After reading it she invited me out to lunch because she had some more questions.
Me, not ever turning down a free meal, gladly traded a few hours for hot food and travel talk.
After talking to her I came to a few realizations.
The book is not just for round the world travel. Alicia is going to Spain for two weeks and many of the concepts familiar to round the world travelers like hostels and overnight flights are applicable to her.
Everyone wants to save money and hostels are the main way to save, if you’re not Couchsurfing or staying with family and friends.
Alisha, grinning cause she knows she heading out town soon enough
The other thing I realized: No matter how much you know, someone else knows nothing. Don’t assume everyone knows what you know.
One of Alisha questions: Do hostels have alarm clocks? No.
The experienced traveler among you may say, ‘C’mon man! EVERYONE knows hostels don’t have alarm clocks!’
No, every one doesn’t. Your “common” knowledge could be someone else’s brilliant insight. Always be willing to share, no matter how small you think the fact is.
She’s going to Spain and plans on visiting – Barcelona, Madrid, and San Sebastian – all in 10 days.
Not impossible, but it is going to take a lot of planning to make everything happen smoothly.
Some of the things I suggested in between bites of a fantastic burrito are:
**Alisha is nervous about Couchsurfing, but is more than willing to save money by using hostels. I also told her this is a great way to make friends and find out about places to go and things to eat that she might not have known about.
**She may want to consider getting a red-eye out of New York. The flight may be cheaper and she can sleep on the plane and arrive in Spain in the morning and not waste a day. She’ll hit the ground running.
**She’ll want to try all the options for airplane tickets and also look at flying WITHIN Spain. Since she has a limited about of time, it may be easier and the total costs is not all that much more expenisve then just a round trip between Spain and the US.
Maybe the buses or trains within Spain to get between cities would be worthwhile to explore, to save on security line time and airport aggravation.
‘s multi-city trip function, you can plan a multi-city plane ticket all in one window. I advised her to play with the order of the cities, the times of day, and the dates to get the best price.
**She should get the plane ticket asap, because she’ll be going in the May/June time frame. As soon as she knows what days she is flying, book the hostels immediately. Hostels in Europe ESPECIALLY on the weekends in the spring and summer fill up fast. You don’t want to be in your 3rd or 4th choice of hostel because you didn’t move fast enough.
**Alisha was going to take 2 carry-ons for 10 days. Don’t do it!
Considering the amount of things she is trying to do in 10 days, she is going to wish she never brought along TWO carry-ons. I told her to look for hostels with laundry machines or Laundromats close by. No one cares if you wore the same shirt two days ago. You’ll be less stressed about trying to pack and then drag around everything to the next stop.
And get a backpack. 24L should be more than enough for a week and still be a carry-on. Holding onto a rolling carry-on with wheels means more chance of it being lost or stolen. If it is on your back you can’t lose it.
This is her first solo trip abroad, so please give her your best ideas on Spain, flights, hostels or any general encouragement you can to make this the best possible trip for her.