Happy day to you, lemons and land sharks!
(This new post is sponsored by Chilean cookies and less than five hours of sleep!)
So, I’m in the Buenos Aires airport now waiting to zoom on back to Santiago to finish out my semester in Chile. It’s been a really great weekend, and I’d say my first ever solo trip was a success! (Not to say, of course, that it didn’t have it’s facepalm-able moments :’D)
As a 20-year-old college student, though, I do not have all the money in the world. Heck, I probably don’t even have half of it! That said…
After a successful 4-day trip to Buenos Aires (including a day in Montevideo, Uruguay) for under $600, I wanna share some tips with you to start, and I’ll give you a breakdown of my budget at the end.
You don’t need a private transfer OR a taxi from the airport
When I was doing research, I figured out that the main Buenos Aires airport (Buenos Aires Ezeiza International Airport) is about 25 miles outside of the main city. (Please note that EZE Airport is different than the Jorge Newbery Airport, which is the smaller, domestic airport closer to the city. I would wager that if you’re flying in internationally to Buenos Aires there is a 99.9% chance you’re going through the EZE Airport.)
I then figured out a taxi or scheduling a private transfer would be $40, or more. I was like, what? Dagummit, I’m not spending $40 bucks on an hour-long car ride.
So I didn’t! Check out Tienda León – they’ll take you from the airport to their Terminal Madero station, which significantly closer to the downtown area of Buenos Aires. And for only 280 pesos (which is about $11 USD as of writing this on 6/11/18)!
From there, it was about three miles to my AirBNB. But, I didn’t need a taxi – I took the metro! This meant it took me about $12 USD to get from the airport to my AirBNB, saving me 30+ bucks off the bat!
Read on to learn about the metro and public transport.
Take advantage of public transport
Buenos Aires is enormous. As such, it (thankfully) has ample public transport. It has a metro system (Subte), buses galore, and colectivas.
Knowing how convoluted bus systems are (living in Chile has taught me this), and not wanting to figure out colectivas, I just figured out the metro system and got along just fine during the weekend.
First thing you’ll need for both the metro AND bus system is a SUBE card – check this post out online for how to get one.
The BA metro system has 6 lines, and costs 7.50 pesos/ride (roughly 30 cents as of 6/11/18), regardless of how many times you may need to transfer lines. It’s a pretty easy system to figure out, and a 30-cent metro is going to beat a 10-dollar taxi ride any day of the week for me.
But besides transportation, you should also be saving on lodging!
Buenos Aires has expensive hotels, I’m sure. But, you don’t need to stay in one. Use AirBNB!
I stayed in Palermo, one of the nicest barrios (neighborhoods) of Buenos Aires and paid about $10/night. I had a private bedroom in an eighth-floor apartment, and I shared the bathroom and living space with the owner, a really nice 20-something Argentinian.
And like, it was nice! Private bedroom, clean space, great Wifi, comfy bed, good neighborhood for $10 a night? This is probably the area where you can save the most as far as budgeting goes.
(Side note: make sure you bring an adapter for the outlets! I thought Argentina would be the same as Chile – lol nope –luckily my AirBNB host had an adapter.)
Okay, so you’ve made it into Argentina, you have the cheap transport and loding – now what?
Take the free tours!
If you look up tours of Buenos Aires, you’ll probably find a bunch of big, exciting stuff with fancy pictures, for only $99.99!
Well, uh, it’s not necessary. I took a tour through Free Walks Buenos Aires. It was about a 3-hour tour, and we saw lots of the big sites – Teatro Colón and Cementario Recoleta, just to name a few. And the best part is, as the name suggests, it’s free! They do ask for tips (I gave about $10), so I guess not technically free, but I’d rather take a tips-only tour than pay $50 bucks or more for a tour.
(Speaking of tips, here’s an unrelate but important pro-tip: besides just talking with your bank and making sure they’ll allow your card to work in Argentina, check with each place you go to! I had the embarrassing experience of going to a restaurant, eating, and not being able to use my Mastercard to pay – and also not having the cash to pay. They were super chill and let me run to an ATM, which was good, but definitely embarrassing :’D)
So, with all this said and done, what did my budget look like?
Round-trip flight from Santiago to EZE – $250
Note: I did this trip from Santiago, Chile to Buenos Aires, so the flight – while not cheap – is certainly cheaper than from the US or, I would think, Europe.)
Buquebus round-trip to Uruguay – $75
Note: If I looked harder, I may have been able to figure out how to do this for cheaper. Side plug – go to Uruguay if you can!!!
Taxi/Tienda León/Metro/Bus to & from Santaigo – $60
Tour Tip – $10
Food – $120
Souvenirs – $15
Money that I lost through ATM withdrawals and currency exchange that I’m salty about – $30
Pro-tip on this, try to withdraw all the money you’ll need at once. I wasn’t sure how much I’d need so had to withdraw twice, which lost me about $10 both times. Also, when I got to Montevideo I immediately exchanged money in the Buquebus station itself – big mistake! I got about 23 Uruguayan pesos/USD as opposed to the 30 Uruguayan pesos/USD I could have gotten if I would have left the station and walked a few blocks.
Total – $560
Like I hope I’ve shown, Buenos Aires is very do-able on a tight budget! While I don’t really know how to fly you there for cheap, you should be able to save money on transportation once there, lodging, and tours. Buenos Aires is a really, really cool city to experience, and definitely vale la pena (worth it) 🙂
That’s all I’ve got for now, homies. Let me know if you have any questions! And of course, thanks for reading and stay Splashy!