Planning Your Journey

Flights (International)

  • www.statravel.com is a search engine for flights all over the world. This is how Jay and I purchased our tickets to Spain. It is especially awesome because they offer discounts if you are 1. a student or 2. under the age of 26!
  • www.skyscanner.com is my favorite search engine that looks at prices for often over 15 different airlines and shows the best prices. There are multiple ways to customize your search, too. Make sure you analyze the trip time when you choose a route with multiple stops, though!
  • www.iberia.com offers destinations around the world, specializing in Spain. This is how I’d recommend my family to come visit (most friends qualify for under 26 discount above)!

(Once in Europe)

  • EasyJet offers CHEAP flights to (sometimes limited) cities, especially if you plan your trips by their monthly deals (for example, Madrid to Milan for around 22EURO in January– WHOA). I prefer this airline much more than Ryanair when we can afford it.
  • Ryanair is another insanely cheap airline to select destinations. Read the fine print to avoid accruing fees. They’ll get ya. “You get what you pay for.”
  • Vueling offers flights around Spain and the rest of Europe! I’ve heard good things.

Have an early flight to catch? We’ve all been there… You’re frustrated you had to spend extra money on a taxi because public transportation isn’t running and now you’re hoping that airport is open 24 hours so you can get a couple hours of sleep.

Or know before hand and look here.

Train

*A note about train travel: If you don’t speak the language of the country you are riding in, be alert during train rides. Keep an eye out for signage, postings of the next stop within the train, and the arrival times on your ticket. This will help you get off at the right stop.

  • Raileurope Self explanatory… good place to find rail passes
  • RENFE Spain’s train system. Faster and sometimes cheaper than travelling by bus, but can be more difficult to reach a destination that isn’t on the route, and you end up taking a bus anyway.
  • SNCF France’s train system. Especially keep a lookout for “TGV” which it seems are more efficient and pleasant travel experiences.
  • DBahn Germany’s train system.
  • The Train-Line This website saved us in Germany when we were trying to find a last-minute cheaper train lines. Those trips can be outrageous! Be mindful and book in advance if you don’t get a rail pass.

Annoyed with high train prices (damn you, RENFE) and want to try to find a better deal? On Comparte Tren (Train share) you can see if anyone else is looking to share a “table price” which is discounted for a group of four people sharing a table in the he train.

Bus

Tip: Ask, ask, and ask again until you are sure you are on the right bus. Don’t worry about judgement, it’s better than ending up in the wrong place. In smaller stations, these buses tend to park wherever they please which doesn’t match up with your ticket, or your destination may be en lieu to another destination and yours isn’t listed on their bus sign.

  • ALSA Our usual pick for national trips
  • PLM Cheaper route from Rioja to Madrid than ALSA, but has this one set route
  • La Union Alavesa Northern Spain/Basque Country
  • Autobuses Jiminez in Spanish, lo siento!

Hotel/Hostel

  • www.hostelworld.com can suit all price ranges and types of accomodation. Make sure you look into rules such as minimum nights on a weekend, or price increases during certain times of the years. It’s great about making these rules very clear, though.
  • www.tripadvisor.com is my new best friend. This gives you accomodation, reviews of EVERYTHING such as restaurants and attractions, plus tons of pictures that I like to look through to fantasize about my trip. It’s great!

If you are an obsessive avid planner like me, all these sites are wonderful to look into, but keep in mind that unexpected things come up ALL THE TIME during travel (flight delays, rail strikes, you name it). The most important thing to take with you is your patience and an easygoing attitude! Fellow bloggers, let me know if you know of particular sites I need to add to this list.

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