Tips for Planning Your Spanish Trip
Thinking about traveling to Spain? Spain – located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula – continues to be one of the most popular tourist attractions and vacation spots just as much today as it has always been in the past. Maybe you’re wondering about where to visit in Spain… Maybe you want to learn more about its history and experience its tremendous influence in European art… Whatever your reasons for wanting to visit are, you’re certainly bound to enjoy the rich culture, customs, and history of this country once you’ve arrived there.
As you can imagine, the architecture of Barcelona, the Holy Monstreat, and the Toledo cathedral make this a popular coordinate. And because this is such a hot travel spot, you’re advised to make your airline reservations, hotel reservations, and car rental preparations early – three to four months in advance as a matter of fact – especially when tourism is likely to be high (summer months, holidays, etc.). If you prefer to travel “off-season,” – that is, during a time when tourism is low, you may not need to make such early reservations. In the latter case, one month-advanced preparation may suffice.
After you’ve made your reservations, you can fulfill the rest of your time preparing for everything that Spain has to offer. One of the ways that you can do that is by taking a local trip to your favorite library and perusing the immense number of books about Spain. By doing this, you can prepare yourself with the language – perhaps even check out a few books or audio tapes of the language (if available) and additionally learn about Spain’s monetary system.
You should always learn about entry requirements, inoculations and other safety information you might need before you go not only to Spain – but also just about anywhere out of the country. But you can also familiarize yourself with the dress of the land and maybe try a few local restaurants that serve Spanish cuisine and play a little of its native music. Of course you can always visit your museum and inquire about the art of the land so that you’ll know what to look for once you get there – in particular, the works of El Greco. The idea here is to educate yourself amid all the excitement of visiting a place so rich in culture!
Now some people like spontaneity – a little adventure – the unknown – whatever you want to call it, but some of us like to create an itinerary of things to do and places to go. If you’re the “planning type,” then you might appreciate taking the time to map out your excursion. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with that – seeing that you’re visiting a new area, your chances of being bored or going against spontaneity are very slim because Spain has so much to offer to each one of your physical senses!
When and if you create such an itinerary, some of the things that you will want to include of course are things like times to eat, take tours, attend shows, and (our favorite) shop! You might think that this information is hard to find but thanks to the Internet, it really isn’t’ hard to find at all. If you’re working with a travel agent, then your efforts to fill an itinerary should be pretty minimal. But if you’re working alone, you can certainly visit the tourist websites of Spain and create your own chart of things to discover and enjoy.
If you’re handy with the native language of Spain (which you might have correctly guessed is Spanish), you can certainly read a few online Spanish newspapers to find events and locals that might be of interest to you. Chances are that you’ll find a lot more entertainment information by reading a Spanish newspaper than you would if you solely relied on an English interpretation.
Once you’ve arrived and have found transportation to your hotel, you can inquire further to find even more interests. By this time, you should be speaking a little Spanish so that you can effectively communicate and exchange money with your hotel manager:
Gracias! (Thank You)
Como te llamas? (What’s your name?)
Como estas? (How are you?)
Me llamo… (My name is…)
Soy de United States of America (I’m from the United States of America)
No comprendo (I don’t understand)
Por favor (please)
Me numero de telefono es el… (My phone number is [and then the numbers in Spanish [uno, dos, tres, quatro, cinco, etc.)
You’ll of course want to learn how to ask for other important things like help and/or directions. These are some of the things that will make your trip to Spain more enjoyable – especially as you converse with the natives and experiment with new foods or amusements that you hadn’t even planned for! Just remember to pack your camera or your small video cam so that you can record your experience and enjoy them with loved ones back home.