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Travels while abroad: frustrations and tips for the future

November 11th, 2012 mmonto14

My time is running out! I only have 9 weekends left in Europe…what will I ever do with such little time (damsel in distress pose)! Well, I do have some pretty exciting trips coming up. For example, next weekend I will be heading to the south of Spain; I will be spending my weekend in Andalucia. This is where the Spanish stereotypes of bulls, flamenco, etc actually come from. Then, I will be returning to Barcelona for the last weekend of November; I was there last month, and I absolutely loved it. Finally, I will be concluding my time alone in Spain-before my family comes- with a trip to Rome.

However, planning these trips was not easy, and at times I experienced a good amount of frustration. Here is my little venting session on my experience of planning my trips. First of all, airports. The only airport in Coruña is small and has a limited amount of direct flights. The next best bet is flying from Santiago, which is a train/bus ride away and a pain in the behind. Second, prices. These so called “low-cost airlines” are not as low cost as they advertise themselves to be. Besides the fact that they are not actually “low-cost”, they have all these hidden fees for using a certain card or for just buying your ticket. Third, packing. These so called “low-cost” airlines can be a bit of sticklers when it comes to your luggage. I usually just take a carry-on and a SMALL over-the-shoulder pocket book. On my first trip to Barcelona, I was told that I had to put it (better description is stuff it) into my carry on; I was not allowed to have this small personal item that basically took up no additional space. Regardless, packing is just a hassle in the first place.  Lastly, I have experienced that there is really no other way of getting out of Coruña – or Galicia for that matter- other than by a plane. This is frustrating because I would like to see the rest of Spain without having to go through an airline.

Not everything has to be negative because through all these frustrations I have learned some lessons about traveling:

1. When you are finally decided you actually want to go somewhere, be a comparison shopper. Look at prices the day you decide where you want to go, but don’t automatically buy. “Shop around” for a few days and then buy. Airlines usually have better prices in the beginning of the week (Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday).

2. Plan your outfits ahead of time so that way you only pack what you need, and also buy your toiletries in the travel size or buy the traveling kits. It is so useful to have all your personal items together in a little kit.

3. Decide what is most important: a “cheap” flight or your comfort. Sometimes a cheap flight can end up being more expensive-financially and mentally- than you originally might have thought. Even though a flight might appear to be a little more expensive in the beginning, you will thank yourself that you didn’t have to waste half your day getting to the airport just because the flight was cheaper.

4. If you are going as a tourist, do your research about a place before, especially if you are traveling on a budget. The internet does not exist for just Facebook. Google search “(place where you will be traveling) on a budget”, and YouTube it as well for those must-see tourist attractions.

These are just some lessons I have learned from my trips so far. Not only will I implement these for the remainder of my travels here in Spain, but as well as in the future. I am exciting for the rest of my trips and I will definitely post some pictures of all my trips. Talk to you soon.

-Melissa

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