WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES-As much as I warn my friends that they will be walking, they don’t realize how much their feet can actually hurt after a day or so in Spain. Choose good arch support, and heels that are compatible with cobble stone streets, and uneven pavement.
WATCH YOUR BAG-You won’t be mugged at gunpoint, but you might be pickpocketed without you even noticing. No need to be to alarmed, just don’t hang your purse on your chair as you are sipping your sangria. I suggest a cross body purse or if you wear a backpack make sure you turn it to the front in crowded places. Men put your wallet on your front pocket.
WHAT TO WEAR-People are a bit more “elegant” or “classic”, yet teenagers are usually wearing same clothing as in the US. If you are traveling in the summer, wear light clothing, bring a light jacket or sweater for the evening. Casual shorts are ok, but exercise clothing is not the norm. A simple dress is all you need for most places, and for nice restaurants men might need a jacket. Remember there is a shop around every corner so you can always purchase what you need. In the winter, a good coat or parka, layers and warm socks.
BRING-Small bag inside your suitcase, you will always buy something and you want to be able to bring it back. This small bag also will work for short trips. Bring phone, laptop chargers, small sunblock, a pack of wipes or hand sanitizer.
CURRENCY EXCHANGE:Talk to your bank before you leave and let them know you will be traveling outside of the country. Ask your bank and credit cards what are their fees.
Credit Cards: Make sure your card has a chip. Try to find a card that won’t charge you fees for international purchases; otherwise, you will be charged anywhere between 2%-3% of everything you purchase. If your cards charges a fee you should instead take money on an ATM.
ATM:Again, confirm with your bank about the fees. This is the best way to get local currency with the best exchange rate. Most banks will charge you $3-$5 per withdrawal, but depending on the amount you withdraw, it will be less than the percentage of total purchase price charged by a Credit Card. Plan on withdrawing money as most countries only accept credit cards for larger purchases.
TELEPHONE-Put your phone on airplane mode when you get in the airplane and then use Wifi and apps like WhatsApp, Skype, FaceTime, or Viber. Otherwise your cell phone bill will be an unwelcomed souvenir.
I can’t stress this enough: for longer trips, GET A LOCAL SIM CARD; otherwise you will be very upset when you return to your phone bill.
Before you leave the US, make sure that your phone is unlocked. Once you fully pay for your phone, you can contact your phone carrier to legally unlock your phone. For example, you may click on this link for the ATT unlock form .
You can purchase a sim card in many places throughout Europe. If you are in madrid, I recommend you go near the Puerta del Sol to Solfonic at Calle Espoz y Mina,9. (915 21 49 39).The attendant, Shaipur, is very helpful and he can also repair your phone, replace screens and unlock the phone, very quick and for a very affordable price.