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.
For the most up to date entry requirements for this tour, please visit this page.
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 617-619-1411. We’re available 24/7 to make sure you have the Best. Trip. Ever.
- Passport: Your passport must be valid for 6 months after the tour return date.
- Entry Requirements: Travelers are responsible for monitoring and complying with all entry requirements based on their tour itinerary (including countries in transit). You can view the most up to date entry requirements for this tour here.
- Travel Insurance: While travel insurance is not required, we strongly encourage all travelers to obtain coverage before departure. Check out cost-effective Travel Protection, designed to meet the needs of EF travelers, here.
- Health Insurance: You will need to carry your primary insurance card with you while overseas. This is a critical item in the event of a medical emergency.
- Talk with your doctor: It is highly recommended that you talk with your doctor about your travel plans. If you are taking any medications, be certain to bring enough to last throughout your trip.
- Traveling with allergies? Let your Trip Consultant and Tour Director know of any dietary restrictions/allergies and we will do what we can to accommodate for any included meals.
- 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.
- Get an international data plan: We recommend getting an international data plan for your mobile device so you can stay connected while on the road. Please talk with your phone provider for your best options.
- Wi-Fi will be in some hotels, restaurants, and bars, though charges may apply and it may be slower than in the U.S.
- Wi-Fi is not available on the bus.
- Get the EF Ultimate Break app: Your trip's group will be able to connect on the app before you meet IRL. Don't miss out! Meet other travelers, get updates from your Tour Director, see flights and accommodations, and more. If you're having trouble, give us a call at 617-619-1411.
Check your online account 30 days prior to departure for your flight itinerary and confirmation number. Using your 6-digit reservation code, you can reserve your seat (this is typically available 30 days to 24 hours before departure) and check in to your flight 24 hours prior to departure. If you prefer to check in at the airport, that’s okay, too. Regardless, plan to arrive 2.5 – 3 hours before departure.
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.
- If your flight is canceled 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 sleep in and miss 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.
Arriving in Madrid
Welcome to Spain! Once you land, grab your luggage and pass through customs and immigration. Your Tour Director will communicate through the EF Ultimate Break app, WhatsApp, or email about where to meet them at the airport. This is an important reason to make sure you have the EF Ultimate Break app!
If you have booked your own flight arrangements or have extended your travels before the tour dates, you will need to make your own way to the first hotel. Accommodation details will be available in your online account 30 days prior to departure.
Getting from A to B
You’re traveling through Spain, and since teleportation hasn’t been invented yet, it takes time to get to each destination. All transfers between cities are via private motor coach and can take anywhere between 2-6 hours. When sightseeing, be prepared to walk between 4-8 miles per day!
It’s a good idea to download a few movies or shows to watch sans Wi-Fi/ Cellular Data, bring a great book with you to read, or listen to music to pass the time.
Fact: Travel is exhilarating. And FOMO is real. So, we understand why you don’t want to miss a second of the action. But there’s a difference between maximizing your time and spreading yourself too thin. Here are some tips to stay healthy and happy on tour:
- Sleep: Flying across the globe, changing time zones, and being constantly on the move can take a toll on your body. Make sure you get the rest your body needs. If that means missing a night out for some well-earned rest, or having a little afternoon siesta, so be it. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
- Stay hydrated: It’s important to drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially after spending all day in the sun!
- Be Prepared: The most prepared travelers will bring a small first aid kit, including antacids, anti-diarrhea medication, motion sickness medication, and any prescription medications in your carry-on bag.
- Take time for yourself: Group travel is an amazing experience, and there’s nothing quite like exploring a foreign country with a group of like-minded people. That said, it’s okay to take time for yourself to relax and reflect on your experience. Here are a few mindfulness apps you can take with you on the road:
- MindShift: Focused on anxiety management, this app has an array of cognitive behavior therapy features including journaling, goal-setting, calming audio, and a community forum.
- Ten Percent Happier: Filled with videos and guided meditations intended to help with everything ranging from sleep to stress reduction.
With a global presence of more than 46,000 people in over 115 countries and regions, we’re fully committed to your safety. From your first flight all the way through to your farewell dinner, 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.
- Pick-pocketing is fairly common in bigger cities. Always watch your belongings and keep an eye out for one another.
- Use the buddy system. Stay in groups and watch out for each other, especially at night—no one gets left behind!
- 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.
- 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.
- Save our 24/7 number in your phone: +1–617–619–1411.
For weight and size restrictions please refer to your airline’s website. Flight information will be available 30 days prior to departure in your online account. Below you'll find some critical packing information and suggestions.
- The most important piece of advice we can give you: Pack light! Your international airline ticket does include a checked bag, but years of customer feedback tells us a carry-on is the way to go. You may need to carry your suitcase where buses and elevators cannot, so make sure you are comfortable carrying everything you bring yourself.
- You've probably heard the hacks about rolling clothes and using packing cubes a million times, but there's a reason for that! It really does help.
- If you choose to pack all of your toiletries, don't bring your regular-sized bottles from home. Offload some of that into travel-sized containers.
- Choose your luggage wisely. We recommend a roller carry-on bag and a backpack as your personal item.
- Choose shoes carefully as well. They're some of the bulkiest items you can pack, so we recommend a good pair of walking shoes and a pair of climate-appropriate shoes (boots or sandals depending on the destination and time of year). We also recommend a pair of closed-toe water shoes if your itinerary has any water activities.
- Make a packing list of must-haves and stick to it. If you have a little extra space in your bags once all your must-haves are packed, then consider adding in a few nice extras.
- Unfortunately, luggage can get lost. It’s a painful situation no matter what, but here are tips to ease some of the hassle:
- DO NOT put important medications in a checked bag. If your luggage is lost, this could become a dangerous issue.
- Even if you put most of your clothes in a checked bag, put a couple outfits in your carry-on along with your toiletries.
- If you are forced to check you carry-on at the gate, be sure to remove essentials and valuables before handing it over.
- Carefully review TSA restrictions when packing. There are a number of items not allowed in your carry-on and liquids have certain restrictions.
- Check out the local weather; we haven't figured out how to control the weather yet so best to be prepared and plan accordingly.
- Don't forget: Outlets overseas can differ from the US, so be sure to pack the right power adapters/converters!
We at EF will help facilitate any testing requirements while on tour, however it is the traveler's responsibility to pay for these tests and it is our recommendation that you budget roughly 150 USD total. Please note that non-boosted travelers may be required to do additional testing to enter places such as restaurants, and/or major attractions.
We recommend budgeting $80-$100 per day for meals, drinks, souvenirs, and tips or extra activities.
Remember that you know your spending habits best and not everyone’s spending habits are the same. These recommendations are based on a traveler who says yes to any and all activities while on tour.
While traveling through Spain, you'll use the Euro. The rates at ATMs are usually the best, and you can find machines everywhere - especially with the help of your Tour Director.
- Please make sure to talk with your bank and credit card companies to let them know where and when you are traveling, and to go over any international transaction fees.
- It’s always smart to bring more than one form of payment while traveling, and credit cards are widely accepted throughout the country.
- Do you have a credit card that offers zero international transaction fees? If so, bring that to save some money for purchases abroad.
- We recommend tipping your Tour Director $44-$66 at the end of the trip, plus additional tips for local guides.
- If you have any local guides during your tour, we recommend tipping them $1-$2.
- No tip is required for taxis.
- Nearly all restaurant bills that you receive already include gratuity, so additional tipping is not necessary.
It’s fun and helpful to try your hand at the local language, Spanish! Try out some of these popular words and phrases:
- Hello: Hola
- How are you? ¿Cómo estás?
- Goodbye: Adiós
- Thank you: Gracias
- Please: Por favor
- I’m (your name): Soy (your name)
- I’m from (your country of residence): Soy de (your country of residence)
- How much does this cost? Cuánto cuesta?
- Where is the...?: Dónde está...
- bathroom: el baño
- bus stop: la parada de autobús
- pharmacy: la farmacia
Download Duolingo or some language-learning podcasts to practice your skills, and use Google Translate to help you while on the road!
Because of its geographic isolation from the rest of Europe and rich history, Spain is truly its own culture. You’ll find this reflected in the art, music, food, and more. Here are some expert tips to help you understand the ins and outs of Spain and feel like a true Spaniard.
- 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.
- Spaniards are night owls – nighttime is when the cities come to life with people talking, dancing, and eating!
- Music is a key piece of Spanish culture with flamenco, classical guitar, and yes, EDM.
- 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!
- Close personal bubbles, eye contact, and two kisses on the cheeks to greet are all the norm in Spain.
- The Spanish love to celebrate – if you’re lucky, there will be a festival event, or party while you’re there!
Wine. Tapas. Jamón. Ever heard of ‘em? Well, if you haven’t, you’ll be an expert on these delicacies by the end of your tour. Read on for tips, tricks, and delicacies you must try while in Spain.
- The Spanish eat a late lunch (siesta), snack in-between, and dinner at 10pm.
- Lunch is the biggest meal of the day, around 2pm – only the touristy spots serve a 12pm lunch!
- Tapas bars usually serve food all hours of the day, can be stand-up or sit-down, and often have soccer (excuse us, fútbol) playing on the TV. What more do you need?
- Avoid ordering at the bar then bringing the food to your table. Instead, try standing at the bar for a real authentic experience! If you choose to sit, you’ll just see a service charge on your bill.
- Jamón: 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.
- Blistered peppers: Similar to shishito peppers, they’re grilled, salted, and a great snack
- 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!
- Calamari: Squid or octopus – when in Spain, right?
- Patatas Bravas: A fan favorite for tapas, simply crispy potato wedges with spicy sauce and aioli
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.
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.