I have been anxiously waiting a whole year for tomorrow to arrive! I will have the opportunity to return to Spain and experience it firsthand with another eager group of students through LiveNLearn! Last year, we traveled to Barcelona, Pamplona, San Sebastian, Toledo, Segovia and Madrid and while I took some amazing pictures and videos as memoirs, I felt as if a blog would be the best to share my experiences with family, friends and students! I hope you enjoy traveling along with me!
Typically, I am a pretty organized person. However, the past two weeks my brother and his family had been staying with us from Munich, Germany so packing preparation was the last on my priority list. Family time was more important. Their departure on Sunday night rolled around and I figured I better get started preparing for my own!
In 2007, I studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina during my undergrad so I was familiar with traveling across continents, but last year’s trip to Spain reminded me of some things I overlooked when packing. I feel much more prepared this time! The first thing I realized is that Spain is HOT in the summer. There were days I was walking around Madrid in 95 degrees and bright sunshine. It is a dry heat and I do not feel a need to pack layers this year. I have a jean jacket for the airport and that should be good for the trip! Below is the forecast for when we arrive in Malaga on Wednesday. Looks beautiful!
Fortunately with my brother now living in Germany, he had $200 euros on-hand that I could exchange with him for some US Dollars. Right now the exchange rate is much better that in years past for American travelers with $1.13=1 Euro. Last year, I had to visit my Chase bank to order Euros, which took three business days to arrive. Passport ready and reading material for the trip prepared! I am spending a whole week in Madrid so I want to be sure to visit places I missed last year. Rick Steves knows best after all.
Now to make sure my carry-on is prepared for the long flight. Here are some things I learned last year:
- The neck pillows with the styrofoam beads do not cut it. Memory foam is what is needed for a long overnight flight. I found one for $10 at TJMaxx!
- Melatonin helps to push you naturally off into slumber if you typically struggle to sleep while traveling. I never felt the need to sleep on a flight until the one to Spain last year and this helped.
- Airports and airplanes are covered in germs and hand sanitizer is important to have and share to help prevent illness.
- Flights across the ocean come with some decent meals, but if you are a snacker like myself, you want to have something filling to eat if you get hungry. No one wants to be on an overnight flight with a growling belly! I brought two of these Kind bars last year and wish I would have brought more.
- The flight can get cold, so bring a pair of socks to help keep you warm!
- Neutrogena Cleansing Face Wipes and Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder (I was so excited to find this travel size at Sephora) can make you look refreshed after being on a plane for a long time. As you begin your descent, just wipe, dab and go!
- A backup charger is a necessity with how much we rely on our devices. We used it so many times last year during our travels and would have felt helpless at times without it. Between phone calls, internet searches, photos, and videos, your battery can drain quickly and you do not want to be stuck in a foreign country without phone access. This Anker charger worked amazing, so well, the other teacher traveling with me purchased one for this year. It’s fully charged and ready to go!
- This last one is something I am trying this year: essential oils. I have seen various friends have luck with their benefits so I’m giving it a shot. I purchased a Tranquility mixture to help me sleep on the plane and Peppermint to help wake me up and keep me going for 36 hours when we arrive in Spain. The peppermint can also help to cool you off when dabbed on the back of your neck. I’ll report back on my findings!
Now something that deserves as photo of its own: bandaids. I truly had no idea how much walking I would be doing (around 20,000 steps each day) and in that heat blisters are
easy to get no matter how comfy your shoes are that you choose. These Compeed bandages were shown to me by our trip coordinator at a pharmacy in Spain and they saved me while traveling! I was so excited to find them at Walgreens in the states!
Another important item you do not want to forget when traveling abroad is an electrical adapter. I found this one at Staples last year for around $20. If you want your electronic items to work, pick up one of these. You also may need to pick up a voltage adapter depending on your electronics.
The last thing to do in preparation for my trip was to test out my selfie stick before heading to bed. Brian loves to give me a hard time about my selfies!
Bags are packed and I’m ready to go! I must arrive by 12:30pm tomorrow to CVG airport to meet students and prepare for our 3:30pm flight to JFK where we will meet up with another school from Denver, CO. I will talk to you again tomorrow night before we leave New York for Spain!