24 yr old female traveling to Spain (and possibly Portugal) in October. A friend had to cancel on me, so it turns out I'll be going on my own. I thought about cancelling the trip, but I don't want her change of plans to stop me from experiencing Spain. My main concern is that I do not speak Spanish. I'm doing my best to learn as much as possible before then... but will I be able to survive on English and some key Spanish phrases? Don't get me wrong, I am not a tourist who expects people to speak English to me. I will do my best with Spanish, but the fact of the matter is that I will not know much.
I plan on using the train as much as possible as well as some buses. I also figure I'll arrange this as I go. Will I end up wasting money that way? Same goes with accomodations... I guess I'll plan on hostels? Can I arrange this as I go, or is it smarter to reserve beds? My concern was that I don't want to make too many plans in advance, I'd like to be free to do things and go places as I go along. I also don't want to be stuck without a bed for the night. I wouldn't feel comfortable as a single young female.
Even though I won't be there at the height of the tourist season, I'm hoping to meet people along my trip. In addition, if anyone on here will be in the area, that'd be cool to meet up.
Sorry if some of this is addressed in previous threads. I did my best to read over the site before submitting. Have a good weekend!
This doesn't specifically answer your questions but I'm going to be near Barcelona, Spain for the summer (19 yr old female from the States). I have been looking at www.virtualtourist.com at the Barcelona forum. There are a lot of specific tips that are worth reading. You may be able to find forums for specific towns you will be in. Hopefully I will have a chance to travel around Spain while I'm over there and then I would be able to give you some more help later on.
Good luck planning your trip and way to stick with it even though your friend had to back out!!
I could help you with Spanish phrases too... I'll try and think of important phrases to know.
In most places, you won't have a problem surviving on English alone. Although i've probably been to Spain probably 30 or 40 times, to this day, my Spanish goes to about 20 words, 15 of which are irrelevant to normal life (sporting phrases etc), and the only one i always remember is "cerveza"....
In the bigger cities/touristy areas English is wide spread. Away from there you can normally find somebody at least who speaks abit. Failing that, hand signals and gestures will get you by.
I agree that VT is always worth a look for the local point of view. In October, you are unlikely to have any real problems making resvs as you go unless you get really unlucky (but be aware of special events/local holidays which may lead to things booking up). Trains/buses you can also do as you go along and you'll almost always be fine. You probably won't be wasting money unless you end up doing lots of double backing or illogically ordered trips.
As a sidenote, whilst it may not seem it at the moment, i honestly think your possibly lucky that youy friend has dropped out. I normally find that you have a much better time traveling on your own/hooking up with people as you go, rather than planning to spend the whole time with somebody. On your own, you are forced to interact with locals/other travellers allot more, whereas in a pair, you often find that you spend mopre time talking to each other than anybody else. Traveling with somebody you know can be great fun. Traveling on your own is almost always great fun. And i'll probably be somewhere around there at some point, so maybe a chance to meet for a drink somewhere.
I am from Barcelona, you can contact me eany time before and when you come. In October do not worry about accomodation or bus/train booking you ll find everything you want. About not spanish speaking do not worry I am sure you ll br understood
BEst regards and keep in touch
In Spain high season is during July, August and until mid-September, specially during August. In Octuber it is not suppose to be a lot of touristic movement.
Take in consideration that Octuber 12th is holiday in Spain (for reservations/transport/accommodation).
About booking in advance or not, it is up to you. Maybe the most common is to book if you go in week-end (in a touristic/visited area there is still good weather) maybe it is more efficient if you book in advance (transport/accommodation), but it is so general, that it depends a lot from one place to another.
Generally speaking, I usually pre-book train transport, but not bus transport between main cities. Or I pre-book a hostal in Madrid when I am going during week-end.
About language, of course that in a touristic place a lot of people would speak English to you, but even if you don't speak Spanish at all, and you have some patience, you will understand and been understood. Just be patience, speak slowly.
If you need further assistance, recomendation, etc write to the forum or directly.
PS: I am from Donostia-San Sebastian (Basque Country)
Thanks for all of the replies. Over the last couple of days I've spent wayyyy too much time on virtualtourist.com. The more research i do, the more and more excited i get. Now i just have to get through the next 5 months... (just keep telling myself "with every day i work, the more $$ i'll have for spain"). Gelli- thanks for your help (in several of the threads, actually). If you do end up in the area, let me know and I'll buy you a drink!
helpful? Me? Wow. I suppose i had to get lucky once!
Good luck with your next few montsh saving up, and if there's anything else you want to ask, just post it somewhere.
Btw, thanks for nudging me as well - Me thinks i probably need to update my pages on VT as i haven't in ages and no idea what they currently even say!
Gelli, I can only second what cg8tr said: you're extremely helpful and not only that, you know what you're talking about. People always get very accurate information from you, that's absolutely incredible the knowledge you have on so many different subjects. So once again, you're being called helpful
Have a nice day.
Sole, that's extremely kind of you to say, thank you
Just glad i can help, and many thanks to you and the rest of the team for giving us such a great forum to hang out on and avoid doing any real work
Well, Rich, thanks, but the major part of all the work is done by Peter and Sam, the rest of us only check out the forums and see to it that they stay fairly "clean"
And still, all this wouldn't really work if people like you didn't contribute and didn't mind sharing their knowledge.
You're right it is a great forum, Peter and Sam have done a tremendously good job here ... did you see that Peter and Sam LOL