>  Holiday Experiences   >  Initial Planning of the next Road Trip

So let’s see how and why we want to make a trip to the Spanish North.
I want to talk about the way we begin and how we slowly shape it according to our needs and capabilities.
It is essential to have more or less a concrete idea of the beginning and where you want to end up.
We had one. We wanted to visit the north coast of Spain. More specifically: to start from Santiago de Compostela and we wanted to see if we could get down to Barcelona. This serves to as a guide  to our budget.
Why we wanted the north?.Well, we were living  in the south, outside of Gibraltar and the north of Spain is so different and we wanted to explore this with our children.
The second most important factor is the days we had available to us. Sure you could manage 500-600 kms a day, but in most cases you end up feeling like you are doing a job. However for many people this is fine for them.  My advice is to put in stops/stays every 3 hours or so.
These two factors together will help us put our journey into perspective.
Next thing we need to consider is what budget do we have for the trip. Τhe reality is this that this might change everything.  It might make us remove stays or shorten the end of the trip.
So to our journey, we had 15 days to spare. We would travel a lot for a week and then go to an agritourism hotel with activities for kids and the whole family.
We also had the additional issue of flying from Malaga to Santiago de Compostela with the twins..(We’ll look at that another time).

Road trip

So why Santiago de Compostela?.  Because I wanted to visit possibly one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Spain and be in the liturgy with the huge 62 kilos censer being pushed from one side to the other , the famous Botafumeiro and also for the Camino de Santiago. This is the path where pilgrims come from all over the world and walk up to 800 kilometers and end up in the city of Santiago .We had seen the movie The Way with Tim and he was excited about the idea of doing even a tiny bit of the Camino de Santiago. Also the Spanish North is so different from the South including a real difference in vegetation, language, they speak both gallego and euskera, and most importantly.. the more north you go the better the food is. I also wanted to visit A Coruña and see the towering lighthouse Torre de Hércules (Tower of Hercules). It is a Roman Lighthouse and the oldest in operation in the world.Also something very, very important. Flights to Santiago de Compostela were cheaper than to A Coruña.

So we flew to Santiago and the stops we wanted were the following:

1. Oviedo: Because I loved it so much when I saw Oviedo in Vicky Cristina Barcelona with Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz and also for the incredible cachopos that I’ve come to dream about and drool over.
2. Bilbao, the city that looks so far into the future. To see the Guggenheim, to do the shores of Basque Country. Climb the hanging bridge at Portugalete and ride the Artxanda cable car.
3. San Sebastian (Donosti) for the incredible Pintxos and why the route from Bilbao is spectacular. Not so much for the beach la Concha as it is about the same as the one in Cadiz which was close to us. If we had had time and the babies could handle it, we would have entered a bit into France.
4. From there down to Barcelona to the village of Arnés, where we would stay for 6 days. A few excursions there and then fly  back to Malaga.

So what did we end up doing?
We swapped Oviedo for Ribadeo because of budget. There was a festival in Oviedo and everything ;was packed and the prices were crazy, so we found another place we liked. We chose Ribadeo because it was very close to the amazing Playa de los Catedrales. And this way we will travel more on the Galician coast.

However, the biggest lesson is that there was a large risk of going over budget. So if your budget is say 1000, you should plan for a trip to be worth 700 – 800 euros. Why? Because the most unexpected things can happen and money should be available at all times.

What else can you do to lower your budget?
– Cook instead of always eating out
– The period where you travel is important. For some places summer is cheap, for some not
– Are there holidays , conferences, festivals? Then it will definitely be more expensive
– Parking. Choose public transport, uber for moving around the city if it is not too much trouble. Paιd parking which we usually don’t count is a major expense.
– Figure out where you will fill up your car. Usually off the highway you will find cheaper fuel
– Calculate whether it’s in your best interest to stay a bit out of town in relation to the time and cost of getting to the place you want to go
– If you need to get tickets to a place of interest it is always better to get them online. They are usually discounted and you also don’t wait in the queue.

Possible expenses:
– It is always advisable to have at least one charge bank with you
– Have your car serviced  to give you a peace of mind
– Car insurance is a possible additional expense which I personally consider as very important. If you have basic car insurance, don’t travel abroad or even in the country where you live. Change it to  a comprehensive insurance. In the event that you are renting a car, please include a comprehensive insurance too. This comes  from personal experience.
– If you are going through countries where you will not have free roaming, it´s better if you buy an extra sim in order to avoid a nice exorbitant bill, .

These are a few ideas to consider before  your next road trip.


Follow us to learn more about our trip on the next article!