Spain Travel Tips. Just for you.
You’ve put so much thought, energy and time into picking your destination and finalizing your itinerary. Just as important as the big picture, the small details can make or break a trip. Select your destination and discover great tips, tricks, and hacks for making travel smooth and hassle-free.
Everything You Need to Know Before You GO!
VISA AND PASSPORTS
- Please check the expiry date on your passport. Travel outside of the United States requires a passport that is valid for at least the next six months.
- US citizens do not need a visa to enter Europe. If you are not a US citizen, please check with your diplomatic or consulate office about whether you require a visa for your trip destinations.
The US State Department provides Country Specific Information sheets for every country in the world as well as Travel Alerts and Warnings. For this information, call 888 407 4747 or 202 501 4444 or see travel.state.gov.
- Plan to visit your doctor or local travel clinic at least 4-6 weeks before departure to allow time for any vaccinations to take effect or to fill any prescriptions.
- We strongly suggest purchasing appropriate trip insurance covering medical, baggage, and trip cancellation as needed.
- Before traveling to Europe or any other destination, we recommend consulting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for up-to-date information on required and recommended vaccines and medications. Visit cdc.gov/travel or call 800 232 4636 for more information.
- For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO), which contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
- If you received any vaccinations in preparation for your journey, pack your vaccination certificates in your personal carry-on baggage in case you are asked to show them on arrival.
- Make sure that any medications you require, as well as copies of your prescriptions, are packed in your carry-on luggage and not in your checked baggage.
- Special meals and allergies: If you require special meals for health or dietary reasons, please let your Da’at tour operator know at least 60 days prior to your departure.
We strongly recommend that you purchase your own travel insurance. Please discuss land, air, and health insurance options with your insurance provider or contact Travel Insured at 1-800-344-6226, ext. 257. Some insurance programs provide more comprehensive coverage when the policy is purchased in close proximity to the initial trip deposit. We therefore recommend that you secure insurance within 14 days of your initial deposit payment date.
CURRENCY AND BANK INFORMATION
- Since 2002 Spain is part of the Euro Zone and the official currency is the Euro. Euros come in seven notes (5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 euros) and eight coins (1-and 2-euro coins and 1-, 2-, 5-, 10-, 20-, and 50-cent coins).
- Click here to obtain the most current exchange rates.
- ATM’s are usually the easiest and quickest way to obtain cash. You can make a withdrawal from your home bank account via an ATM. These are common all over Spain and most are linked to international networks such as Cirrus, Plus, Star, and Maestro.
- Many ATMs allow the use of a credit card. This method, however, tends to be costlier because, in addition to a service fee, the interest is charged immediately. For exact fees, check with your bank or credit card company.
- We recommend that you contact your bank in advance of departing on your journey to determine whether you will be able to use your ATM and credit cards while traveling. When contacting your bank, notify them of your travel dates so that they will anticipate charges being made outside of your hometown and do not suspend your cards for what may appear to them to be “suspicious” charges. We also recommend that you make a photocopy of the front and back sides of your ATM and credit cards to leave behind with someone at home who will assist you in the event your cards are misplaced, lost, or stolen.
- For more information about money in Spain, click here.
- In Spain, the power plugs and sockets are of type C and F. The standard voltage is 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.
- For more information about this, visit worldstandards.eu.
- Electric shavers, traveling irons, phone rechargers, and other small appliances may require adaptors and/or converters, which you can purchase prior to your departure or at the airport.
Central European Time is six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time, USA. To determine current time in major cities around the world, visit timeanddate.com.
Tips to avoid international roaming charges:
- Use your existing plan – contact your local carrier to find out plans and prices for data roaming.
- Rent a device – Rent a phone, download your information, and use the borrowed device as if it were your own.
- Get a local SIM card – Make sure your phone is “unlocked” before purchasing a local SIM card in your destination and using your phone on the local network.
- Wi-Fi only – Turn off your cellular data, switch your phone to airplane mode, and enable a Wi-Fi connection to access Internet hotspots in your destination.
For international calls from Spain to the US: Dial 00-1, followed by the US or Canadian area code and number.
Here’s a recommended restaurant list to help you decide which of Spain’s many restaurants might suit you best. These are all popular places so we suggest that you plan ahead and make reservations in advance.
FACILITIES FOR THE DISABLED
- Travel through Europe for people with special needs is doable/manageable but with certain limitations.
- Many of the streets in the old cities and towns in Spain are still paved with cobblestones making free exploration very limited and possibly almost impassable for wheelchairs. Many places and sites have stairs only and don’t offer wheelchair access.
- Airports, public transportation, and some tourist sites are wheelchair-friendly and most hotels have special rooms designed for disabled travelers.
- When making independent dinner plans, check with your hotel as to which recommended restaurants can best accommodate your needs.
- The decision to participate in one of these tours is at the sole discretion of each participant.
- Should you require handicapped facilities, please contact our office.
The official language of Spain is Spanish. English is not widely spoken, though basic English is common in the tourist industry. It is worthwhile to speak a little of the local lingo so we recommend you click here for some useful Spanish words and phrases.
- Spain is a vast country with very diverse climates, experiencing a huge range of weather conditions, depending on the climate changes from north to south as the country spans many latitudes, and the east and west are different again as they are affected by the Mediterranean and the Atlantic respectively. Coastal areas have very different weather from the central inland regions.
- The weather in Spain is the most diverse in Europe due to its position, coasts, mountains, and large land mass.
- Though cool in Madrid and mild in Andalusia (Cordova, Granada, and Seville), the winter is usually quite dry, and for those not looking for sun-tanning weather it can be a very refreshing time of the year to visit.
- Spring is a very pleasant season in the region. The long days are generally warm and the nights cool. Rain is not uncommon at this time of the year, but days are often quite windy. Although it is very unlikely to get very cold in the south, it can get quite chilly in Madrid. All over, at midday, the temperature can easily rise to short sleeve temperatures.
- Spain’s summer should really be divided into two sections: the pleasant summer and very-hot-summer. The former may or may not last all through June, and then begins again in mid- to late-August. In July and through most of August, it becomes very hot in Madrid and even more in the south region of Andalusia. Rain is infrequent but there are the occasional summer storms.
- Like spring, autumn is a very pleasant travel season in the region. Temperatures are mild. In late autumn there is always the risk of some rain, but those are short showers.
- Use a website such as weather.com to find average temperatures and rainfall during your travel times.
Madrid, right in the center of the country, can be seen as typical of Spain’s continental climate regions. The climate of Madrid is dry, warm, and pleasant. Its high altitude and proximity to mountains causes some wide variations in winter and summer temperatures. In summer the heat at midday can be intense, with pleasantly cool evenings. Rain in Madrid is a rarity, with a short rainy season in late October and some showers in spring.
Barcelona has a Mediterranean climate of hot summers and mild winters. However, the weather is moderated by westerly winds from the Atlantic, and the city sits on an elevated plateau. These factors combine to produce slightly cooler temperatures and higher precipitation than Spain’s more southerly coastal resorts. Barcelona is also cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter than areas further inland, as is to be expected from a coastal location.
WHAT TO PACK
Click here for our suggested packing checklist.
Confirm baggage limitations with your international carrier before packing. Remember that airlines can change their baggage restrictions at any time.
FLIGHTS & AIRPORTS
- Be sure to reconfirm your international flights with your airline 24 hours prior to your departure.
- Passengers must check in for international flights from the US/Canada at least three hours prior to departure time.
Security checks are carried out routinely for your protection and safety. Expect to be asked about the contents of your luggage, who packed it, whether anyone asked you to transport items for them, and whether your luggage remained with you before you arrived at the airport. Do not take any mail, packages, or unknown items from anyone either before or after arriving at the airport.
ARRIVAL & DEPARTURE TRANSFERS
- If your package includes arrival and departure transfers, this will be detailed in your travel documents which will be e-mailed to you up to one week prior to your trip.
- If you deviate from the arrival and/or departure dates and time as specified in your travel documents, you will need to arrange your own transfers. Alternatively, you may request a transfer service up to three working days prior to your arrival and the cost of the transfer service will be added to your invoice.
- When requesting a transfer service, please provide us with your flight information. Your arrival transfer is guaranteed for up to one hour from your scheduled arrival time in order to compensate for minor delays.
- Da’at or the transfer company will not be responsible for delays, for any reason, beyond one hour from your originally scheduled arrival time. In case of a delay, it will be your responsibility to contact Da’at directly and/or to make other transfer arrangements, such as by taxi.
- Transfer costs are not refundable and any additional expenses will be your responsibility.
- Taxi: Cabs in Spain are easy to find and relatively inexpensive.
- Renting a Car: One can rent a car from a number of internationally known car rental companies or choose a local rental-company. A passport, major credit card, and US/Canadian driver’s license will be required.
- Public transportation in Madrid: Madrid’s public transportation system is clean, fast, safe, efficient, and very cheap. It includes metro lines, more bus lines, and 10 lines of Cercanias (local trains that link the city center with the suburbs).
- For more information and timetables please visit the Metro Madrid or call +34-917 796 399.
- You can also have a look at the EMT Bus Company, but be aware that information is only displayed in Spanish.
- Public transportation in Barcelona: Like Madrid, Barcelona has an efficient bus and metro system. For more information and timetables please visit the Transports Metropolitan of Barcelona or call: + 34 902 07 50 27.
- Public transportation in Seville, Cordoba, & Granada: There is a metro system in Seville, and it is under construction in Granada. However, the most used public transportation is the bus. For more information please visit: Seville Bus Company or Seville Metro.
CHECKING IN AT YOUR HOTEL
If you arrive at your hotel before the customary 3:00 p.m. check-in time, your room may not be available. Store your luggage with the concierge and take the time to walk around and get a feel for your new city.
PROTECTING VALUABLE ITEMS
- Hotel safes are usually provided and can be used to protect valuables such as passports, medications, jewelry, money, and electronics. If you must carry valuables, keep them on your person at all times, be mindful of your surroundings, and take extra caution in crowds.
- We recommend photocopying the personal information pages of your passport and leaving one copy with a family member or friend and packing another in a place separate from the passport itself. You can also scan your passport and email a copy to yourself for easy online access. This will help you to secure a replacement quickly should the need arise.
Where and whether to shop while traveling with Da’at is a personal choice and shopping is never compulsory. If at any point during your journey you feel pressured to shop or make purchases, please immediately discuss the matter with your tour educator.
We recommend the following for tipping (amounts in US dollars):
- Groups of 20 participants or more:
Da’at Tour educator/escort $8, local tour escort (if applicable) $6, local guide $5, driver $3 per participant per day.
- Recommended restaurant tipping when lunch or dinner is “not included in package”:
Tipping at restaurants in Spain is not a must but is appreciated. For simple meals (like a “set-menu” lunch) it is customary to just round up the bill (usually a few Euro). For finer dining/dinners we’d recommend 10%-15% depending on your satisfaction. It’s recommended to tip in cash as tips added to your credit card don’t always reach your server.
Included in your package.