Some adventures are worth the long layovers. And some long layovers are totally worth the adventure.
To get where we’re going with this blog I need to take you a couple steps back in time…
This is Jeannine – aka J-Money (J$)
6 years ago – back in the Summer of 2012 – we met on a bus in Bosnia, and hit it off (Someday I’ll write out the full story for y’all, because we love our Travel BFF Meet-Cute). Now, we try to take a trip every year together. We’ve been to Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, up the Oregon and Washington coast along the PCH, Victoria, B.C., and to almost all of the Seven Wonders of Oregon (to be completed hopefully in the next couple years!)
Last year, we both decided we wanted to travel to Greece in 2018. Greece has been at the tippity-top of both of our travel bucket lists for years, so we made it our priority for this year.
With that in mind, I signed up for Next Vacay, an email subscription that alerts you when there are flight deals at airports near you (I get deals for PDX, Seattle, and Vancouver airports). Within 2 weeks of signing up, I was alerted for a deal from Seattle to Madrid roundtrip for $400.
$400 roundtrip to Madrid? From the West Coast?
Yeah, I bought that ticket within an hour of receiving the email.
Because, you see, Europe has this amazing thing called super cheap flights. RyanAir, WizzAir, EasyJet, etc. all offer options to get around the continent really easily. Jeannine and I ended up getting to Athens for less than $50/each (a bit more to get back to Madrid from Athens) to continue our journey. But I digress…
Not only were we getting to go to Greece, but we got to spend a full day layover in Madrid!!
J$ ended up getting a flight that landed in Madrid about an hour after mine, so I waited in the lobby before customs until she arrived. We left our bags at the airport and took the subway into town.
Stopping at the Opera Subway stop, we headed over to the Madrid Palace area.
From there we just walked around the city.
I’m a walker. I think walking offers a great opportunity to really see the city.
We saw Plaza Mayor
And walked the Paseo del Prado (J$ took a nice little nap on this park bench a few years ago when she was in Madrid)
Taking in the Fountain of Apollo as well as the beautiful greenery.
We ended up in Parque del Retiro – because I have this thing for trees and plants and greenery.
Where we had a Sangria and Aperol Spritz in front of the Estanque Grande del Retiro.
And ending up explore the Palacio de Cristal in the center of the park.
Before heading back to the airport to catch our flight(s) to Athens (Greece blogs are coming!).
We had a lovely day in Madrid walking and exploring. I’d never been to the city before, and it was really nice to have the opportunity to get to see it for the first time, even if it was a short jaunt.
So, day-long layovers are not bad! They can be pretty fantastic, actually! Especially if tickets to your final destination are considerably more expensive. It might take a little more coordination, but using Next Vacay to find a flight deal has revolutionized the way I travel. So much so that my mum and I are going to Ireland in April 2019 because we found $370 roundtrip tickets via Next Vacay!
Travel isn’t out of reach for everyone – it just takes a little planning/coordinating, a little spontaneity (because when a deal comes through you gotta buy those tickets pretty quickly), and some budgeting. I’m certainly not independently wealthy. I travel cheap and keep a separate savings account as a travel fund. It’s doable for a lot of people for sure.
Hit me up in the comments if you have any questions!