Do you want to know how to do Canary Islands on a budget? If you’ve read our Canary Islands posts and saw all the amazing things we did there, you are probably thinking we have either won the lottery or we broke the bank. Neither one of these scenarios is correct. We almost always travel on a budget and are always cost-conscious. Let us assure you we found a way to spend fabulous two weeks on this archipelago while keeping our costs very low.
First of all, let us begin, by telling you that although we do have a bucket list of places we pine for, we don’t always choose when we go to visit them. It’s more like these places choose us. Basically, we mostly go where there are deals to be had. What do I mean by that? Let me explain.
We are currently based out of the south of France. Our closest airport is in Marseille. We knew we wanted to travel approximately end of February and the beginning of March. And since it was the winter school break in this part of France at that time, it meant that flight prices in France were rather expensive. However, we are Canadian and therefore used to driving long distances to get places, we don’t mind driving to other countries for a deal. If a European is reading this right now, they may be wondering what the heck we’re on about here. But since Canada is the second largest country in the world, Europe feels rather small to us. We have flown from Spain and Italy before (and other countries) to fabulous locations for prices so low, no one in Canada is probably going to believe us.
We always look for deals going anywhere out of airports in neighbouring countries. Lo and behold, we found ridiculously low prices to Canary Islands from Barcelona. Before you dismiss this as absurd and costly in itself, trust us, we’ve done the math and even driving to and from Barcelona, paying for highway tolls and parking our car at the BCN airport for two weeks, was significantly cheaper than if had we flown out of the closest airport.
But without further ado, let us show you how we hacked our Canary Islands costs.
Canary Islands on a Budget:
We flew to Canary Islands for €17 per person:
That’s right. You’re not seeing things. That was the price of our flight each way. How did we manage this? Well, you have to be flexible in your timetable and change your way of thinking about travel. You might also have to forgo some convenience. Let us illustrate.
As we said before, our closest airport is in Marseille. And because we wanted to travel during winter break, all flights were ridiculously expensive compared to airports in neighbouring countries. When we looked for deals leaving from Barcelona, we found this amazing €17 per person flight with Ryanair to get us there. And well below our budget! And we booked our return ticket from Canary Islands back to Barcelona also for €18 per person but with Norwegian Air. Even with the cost of driving there (4 hour drive from our doorstep) for gas, highway tolls and airport parking, we saved over 60% had we flown directly from Marseille.
We rented amazing houses for €56 per night:
Can you get a hotel room for this price on Canary Islands? You bet. But why pay this amount for a small hotel room when you can have an entire house for the same budget? On Gran Canaria we lived in a rural community in a big house with a pool, complete with lemon trees, a chicken coop and a puppy. Why would we want to get cramped into a small hotel room when we can have our own garden and a private pool?
On Tenerife, we rented a house in a small town on a quiet street. Here we did not have a pool but we did have a big terrace with an amazing view of the Atlantic and the island of Gomera on one side and rocky cliffs on the other.
You can eat well on €5 a day:
Are you rolling your eyes in disbelief? Well, if you are renting a place with a kitchen, you can make your own food. For the two weeks we stayed on the two islands, we spent €5 euros per person per day on groceries. We did go out to eat three times, which of course cost a lot more. But you don’t have to eat out every day, do you?
We rented a car for €5 a day:
That’s our entire price, all in. Is that crazy? Well, believe it or not that is not the lowest car rental we have come across on our travels. How to get this amazing price? If you are flying Ryanair, they have now partnered with CarTrawler to provide the lowest possible car rental. Didn’t fly with Ryanair? Don’t worry, you can access this pricing by entering any Ryanair flight number.
All attractions cost us nothing:
Canary Islands are filled with magnificent natural beauty and luckily Mother Nature does not charge a fee to see it. We love hiking and that’s mostly what we did on the two islands. We did want to spend money on two activities but due to weather they did not work out. One was a camel ride on Gran Canaria and the other was a cable car to the top of the volcano Teide. Next time! If you love hiking like we do, see our posts about hiking on Gran Canaria and hiking on Tenerife.
Additional cost saving strategies we used on this trip:
- You can save up to 75% on your parking costs at the BCN airport. If we were just to show up and park our car there for two weeks, our cost would be €260. But instead we signed up for a free AENA membership and booked our parking ahead of time. This way we only paid €67 for two weeks. Here is the link to sign up for AENA and pre-book your parking at the Barcelona airport.
- Do you pay for insurance on your car rentals? Consider instead getting a credit card that offers built in car insurance on rented vehicles on your travels. You will save a lot of money this way.
- Always search out free things to do with kids whenever you travel if you can’t find any on your own. And don’t feel guilty about it. Kids will remember the amazing time they had with their family, hiking, climbing a mountain or running through dunes. Simple does it. See our post on why we love traveling with our son.
For more details about Canary Islands, visit our other posts:
- Why You Should Visit Canary Islands
- Gran Canaria: Beyond Beer & Resorts
- Tenerife: A Perfect Family Holiday
- Best Hikes on Gran Canaria (with Kids)
- Las Palmas de Gran Canaria: A 1-day itinerary
- Top Hikes on Tenerife (with Kids)
- Gran Canaria Landscapes: Photo Essay
- Tenerife Landscapes: Photo Essay
I’ve never thought about going to the Canary Islands before, looks lush and beautiful!
Canary Islands are amazing and they have a big variety of landscapes. One end of the island could be lush and the opposite sand dunes.
This sounds wonderful, where did you book your home on the islands, Airbnb, VRBO or booking.com, those are the three I’ve used in Europe and like them all. Curious to know what you did. Happy to hear about your trip and see all the great photos!
On these islands, we used Airbnb.
I am so in awe of how much you got for your money, it just makes me want to book the next flight over to the Canary Islands. Renting a house seems like such a great idea, especially as you had your own pool and renting a car for €5 a day is such a bargain.
Thanks, Rebecca! We love renting our own place instead of staying at a hotel. Living where the locals live gives us a better idea about the culture of the place we are visiting.
Oh I do love the Canary Islands, being from Ireland it’s a very popular destination for us. The always warm weather, relaxed lifestyle is very appealing. It’s also quite a cheap destination, which is great.
Yes, and it’s so versatile when it comes to landscapes. We were floored with how many opposite micro climates we found there, from dessert dunes to lush greenery.
Woah, €5 a day for car rental!? It’s true that it’s so expensive to travel within Canada when compared to Europe. I have yet to visit the Canary Islands but it looks beautiful and you can’t beat those prices. I’m sure you could live in luxury for a good price too!
You totally can, just avoid the big hotel chains.
You guys are budget travel pros! I am so impressed with your commitment to finding cheap flights and saving money on food – being so thrifty must allow you to travel so much more often!
It definitely does. We travel at least four times as a family during the school year and then we either take one big trip during the summer or several smaller ones.
Amazing tips here. I have been to Gran Canaria with my younger sister and we had the best time. Actually, she always says that it was her best trip. We stayed in a hotel close to the beach and explored the town. Food was delicious and cheap!
We loved Gran Canaria! And we even said, we wouldn’t mind moving there some day, that’s how much we loved it there. But we also say that about a lot of places we visit, haha!
Interesting but not for our family. When we take our annual holiday, we like to splurge on maximum comfort. I don’t really want to cook or clean when I am on vacation. I enjoy being by the pool and having all meals and drinks taken care of. And my kids love participating in the Kids Clubs at the resorts we visit.
I understand! In our crazy fast paced world, having your needs taken care of while on holiday is important. Because several years ago, we converted our life from hectic to slow pace & digital-nomad, our preferred way to travel is at a slow-pace as well.
Great price hacks! We always travel on a budget, but we usually stay at hotels. I do enjoy having some things taken care for me when on holiday.
Totally understandable! I was recently away at a conference and stayed at a hotel where the conference was held. I’ve got to say, it was quite nice to have all my needs taken care of while I was participating in lectures & workshops.
I just read an article that a trip to the Canaries costs thousands of British pounds for a family of four. Clearly the person who wrote that article should see your post. I am a firm believer there are always ways to hack travel costs. You just have to think outside the box.
I totally agree! You can always spend thousands on your trip – and there is nothing wrong with that. But the type of articles you describe perpetuate the myth that travel has to be expensive. And that is definitely not the case. There is always a more affordable way to have an amazing experience.