Palma.—Ever more Spaniards are opting to rent summer lodgings instead of staying in hotels and are seeking out less popular destinations, exchanging the Balearics and Catalonia for the autonomous communities of Navarra and Castilla y Leon, where the prices are more affordable. This emerged in a report by TripAdvisor, which looked at over 300'000 holiday homes - including 50'000 in Spain - available over the internet. The shifting to lower-cost options by Spanish families who despite the recession are not going to forgo their holiday is clear: in Navarra, in northern Spain, a studio apartment can be rented for 364 euros per week, compared with 817 euros on average for one in the Balearic Islands.

In order to compete with individual citizens, the hotel sector continues to reduce its prices, as seen in the survey of prices conducted by the travel website Trivago, through comparing the prices offered by 670'000 hotels in May with those the previous year.

Prices skimmed
Hotel prices have been skimmed across all of Spain except in the Balearic Islands, which have instead risen by 2%.
Cantabria in the north-western part of the country is where hotels have lowered their costs the most, slashing them by 20% on the year, down to an average of 70 euros per night. In May, the regions with the most affordable hotels were the Asturias (64 euros on average for a double room), Aragon (65 euros) and Galicia (66 euros).

Some mass-tourism spots such as Catalonia's Lloret del Mar are offering rock-bottom deals, like a hotel room for seven nights for only 110 euros per person, according to a survey carried out by travel agent Viajes Eroski.

Some of the cheapest options for holiday-goers in search of a beach vacation are places like Benidorm, Salou, Peniscola and Cambrils, which can compete with destinations like Croatia and Greece. Low-cost deals are also to be had for Majorca for 115 euros per person for five nights, flight included. Hotel stay and flight tends to be the packages offering the best value at the moment.

Flexible
Of course, travel agencies note that the traveller must be flexible and adjust his or her schedule to the pre-established dates.
But they also note that the crisis has changed the habits of Spanish tourists, who now tend to opt for domestic holidays and to compare prices and special deals, as well as alternative possibilities, before deciding where to go on their well-deserved and long-awaited break.

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