Know Before You Go: Spanish Road Trip | EF Ultimate Break
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Spanish Road Trip

Know Before You Go

For an epic trip with zero stress and infinite holy s#!t moments, get familiar with the information below. Seeing the world should be fun, not stressful, which is why we’ve written this guide for you and are available 24/7 so all you have to do is travel. Now, it’s time to do a happy dance and make this trip ULTIMATE.

Getting There

Complete Your Checklist

Before heading to the airport, complete the tasks below and check them off in your Online Account Checklist. If you have any questions, give us a call at 800-766-2645. We’re available 24/7 to make sure you have the Best. Trip. Ever.

  • Verify your passport: Your passport must be valid for 6 months after the tour return date. No visa is required for this trip if you are a U.S. Citizen
  • Join the Facebook group: Join your private Facebook group as soon as it opens! It’s how you can meet other travelers and see announcements from your Tour Director. Call us at 800-766-2645 if you’re having trouble joining.
  • Request a roommate:: Double check with us and your Tour Director that they have your rooming status on file. We will assign a roommate for you if you do not submit a specific request.
  • Personalize your trip: Travel Insurance is not available for purchase on tour, and the price of Optional Excursions increases after departure. We suggest logging in to your Online Account now to add these items.
  • Call your bank: Let your bank and credit card company know of your travel plans so you can withdraw cash and use your debit/credit cards abroad. Otherwise, you risk your account being blocked.

Pack Like a Pro

Your airline ticket includes one checked bag (typically 27" x 21" x 14") but double check the luggage size requirements on your airline’s website. We recommend traveling with one small backpack or purse, and a smaller carry-on suitcase (22” x 14” x 9”) or bag. See more packing tips below:

  • 1 lightweight jacket and/or sweater
  • Comfortable walking shoes or sandals to keep cool during city sightseeing
  • 1-2 pairs pants, long skirts, long dresses
  • 3-4 shirts / t-shirts / sweaters
  • 1-2 nicer outfits for the Welcome Dinner, Farewell Dinner
  • Bathing suit
  • Sunglasses, hat, and sunscreen
  • Underwear and socks
  • Toiletries, medicine
  • Hand sanitizer
  • 1 reusable water bottle
  • Phone or camera
  • Passport
  • Debit / Credit cards and cash
  • A power adapter – Spain uses types C and F. Plug type C is the plug with two round pins and type F has two round pins with two earth clips on the side. A staff favorite is also the “Targus World Power Travel Adapter” ($20, Amazon.com)

Note: For entrances like the Mezquita in Cordoba, or if you plan to enter the Sagrada Familia, you’re required to cover your knees and shoulders before entering the cathedrals.

Flight Preparation

When preparing for your international flight to Madrid, check your online account 30 days prior to departure for your flight itinerary and confirmation number. With this information, you can check in to your flight 24 hours prior to departure. If you prefer to check in at the airport, plan to arrive 2.5 – 3 hours before departure.

  • If your flight is cancelled or delayed: Don’t worry! We design the first day of tour as an arrival day in case of flight delays or cancellations. Work with the airline to get rebooked on the next available flight, then let your Tour Director know your new arrival time
  • If you slept in and missed your flight: You should still talk to the airline and see if they can get you on the next available option. Tears may help in this case…

Note: All flight information is online (e-ticket) via your account and the airline’s website. You will not receive a physical paper ticket from us.

Arriving in Madrid

If you booked flights with EF Ultimate Break, your transfers to and from the hotel when you arrive in and depart from Spain are included. Your Tour Director will communicate on Facebook or email about where to meet them at the airport. If you’re flying from the U.S., prepare for an overnight flight, and a morning – midday arrival in Spain.

Note: If you have difficulty finding your group or representative to bring you to the hotel call our team at 800-766-2645

Meet Your Tour Director and Fellow Travelers

Your Tour Director will tell you best way to communicate with them during the trip; they will be with your group from start to finish so if there is anything you need, connect with them. Concerned about international cellular data and staying in touch with your group? Check out “Phones and Electronics” further down in this guide.

Phone, Internet, and Electronics Abroad

We recommend you get an international data plan from your cell phone provider. The most common options are the Travel Pass with Verizon, or purchasing a personal hot spot with your carrier. Read on for additional connectivity must-knows:

  • Wi-Fi will be in some hotels, restaurants, and bars, though charges may apply
  • Wi-Fi is slower in Spain that it is in the U.S.
  • Wi-Fi is not available on the bus
  • For your cell phone and any other electronics you bring abroad, you will need a converter/adapter
  • Spain uses types C and F plugs. Plug type C is the plug with two round pins and type F has two round pins with two earth clips on the side. A staff favorite adapter is the “Targus World Power Travel Adapter” ($20, Amazon.com)

On The Ground

Manage Your Money

The currency of Spain is the Euro. Read on for more must-knows about money and tipping on your trip!

  • When exchanging money for the trip better rates are usually found overseas, but it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive.
  • You can use most debit/credit cards at ATMs on the international networks Cirrus and Plus, but be wary of fees
  • Budget around $80-$100 per day for meals, drinks, souvenirs, and tips or extra activities
  • Tipping at restaurants or for taxis is not customary in Spain, but if you feel inclined it’s ok to leave 10% or a few euros for exceptional service.
  • We recommend tipping your Tour Director $44 - $66 at the end of the trip. For local guides, you should tip 1-2 Euros at the end of each experience

Note: Let your bank and credit card companies know your specific travel plans (including every country you’ll visit and for how long) ahead of time to avoid potential complications or suspicion of fraud while abroad.

Accommodations in Spain

On this trip you’ll experience standard rooming unless you purchased a private room upgrade. Standard rooming is in European hotels or boutique hostels and you’ll room with up to six fellow EF Ultimate Break travelers of the same gender per room. What to expect for standard rooming in Spain:

  • 4-5 fellow EF Ultimate Break roommates of the same gender
  • Small, boutique Spanish hotels and hostels
  • One private bathroom per room that you’ll share with your roommates
  • Limited WiFi connection
  • Limited AC - when in Spain!

If you have any questions about your rooming status or want to request a specific roommate, call us at 800-766-2645, or connect with your Tour Director.

Transfers Between Cities and Sightseeing

On this trip, you’ll take a private bus between cities which can take anywhere between 2-8 hours depending on distance, local traffic, and bathroom or photo-stop breaks. The beauty of travel is that you get to explore a new place, but note that it takes time and energy to see everything worth seeing! Read on for more must-knows:

  • Prepare to walk between 4-8 miles per day, especially when sightseeing
  • It may be hot and humid in Spain, so keep your water, hat, and sunscreen close!

Note: Bring a great book with you for transfer days, or download your favorite Spotify playlist before the trip!

Optimize Your Free Time

If you did not purchase EF Ultimate Break Optional Excursions before the trip began, you can log into your Online Account and do so on tour. You can also talk to your Tour Director on tour and they can help you get enrolled. If you’d like to plan something else during your free time, connect with your Tour Director before doing so; they sometimes arrange extra activities for the group during free time.

Prices for these optional excursions will increase on tour, so please check your online account for available add ons.

Live Like a Local

Spain is passionate, sophisticated, and laid back. Because of its geographic isolation from the rest of Europe and rich history Spain is truly its own culture, so it’s no wonder visitors flock to this charming paradise. To make the most of the fiestas and siestas on every corner, here are some expert tips to help you live like a true Spaniard:

  • Spaniards are night owls – nighttime is when the cities come to life with people walking, talking, dancing, eating, everything!
  • Close personal bubbles, eye contact, and two kisses on the cheeks to greet are all the norm in Spain
  • Siestas are a midday break (1-4pm) when people gather with friends/family for a meal or nap
  • Spain is home to the great artists and architects like Dali, Picasso, and Gaudi – you can’t (and shouldn’t) miss their work
  • Pick-pocketing is common in bigger cities in Spain; Keep an eye on your things at all times
  • Barcelona is the capital of Catalunya region, one of the two strong identities in Spain (Basque is the other)
  • Spanish summers are hot, especially in the south. Stay hydrated and bring your sunglasses!
  • Socializing is a huge part of Spanish culture; Whether over coffee, drinks, or food, strike up a conversation!
  • The Spanish love to celebrate – if you’re lucky, there will be a festival event, or party while you’re there!
  • Public restrooms in Europe sometimes require a small fee – hold on to your coins!
  • Unlike the U.S., everything (hotels, meals, appliances) is smaller. After all, less is more!
  • Water is often an added cost at restaurants, and you have to choose between still or sparkling

Wine and Dine

Spaniards eat a late lunch (siesta), snack in-between, and dinner at 10pm. Lunch is usually the biggest meal of the day! Tapas, or small plates are found everywhere, and are best shared among groups of new friends. Cuisine in Spain is heavily influenced by surrounding countries, and has many Arabic elements. Be sure to try Serrano ham, which is considered a regional delicacy, as well as the famous chilled soup known as gazpacho. Read on for more tips, tricks, and delicacies you must try.

  • Jamon: Pronounced, hah-mohn, is dry-cured ham. It’s everywhere, and it’s delicious.
  • Paella: A well-known Spanish cuisine, it’s rice with veggies, paprika, saffron, and seafood
  • Wine, Cava, Sangria: Wine, sparkling wine, and wine with fun stuff.
  • Churros con Chocolate: Fried, sugary sticks served with a cup of hot chocolate for dipping. Need we say more? The best churros are found in Madrid!
  • Pan con tomate:: Bread with tomato, olive oil, and salt. Simple, yet satisfying.
  • Croquettas: Similar to a mozzarella stick, but usually filled with cheese, meat, or veggies
  • Vermouth: A fortified and aromatized white wine, vermouth is an aperitif best served neat, chilled, and over ice with a lemon or orange.
  • Calamari: Squid or octopus – when in Spain, right?
  • Chorizo: A savory pork sausage treat that is usually served as an add-on to other dishes, or entirely on its own!
  • Patatas Bravas: A fan favorite for tapas, simply crispy potato wedges with spicy sauce and aioli

Note: Vegetarian options will be available, but make sure to inform your Trip Consultant and Tour Director ahead of time so we can accommodate your dietary restrictions.

Stay Safe Abroad

With a global presence of more than 46,000 people in over 115 countries and regions, we’re fully committed to your safety. But, it’s equally important for you to maintain your health and safety while abroad. From your first flight all the way through to your farewell dinner, drink plenty of water, get sleep when you can, and don’t hesitate to reach out to your Tour Director or your Trip Consultant if you need a helping hand. Keep these extra tips in mind so you can #travelsmart:

  • Keep your bag/purse in front of you and your phone zipped inside when you’re not using it. Leave your laptop at home, store valuables at the hotel in locked luggage or the safe deposit box. Refrain from carrying large sums of money or wearing valuable jewelry.
  • Use the buddy system. Stay in groups and watch out for each other, especially at night—no one gets left behind!
  • Before you go out, grab a business card at your hotel so that you always have the address handy for getting back later.
  • At the end of a night out, use trusted transportation like a licensed taxi, and always have cash on hand.
  • Be smart about alcohol consumption. Watch your drinks and don’t accept drinks from people you don’t know. Don’t leave the bar alone with someone you just met.
  • Save our 24/7 number in your phone: +1–617–619–1411

We’re so glad you chose to travel with us and are now part of the EF Ultimate Break family! We'll look for your post-card in the mail, and your #thisisultimate tags on Instagram. Cheers to the Best. Trip. Ever.

Adios!