush. We each have an amazing gazpacho that’s the best we’ve had so far on the trip and I have a fidua dish for dinner that I’ve never had before but I think I may prefer to paella. M. has a meat tajine and we split a rice pudding for dessert. Usually when we travel, we try and keep it under $100 in food per day with a few splurges here and there but, since this is our honeymoon and we’ve saved a lot for this trip, we’re treating ourselves more. $74
Daily Total: $123

Day Six

10 a.m. — We wake up too late to grab breakfast before our reservation to see the Alcazar. For popular sites, I always like to pre-buy tickets online so you can avoid the long lines at the entrance. Our timed ticket is for 10:30 so we hustle to get there ($29). The Alcazar is unbelievable — it’s the filming location for Dorne in Game of Thrones — and I wander around in awe for an hour before my stomach starts grumbling. We find the cafe in the gardens and grab an overpriced cappuccino and some pastries ($15). We need to eat something to tide us over til lunch. During breakfast a peacock wonders over and we enjoy our breakfast together (or I enjoy my breakfast and the peacock stares at me willing me to drop my pastry on the ground). Post-treats, we explore more of the gardens trying to see every square inch before we leave. It’s one of the most incredible places I’ve ever visited. $44
1 p.m. — After hitting the gift shop on the way out ($5 on a magnet and postcards), we find a pottery shop so I can buy a gift for my mom as a thank-you for taking such good care of our puppy. I buy her a small porcelain tray with a traditional design painted on, plus a decorative bowl for our apartment since we need a key bowl, and a little dish for my nana to thank her for pitching in on the dog sitting ($37). It really does take a village (and lots of gifts from Europe). We also pick up some tea and spice blends from a shop next door ($35) to give to my brother and to have for post-vacation cooking. $77
2:30 p.m. — It’s starting to get really hot out so we don’t venture far for lunch. We settle on a touristy place in the city center that ends up being pretty decent. We have a pitcher of sangria plus more gazpacho and tapas and try not to overeat in the heat. $33
4 p.m. — Post-lunch we wander over the Flamenco Museum to buy tickets to their flamenco show for a few nights from now. The tickets are expensive for such a short show but, since we are in the flamenco capital in the world, I definitely want to see some while we’re here ($52). We split up after the museum and I head to Aire Baths for some R&R. This trip is the only time off I have all year and so I am embracing my inner Tom Haverford and treating myself. I love the hammam experience — the baths are beautiful and calming and I do the circuit a few times in my allotted 90 minutes (salt, float, pool, hammam, jet of cold water, warm baths, hot baths, cold plunge pool, repeat) ($45). I leave feeling refreshed and reinvigorated. $97
5:30 p.m. — On the way back to the apartment, I stop and browse at a few stores. Other than gifts and a few home things, I really want to get a pair of traditional espadrilles while I’m here. I find a slip-on pair I like that aren’t as traditional as I was envisioning but actually fit my bunion. They’re from a great brand as opposed to one of the cheapie ones they sell at the souvenir shops so, even though they’re on sale, I feel they’re worth the slightly more expensive price ($73). A few paces down from the store, I find a small jewelry shop that makes resin jewelry. A guy is making the jewelry by hand in the shop and I like the designs so I buy a pair of earrings and a necklace for myself ($52). I love buying jewelry when I travel because, every time I wear it, I am reminded of my trips and it helps support a local artisan. $125
7:30 p.m. — After dropping off my shopping, we decide to have some pre-dinner drinks at a rooftop hotel bar that overlooks La Giralda, the famed bell tower. We snag a table with great views and each grab a spritz while watching the sunset. One drink turns into two since we’re having such a good time and the view is so beautiful. Halfway through the second spritz, I realize I will need to eat soon or it won’t be pretty. $42
9 p.m. — We end up at a tapas place near the bar where we can sit outside under the misters and order a spread of inexpensive tapas. While we wait for our food, we chat with some Scots at the table next to us about how Airbnb and Instagram are changing the way people travel and how Glasgow, where they’re from, has gentrified and gotten more touristy in the last 10 years. They run their own Airbnb so they give us their card in case we ever end up in Glasgow. It’s a nice conversation and fun to get different perspectives on the current state of the world. $34
Daily Total: $452

Day Seven

9 a.m. We wake up early since today we are taking a day trip to Cordoba. I buy our train tickets online this time since we feel more confident about making the train we want to take. I can’t get over how expensive the train is here ($72). On our way to the station, we stop for a breakfast of coffee and churros con chocolate at a small churro stand. We stand at the counter and eat as many as we can before the sugar rush kicks in ($7). At the train station, M. realizes he’s forgotten his earbuds and stops to pick up a pair since the idea of a 40 minute train ride without anything to listen to does not appeal to him ($22). They immediately break. $101
11 a.m. — We arrive in Cordoba and it is already 100 degrees. We keep to the shady side of the street and walk from the station into the old town. Once we get there, we wind our way through the narrow streets towards the river. The old town is charming but surprisingly busy for a Sunday morning. We stop to grab a giant water bottle ($2.50) and cross the river so we can admire the town from a distance. After a bit of photo snapping, we head back to find a place for lunch. On the way I spot a shop selling Turkish towels and buy a few sizes for our bathroom and to give as gifts ($50). We buy more gift pottery at a store next door plus a magnet for our fridge ($21) since we have a little collection of magnets from all our various travels $73.50
2 p.m. — We find an adorable little patio restaurant for lunch but settle for an indoor table to take advantage of the AC. We split a tomato salad, some gazpacho, a small plate of anchovies, and some croquettes for M. while downing lots of water and a little cool white wine to beat the heat. $58
3 p.m. — Post-lunch we walk over to the Mezquita, the famous mosque/cathedral of Cordoba. We navigate a brief line to buy our tickets ($24) and quickly get inside and out of the sun. The interior is stunning — it was first built as a mosque in the 8th century and was converted to a cathedral after the Catholic conquest of Spain in the 13th century. The last bit of construction was finished in the 18th century. It’s fascinating to see the various cultural and religious influences and how they blend together. After wandering around in silent awe for a while, we leave to make our train back to Seville stopping for more water and a little gelato along the way ($7). We leave ourselves plenty of time to walk back to the station and buy our tickets ($75) after the chaos of Segovia. $106
5 p.m. — Back in Seville, we walk back to our apartment to refresh before dinner. Tonight we’re trying a new restaurant I passed the day before that looks beautiful. I realize I should have made a reservation when we show up early and the place is already packed. I put our name in for a 9:30 dinner and we wander around to kill time. We get seated outside which is nice although not as beautiful as the interior. The food is delicious and beautifully presented. We order a pitcher of sangria and some gazpacho which comes in drinking glasses garnished like a bloody mary. We follow this with a refreshing ceviche which we hadn’t ordered but shows up (after one bite I’m not mad about it), a sun-dried tomato and burrata salad, and a saffron and seafood paella that is melt-in-your-mouth good. Against the pleas of my stuffed stomach, I order a parfait for dessert. We end the night with a walk around the quiet downtown to work off some of the food. $75
Daily Total: $413.50

Day Eight

10 a.m. — Another hot day. We head out and grab coffees and pastries at a little bakery near our apartment ($10). We walk towards the Plaza de Espana to see the famous world fair structures. By the time we get to the park we’ve already finished our reusable water bottle and there’s no place to fill up, so we buy a jumbo one at a newsstand ($3). M. convinces me that, even though the sun is blazing, we should rent a boat and paddle around the canal. He rows us around for the 30 minutes our rental is good for and it’s a lot of fun even though there is no shade ($7). We head to the nearby park to sit in the shade for a while to try and cool off. $20
12 p.m. — We walk back towards the city center and the cathedral. We want to go inside and climb La Giralda but I kick myself for not pre-buying tickets when I see the giant line to get in, none of which is in the shade. M. and I alternate standing in line so we’re never in the sun for too long. Once we’re inside, the coolness of the cathedral is sweet relief ($21). We walk around the massive nave and admire all the relics and the grave of Christopher Columbus. We climb all 36 flights of the Giralda to see Seville spread out in front of us (except the side that faces the Alcazar because it is sadly covered in scaffolding). All the stairs and walking has made us very hungry, so we make our way to the exit and head to find lunch. We find a modern Asian Fusion tapas place nearby that is more expensive than we would like, but it’s cool and we get a seat right away ($63). We immediately order a huge bottle of water. I do wish the restaurants here would serve tap water as an option instead of having to constantly buy bottled water. $84
4 p.m. — After lunch, I head to find an ATM to get cash. My bank has an agreement with a bank over here so I can withdraw cash without paying an ATM fee. I still have to pay a foreign transaction fee but they use the market exchange rate so it ends up working out to be cheaper than exchanging cash at an exchange place. And I don’t have to worry about the safety of carrying around lots of cash to exchange. Back at the apartment, I do one last load of laundry and pack. I love that staying in apartments means we can do laundry regularly so we don’t have to pack as many clothes or pay for laundromats. And in hot and sweaty Seville we’re definitely going through a lot of clothes.
5 p.m. — The Flamenco Show! We get there right before it starts and I grab 2 glasses of orange juice to cool down. The show is amazing — the artistry, emotion, and athleticism on display is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. We had two flamenco guitarists at our wedding and I could sit here all night long I love it so much. $5
9 p.m. — We head to our dinner reservation at the restaurant, Canabota, we tried to go to a few nights before. It’s a super modern fish place that’s only a few years old. Multiple people recommended it to us as a great example of more modern and adventurous Sevillian cuisine. We’re seated at the bar along the open kitchen so we can see all the action. The owner walks us through the menu and brings us to the front of the restaurant where all their seafood is displayed. He points to what’s freshest and local and gives us his recommendations. We decide to start with oysters three ways (raw, grilled, and breaded and cooked) but first we start with a little amuse bouche of a crostini with a little cream and tuna and what looks like shaved cheese. It’s delicious and I ask the waiter what the cheese is. It’s frozen butter which explains why it’s so delicious. I follow this with an ajoblanco soup the woman next to me was raving about and M. has a shrimp appetizer. He follows that with an entree of sea bass while I have the catch of the day simply grilled with a side of vegetables. Everything is beautifully presented and we start a friendly conversation with the couple next to us about how amazing Seville is. They are from South Africa and work in banking. We marvel at how large and interconnected the global financial system has become. The husband comments on how much he loves our current president and how hysterical he is. I respond that he may feel that way because it doesn’t really affect him. I do like hearing how people around the world view our current political dysfunction, it brings a new perspective that’s interesting to consider. We end on a nice note as they leave and we get dessert and finish our bottle of white wine from our final destination on this trip, Majorca! As a gift, M.’s mother has offered to pay for one very nice meal on our trip so we decide to make it this one since she will love to hear how special it was. We thank the owner and the staff for a beautiful meal and how gracefully he runs the restaurant.
Daily Total: $109

Day Nine

9 a.m. — Off to Granada! We pack up the now-dry laundry, check out of the Airbnb, and roll our suitcases to the bus terminal. It’s a 25 minute walk but thankfully flat. I bought our tickets online months ago so we roll right on to the bus after a cursory search for a coffee place by the terminal. Guess we’ll have to remain un-caffeinated for now. The bus is super nice and we have tons of room. I stare out the window at the passing scenery and we eat sandwiches we made that morning for our lunch. $5
1 p.m. — We arrive in Granada right on time. The bus station is a bit out of town and our Airbnb is way up in the hills so we take a cab. As we ascend the very steep very narrow roads, I mentally note that we will probably need a cab when we leave to go to the airport. Our cab drops us off at the base of our street and we lug our bags up the rest of the way. Our Airbnb host is there to greet us and show us the apartment. The view is unbelievable — there’s a huge terrace off the bedroom that looks directly across the old town to a postcard view of the Alhambra. You can even see the Alhambra while laying in bed. I know we’ll be spending a lot of time out here, probably with some wine and cheese. $12
2 p.m. — We change and walk down to the city center to get to the food market before they close. The Albacin (old-town) is very hilly and disorienting but M. is a great navigator. We make it to the market and grab some fresh cheese, jamon for M., some bread, and wine ($15). We head back up to the apartment with our wares, stopping at a little cafe for sandwiches. I get a crazy sandwich that is basically slices of quiche in between a baguette and I strain to put the whole thing in my mouth ($20). $35
5 p.m. — Wine and cheese on the terrace time. I bring my book out and read for a little bit before we watch the sun go down. After a beautiful sunset, we head out to dinner and go to a nearby restaurant with a nice outdoor patio. I’m not that hungry after the sunset wine and cheese but M. orders a few plates so we still manage to do some damage. When we get back to the apartment, M. realizes he forgot his hat at the restaurant but we’re too tired to go back. $74
Daily Total: $126

Day Ten

9 a.m. — It’s the moment I’ve been waiting for! We have pre-purchased timed tickets to the Alhambra so we climb the hill and are at the gates when they open ($35). We spend our first hour walking through some of the gardens and we grab a cheap vending machine coffee to perk up a bit ($2). We enter the Palacio des Nasrides right on time and immediately have to bob and weave to dodge three huge tour groups. The complex is incredible — every wall is a mix of tile and plasterwork with hand carved intricate designs and the ceilings are covered in beautiful woodwork designs. We make our way slowly through every room, necks craned to take everything in. We leave the palace complex and make our way through more beautiful gardens and the oldest part of the fort that has views over Granada before we end up at La Generalife, a smaller set of gardens facing the Alhambra. It’s always been on my dream list to come here and I’m so happy to have finally made it. On the way out I swing by the gift shop and pick up a few gifts, a Christmas ornament for us, and a photo book of the Alhambra so I can read more about it ($68). $105
12 p.m. — It’s hot and we’re hungry but it’s too early for lunch. We stop at a cafe right outside the entry gate and grab more water and coffee and a little snack to tide us over for lunch. It’s not great but it gives us the fuel to walk down towards the main town ($20). On our way down, we pass a store selling local goods so I grab a variety of olive oils for home and to give to our friend who is checking our mail and watering our plants while we’re gone. I pick up a Granada magnet and another little trinket for one of our friends ($20). I always buy far too many gifts which is why we packed light and left a lot of room in our luggage! $40
2 p.m. — For lunch we hit up a small bar and cafe that overlooks the stream that bisects old Granada. We each get a glass of wine and I have a cheese platter that, when it arrives, is an insane amount of cheese even for me. The portions here are huge which I was definitely not expecting. I eat a third of it but M. helps me make more of a dent. $37
8:30 pm After a nap on the terrace and my attempt to do laundry, which ends in the machine leaking everywhere, we make our way to dinner. I’ve made reservations at a nice restaurant nearby that has stellar views of the Alhambra. We arrive as the sun has just finished setting and our table has a perfect view. We take a cheesy “we’re on our honeymoon!” photo before we order. The food is good and there’s of course a premium for having such great views so, even though we don’t order a lot, it still ends up being pretty pricey. $114
Daily Total: $296

Day Eleven

11 a.m. — We sleep in and enjoy some coffee on the terrace before it gets too hot. After awhile M. gets hungry for a proper breakfast so we venture down into the city center. We head to a cute coffee shop I spotted the other day and share some banana bread while I indulge in a proper iced latte. I buy a tote bag of their logo since it’s cute and I can never have too many tote bags for my bag lady life. $20
12 p.m. — We head to the post office to mail a postcard to our friend and a thank you card to M.’s aunt who lives in Denmark. It’s surprisingly expensive to mail something to Denmark even though we’re in the EU ($3). We wander around some more taking in the parts of the city we haven’t explored yet. I buy more spices and some saffron since we love to cook ($19). We visit M.’s favorite hobby store but it’s way too expensive so we leave without buying anything. After a while we settle on a place for lunch — it’s right off the main square and is very touristy but the food is pretty good and we can sit in the shade and relax for a while. We both get paella which ends up taking an hour longer than normal so we rush to eat before I have to get to my second hammam appointment of the trip ($58). $80
4 p.m. — Why oh why don’t we have hammams in the states! It is such a beautiful relaxing experience and the true epitome of self-care. This time I’ve booked a body scrub and massage since the prices here are less expensive than the one in Seville. I fit in a few water circuits before they grab me for my treatment. The body scrub is invigorating and I can feel all the travel grime falling away. The massage is super relaxing and just what I need to finally banish the remnants of work tension that are still hanging out in my neck and back. I finish with a few more circuits making sure to take in the beautiful woodwork and plasterwork they’ve done around the pools. I shock myself in the cold plunge pool one more time before grabbing some mint tea and reluctantly leaving. $128
9 p.m. — We have our final dinner in Granada at another nearby restaurant with a beautiful patio. Our waiter is one of five NFL fans in Granada so we have a good chat about how hard it is to watch the games here and how he ended up a New England Patriots fan from Spain. I love meeting people and hearing their stories and how they ended up where they are today. The food is good and we toast a successful stay in Granada and the fact that our trip is almost over! I’m not ready to leave! $97
Daily Total: $325

Day Twelve

9 a.m. — Today we’re flying to Majorca so it will be mostly a travel day. We finish packing and hit up a cafe at the base of our street for some breakfast. The food is amazing and I’m bummed we didn’t think to have breakfast here before ($12). We try to call a taxi but it’s impossible to tell if it’s worked, so we lug our bags down to the base of our street and pray one will drive by. Sure enough, one does and we are on our way to the airport! Halfway through the ride, I realize the meter isn’t on so M. and I pass messages back and forth to confirm that we won’t settle for anything higher than 30 euro for the ride (25-30 is the standard). Sure enough when we arrive, our driver announces it 30 euro so we just pay instead of haggling over a few euro especially since he stopped for us when he didn’t have to ($35). $47
11 a.m. — Check-in and security at the airport is a breeze since it’s so small. 20 minutes after we get there, we see our flight has been delayed so we settle in for a wait. Thankfully there is free WiFi and I grab us some sandwiches for lunch since now we’ll be landing in Majorca too late to eat. After a one-hour delay, our flight takes off and one hour later we are landing in Palma! $15
2 p.m. — We pick up our pre-booked rental car without any issue. We’ve decided to get an automatic since it’s been a while since M. drove stick shift. I’ve preloaded the route to our Airbnb on my phone which I plug into the car so it comes up on the screen. Offline maps really are the best. After 45-minutes of winding cliff-hugging switchbacks with incredible views but lots of opportunities for catastrophe, we arrive in the little village where our Airbnb is located. I am immediately in love. We pay to park the car in a lot and drag our bags down the hill and to our adorable Airbnb. The place is even better than the pictures — it’s a little two-story house nestled on a pedestrian-only “street” which is just steps leading up the side of the hill. There are beach supplies and a great welcome book so I know we’re going to have a great time here. We get settled and change out of our traveling clothes before heading out to explore the town. $7
7 p.m. — I am so glad we chose to end our trip here. The town is beautiful — it has views of terraced vineyards that hang on the cliffside before dropping down to the sea. The town is small but still has enough going on where I know we won’t be bored. I visit a little shop on the main drag owned by a woman who embroiders traditional Majorcan linen in designs that have been in her family for generations. I buy a little table covering for my mother-in-law and one for us. Each one takes her 5-7 days of work! I pick up a few little traditional straw baskets as well because I love the way they look ($62). I drop my purchases off at the house and we head to the top of the hill to watch the sunset. It’s just us and a gang of the friendliest feral cats I’ve ever met. For dinner we eat at a restaurant in town enjoying some local white wine, similar to the one we had in Seville, and a large platter of seafood fideua ($97). I’m going to miss all our delicious meals but not how expensive they are! $159
Daily Total: $228
Day Thirteen
10 a.m. — We sleep in and M. announces that he wants to have an easy beach day. He points out that this is our last weekend on the trip and I will be starting a new job as soon as I get back so we should take it easy. He’s completely right — I sometimes get so wrapped up in all the possibilities that I forget that a vacation should feel like a vacation! We sip our coffees outside the little house and not a soul disturbs us. I love how peaceful it is here. We gather our beach stuff and douse ourselves in sunscreen before heading in search of breakfast or at least some food we can keep in the kitchen to make breakfast. We come up completely empty so we just decide to head down the very steep walk to the beach. The “beach” is actually a concrete dock in a cove surrounded by cliffs. The walk down is tiring but the cove is so beautiful we don’t care. We lay out our blankets in a shady spot and I put on my snorkeling goggles and jump in. The water is crystal clear and bathtub warm and I swim around looking at the fish until I get too tired and need a break. We lay around until the sun creeps into our spot and we decide to head up the hill to lunch.
2 p.m. — We pick a restaurant on the main drag for lunch. It’s a little pricey but the food looks good and we’re hungry since we didn’t have breakfast so we give it a go. We share some bread and olives plus a burrata and tomato salad. I get a fish stew which is too salty and M. gets the catch of the day. We’re a little disappointed in the meal especially given how pricey it was ($96). We pick up a few groceries for breakfast tomorrow on our way home ($7). Apple Pay is shockingly widespread here — it’s even accepted in the tiny grocery store here. It’s such an easy way to pay and I feel more secure not having to whip my wallet out. $103
8 p.m. — After a lovely afternoon nap, we head to a hotel restaurant at the top of the hill for dinner. The place is small and family run and I love the quiet vibe. We get a bottle of local Majorcan rose and each get a bowl of gazpacho because we cannot get enough gazpacho on this trip. My stomach is feeling a little queasy from lunch so I get a simple veggie lasagna to settle it. By the end of our dinner, we’re the only ones at the restaurant other than a sweet British couple who accidentally send a candle display rolling down the street. We have a good laugh as we finish our meal. $97
Daily Total: $200

Day Fourteen

10 a.m. — We sleep in again since we’ll have to get up so early tomorrow. We make some eggs and enjoy our coffee outside on the quiet street before our drive to the nearby village of Valdemossa which is more in the hills and looks very beautiful. When we get there, I am once again thankful that we ended up staying where we did as there are so many tourists and tour groups here. The village, while beautiful, is almost Disneyfied to be a perfect little tourist oriented town where all the shops are touristy souvenir or high-priced clothing shops.
11 a.m. — We find the Sunday market which I was really looking forward to (I love a good local market) but am disappointed to find is mostly filled with more souvenir-type knickknacks. I find a stall selling hand blocked Indian textiles and I like some of the prints so I get a table runner, a wedding present for M’s aunt, and two scarves that I’ll either give as presents or keep ($80). I also snag some local Manchego (I have them vacuum pack it for better transit home... shhhh, don’t tell customs) and some more olive oil and tapenade ($10). While looking for a lunch place, we stop in a shop selling olive wood odds and ends and get some salad servers, a traditional olive serving dish, and more olive oil because my love of olive oil will never be satisfied and I cannot find good inexpensive olive oil that doesn’t taste like dish soap at home ($22). $112
12:30 p.m. — We stroll around some more but M. is feeling queasy. It’s way too early for lunch but we stop to get some food to help settle his stomach. We get coffees and sandwiches at an overpriced joint because it’s easy ($34). We’ve seen most of the town, so we decide to head back so I can make it to the shop I love near where we’re staying to buy more baskets (this is officially the point of the trip where I lose my mind and convince myself that I must bring all the things home or I will never forgive myself). I pick up a bottle of local wine ($12) from one place and some baskets and potholders made of the specialty local fabric ($43). $89
2 p.m. — Post-shopping (and with no more baskets to buy), I change into my swimsuit and head down to the beach for one final swim. There’s more sun this time so I alternate laying out with swimming in the perfect water. I can’t think of a better way to end our trip.
6 p.m. — It’s a little early for dinner but I want to catch the sunset so we head out to a hotel bar that has a terrace overlooking the ocean. We order 2 spritzes and see the British couple from dinner the other night. They tell us about how they were here for their honeymoon 30 years ago and how it hasn’t changed much since then. We order another round of spritzes as the sun goes down and toast how incredible this trip has been ($27). For dinner, we head to a little place closer to the beach and order a bottle of wine, some salad, and a large paella. It’s so delicious I’m sad I won’t be having multi-course amazing meals on the regular after tonight ($68). $95
Daily Total: $296

Day Fifteen

7 a.m. — We get up early to finish packing and get out the door in time for our flight. I say goodbye to our lovely Airbnb and the town and start scheming how we could get back here. We make the winding drive back to the airport and miss the turn-off for the gas station. After many loops around the airport vicinity looking for gas, we find one where we can fill up ($15). We return the car without an issue and get checked-in and through security with time to spare. We stop and grab some coffee and breakfast ($15) plus a few final food souvenirs near our gate but I resist buying more olive oil ($15). Our flight to Madrid is thankfully on time. $45
12 p.m. — We land in Madrid, grab our bags, and go in search of the bus to the other terminal. The terminal is surprisingly far away so I’m glad I gave us a lot of time in between flights. We check-in and get some overpriced airport lunch at one of the many options. European airports are so superior to most American ones. I’m able to find a ton of vegetarian options plus a sandwich for the plane and M. gets 1/2 a roasted chicken because once again we were unable to pre-select our meals $30
6 p.m. — Back home in Brooklyn and there’s no one in the taxi line! We’re too tired for the train journey, so we settle on a cab even though it’s more expensive. I replay my favorite moments from the trip as we drive towards home. $55
Daily Total: $100
How did you prepare for this trip?
I love trip planning — I tend to start by thinking about what I know about a place, if I’ve been there before, and what, off the bat, appeals to me. Neither my husband nor I had been anywhere in Spain, other than Barcelona, so we immediately crossed that off the list. For the rest, I solicited suggestions from friends, got a Spain guidebook and read the whole damn thing, did a general Google search on each region to see what came up, and then looked at location tags on Instagram to further narrow it down. Anyplace that sparks my interest, I save in Google Maps.
When did you book your flight? Do you think you got a good deal?
We booked three months before our trip. We got a great deal on the base fare. I love Google Flights to track flight prices but we ended up using Hopper to book (although it came with a $10 fee which I wasn’t aware of before I booked).
Do you have credit card debt as a result of booking this vacation? If so, how much?$0! Since I’m paid hourly and my work schedule varies by the job, I save very aggressively while I’m working. Most of that savings goes into retirement, investments, and my “emergency/I may want to have a family one day” fund, but this year I upped my saving so that we could take this trip and really treat ourselves for our honeymoon.
What was your favorite part of the trip?
The Alhambra in Granada was unbelievable (definitely pre-book your tickets as they sell out quickly). The whole city is beautiful but the Alhambra is one of the most special places I’ve ever been. And if you go, stay somewhere with a view of it to experience all it’s magic. Seville was also pretty incredible in terms of the depth of things to experience and how good all the restaurants were. I highly recommend La Canabota, El Pinton, Bache, and churros con chocolate from any sidewalk cafe. Or a traditional tapas crawl!
Did you use credit card points/miles to pay for parts of this trip? If so, please explain further
We used $800 in credit card points (we have a no foreign transaction fee joint credit card where you convert points into statement credits for travel) and $2,600 in wedding gifts.
What was the best meal or food you ate while you were there?
All the tapas we ate was definitely my favorite. It’s really tough to pick just one so I’ll do my fave from each city: Triciclo (Madrid), La Canabota (Seville), El Trillo (Granada), Son Tomas (Majorca).
What advice would you give someone who is traveling to the same location?
Spain is huge but it’s so easy to travel between cities that I think some people rush too much to fit a lot of places in. But it’s such a slow-paced country with siesta and late dinners that I could see a lot of people missing the experience of being there by running around from one site or another. Also, pre-book tickets to popular sights online before you go! That way you can skip the massive lines or ensure you have access to someplace you won’t want to miss. And if you’re unsure of schedule, you can still book online while you’re there and just show the ticket on your phone (except for the Alhambra where you need a printed copy of your ticket).
Is there anything you wished you had time to do, but didn’t?
I wish we had stayed longer in Majorca so we could have explored the island more and still had beach time.
Do you feel like you were there for the right length of time? Would you have come home sooner or stayed longer given the chance?
For all the cities we visited (and the side trips we took), I felt we were there the perfect amount of time. But the beauty of the trip was we easily could have done just two of the cities in a week had I not been able to take as much time off. It was all very manageable and flexible and we stayed enough time in each place that I was never stressed if something didn’t cooperate and we had to change plans.
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