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Travel Hacks: Get the perfect fiesta/siesta balance in Spain

27th February 2019
Fantastic food, afternoon naps, cheap beer, vibrant art, frequent fiestas, incredible sporting teams and beautiful people - Spain truly does have something for everyone. 
With locals and tourists alike living the good life every day throughout Spain, it’s no wonder it is a hotspot for Kiwi travellers.
As the European summer approaches, we thought it was our duty* to provide you with a Spanish travel road map. If you’re planning a jaunt in the land of paella and flamenco, don’t forget to grab some euro from your local Travel Money NZ before you go.
*Our duty… but also I just wanted an excuse to look at pictures of Spain and listen to Despacito. I’m still trying to convince my boss that I need to have a siesta for research purposes. 

Tip 1: Food + wine + people watching

Whether it’s wine, beer or sangria, there is a beverage for everyone in Spain. The wine and beer are some of the cheapest in Europe, and when paired with delicious Paella or endless tapas, you’ve found yourself the perfect way to spend your afternoon.
If you’re in the Southern regions of Spain, indulge in some Sangria. If you are further north in places like Barcelona, order a glass of sparkling wine called Cava. Ranging from 4-6 euro a glass, you simply must try the unofficial drink of Barcelona. 
When ordering Paella remember two key things:
  1. Share with a friend. They are big and value for money when shared. 
  2. Avoid anywhere that offers “Paellador” paella. Those sneaky rascals are trying to give you frozen servings and ain’t nobody got time for that on holiday. 
Finally, perch yourself on a chair (preferably a comfy one), sip your drink and watch the Spanish world go by as you enjoy your meal. Talk about living the dream. 

Tip 2: These (Spanish) boots are made for walking

If there is one souvenir to splurge on whilst in Spain, it is a new pair of shoes. 
Spain is renowned for its high quality leather and artistry shoes. Whether you’re keen on a new pair of sandals, in need of some new work shoes, or simply just want to wow people with your fancy footwear, Spain has the shoe for you.
You will find plenty of shoe producers in big cities and towns. We recommend doing your research before you go. Don’t forget to include any type of shoe addiction in your travel budget - as their price tags can definitely add up!

Tip 3: Watch your pockets and purses

As with most tourist destinations in Europe, pickpockets and scammers are around. There are a few simple tips to keep your money as safe as possible when overseas:
  • Only take enough cash to cover you for the day. Leave the rest in your hotel safe.
  • Use a prepaid travel money card, like the Cash Passport Platinum, that isn’t linked to your bank account at home. That way if it gets stolen they won’t be able to drain all your funds before you get a chance to freeze the card.
  • Don’t look like a tourist. The more you do, the more of a target you will be. 
  • Avoid putting your valuables in obvious pockets of your pants and backpacks. 
  • If you’re a lady (or a man with a strong inclination for satchels), wear a cross-body purse that hangs in front of your abdomen. 
  • If you’re jostling through a crowd, have your hand covering the zipper of your purse, or your backpack on your front (frontpack?) to avoid them being an easy target. 

Tip 4: Siestas. 

Quite possibly my favourite thing about Spain - the afternoon nap! Just imagine your boss encouraging a 3pm break for you to go and sleep or relax. Amazing. 
As a country that encourages said naps, you can imagine they are pretty laid back. This means shops will often open late, then have an afternoon break before reopening for trade later into the evening.
Let this guide your days in Spain. Enjoy a sleep in, some mid-morning sightseeing and an afternoon kip before eating, drinking and dancing your way into the night. 
So, long story short: shops might be shut for a few hours in the afternoon and, as a rule of thumb, restaurants will open back up around 8pm for dinner. 

Tip 5: Market magic

If you are after cheap, delicious and fresh snacks/ meals, head to the markets. If you aren’t after these things, I would really question why. 
The bustling market lanes awaken your senses, with vibrant colours, rich smells and cheerful stall holders. 
Take plenty of euros so you can purchase fresh seafood, cheese, ham and fresh fruit and vegetables. Head in a bit earlier to avoid missing out as stalls will close for lunch, order using kilos as a metric and don’t take photos without asking. 

Tip 6: Become a beach bum

Spain has some beautiful beaches just waiting for tourists to enjoy. Crystal clear waters, white sands and, sometimes, people bringing drinks straight to your towel! This is living, Barry. 
If you’re after a very unique Spanish ‘watersport’ try free water rock climbing (or soloing) in Mallorca. Not only are Mallorca’s beaches gorgeous, but if you fall, you fall into the sweet embrace of beautiful Spanish water. 
Regardless of the beach you choose to relax on, be sure to pack plenty of bikinis (or boardies), lather up in sunscreen and put your phone on do not disturb. 
So there you have it, 6 tips to get you started on your Spanish adventure. If you’re keen for more travel money information, visit the experts in any of our 165+ stores across Australia and New Zealand. They’ll be able to load you, and your Cash Passport, up with enough euro’s to go the distance. 
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