21 Apr Booking Your Weekend Trips Tips
Look into low-cost airlines like:
- RyanAir: http://www.ryanair.com/en/cheap-flight-destinations/ click on Madrid and all of the dots that stay blue are the places they fly from Madrid.
- EasyJet: http://www.easyjet.com/us/routemap click on Madrid and all of the dots that stay orange are the places they fly from Madrid.
- *Insider tip:* Go incognito on search pages while researching prices! This avoids search engines from saving your searches and even upping the prices.
- Renfe Train: http://www.renfe.com/EN/viajeros/index.html The fast train is a very convenient and comfortable way to travel within in Spain. You can get to popular places like Barcelona, Valencia and Sevilla in two hours or less. You can get the Renfe train in a few spots in Madrid, one of the most common stations is ATOCHA. Booking a table of four on the Renfe is the cheapest price.
- BlaBla Car: https://www.blablacar.es/ Blabla car is becoming a popular option for young people in Spain. It is essentially a carsharing service where a driver can sell a seat in his or her car and you pay a small price, almost like a long distance Uber, but way cheaper. While the website offers inexpensive rides within Spain, we recommend only using this option with a buddy.
When booking a hostel consider...:
- You wont be in your room very long. Often you are only in your room to change and sleep. Its ok to save some money by opting for a hostel over a hotel.
- Distance from train or airport AND city center. Take those two factors into account when booking a hostel. Hostel often include which buses will take you from the airport or train close to the hostel (if it is not walking distance). You can also inquire how much a taxi will cost more or less from your arrival spot to hostel. More often you would rather be located more city center than near your mode of transport.
- Female ONLY rooms. What's nice about most hostels is that they offer room specifically for women. Rooms vary from 2 people to 8 people sometimes. Co-ed isn't bad
- Don't forget to pack... A lock, earplugs, quick dry towel, mini toiletries and flip flops. Make sure your hostel offers a locker in your room. This is a common practice to store your belongings. Earplugs are always helpful if you need real quite. Hostels are often busy and have a 24 hour open door policy but even with "quiet hours" there is bound to be some noise. Quick dry towels are great for the shower and they can double as a beach towel because they are small and fit right into your backpack. You can buy inexpensive ones at Tiger, a popular chain store in Madrid. You can also buy mini toiletries bottles there that you can fill up with your own shampoo, conditioner, and lotion. It is better than buying the overpriced mini versions at the pharmacy, and you can fill them with whatever product you want. Lastly, flip flops because, well... communal showers and midnight bathroom runs.
- Read the reviews. Reviews are there for a reason and its important to see the feedback of others. You'll see immediately that the reviews come in all languages. Read the ones from people around your age or from your country. They will comment on things that you probably feel are important as well.
- Be a Front Desk Fan. When you check-in make nice with the front desk person. They are there to help and often always speak English. The front desk will often offers: maps, free walking tours, group dinners, discount on shows or events. Use these services!
- Passport! You'll always need your passport while traveling and especially for checkin. Its common they take it from you and make a copy. Please keep your passport secure while you are traveling. Before you leave for your trip, look up the where the US consulate/embassy is located and note it down. If anything happens to your passport contact the embassy asap.
Considering Airbnb, be sure to...:
- Read the reviews. Just like booking a hostel, the reviews are there for a reason. They help you to make an informed decision before you book, and give you a better idea of what kind of past experiences people have had.
- Research. Airbnb probably involves more research than hostels, because they are often so many options. In addition to looking at the reviews, do a little research on the neighborhood that the Airbnb is located. It doesn´t need to be right in the center for you to have an amazing trip, but it should be well connected because chances are you won´t have a car while you are away. Do research about how to arrive from the airport or train station before you set off so that you can be more relaxed while actually traveling.
- Message the hosts. Its a great way to get to know the person whose house you will be staying in, and they can give you tips about what to see and the neighborhood.
- Consider booking with a Superhost. Superhosts have recieved lots of good feedback and are usually very experienced Airbnb hosts. You can filter your searches in order to view them. This is only one of the many helpful filters. Others include: entire apartment, smoke free, etc.
- Book with friends. Airbnb is really ideal for small groups of people where you all want to stay together and maybe cook meals at home to save some money. If you are traveling alone, it is probably better to stay at a hostel where you have a front desk staff and you can meet new people.
Updated 02/28/2017 by: Anna Whetzle