Learning some tried-and-true tips and tricks for planning your trip to Spain allows you to have fun without breaking the bank.
Crucial tips for planning your trip to Spain
When traveling to Spain, there are plenty of good ways to have fun without ruining your budget.
Read up on Spain and polish your knowledge
Spain is one of the largest countries in Western Europe after France, which gives you lots of ground to cover. This is why you’ll need at least some basic knowledge of the country to plan an exciting vacation. With so many cities of interest spread throughout the country, you’ll need to plan carefully to cut down on travel times. It helps to plan your itinerary in a logical sequence as this can save you a considerable amount time and money.
Consider the weather
Naturally, spring and fall make the best time to visit as the fair weather works in your favor. If you plan to spend a lot of time outdoors, book your vacation around the months of April, May, June, September and October. In the inland cities of Cordoba, Seville and Madrid, the summers can be quite hot, so you are better off visiting in fall. The months of August and July are open tourist season along the Mediterranean, so you need to make an early reservation for your hotel accommodation. July and August are the best times to visit the northern cities of Oviedo, San Sebastian and the rest of Galicia bordering the Atlantic. If you’re planning to tour Valencia, Barcelona, Costa Brava or the Balearic Islands, schedule your visit between May and September. Weather patterns vary significantly between the regions, making a basic knowledge of the specifics imperative for the success of your vacation when planning your trip to Spain.
Some places close during the fall
Many tourist destinations in the north and along the Mediterranean close down in the fall, when the number of visitors drops significantly. If planning your Spain tours around this time, try the Costa del Sol, which boasts beautiful winter weather. The Balearic Islands are also a good place to visit at this time of year. While some of the smaller hotels might already be closed for the season, you'll still find plenty of places to stay in cities like Palma de Mallorca, and the prices will often be a lot lower than they would be if you visit during the summer months. You'll also be able to avoid the crowds if you come during these months, allowing you to really get a feel for the local culture. Regardless of the weather, big cities such as Madrid and Barcelona are open and inviting to visitors all year long, so keep this in mind when planning your trip to Spain.
Plan your travel with great care
A flight to Madrid leaves you right in the middle of Spain, from which point you can make your way to other destinations throughout the country, including the coasts. Surprisingly, planes are the less convenient mode of travel from Madrid to other cities. Although the vast distances between the cities might tempt you into taking a flight, you are better off on a high-speed train when getting around the mainland. The train service is efficient, comfortable and less restrictive than a plane ride would be. However, if traveling to the islands, you are going to have to take a plane. Get a map and plot out your journey and the railway services that serve the various destinations before embarking on your trip.
Be realistic in your travel plans
Ambitious travel plans could ruin your vacation and result in disappointment. Although visiting a city a day sounds appealing in theory, it would be an exercise in futility in a vast country such as Spain. The best Spain tours entail a two or three-day stopover in each city. That way, you have time to explore each city in depth and not spend the bulk of your time traveling. You’ll have a better vacation experience when you savor the local culture instead of rushing through it.
Get the budget right
One rule of thumb when traveling is to avoid carrying too much cash around. Spain boasts the highest number of ATMs in Europe, enabling you to access your money easily. Just check with your bank first to find out about fees and advise them you’ll be using your card abroad. Travelers’ checks are not usually accepted in Spain. In the absence of an ATM, you can opt to change your dollars to euros in the banks. Be sure to visit the bank early as many close at 2:30.
Think carefully about group tours
While they might seem like a great idea, group tours are not for everyone. If you don't feel like spending a lot of time planning and coordinating, they can be a good option, but keep in mind that most of the tours revolve around visiting as many cities and monuments as they can cram into a particular time frame. You are bound to spend a significant portion of your stay shuttling from town to town packed in a bus, which means you won’t be able to linger at places you find particularly interesting.