- Get a passport, if you don’t have one.
- Photocopy everything: credit cards, passport, itinerary, contacts etc… Even go a step further and put it all on google drive, so if God forbid, you lose everything, you still have access to that information.
- Notify your bank.
- Talk to your doctors about prescriptions and get a hard copy of the prescriptions for your Spanish pharmacy.
2. The visa. Double check your consulate and make sure you look at their specific guidelines because it does vary. My consulate is Houston, you have to apply in person and make an appointment. Here’s the link for the applications and the guidelines.
3. Start researching flights. Last time, I managed to get a cheap flight by flying through Brussels, Belgium instead of Madrid, Spain. This time I’m getting to that side of the world via Birthright but not everyone can be so fortunate. 4. Packing. I’m not taking much because I’m traveling quite a bit before I get to Spain. I’m just taking a large backpack, a duffel bag of winter clothes and a computer bag for my carry-on. Less is more and you can buy more when you get there. Just make sure that you have good winter clothes and professional clothes because those get expensive and you will want quality. 5. Get a travel credit card. You will be buying flights, hotel rooms and more. You’ll want a credit card that will reward that. I got the Bank of America Travel Card because I already bank with them but there’s tons of options for your needs. 6. Research apartments. Last time I got there I booked an AirBnB and searched for apartments. I found my apartment with LingoBongo. This time, I booked a SpotAHome in advance so I have less to worry about. Landlords usually respond via WhatsApp so download that before you even start. If you aren’t fluent in Spanish you’re going to have a hard time. Be prepared with a translation app as well. Here’s a couple more links to help you out.
7. Get a European travel guide. This helped me a lot when I was planning trips. I got Let’s Go Europe; the maps and phrases are very useful. I don’t suggest just getting a Spain travel book. You’re probably going to be traveling other places than Spain, this travel guide has some Spanish cities in it already and you don’t want to create a lot of clutter by bringing too many books. 8. Start a blog! I started mine once I found out I was moving to Spain last year. Last week was my blog’s one year anniversary. Start early so you have time to research, format and begin getting followers. It’s also great for the stress because you can vent about your worries. Another helpful thing about blogging is you find other travel and teaching blogs. These blogs give you diverse perspectives about moving abroad and travel. Research is key!
9. Get on the facebook groups. Look for keywords like “auxiliares,” “expat,” “language assistant,” along with “Spain” or your city like “Madrid,” or your program like “BEDA,” “TTMadrid,” and “Auxiliares de Conversación.” Reach out because you are not alone and there are plenty of people willing to help you. You’ll probably even see me in those groups!
10. If you aren’t fluent in Spanish start reviewing immediately. Many Spaniards don’t speak English. 11. Don’t make any classic traveler mistakes. Like I said before, do you research use wordpress, pinterest and google for advice about traveling and living abroad. There’s a lot to learn and not a lot of time to soak up the information.
12. Lastly, take care of yourself. Make sure you take your vitamins, stay healthy and manage your stress. A lot emotions are going to come up like excitement, happiness and then depression, anxiety. This is a huge change. It’s normal to be overwhelmed but make sure you manage your anxiety in a healthy way.