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IBIZA VIRGINS' GUIDE: Surviving Ibiza on a budget

Because there's nothing worse than running out of money on a holiday.

The first time I visited Ibiza, I was a little apprehensive about how much I would spend during my holiday and how broke I'd be on my return home. Fresh from university and complete with lingering debts, I wondered how many days into the trip I'd be forced to borrow money from friends. As the only student in the group I went with, it's fair to say I had considerably less money than my mates.

However, this worry needn't ruin your holiday as there are many ways to save money and still have a mind-blowing time on the White Isle. Here are some tips to help you get by...


Predrink!

It goes without saying, but drinking before you leave for the club will save you much more money in Ibiza than it will at home. Beer and vodka in San Antonio's supermarkets are surprisingly cheap, and you can guarantee that the drinks aren't watered down. Rushkinoff may not be the best tasting vodka around, but it definitely gets you in the state of mind to dance (ask the workers)! Litre bottles of San Miguel are also widely available for around €2. €2 for a litre or €10 for a small bottle of Budweiser in a superclub, it's up to you!

Hierbas is a popular liquor in the Balearic Islands, brewed in many cases directly on Ibiza, and it tastes delicious. Every bar in Ibiza will sell shots of it, it's cheap and it will help you get into the ‘Balearic Spirit'. Spanish bars will often give away shots of hierbas ("chupitos") for free, so keep an open mind and try something new!


Buy your club tickets way in advance

The best way to save money while spending a hectic week of partying is to book your club tickets before you head out to Ibiza. Ibiza Spotlight's party calendar posts all line-ups, residencies and events before the season begins, so make sure you plan where you want to go in advance and be look out for earlybird tickets (you may save yourself from spending full price per night on club entrance - that means more drinking money!). All Spotlight tickets are refundable up to 24 hours before the event, so even if you change your mind, it's impossible to lose out.


Buy food from supermarkets or eat locally

Don't get me wrong, Burger King in Ibiza is delicious and if you're a worker they do a workers meal deal, but constant fast food and restaurant visits will take a massive toll on your wallet. If you want to make your money last, supermarkets all over the island sell freshly made baguettes at a cheaper price than you will find in cafes and restaurants, so keep an eye out for cheap snacks. Although don't rule out Burger King's “Euro-burger” after a heavy night out.

Alternatively, if you don't want to miss out on the table service experience, look for the Spanish restaurants favoured by locals for a cheap, authentic meal. Often only around the corner from the tourist traps, these restaurants will give you no-frills, friendly Spanish food and service at fantastically cheap rates. Comidas Bar San Juan, for example, is nestled amidst Ibiza Town's expensive eateries angled at tourists, but offers mains, starters and wine for two for less than 35€. These places get very popular around 11-midnight, so go early to get a table.


Speak to workers

Workers are your new best friends, they aren't just there to make money from you. These guys have spent much more time than you on the island and can tell you the cheapest places to eat, drink, party and chill! If you're friendly enough you may even be put on a free guestlist for a big club night or get free shots, so be sure to treat these guys nicely and they might do the same!


Disco Buses

You can spend a fortune on taxis from San An to Playa D'en Bossa on a nightly basis if you wish, but why do that when you can get a bus from the terminus to the club for 3 euros? You can drink, meet new people and get to the club quickly all for a ridiculously low price. Buses go from San Antonio to Playa d'en Bossa until 6am and buses back continue until 6:45am. Who knows? You might even hear about an afterparty on the way back so keep your ears to the ground…

Here's a link to the IBIZABUS website for bus routes and times.


Boat Parties

A lot of the boat parties that are on offer in San Antonio also include free entry into a club or party later that evening all for around 50 – 60 euros. That means that the cost of club entry is halved by going to two parties in a day! If you were to buy the tickets separately for each event you'll end up spending around 50 euros more in a day so why not tough it out and party twice? Here's what's on offer.


Free Activities

Some things out here in Ibiza don't cost any money at all! There are plenty of exciting places to visit and things to do without spending a penny. If going out and partying every night doesn't turn you nocturnal, why not venture a little out of San Antonio to Cala Gracio beach and go cliff-jumping? A dip in the sea is an ideal hangover cure out here and the perfect way to ensure you come home with a tan. The beach is near enough to San Antonio to walk but considerably less busy and more peaceful than San Antonio Bay, not to mention one of my personal favourite places to relax on the island. There are many beautiful beaches around the island that not many tourists get to see, so make sure you go exploring!

Or you could go on an excursion to Dalt Vila and check out the stunning views and scenery on offer in the Ibiza Old Town. The bus to Ibiza town costs only €2 from San Antonio and is the perfect way to soak in the vibrant culture outside of partying that Ibiza has to offer. It's also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is as good a recommendation as any to go and have a look. For more information, see Spotlight's Dalt Vila page. There are plenty of fun things to do in Ibiza without persistently dipping into your wallet!


So there you have it, just a few ways to keep control of your money while you're out partying on the island and looking to maximise the activities your budget allows you to do. If you haven't been to Ibiza before, many people will warn you on how expensive everything is on the island but don't let this detract you from having the best week of your life – with a careful and considered plan, Ibiza is as cheap or expensive as you make it to be!

WORDS | Janson Goldberg PHOTOGRAPHY | James Chapman


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