Travel Tuesday

Next Check On My Bucket List

I’ve been getting that solo travel itch for MONTHS now and no matter how hard I tried, I just could not shake it off.  It was definitely time for me to decide where my next trip would be. I know that I had mentioned wanting to go to Iceland at the beginning of the year, but I honestly didn’t give myself much time to plan and I do think I would prefer to go there with someone else. As of now, I decided to hold off on this until the end of the year or beginning of 2018. That would give me plenty of time to figure out my arrangements. Another place on my 2017 list was Italy. My best friend just got engaged and she is getting married there next September near Venice! It definitely makes sense for me to just extend my stay and venture solo into Rome, Florence and possibly Positano for one big Italy trip. That’s the plan. So that left me with another place that has been on my bucket list for years, SPAIN!!! So guess what? I booked it! 💃🏻

I decided to go in May when the weather won’t be too hot yet and the flights are much cheaper than the summer time. I am literally leaving the night after my mom’s birthday and I am going to be away on Mother’s Day, which I was very hesitant about doing. After talking it over with my mom, her response was, “Please just go to Spain. Mother’s Day is every day for me.” She’s literally the best and I will be celebrating with her double on her birthday and again when I come home! I did a lot of searching for flights on several different dates and it was really hard finding direct. I hate connecting flights when traveling international because it just extends the travel time so much more. After checking a ton of different websites in private browser mode [make sure to do this] I found a direct multi-city flight going into Madrid and out of Barcelona for $470 via Kayak. If I had booked directly on the airline website the ticket would have been $800. I noticed on Kayak that the prices kept jumping up and down and since this was the best deal that I had found, I decided to take advantage and booked my flights. I think my flights for London & Paris were around $800, so I did good here!

Now here comes the confusing part, which I still need to figure out. I will have 11 full days to spend in Spain, plus my two travel days. I know for sure that I will be spending time in both Madrid and Barcelona, but the goal here is to spend at least 2 nights in another city or take a few day trips out of Madrid. I asked for recommendations on both my IG Stories and my personal Facebook and was blown away by all of the different options. I kind of have my heart set on going to Seville, but I need to figure out the best way to get there in order to make it happen. I could either land in Madrid and take a train or flight directly there, then go back up to Madrid and finish off in Barcelona. Or I could do Madrid first, head down to Seville and then back up to Barcelona. Either way, it’s just a lot of back and forth that I didn’t really think about when booking my flights. I had searched for flights into Seville, but nothing was direct and it was a lot more expensive. Any suggestions on the best way that I could do this? I also got a lot of recommendations to check out Granada, which I think I would have the same travel issues as Seville. I also played around with the idea of staying in Valencia, since it’s much closer to Madrid than the other two. Am I confusing you yet? I’m so torn on this and wish I could stay in Spain for a whole month!

On the other hand, there are a lot of day trips that I can take from Madrid by train. Toledo and Segovia are high on my list and both are only a half hour away. I also have Salamanca on my radar, although its about a 2 1/2 hour train ride so I would need to spend a full day there to make it worth the trip. I’m kind of already exhausted just writing this out!  The majority of this trip will be solo (Barcelona & the undecided city), but I will be overlapping for about 2-3 days with a friend in Madrid. I need to make a bucket list for each city that I visit with the things that I want to do and see. I do this for every trip and it helps so much. Pinterest is always an amazing resource for me when traveling. I love finding hidden gems in addition to the main tourist attractions. As you can see I still have a lot that I need to figure out, but I do feel some relief that my flights are booked. Spain has so much to offer, which is why I want to make sure that I see more than just Madrid and Barcelona. I know that whatever I decide though, it will be amazing!

I’m in a much better place with myself than I was at the end of last year, but I still have that urge and need to get away on my own. I honestly think I might always feel this way, at least until I find exactly what it is that I have been searching for. I don’t know what that is just yet. Solo travel can be challenging, but I feel like those challenges help me to build an even stronger relationship with myself. It really does show me all that I am capable of doing. I know that I have written about solo travel before, but there’s just something about being by yourself in a new country that is truly incredible.  I can’t stress that enough. I’m so excited to finally cross this destination off my bucket list. I can’t wait to share the experience and journey with all of you. I really want this to be my first travel vlog. It’s hard to film by yourself when traveling solo. I tried it before and it didn’t work that well. I was taking photos, doing snapchat, sharing to social, trying to be in the moment and film all at the same time. I am going to try again though because I would love to share Spain through my eyes via video!

If you have any recommendations or suggestions on the best way that I can travel to these places, please do share. I’m also looking for hotels, restaurants, must-see attractions, etc. I am, of course, trying to budget myself and want to do as much as I can without spending an insane amount. It’s funny because a few weeks back I posted about wanting to invest in my first designer bag or belt, but the more I think of it the more I rather not. I honestly rather spend my money on travel and these once in a lifetime experiences. As I figure out more and plan other aspects of my trip, I’ll make sure to share! ❤️

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  1. Betty

    In Barcelona the best way to get around is the hop on/hop off bus because it takes you to all the sites like Parc Guel.

    • Naty

      Awesome, thank you! I did that in Dublin and Paris and those are always so helpful.

  2. Cheryl

    Just went to Barcelona in November and I fell in love! We stayed right in the middle of La Rambla, which was amazing! Make sure to visit La Boqueria – the best market I’ve ever been to! Also, I was in awe with La Sagrada Familia. Make sure walk down the streets of El Barrio Gotica, one of my favorite things to do! Another thing I enjoyed was the Montserrat Monestary, a good time to reflect and give your thanks to God. So much to mention, but I’m sure you’ll love it all. Have fun and I can’t wait to see your vlog!

    • Naty

      Thanks so much for these recommendations! I heard amazing things about La Sagrada Familia. Did you feel that Barcelona was a fairly safe city? I am always extra careful, especially when alone, but just curious if there’s any sections that I should stay away from. I know that pickpocketing is very common in Spain too. I can’t wait to share more!

      • Cheryl

        I felt safe, no areas that I know of that are unsafe. The people are all friendly, too.

        • Naty

          Thanks so much! 🙂

  3. Laura

    Hi Naty! Have a great time traveling to Spain! Im excited to check back on you and read all about your trip. Can you explain why searching under a private browser is best? I have been booking my family vacation and got curious with that tip! Thanks!

    • Naty

      Hi Laura!

      So I’ve learned that when searching for flights, the websites are keeping track of your cookies which is why a lot of times you will see the flight amounts changing so much from day to day. It’s kind of a tactic to get you to book. Someone gave me the tip of searching in private browser mode so that nothing was being tracked by the websites that you’re searching and I’ve had different occasions where this helped me find a better deal! I wrote about this in a post for finding cheaper flights awhile back you can check it out here: http://natymichele.com/travel-tuesday_12/
      Hope this helps! xo

  4. How exciting, girl!!! I can’t wait to see all you share, I’ve never been to Spain before! I’ve always wanted to go there, as well as Portugal (where part of my father’s family is from). I’m not at all familiar with the the geography of Spain, but I know that Portugal borders it, it’d be cool if you could go while you’re there; I’ve heard they have some of the most gorgeous beaches in the world! Thanks so much for sharing, beautiful, and I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend so far!

    Xo,

    Jalisa

    • Naty

      Thank you babe! I was totally thinking about Portugal too towards the end of my trip, but I decided to just stay in Spain this time. I can’t wait to share the trip! xo

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