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Not All Who Wander Are Lost – Staying On Track While Traveling in Spain

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Spain is a beautiful country with plenty to do and see, but there’s nothing more terrifying than getting lost while abroad. Even with technology, it’s still stressful to go off the beaten path, but there are plenty of things you can do if you’re ever stranded or confused in Spain.

How to Make Sure You Don’t Get Lost in Spain

The best advice we could ever give is “stay calm.” Panicking will only make the situation worse, and you may have a hard time thinking clearly. Here are 5 ways to stay on track while in Spain

1. Learn a bit of Spanish

The best way to avoid getting lost in a foreign country is to learn the language. You don’t need to be completely fluent in Spanish before you visit a Spanish-speaking country, but you should know enough to get around. Otherwise, you’ll have a hard time hailing a taxi or asking for help.

For example, you could take this online course from Lingoda and learn a few key phrases from native language speakers. They’ll teach you language fundamentals, like “¿dónde está…?” (“where is…”), “baño” (“bathroom”), “¿me puedes ayudar?” (“can you help me?”), and more.

2. Use Google Maps

Your cellphone will really come in handy if you’re traveling alone. The Google Maps app will be your best friend while you’re traveling in Spain, as you can start key locations, track where you’re going, and check off where you’ve been. Keep a phone charger on you if you run out of battery.

However, you need to prepare if you can’t get reception or your phone dies. Download every destination as an offline area, but only when you’re connected to WiFi. Keep a physical map in your bag and write down key spots. That includes hospitals, banks, and police stations.

3. Open a PayPal Account

If you’re living the nomad life, you probably have a PayPal account. Most freelancers and online shoppers use PayPal to pay for things because it adds an extra layer of protection between the seller and their accounts. As a traveler, you can use PayPal to hold your cash in any currency.

While PayPal is beneficial for currency exchange, it’s also the perfect safeguard against thieves. If you had your money stolen, you could transfer the cash inside your PayPal into a secure account or ask someone else to do it. You can also withdraw your funds from a local machine. 

4. Get a Taxi (or RideShare)

Call a taxi or rideshare if you’re completely lost, or the neighborhood you’re in is giving you a bad vibe. Even if you’re super close to your destination, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Safety should be your number one priority when you’re in a foreign country because you never know.

If your phone is dead or you can’t find a taxi shop (there are several in Spain), find a hotel or local business and ask them to call a cap for you. Keep in mind that taxis may prey on tourists, so you may pay more than expected. Rideshare companies will pay less, but they may be unsafe.

5. Ask the Locals for Help

Although this tip is included on every “how not to get lost” list, most people won’t ask for help. If you’re worried that someone will give you the wrong directions, take advantage of you, or hurt you, don’t ask someone random on the street. Instead, go into a business and ask an employee.

That’s not to say that the people of Spain aren’t friendly or helpful. Most of them are. However, it’s better to be cautious in any unfamiliar scenario. This is where learning a few Spanish phrases will become essential, as you’ll run into a lot of people who don’t speak English fluently.