After everything is said and done, my boyfriend and I finally got our visas and booked our plane tickets. Nothing like leaving it until the last minute! The visas were done exactly 2 weeks from the day we dropped them off and overnight mailed in our prepaid UPS envelopes, so we received them 2 weeks and 1 day later (September 17 to be exact – definitely last minute but they expected us to be leaving September 22 so they got them to us in time!) We spent the next day researching flights, which were crazy expensive since it was so last minute. From NYC, Newark, and Philadelphia, we were looking at about $600-$700 one way to Malaga.
Here comes the incredibly useful and helpful tip: there is a travel company that caters to students, teachers, and young travelers and gives insane discounts to encourage travel! No matter how early or late you book, be sure to check out STATRAVEL.COM for cheap fares. This site doesn’t come up in any search engines – you have to know about it to use it. If you are a student, teacher, or under 26 years old, you fly very cheap! If you are older than 26, you will be asked to verify that you truly are a student or teacher. They also offer an International Student Identification Card (ISIC) that is internationally recognized to give discounts on rail, plane, bus, and other transportation services, hotels, hostels, and other accommodations, museums, entertainment, and any other educational outlet. The ISIC card is $25 – I bought one, so we will see if it pays for itself while I’m abroad!
Some other useful things I have researched: www.rome2rio.com is a helpful travel site. It shows the cheapest way to get from point A to point B via plane, rail, bus, or ferry. It also shows real time prices if you put your dates in. It knows all remote areas so you don’t have to search a certain airport or rail station – you type in your address abroad and it will tell you where to find the nearest station to get to the nearest airport. Very helpful.
In Spain, the Carnet Joven is a student/youth card that you can use until the end of your 31st year (until the day you turn 32). It is great for 20% discounts on all trains in Spain. In order to get it, you have to show your TIE and proof of residence, so you can’t get it until you are already in Spain. To get it, google “Carnet Joven” and your comunidad for details!
I haven’t gotten my NIE or TIE yet, but I’ve made notes about what to bring with me so I’m prepared when I get there: original and copies of your carta (1 for NIE, 1 for TIE); original and copies of passport (1 for NIE, 1 for TIE); original and copies of your visa (TIE); 3 photos which can be taken in Spain for about 2 euros (TIE); copies of your lease or proof of address/bill in your name (TIE); empadronamiento (TIE); be prepared to pay a small tax of about 15 euros. The empadronamiento is only required in some regions, but if it is required in your region, you will need: application form available at the office; original and copy of passport; proof of address (utility bill, rental contract, etc.) If you’re not named on the rental contract, you will need a completed Autorizacion de Empadronamiento (available from the town hall) which requires that the person who holds the rental agreement also be registered on the on the Padron Municipal and a photocopy of the leaseholder’s identification.
Looking for flats/pisos online? For renting an entire apartment, check out www.idealista.com, www.enalquiler.com, and www.milanuncios.com/viviendas. For renting a room in a shared apartment, check out www.pisocompartido.com and www.easypiso.com. For both, visit www.mundoanuncio.es, www.segundamano.es/pisos-y-casas, www.fotocasa.es, and www.loquo.com.
Looking for a European craigslist? To buy cheap second hand stuff, check out www.segundamano.es, www.mundoanuncio.com, the Wallapop app, and www.loquo.com. It’s not quite as big of a market as in the United States, but it’s something! I also hear there are great flea markets in Spain, so when I find them, I will be sure to post!
For auxiliares, there is a pdf (in Spanish) to help us with most of our questions. For instance, there are 2 groups of us: those who are paid by the government of Spain and those of us who are paid by the autonomous community. There are different bank requirements for each, so it is important to know which group you’re in and who to contact if you have any questions. The pdf can be found online and is called Guia Auxiliares de Conversacion Extranjeros En Espana 2014/15 (or whatever year you are working in).
And now, I must pack. My flight is in 3 days and I’m getting nervous!