To get around the UK plug annoyance, use something plastic in the top hole of the UK socket to open the safety shutter.
I like to use a biro lid.
Going to Spain for a while? Here are some technotips.
(Almost) everyone uses it here, as many people don’t have phone contracts. It’s also great for keep in contact with your friends at home
2. Get a YOIGO sim
I tried various pay as you go sims, and I like Yoigo because calls are too expensive, their phones are unlocked and relatively cheap (you can buy a two sim card phone NEW for 140e), and their customer service is not completely terrible. You can also pay 7e a month for 3G, which is really useful if you move to a place where internet takes a thousand years to install.
Don’t forget to bring your passport to buy whatever sim card you end up getting; it’s an anti-terror measure here that you can’t buy a phone sim without ID.
3. Bring an extender cable from your country
You can buy travel plugs in Spain, but instead of buying 5 or 6 individual ones for your phone, laptop, hairdryer etc, why not bring an extension cable with you from your country?
Wall>>>travel plug>>>extender cable
Also, for UK travellers, remember that if you buy electronics in other European countries, you can (usually) shove them in to a British socket by sticking something plastic into the top hole of the plug socket, like this:
I like to use a good old biro lid. It’s the perfect size for opening the safety shutter.
If you’re planning on going home at Christmas… BUY YOUR FLIGHTS NOW, in August, or else pay double.
A) Buy your flights 6 months before (yes, in August)
B) Fly on the 23rd of December at the latest
If there are random volcanoes, strikes, or ice, you won’t get marooned somewhere (there are no trains/buses on Christmas day)
C) Tell your school in your first month when you’re flights are. Offer to make it up.
I worked in a really difficult, uptight school, where we were told that Christmas wasn’t a Spanish holiday and… Basically, be assertive. Don’t let anyone mess with your Christmas with your family.
Best place to buy US flights:
If you’re under 26, you can get great deals using this site.
Good peanut butter
Stationary (coloured flashcards, thank you cards)
Shampoo and conditioner (there is little tax on wine, beer, and cigarettes, but cosmetic items are more expensive)
Anti-histamines (only on prescription)
Spice blends (Chinese Five Spice) Note: You may be able to find spices in specific neighbourhoods where non-Spanish people live. In Madrid, many corner shops have a great range of spices for South Asian food.
Hair cuts (Spanish hair dressers tend to chop a lot off)
Sport’s bras (buy an extra at Target/New Look)
Things that may be cheaper:
Fruit and veg
Contraceptive pill/merina ring/nuva ring/IUD (some are 4e a month, others are 15e a month)
Care Packages from Outside of the EU
Make sure the sender fills out the customs form properly, or you will have to pay 40e at your end 😦
Getting charged for withdrawals from your home bank is a big pain in the butt, and your Spanish paperwork will take a while, meaning it might be a few months before you have a bank here.
I use a Halifax Clarity. It’s the top rated card on the above article, and I was already with Halifax anyway.
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Sabadell allowed me to have an account without a NIE (Spanish resident number).
I changed from them to ING as Sabadell have two types of account (depending on how much you get paid each month), whereas ING offer free transfers no matter what. They also have this nifty friend invite thing where if your friend is already with them, you both get 32.50e (they say more, but that’s not including the tax) to change to them.