things no one tells you about going abroad

or maybe they do and you don’t listen….

1- packages are not a thing. My poor mom paid a ridiculous amount of money to mail me a care package right after I got here. (almost 2 months ago) Inside (to my knowledge) there is almond butter, Cholula hot sauce, and Frank’s Buffalo hot sauce. Give or take some random things my mom added for a “surprise Valentine’s Day gift”. I have filed several documents through the postal service in Alicante, which has taken almost a month. I have since been told that my package remains in Madrid in customs and that if I wish to receive it I have to get my visa registered through the tax agency…. The list goes on and basically what I am getting at is simple: PACKAGES FROM HOME ARE NOT WORTH IT. Did I mention that I am also being asked to pay 50 euros for my package… yeah so that’s a bummer. 


2-Banking. Can’t decide if this is my biggest mistake I have made or second. I came here thinking that the best and easiest way to get home and use my money was to set up a Spanish bank account and transfer my money from my home account to this new one. WRONG. Actually such a hassle and waste of time. After getting to a bank and setting up a checking account I found out it would take a full week to get my debit card. Which I was to return to the bank to get, not to be mailed to me. Then once I FINALLY get the card, they forget to give me a pin code. Now I have a card with my money deposited and waiting for me and no way to use it. Setting up an online account is apparently a whole separate thing and takes up to a week to process. So time goes on, I finally think it’s all figured out. Well now my card won’t allow me to withdraw cash and is declined everywhere I try. However, my account balance is definitely more than enough…. the mystery continues. Lesson learned, DO NOT GET A SPANISH BANK ACCOUNT. 


3-It all adds up…. know the details when planning a trip! My first trip outside of Spain was Paris. Looking back at it, this trip was a really great learning experience. When looking for flights and airbnb’s everything was looking so promising. Our flights were cheap, barely $60. Airbnb was about $35 per person since we stayed for 3 nights. To be honest that was all I really looked at. Given we made the plan to go to Disneyland at the child’s price for $49 however to go into the other park we needed an additional $20… you can’t go to Disneyland Paris and NOT go to both parks. On top of this, the bus and tram cost was the biggest thing that I didn’t see coming. We were in Paris for four days and so we got passes to help us get from point A to B… our cheapest option was 53 euros for 3 days… On top of food and drinks for all these days, let’s just say that everything adds up. 


These three things have really stuck out to me, obviously not all apply to everyone-but maybe this will help to get a better feel for it.