Traveling is always exciting because of the new experiences you get to have, the new places you get to see, the different people you get to meet, and so much more. It can also be quite nerve-wracking if you do not know what to do to ensure that all goes well during your trip, and that you do not run into any kind of trouble. There are all sorts of things that can go wrong during your trip; you could forget to carry an important travel document, you could get involved in an accident, or fall sick in a foreign country yet you decided not to get travel insurance, among a host of other things. Being well prepared will ensure that you have an enjoyable trip with minimal challenges. This article gives you some tips that will come in handy if you are traveling to Spain, be it for business or leisure.
- Make a checklist
A few days before your trip, make a checklist of the things that you absolutely must have on your trip. Here are some of the most important things you need to check:
- Your passport – Check when your passport will expire. This is because some countries in Europe can deny you entry if your passport expires within six months of your date of return according to your ticket. If you are traveling to such a country and your passport is about to expire, you have to renew it to avoid any disappointments after spending your hard-earned cash. This applies if you are traveling to more than one country.
- Credit and debit card – Contact your credit and debit card providers and inform them of your upcoming trip. Let them know which country or countries you will be visiting and find out about charges and other such things. Get their emergency phone number so that you know who to call in case of any problems. Also, if you do not remember your pin code, ask them to send it to you.
- Make travel arrangements – This includes both traveling to and from your destination and arrangements for how you will move around while there. If you plan on renting a car, you should have a driving license that is valid in Spain. For international flights, it is always cheaper if you book earlier. Use flight comparison sites to get the best deals on your ticket.
- Medical checkup – Just like you take your car for service before a long trip, you need to ensure that your body is fine and up to the task before you travel. This is especially important if you are not a frequent traveler.
- List down all the valuables you will be traveling with. Take photos of them and write down their makes and models, and serial numbers. This way, in case you lose anything, you will have good records for the police and your insurance company (if they are insured).
- Do some research on your destination before you go
Even if you are traveling to a place that you have been to before, a lot could have changed from the last time you were there. It is important to do some research on your destination before your trip to ensure that the information you have is up to date. Read a guidebook, study a few maps, and use travel apps and the internet to get all the information you need. Each European country has a tourist information website that can be very resourceful. You can get city guides, suggested itineraries, maps and brochures that you can use during your trip.
Here are a few interesting things you will find out if you do some research on Spain beforehand:
- They don’t speak Spanish
Everyone in Spain can speak Spanish, but people in different regions speak different languages. In Barcelona, the most common language is Catalan; in Bilbao and San Sebastian, the most common language is Basque; in Galicia, the most common language is Galician. Other common languages are Leonese, Aragonese and Austrian. However, this is not to say that you need to learn the native languages. Just a little bit of Spanish will suffice so that you can ask for directions if you need to, or just interact with the locals.
Something else that many tourists wrongly assume is that every European can speak English. Unless you are in Madrid or Barcelona, you will find very few people who can speak English. This is why you must work on your Spanish before your trip.
- There is a lot of diversity in Spain
The different regions are so different from each other. You will be amazed if you get to travel to a few regions during your trip. You will feel like you visited several different countries because the natives have held onto their unique cultures and this shows in everything, from the food and attire, to the architecture.
- Summers are hot!
If you are traveling in summer, you should know that most places in Spain are extremely hot during this season. If you can, try and travel during a different season so that you can enjoy your trip more. If you have to go during summer, just stay north of Madrid, unless you don’t mind being a furnace.
- Barcelona is an amazing place
While this city has a reputation for street crime and petty theft, it is actually an amazing place. The incidences of street crime and petty theft are few and far between; it is not as bad as people think it is. Just be careful with your belongings to avoid any incidents.
- Spanish Vacations Can Cost Less
Holidays to Spain can be a lot more affordable than a lot of other countries in Europe. Both food and accommodation are quite affordable in most parts of the country.
- You will love Spanish food
Spanish food is amazing! Many people do not know this because they have not been exposed to it before. You will love the different foods you will get to sample and the best thing is that each region has its own unique cuisine. Some advice though; when in Spain, stick to Spanish cuisine. This is because they suck at making foreign food, with the exception of Barcelonans. So unless you are in Barcelona, do not chance with Thai, Italian or Chinese; just stick to Spanish food.
- Siesta is a real thing
As mentioned earlier, the summers can be uncomfortably hot. The sweltering heat can be unbearable to say the least. Therefore, people actually close their businesses in the afternoons to go take an afternoon nap, with the exception of Madrid and Barcelona. If you decide to brave the heat and, say, go shopping in the afternoon, do not be surprised if you find all shops closed.
- Timing your trip
Despite the heat, Spain is a popular destination in the summer. It might be worth it to just brave the heat and go experience a Spanish summer. Summer is the peak season and most places are best experienced during this time. However, it is never fun to go to overcrowded places. Therefore, you can plan to take your trip earlier or later in the summer when hotels and streets are not overcrowded. Imagine having to wait a whole 45 minutes just to get the attention of a waiter in a restaurant. That cannot be enjoyable. Just be smart about how you plan your trip and dare to tread the unbeaten path. If you are working on a tight budget, you can plan your trip during the off-peak season. Everything will be much cheaper then, from air tickets to accommodation and everything in between.
- Travel insurance
Many people find this to be an unnecessary expense but it is always better to be safe than sorry. Emergencies are just that; always unexpected. You never see them coming; they come without warning. Even if you have traveled a million times before and have never run into any kind of trouble, it is just prudent to have insurance. Most travel insurance providers today can tailor a travel insurance package to suit your needs and priorities. The main things covered are the evacuation, medical, trip cancellation and interruption, flight insurance, and baggage. You can have other policies to supplement these depending on your needs. It can be very affordable if you find a good travel insurance provider.
- A travel agency can make things much easier for you
It might be a good idea to use a travel agency as they can give you some amazing deals on your travel insurance, air ticket, accommodation and even transport while in Spain. They can give you all this and more in one package. And the best thing is that all your tours will be organized for you. This might cost a bit more, but it will be worth it because of the peace of mind you get to enjoy knowing that everything is well taken care of. All you have to do is show up at the airport on the d-day with all your documents and enjoy your trip.