As with any other travel to foreign countries, there are recommendations that are profitable for the expectation of a finer travelling experience. Barcelona is no exception. There are many ways to make sure the traveller has few regrets when returning home and putting together the photo/scrapbook. Oftentimes the site seeing choices are limited, funds may be limited, and time may be limited. Making a few decisions even before boarding the plane may save much headache when planning for a trip like a trip to Barcelona.
During the planning stages of the trip, it is helpful to speak with a well-known travel agent or perhaps someone who has actually travelled to Barcelona. Many times, we may reap the benefit of someone else’s experiences with travelling in the area. Previous travellers may share ideas of where they made mistakes or what they may do different if they could go back. This can save a new traveller time, money, and disadvantages that only someone who has been there can know.
Exploring all options, from travelling alone, to travelling with a touring group, may be advantageous as well when planning a trip to Spain. Having a travel agent explore all the touring options can save time and costs nothing. However, with internet being so accessible, travel plans are not as difficult as they once were.
Booking rental cars and hotels can be a breeze with the travel clubs, and insurance for certain modes of travel can come in really handy.
It really helps to plan ahead with out of pocket expenses and exchange rate values. If there is a way to buy a small amount of currency before going, it should be done. Remember, the exchange rate is always better upon arrival to the different country, but it is good to have local currency at least for taxi fare and a meal or two.
Hard copy maps are good for getting your bearings when travelling abroad. They can be ordered online, but may get pricey if there are too many needed. Maps of the cities that will be visited will be available in the tourist areas. Be reminded that nothing makes a statement like a tourist with a big hat and a camera around his/her neck, standing on the corner with a map in hand. Discretion is definitely the better part of valour when moving about in Barcelona.
Knowing the airport for the connecting flights can be a great advantage. If booking flights yourself, be sure to give yourself plenty of time between flights so as to not be rushed. Running through an airport with no sense of direction is stressful and senseless. Plan accordingly.
Have some idea of a mode of transportation. Remember it may be more expensive to travel by taxi, but if not familiar with the area taxi may be a much better option. This allows for a great way of seeing sites and stress free travel when imbibing a bit too much wine. The metro is relatively cheap.
Since the weather is really stable, travel in Barcelona any time of year is a good time. Depending on the time available, one might want to go when there may be less tourist presence, perhaps in December or January. But the summer months are packed with festivities and many beautiful people from around the world.
Decide the theme of the visit, whether a family outing or a girl/guy group trip and plan accordingly. Sports or opera may be calling you to Barcelona.
A thorough event index will reveal the happenings for the time span that is planned. This is a great way to map out the trip for the most efficient stay and satisfactory results of a well planned excursion. Guided tours, beaches, restaurants, shopping along La Rambla, and listings of family activities will help with preparation of how the time is spent. Plans can be discussed in advance with other members who are going on the trip to ward off division upon arrival.
It may be a good idea to get into a habit of regular walking and exercise a month or two before traveling. With many excellent sites like museums, galleries, architectural structures, and especially La Rambla, much touring of the city of Barcelona is done on foot. A good pair of shoes with a handy backup pair will be essential to comfortable, pain free strolling along the squares and city boulevards.
No one wants to be dissuaded from travelling abroad. Although Barcelona is one of the most sought after destinations in the world, it is one of the most dangerous when it comes to losing your goods. The art of pick pocketing is alive and well and has been a detriment to travel in many cities in Spain.
There are certain things one must do in order to hang onto cash, cameras, and anything else of value while walking around in the city. Knowing the strategies of behaving like a savvy tourist will keep you out of trouble while enjoying your stay. A few simple steps can protect from being stealthily robbed of money and other goods.
Most people think being robbed in broad daylight will never happen to them. When people crowd in together in the streets and shops, it is easy to get distracted while looking at the sites or watching the people, or enjoying a great dining experience. The pick pockets in Barcelona are highly trained, crafty individuals who are able to take things so quickly you never know they are missing until it’s too late.
The best way to begin is to dress like the locals. Spanish people do not typically dress in shorts. They worry about their clothes and are extremely particular with their dress. When wearing shorts, a tourist is immediately advertising his/her identity to the crowd. The incidence of being pick pocketed will increase when dressing like a tourist and not dressing like the locals.
Large bags and backpacks are fair game to the pickpockets. Many of them carry sharp knives or razors and will cut into the bag to allow the contents to come out in their hands. Many a tourist has returned to the hotel, only to find an empty backpack, void of money, passport, and other personal belongings impossible to replace in a foreign country.
Small travel bags carried around the neck to the front and tucked under a light jacket may be a safer option. Never wear a backpack slung to the back for easy access in tight crowds. Also, never leave a bag on the floor in a restaurant or hanging on the back of a chair. This is an easy target for even novice pickpockets. Paying close attention to surroundings and not displaying valuables will keep pickpockets away.
Pick pockets and scam artists often work in groups. They may distract with a little side street “game” where they draw people in and get them interested in the game, while other group members help themselves to goods while the tourist is distracted. When confronted by people who are trying to get your attention in a pushy way, promptly turn your back and walk another direction. Be wise and guarded.
Carry only the amount of money needed for the day. It is smart to leave valuables in the hotel safe and not keep everything in one place. It is best to keep expensive things out of sight. Keep a camera in a small bag and tuck it under the arm. This makes it more difficult for someone to snatch. Keep your wallet separate, in a front pocket preferably.
If you need to look at a map for any reason, go into a restaurant or place of business and sit down. Pickpockets are looking for people who are new to the area and don’t know about their surroundings.
Stations are the worst areas to be robbed. If you have tickets for an event, do not fumble with a purse to find them. Always have your tickets in a close front pocket, separate from a bag and money. Standing in line with your money out will attract people who are waiting for unsuspecting victims. They will watch to see where you put your wallet when you take it out in public and there is a greater chance of being targeted.
It is best to take out travel insurance any where you go. It is inexpensive and may make the difference in a successful trip or being very disappointed. Make sure to have proof of worth of belongings before you leave. Some companies want receipts for cameras, bags, and other valuables in order to reimburse for losses.
In order to travel in Spain, it is a prerequisite to have a picture identification on your person at all times. Guard your passport with your life. It is a good idea however to have a couple of paper copies in case yours is lost or stolen. It is certainly not as good as an original, but can at least prove you are who you say you are. Leaving one in the hotel safe and hiding one in the lining of a suitcase can prove invaluable when identification is needed.
Many thieves disguise themselves as “undercover” police. They may ask you for your passport and unsuspecting victims readily surrender them. There are no undercover police in Spain who will approach you on the street. If this happens, turn and walk away immediately.
Use common travel sense when in Barcelona. Stay with a group. Do not walk in isolated areas at night. When on the beach, do not leave things unattended. Try to dress like the locals and don’t advertise yourself as a tourist. If you will be driving a car around the city, it is recommended to read about car crime and safety within the city perimeters.