Barcelona (Dec 2018)

I have never really thought that I would fall in love with the idea of traveling.  I did not think that it would be manageable or realistic to “drop” your life for a few days/weeks to explore another world.  It seemed insane.  It seemed impossible.  It seemed expensive.  I pushed away all of my negative energy and decided to act upon my desire to travel.  I had started traveling during my first year of being a registered nurse and it was one of the best decisions that I’ve made to date.

Where did I initially decide to fly to?  Europe.  Typical destination fancied by many, but it was worth it.  I was still living in Guam and I had decided to meet up with my best friend, Kazzandra in London.  She had been staying in England for a month after she had graduated college for a summer internship program.  After my first Eurotrip, I was eager to explore the world — I wanted to see more.

I have met a number of solo travelers while exploring Asia/Europe and I have always admired their bravery.  They have so much courage to face the unknown world alone, which is quite notable.  Their countless stories had continuously inspired me to travel alone and last December I made that happen with my trip to Barcelona.

I wanted to share some tips from my first solo trip, so I hope that some may be helpful!

Flights: I’m a big fan of Skyscanner.  I found a great round trip deal with British Airways for under $500 ~ three weeks before my travel dates.  $500!!!  It included a meal, one (1) carry on luggage + personal item, (1) check in luggage and free alcohol (yessss free wine — count me in!!!).

Accommodations: I did not want to splurge on any fancy hotel or Airbnb because I wanted to travel on a budget.  I opted for staying in a hostel because of the convenience and price.  Looking for a hostel may become challenging due to numerous factors: price, location, amenities.  I did my hostel shopping via the booking.com app (as always) and came across Yeah Hostel.  Location was perfect — about a 10 minute walk to Sagrada Familia.  Breakfast wasn’t included, but it was ~ 3,00 euros for a buffet style.  The reception is open 24 hours and there is always someone very welcoming up front.  I booked a dorm bed in a 6-bed female dormitory room.  The layout is like any other hostel that I’ve been in — luggage storage beneath the beds (don’t forget to bring your own lock), shared bathroom, usb chargers, and curtain for privacy.  I spent ~ 130,00 euros for a six night stay in the city.

Transportation: I found an awesome deal on the Get your Guide app for a 5 Day (120 hour) Barcelona transport ticket for 15,20 euros.  I picked up my voucher at the tourist office of El Prat Airport in terminal 1.  The transport ticket allows you to explore the city and it’s suburbs by most buses, metros and trains.

Activities:  I rented a portable wifi device from Wifivox for my trip and spent 59,93 euros.  I picked up/dropped off the device from their stall located at the airport.  I booked most of my activities via the Get Your Guide app at least 2-3 weeks before my trip.  It’s really convenient since you just need to have the QR Code scanned in exchange for a ticket.  Here’s some of the memorable things I’ve done on my trip:

  • Sagrada Familia was definitely on the top of my list of places to visit in Barcelona.  It was even more mesmerizing to see this unfinished structure in person.  I woke up at 06:00 a.m. to get sunrise photos of this beauty from the outside!!  I got a fast track access to Sagrada Familia w/ Nativity Tower Access for 29,00 euros that included an English audio guide (headphones).  I will definitely plan a trip back to Barcelona when this masterpiece is complete.
  • I purchased a 7,50 euros admission ticket to get inside Park Guell.  You will find numerous infamous insta-worthy sites here!!  I spent probably ~ 2 hours exploring this beautiful area.  Wear comfortable shoes when visiting because it is a long walk uphill before reaching the park premises.  Security may be strict, so don’t miss your chosen admission time!  You’re able to enter the park during your chosen time slot and 30 minutes after.
  • I have played soccer during my high school and college years, so I made sure that I wouldn’t miss a futbol game while visiting Barcelona.  I was able to score tickets for the RCD Espanyol vs FC Barcelona futbol match at Power8 Stadium for 214,00 euros (it would have been cheaper, but the online booking fee was almost 50,00 euros!!) for Tribunal Section Row.  Spanish fans are super intense when supporting their futbol teams.  Side note, I wore a Messi jersey and didn’t realize that I was on the RCD Espanyol side of the stadium.  Good thing the people around me didn’t seem to mind that much! 🙂
  • I’m a frustrated cook.  I was ecstatic when I found a cooking class as one of the top things to do on TripAdvisor.  There are numerous cooking classes that you may choose from, but I decided to book with Cook & Taste Barcelona.  I spent 78,00 euros for a Boqueria Market tour and a hands on cooking workshop that lasted four hours and thirty minutes.  I explored the Boqueria Market with the chef and bought ingredients for the traditional cuisines that we were to learn how to make.  I learned how to make paella and other traditional dishes while drinking bottles of delicious red wine.
  • I watched a flamenco show with two travelers that I’ve met at Tablao Flamenco.  It was about 44,00 euros to watch the show that included a drink.  Photography/videography is prohibited during most of the show, but it was a really interesting experience to watch.  Most of the skits during the performance had a great back story and the dancers were excellent.
  • I decided to go on a short day trip to visit Monteserrat, which is about an hour and a half train ride northwest from Placa Espanya in Barcelona.  There’s a beautiful scenic cable car ride from the train station to the top the mountains.  I’d love to go back to Monteserrat to do a sunrise hike through the mountain peaks in the future.
  • Shopping.  Shopping.  Shopping.  I visited the Mango Outlet located in 37 Carrer Girona and was inheaven!!  Everything seemed to be way cheaper (I think it’s ideally 30-80% off regular price).  Although majority of the items were from the previous season, I was able to grab a handful of very fashionable items.

The Rundown?:  There’s an excitement of knowing that there are possibilities of “finding yourself” while being “lost.”  Traveling solo is definitely something to add to your imaginary bucket list.  Always remember to make safe choices and enjoy the moment! 🙂

Salut to my love for the unknown: may the fire continue to burn.

Love, T.