How to Prepare for Barcelona

  • Prepare for Barcelona

by Lizzie Triplett

PREPARE FOR BARCELONA: KNOW BEFORE YOU GO…

In order to prepare for Barcelona, there are some simple tips you should know before you go! Although most of this may seem like common sense, it is still crucial for your preparation to Barcelona.  These tips will not only make your packing process more efficient and orderly, but they will also make your abroad experience run much smoother as a whole.

Prepare for Barcelona: suitcases

Traveling bags: Most students fit their clothing into one checked bag, a carry on, and a backpack.  It is much easier to travel on the weekends with a lighter bag, especially because most European airlines have stricter carry-on regulations.  Therefore, you should make sure your carry-on bag is small (check online at vueling.com or ryanair.com for bag measurements). Airlines will charge you around 50 euros if your bag is too big!  Some students even opt to use backpacks to avoid any risk of their bag being too big.

Cell Phones:  To prepare for Barcelona, contact your cellphone carrier to see if they provide you with an international plan.  Some carriers offer one for free and others offer monthly plans.  This is a much easier route if you don’t mind paying the extra money because you are able to keep your U.S. number. However, most students choose to get an international SIM card once they arrive in Barcelona.  This is much less expensive alternative for a lot more data.  If you choose to get an international SIM card,  make sure your phone is completely paid off beforehand.

Credit cards/money: Before you leave for Barcelona, contact your bank and sign up for an international credit or debit card to avoid international fees.  Although these fees may seem small in the moment, they add up over time to hundreds of dollars.

Prepare for Barcelona: money

Not only should you get an international credit card to prepare for Barcelona, but you should also withdraw euros from your bank before you leave!  Most students withdraw around 200-300 euros before coming to Barcelona.  This is due to the fact that it is very expensive to withdraw money in Europe from a cash machine that is not your bank.  Cash is also a lot more convenient and allows you to budget your money better.  If you want to learn more about how to better budget your money while being abroad, check out this article!

Packing tips: Pack lightly! Most students in the past have tried to cram every piece of clothing they own into their bags until they hit 50 pounds.  This is the exact opposite of what you should do!  Since Barcelona is known for its amazing shopping districts and cheap clothing, students will most likely buy clothes when they get here.  It would be a shame if you over packed and had to take twice as many clothes home with you.  That being said, you should only pack the necessities!  Here are some suggestions on the necessities you will need in order to prepare for Barcelona:

  • Jackets:  For all of you winter study abroad students, you should invest in a puffy jacket.  You will wear this jacket almost everyday in Barcelona as well as on weekend trips to colder countries.  If you don’t want to spend money on a Patagonia or North face jacket, the shops in Barcelona offer endless options of cheap puffy jackets.
  • Shoes: You only need two or three pairs!  You will be walking almost everywhere in Barcelona, so make sure you pack the most comfortable shoes you own. Most students bring a pair of sneakers (vans, converse, etc.), hiking or running shoes, and a pair of nice going out shoes.  That is really all you need!  Again, do not over pack because you will most likely buy new shoes once you get here.
  • Purses/bags:  Most people bring a smaller bag for everyday use and a backpack for school.  Your smaller bag/purse should be able to wrap around your body so you can keep it in front of you when walking around touristy areas.  Pickpocketing’s do happen in Barcelona so make sure you have a bag that protects your things!

PREPARE FOR BARCELONA: WHILE ABROAD…

Traveling tips: In order to prepare for Barcelona, it is suggested that you book flights for weekend trips far in advance. Although flights here in Europe are generally cheaper than in the United States, they can still be pricey if you book the week of.  This is especially important if you are looking to travel to places that are holding big events such as Oktoberfest or Saint Patrick’s day in Ireland.  That being said, you should get together with a group of friends and plan ahead.  Websites such as Skyscanner.net and Orbitz.com will provide you with the cheapest flight options and are easy to use!

While abroad: flightsAirlines:

  • Vueling Airlines:  Vueling is probably the most commonly used airline by students studying abroad.  They not only provide cheap flights, but also have much less strict bag regulations. If you are planning to take a longer weekend trip or are an over-packer, Vueling is the airline for you.
  • Ryanair:  Students generally have mixed feelings about this airline due to accommodation and safety.  Although they provide extremely cheap flights, they have strict bag policies.  Even if your bag is slightly oversized they will force you to check it for an absurd price.  Students have also complained about how wobbly the plane feels during flight.  Vueling is definitely the better option if you are debating between the two!

Places to Stay:

  • Hostels:  Hostels are a very popular form of stay when traveling to other countries on the weekend.  They are not only cheap but can accommodate a large group of people.  If you are interested in staying in a hostel, hostelworld.com will provide you with endless options to whatever city you are staying in.  Make sure to read the reviews!  You wouldn’t want to end up in a hostel that is infested with bed bugs.
  • Airbnb: Airbnb is also commonly used by students when traveling.  They offer relatively cheap places to stay that are clean and safe!

Prepare for Barcelona and don’t regret like me!

One of my biggest regrets during my abroad experience is not booking my weekend trips in advance. Although I have already mentioned this, I can’t stress it enough!  I ended up spending much more money than I intended because I waited until the last minute. For example, I booked my flight to Dublin for Saint Patrick’s Day three months in advance and it was only 60 euros. My flight to Paris, which I booked two weeks in advance, was around 200 euros. That is a huge difference in price that can be avoided if you just plan ahead!

Another regret I have is not bringing some type of hiking/snow shoes! Since I am studying abroad during winter quarter, it is relatively cold in Barcelona and throughout Europe.  I have already gone to three countries where it has been dumping snow! Although you can buy a pair here for relatively cheap, it is much less stressful to get it out of the way before you come.

Through my own mistakes and regrets, I have compiled this guide in hopes it will help you better prepare for your study abroad experience in Barcelona.  Hopefully, by following these simple tips, there will be no regrets on your part. Now get (lightly) packing! 🙂

2019-11-27T14:44:17+01:00Getting ready|

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