A few quick tips before you set off on your Iberian Adventure.
Aside from what to pack and what to see, and the vital information about the countryís logistics, if you want a few quick and more subjective pieces of travel advice, youíve come to the right page. Here are some of the more important tips we think we can give a person who wants to really enjoy what Spain has to offer.
Learn a little bit of Spanish.
Even if itís only basic phrases. Many people here do speak English, but unlike in places like Scandinavia, itís not a good bet to assume that most people do. Basic phrases such as ďI donít speak Spanish, do you speak English?Ē can at least help you find someone who can help or direct you. Plus, itís seen as polite, and a good show if youíre attempting to learn the local language and/or customs.
Plan meals accordingly.
If you have a condition that forces you to eat on a schedule, or are just used to eating at certain times or intervals, bear in mind that Spanish lunch and dinner hours are not the same as those in the United States. Lunch is often not even served until 1:30pm, dinner not until 8:30pm, and often times there is a gap anywhere from 4pm to 8pm where a restaurant may be closed for siesta (see our Practical Info guide for more).
Learn the geography.
Spain might seem small, especially to a person from the USA, but itís the second biggest country in Western Europe, so donít plan to see too much of it in one trip. You might want to see one city per day, but due to the actual distances and need for transportation between cities, sometimes it just isnít feasible. So, if youíre one of our build your own trip customers, check out google maps before deciding where you want to go and how many days you want to spend there.
Be aware of climate differences.
Different regions of Spain are better to see, or more accessible, at different times of the year. While the Southern Coast might be open year round, the Northern Coastal hotels and businesses generally shut down in late fall and stay shut down for several months. The inland plains and north central region are terrible to visit in winter, the south central terrible in summer. So, take a look at a climate guide to pick the best time for the region you want to see.
For more on this, see our Climate page.
Guard your purse.
While crime is generally very low in Spain, the one thing that does happen with frequency is pick pocketing, so keep a good hold of your bag while youíre out, and donít leave anything unattended.
See our Practical Info guide for more.
Contact your bank before you come.
Make sure they know you will be using your card or cards in Spain so they do not freeze your account for strange transactions overseas. Remember that you will likely be using ATMs, as Spain has more of them per block than any other country, and cash is the easiest payment method to deal with.
Make sure to carry cash.
Some places, especially in smaller towns, might not accept credit cards and travelerís checks are hard to break. While itís not necessary to carry a huge bankroll, you should keep enough cash on you to cover you for a night out just in case credit cards arenít an option.