General advice – before you leave home
Make copies of your important documents and store them separately from your originals (in a different suitcase or in the ‘cloud’). This is so important and easy to do!
Call your mobile phone provider to ‘unlock’ your phone to international use and consider purchasing an international data package.
Call your credit card company to ‘unlock’ your card to international use and find out about fees in the countries you are about to visit.
Check your Passport expiration date.
Buy travel insurance. Make a list of items you will be bringing (such as electronics), include serial numbers, makes, and models, and take photos of your items to show your insurance company should anything be lost or stolen.
How NOT to lose your belongings (and avoid unnecessary stress)
Spain is safe when it comes to violent crime. Unfortunately, it is very “dangerous” in terms of petty theft. If you’re not constantly on guard, you’ll have something stolen. Remember, nearly all crimes suffered by travelers are nonviolent and avoidable.
Wear a money belt. This is where you put anything you really don’t want to lose.
Leave your valuables in the hotel. Lock your laptop, tablet, luxury items, extra cash and credit card in your hotel room safe. If you don’t really need it – don’t take it with you.
Don’t leave your stuff on the table. At cafés, don’t place your phone or wallet on the tabletop where it can be snatched – it will be. Sometimes people fall into a false sense of security once they sit in a restaurant or cafe, but often these are outdoor places that provide no protection from petty theft.
Make it clear you are not naive. Thieves choose their targets on the basis of how easy it would be to get away with it. Even a minor obstacle can be an effective deterrent and they will likely move on to the next victim. If you’re sitting down, loop a strap from your daypack around your arm, leg, or chair. Lock the zippers or simply use a paperclip. Even the smallest inconvenience to a thief would be sufficient in most cases to make them look elsewhere. You don’t need to make your bag impossible to get into, just harder to breach than the next guy’s. Make it clear to anyone looking that you’ve come prepared.
Beware of scams. Go on instant alert anytime there’s a commotion, it is likely a smokescreen for theft. Imaginative thieves will create a disturbance (a messy spill, a stumble, a fight) to distract you. Don’t get distracted! Walk away and hold on to your valuables with extra care.
Be on guard in bus and train stations. Always be in physical contact with your belongings. Wear your daypack in front. Try to avoid busy escalators. Be careful at bus stations when entering the bus with a crowd.
Keep the claim ticket in your money belt if you check your luggage. Thieves know just where to go if they get hold of one of these.
Don’t lose it. Travelers are more likely to lose their bags than to have them stolen. Don’t forget to check under your pillow in your hotel room, look in the overhead storage on the bus before you leave, and take your bag after stopping for lunch.
Don’t be paranoid… be prepared. If you keep alert, you’ll keep your valuables too. The vast majority of visitors to Spain do not experience any incidents. We just want to make sure you are part of the 99%!
Enjoy something authentically Spanish
Don’t miss the opportunity to see a flamenco show while in Spain. There are great venues in every major city and often you can combine the experience with a delicious Spanish dinner. Check out the best venues for a Flamenco show here
Stay in a recommended hotel
We are happy to suggest some hotels for you based on feedback we receive from our guests. We prepared a short list of options for Barcelona and Madrid hotels which you can see here. For all other destinations, please feel free to email us and we will be happy to reply with a suggestion.
Book with other recommended Tour Companies
We are happy to recommend some of our colleagues in different countries around the Mediterranean. Check out this short list of other tour operators if you are planning to visit other destinations. This is especially helpful for those who plan to embark on a cruise journey around the Mediterranean.
Avoid online scams
Lastly – make sure you enjoy your holiday and don’t fall victim to online scams. Only book your activities with genuine and licensed companies. There are many websites selling various activities in Spain and you need to be careful that you are dealing with a genuine and licensed business. Ensure you are booking with a genuine Tour Company by checking with ASTA (the American Society of Travel Advisors) which is the main body supervising travel companies worldwide. Just as you would not jump into any car at the airport and only get into a licensed taxi, we recommend you book only with a genuine travel company.