Summer study abroad student Tyler Habig kept a blog recording his 6 week experience at Berklee’s campus in Valencia and traveling around Spain and Europe.
With this in mind, here are Tyler’s Travel Tips for when you go abroad next time:
1) When traveling in Europe, take your time and go with the flow. Ask questions if you need help. Don’t get mad or embarrassed when that person doesn’t speak English. Just move on until you find what you need. Understand that each airport and train/bus station may ask you for different things. Be prepared to provide ID’s, passports, tickets, and remove all laptops and iPads from bags when going through security.
2) Be prepared to get pushed. It is common to push your way through crowds to get where you need to go. If someone pushes you over, it is not personal: it is just common for the region. Be able to hold yourself and don’t let all the touching get to you. I’ve had strangers lean on me in line for food while they were deciding what to order like I was a wall.
3) Be direct with what you want. Americans tend to say things like “Do you think that I could possibly have ____” whereas in Europe you can just say “I want ___”, and it is not considered rude.
4) Learn how to say “Do you speak English?” and “I need help” in the language of the places you visit in addition to other important words like hotel, food, and taxi.
5) Download MyTaxi app on your phone (tip courtesy of Jordyn Davis). Apparently it’s the European version of Uber and will take you where you need to go and you can pay with a credit card. This is handy if you would have trouble speaking with a taxi driver because the app tells the driver where to take you.
6) Bus drivers tend to be more or less on time, but they won’t wait for you. Also, if you’re at the stop, you still have to wave them down to stop. If you’re just sitting there, they may drive on by. Be prepared to pay or scan your card quickly.
7) Turns out it’s illegal in Spain for foreigners to not have their passports on them at all time. We found that out when we stayed at a Hostel and the man working the reception desk told us if we couldn’t show him our passports, he would have to call the police to take us to jail.
8) Look ahead at the potential weather and pack light and smart.
If you would like to read the full story, you can find his blog post, including some of his compositions, here.