If you are planning a vacation to Spain, there are several steps you’ll need to take before your plane ever leaves the ground. From visas to vaccinations, this brief guide will help you get prepared efficiently.
Citizens of countries within the European Union will not need to have a visa to enter Spain, but you will need to have your national identification document. Resident of the United States and Canadians who are planning to stay in Spain on a tourist basis for less than three months will not need to get a visa before leaving. If you plan to stay longer than that, you will need to obtain a tourist, business or student visa, depending on your situation.
You will need a valid passport to travel. You can visit http://travel.state.gov/passport for an easy guide on how to obtain your passport. If you are in a hurry, there is an option to rush your passport, but it will cost extra. You will need to have two copies of a recent photograph, and basic identification documents to apply for a passport. Your local courthouse will typically have an area set aside for passport applications. If you are not sure where you should go to apply for your passport, the site mentioned above contains information on all valid passport application offices.
Anytime you plan to travel overseas, you will need to make sure that you have a valid health insurance policy that will provide you with coverage while you are overseas. Traveling to a foreign country can be demanding enough, but if you are injured and without health insurance, the complications are numerous. If your current health insurance policy does not provide international coverage, it is a good idea to purchase a short-term global health insurance plan that will allow you to travel.
For children, it is recommended that they be up-to-date on all of their childhood vaccinations, such as Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Tetanus/Diphtheria and Influenza. Adults should also receive a Tetanus shot if it has been more than ten years since your last vaccination. In 2006, outbreaks of Legionnaire’s Disease and measles have been reported, underscoring the need for current vaccinations.
If you currently take prescription medications, or rely on over-the-counter medication for allergies or other conditions, you will need to make sure that you have enough on hand for the duration of your trip. Inform your doctor of your trip so that they can prescribe any necessary medications or recommend alternatives if you run out during your stay. You may also want to request medicine for motion sickness and/or other common complaints. Skin protection cannot be overlooked during your stay in Spain, and it’s a good idea to pack extra for you and your children.
Emergency Contact Information
Before you leave, create a list of your nearest friends, relatives and physicians on a card and then have it laminated. If possible, have it translated into Spanish to ensure that there won’t be any language barrier if you get into trouble. It is also a good idea to keep the address of the American Embassy in Spain, as well as other useful information with you in case you run into any problems during your trip.