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International travel tips for Spain

Dust off those passports and get ready to explore Spain! Your first thought may be to hit Madrid, and that’s well worth seeing, but there’s more to experience than the usual touristy stops. Whether you’re a novice or seasoned traveler, there are plenty of highlights and hidden must-see gems. Here are a few international travel tips for Spain to make your journey easier and help you discover the true Espana.


Spanish SignsThe need for technology

ATM card? Check.

Passport? Check.

Technology? Hmmmm, time to research.

For most of us, going an entire day without our cell phone or Internet access is a challenge, so when you’re traveling you’ll need to incorporate it into your routine.

For Louisa Smith of Atlanta, traveling to Madrid meant she was prepared for a lot of sightseeing, walking, and, oh yes, a dose of the Internet. “I don’t want to log on 24/7 — after all I’m on vacation — but I do need to check in periodically to stay in the loop.”

Although she plans to log in every few days, finding an Internet café or even a computer in her hotel lobby should not be an issue.

Calling cards are king

Can you imagine textless travel abroad? It’s hard for Smith’s daughter, Hailey, to imagine life without her cell phone. “I don’t know what I’m going to do,” she says. “There’s always Facebook, I suppose.”

There are, of course, other ways to communicate. If you need a good old-fashioned telephone, calling cards are the best way to go. Whether you purchase them in a kiosk overseas or buy ones like Contiki’s E-Kit, you should be all set.

Spanish Foodwhet your appetite

“In Spain, we eat a huge meal on Sunday afternoons with our families for a few hours,” says Ana Maria of the promotions department in the regional tourist board of Valencia. “Lunch always starts at 2 p.m. or later. We have five meals and don’t eat dinner before 9 p.m. We take our time to eat, relax and drink wine or sangria if you’d like.” Before you travel abroad, learn the food culture of your destination.

Set a travel plan

Whether your goal is to relax, sightsee, immerse yourself in the culture and vibe or all of the above, sit down and decide on a few destinations, including some lesser-known locations.

Up next: A 5-day guide to Spain >>

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