Top 8 tips for a great trip to Spain

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Jaycie Weathers

By Jaycie Weathers 

I recently got back from Spain and thought I’d compile a list of a few things I learned abroad to hopefully help and encourage future travelers or maybe just share a few memorable moments.

 

1. Always take the first shower.

After staying in hotel rooms every night with two or three girls for a week, I learned many things, the most important being take the first shower whenever you have the chance. Point blank. I made the mistake of waiting until everyone took their showers first before I hopped in almost every night. Weird things happen in European showers. For example, the person taking the shower before me one night accidentally detached the head part from the hose part, causing water to spew everywhere and the shower to become unusable. I washed my hair in the sink after lots of profanity and fits of laughter all around. Another time, we only had two towels, which I realized after stepping out of the shower, dripping wet. Hand towels are called such for a reason: they’re only big enough for your hands.

 

2. Eat everything.

Ordering in another language proved to be a difficulty for me and others in my group. As soon as the waiter comes over, everything you’ve ever known about Spanish flies out the window and you’re left with nervous laughter and pointing at the menu. The best meals came from everyone pointing at something new and hoping for the best. Being adventurous paid off and just walking into random, sometimes sketchy-looking, restaurants was one of the things I liked the best about traveling with our group.

 

3. Be impulsive.

Normally I’m the sort of person to make a pro/con list before deciding to do something, but while in Spain, I decided to make choices on a whim which resulted in some cool purchases. Some people in my group and I decided to buy a pair of what we like to call “genie pants” for the plane ride home and they ended up being really cool. Another instance of being impulsive came in the form of dessert, because in Spain, they know how to do dessert right. Instead of choosing between gelato and churros, why not have both?

 

4. Take photos.

This seems obvious. Yes, you want to remember your once-in-a-lifetime trip to Spain, but I mean take pictures of random or funny things that you can associate with memories. For me and my roommates, we always took “mirror selfies” in the elevator, and it became almost like a game: take as many dumb pictures as you can before you reach the right floor. It provided lots of laughs and funny photos.

Here is my favorite of the aforementioned “mirror selfies”:

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5. Laugh a lot, and I mean a lot.

Due to living closely with only a few people for a week straight, there’s a 100% chance you will find things to laugh at. Whether it’s cultural differences or jet lag, jokes seem to roll freely and the environment is a welcomed change from the stress of high school. Have a new knock-knock joke? Try it out on all of the Spanish waiters.

 

6. Enjoy your break from the mundane.

The week before I left for the trip, my work load was substantially more suffocating, but all of the residual stress melted away as soon as I set foot in Spain. There I was free to have fun and laugh without worry, so my advice is to cherish it and DO NOT think about school at all, there will be time for that when you touch down in America again.

 

7. Be the version of yourself you’ve always wanted to be.

My mentality going into this trip was to try being more outgoing and not sweat the small stuff, and it worked, for the most part. I’m not saying be someone you’re not, simply take advantage of a new country with a new set of people who don’t know anything about you. This is easiest during the family stay because you have the chance to make tons of new friends and live like a teenager in Spain. If you’re nervous about this part, don’t be. Just smile, be friendly and make sure to ask if you don’t understand something. People will love you and be interested in you no matter what.

 

8. Don’t take too many naps.

The mid-afternoon seems like the perfect time to snuggle up in your hotel room and sleep until morning, but this is a huge mistake. Even if you don’t feel like walking around the city at night, just do it. You’ll regret wasting time sleeping in cities, like Madrid for me in the beginning of the trip, and you could have experienced more. Besides, if you sleep, you can’t eat churros with hot chocolate. This is the view from the hotel I took too many naps in instead of going and exploring more.

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